28.03.2007 - 28.03.2007
ok... I (kyle) love aftrica! this place is amazing and I have a strong sense that I'd like to live here for a whle.
But as with everything, there are two sides... or more... to every coin. I hate that being a mazungu (i'm sure by now you know it means white man) means I have a huge neon $ on my forehead. I want to get to know real africans, but the only ones I seem to meet are trying (some more subtly than others... some even feigning friendship) to get something from me.
It all came to a head this morning when after leaving our room for 35 minutes for breakfast we came back to find our cameras, ipods, cash and karoline's passport and credit cards missing. THE ROOM WAS LOCKED! So, I'm pretty sure it's an inside job at the hotel. spent most the morning at teh police station. I've been puting word out on the street that we are offering big money to get the goods returned and talk to the culprit.
So, we are in Arusha Tanzania right now, and we are supposed to be n kili, but our troubles this morning delayed it a day for me... but since karoline needs to get a new passport and is feeling like crap, she is heading to dar es salaam - big city on the coast of Tanzania - to get a new pasport and rest up and will not be joining me on the climb. Her decision, not mine.
On the up side the manager of the guiding service has been an amazing help all day - taking karoline to the internet to cancel her cards, translating in the arguments with the hotel, walking me through the police station, translating for me as I offered rewards to people I'm pretty sure know something, refunding karoline 80% of the climbing costs and booking karoline a bus and taxi from the bus to a good hotel in Dar and wouldn't accept money for it.
So there you have it... just like everywhere else in the world there are shady people and cool people. It's hard to not turn into a jerk when people continually harrass you to buy crap after you just got about 2 grand stolen (I can't say I've done a perfect job, since today I layed down a threat of physical abuse if a guy on the street tried to sell me his stupid cheesy african paintings).
But as the late afternoon sun was ending, karoline and I took a walk around town. We watched some kids playing soccer and beautiful little girls walking down the street with there father and mothers carrying thier babies on thier back. It was a good reminder of the beauty amidst the shit and perhaps that there is more beauty than shit in life.
So, I have resolved to try to be cautiously optomistic about people.