Travel Stories

Leaving Tanzania

         Sunday morning, window open and screen drawn, chanting from the Mosque, spirited Christian and Zulu song from the church, and the chatter of women and clatter of dishes drifting in before yoga.  Yesterday, my last full day in Tanzania, was spent visiting Mt. Meru, or rather what was left of Meru after the mountain’s earlier volcanic iteration blew half the mountain away, leaving what is now an absolutely green and gorgeous environment within sight of Kili, although it’s very hard for any place to compete with Ruaha.  Saw buffalo, giraffes, warthogs (who I particularly like), baboons, waterbucks, blue monkeys, 1000s of pink flamingoes, huge black and white colobus monkeys, dikdik, and elephant shrew.  Drove through a mammoth fig tree as if among the California redwoods.  Visited Ngurdoto Crater, which viewed from the rim looks exactly as I imagine Shangri La would.  Made me regret again my choice to forgo Ngorogoro Crater, but something had to give in terms of time and cost and I’ve opted instead to visit the Masai Mara in Kenya.  Drove to the Meru people’s home village, immediately outside the park entrance on the Arusha side, which reminded me of what certain impoverished American Indian reservations in the Dakotas look and feel like, only far poorer, dustier, and dirtier. 
         Can’t quite believe I’ve spent six days and nights in Moshi, but that’s exactly why I love traveling without a set schedule, so I can extend my stay in places that engage me and freely depart those I don’t.  (Love that thief as guide).  Will be taking the bus to Nairobi in the late morning.  And when I checked my calendar to see the actual date for the first time in a week, saw on the very tentative and rough calendar and itinerary I had crafted before leaving that this was the very date I’d anticipated I would move on from Tanzania to Kenya.
         Want to say again - in an effort to share my “reality” - how much I am really enjoying my solitude, and how I consider my experience of this kind of “engaged travel solitude” - as opposed let’s say to being on some sort of “retreat” in one place - to be the primary motivation for my travels as spiritual walkabout on the planet, followed by a desire to see and know the broader world we live in up close and personal, followed by an abiding interest in anthropology. 
         Also looking forward to being at home in the depths of February cold, while simultaneously concerned about not feeling as I’d like to feel there.  Wish I lived in an even more isolated environment, in an even more hermit-like manner, and were it not for my commitment to and dependence on the computer (and I say that of no other electric tool, not refrigeration, TV, music, or any kind of power equipment) would ideally like to live without electricity - which I don’t think I need and which so dramatically alters the environments we live in.  Whereupon, once again we note, how my desire to be with the lovely Ms. Cuming plays a significant, (dare I say decisive?) determinative role in where I park my soul.  What I really need to do is figure out how to see the Cape as being exactly what I want, which it is actually very close to (and yet far from), and I wonder how much of that is subjective only, and how much is the objective context, because, in reality, I can’t think of another place I’d physically prefer to be in the U.S. of A, not the high desert, not Northern California, not away from the sea, not any colder, not much hotter.  It’s the simplicity thing, I say, the need and desire to feel and to be isolated and alone in order to touch more fully the deeper and the higher, and about what it might take for me to feel that I was living the lifestyle I truly would like to live at this time in my being, under this firmament, mostly alone, mostly isolated, and moving pretty exclusively to my own rhythms as I try to feel, know, and harmonize with the larger being I feel myself a part of. 
         But first Nairobi, Kenya and Masai Mara, four days and three nights sleeping at three different sites in simple tents, moving about in a van shared (for cost considerations) with three or four unknown others, set up and booked by Mr. Ino, who, by the way, I’ve also entrusted with wads of money sans receipts, including money to secure my phone in my absence and, if successful in its recovery (I’ll detail our plan some other time) to forward the phone to me in Nairobi by bus courier at the end of a week after I get back from Masai Mara (assuming I’m not finally eaten by lions there), and if unsuccessful to see that the money is returned to me in Nairobi.  Yes, yes, we will see one way or the other won’t we?  And then, with the grace of the gods and guides, on to Ethiopia, to Senegal and a rendezvous with Sam who has decided he needs to get some sun, some African basketball, and to bring the old man home, and then Orleans, MA, to see and be with the lovely Ms. Joy … and all in time for the Super Bowl.  Hey, we got our priorities, right?  It makes me want to say you can take the boy out of the Bronx (and in Sam’s case out of Boston), but that you can’t take the Bronx out of the boy.  Or as we spiritual journeyers are often heard to say, “Go Pats.”