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60 minutes in India

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

i was gonna upload some pictures from zanzibar and other parts of tanzania here but it seems i’m unable to, either because of some mumbo jumbo related to the internet connection (slow as molasses in january all throughout tanzania) or bootsnall. not sure which, but anyways i cannot do this, and so you’re gonna have to wait for those. rest assured, however, that they are stunningly good, national geographic quality photos of fluffy and hoofed and winged critters from the safari and some maasai warriors doing their maasai tribal jumping schtick.

i should be in india right now. sadly, i’m not. i’m in dar es salaam, tanzania. i flew to india only to be turned away for lack of a visa to enter. the kind folks at qatar airways got me on the first plane back to tanzania at 4AM, roughly, and 8 1/2 hours later i was back in tanzania. this super sucked and was really, actually, the worst day of my life (aside from the iPod mishap) this year and i hope the very last and worst of my travels. am working on getting to the bottom of why exactly i did not get a visa before arriving (who knew you couldn’t get one at the airport? clearly i did not know this and therefore was unprepared) and where i shall go from here. one funny thing did happen that was unexpected and, i assume, typical of india: a security guard at airport security in delhi asked if i was married FIRST THING when i was getting ready to send my luggage through the x-ray machine. i had to laugh because this question was posed immediately after “hello. where you from?”, no hesitation whatsoever.
[read on]

ZANZIBAR: The Great Mosquito Massacre and The Maasai

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

let me first express my apologies for taking so long to update the blog. tanzania has fair to middlin internet connections at all ‘net cafes i’ve been to since i have been here (about 1 1/2 weeks). i will be unable to update the blog until i am in a place where i can get a better connection. so, for the time being please know that i’m not ignoring the email messages all y’all have been sending me (THANK YOU!), it’s just that time is money and when i can only open and read 1 message in 1/2 an hour’s time, i have become very discouraged by the speed of the connections (when the connection stays connected, that is, which is about 1/2 the time) and so have been unable to respond to you guys. believe me when i say i will reply very soon (esp. benn and monica – i am sorry about your news and will write immediately when i get a good connection. i have thoughts to pass on).

and so meanwhile, i have very much enjoyed Zanzibar, the Spice Island (you’d think they know who the Spice Girls are here! but noooooo, they do not! i’m chagrined), so far. i have slaughtered no less than 1,000,000 potentially malaria-carrying mosquitos in my hotel room and beyond, ruthlessly and without remorse. i have also had the good fortune to have befriended a real, live Maasai guy named Chipa Chipa. his job is security guard at my hotel. because he is from the Maasai tribe, he is (supposedly) of fearsome warrior stock and not to be messed with. Chipa Chipa carries a big stick and wears the traditional drapey scarf/sarong thing and lots of jangley jewelry every day. his skin is a beautiful blue-black and his smile shines with perfect rows of perfectly white teeth. he smiles a lot and his English is good. despite his affability, i would NOT wish his wrath upon me. i do not doubt that with a diet (according to the literature – he has not confirmed this to me) of cows blood and milk, he could take your humble narrator down in about a nano-second. i try to stay on his good side. he and his brothers/cousins/sisters here in Nungwi Beach will perform a traditional dance ceremony down the road from my hotel this Sunday. i will try to arrange to see this, unless i am in the middle of the Serengetti on safari at the time.

at any rate, i am constantly working on writing in my paper journals and hope to condense and upload the juicy bits onto this blog very soon. send in the authorities if you do not hear anything from me by September 1. at that point, one may assume that i have been devoured by lions out on the plains…