First ImpressionsPosted: May 18, 2013
Well my initial impression of Tanzania was that it is dark, and it is raining, but that’s because I had just got off of the plane. As we arrived Sunday night at Mt. Kilimanjaro Airport we found ourselves excited to be in our new home for a month, yet unfortunately because we arrived near 8:30 at night not much was visible to us except for some plantain trees in the Airport Parking lot. After we fit the 28 of us travelers into a tiny van we were on our way to our new home in Arusha.
My First thought when we arrived at the Outpost lodge was that we are not exactly “roughing it.” The lodge and the rooms are very clean, and the lobby is wide open and beautiful. I didn’t linger around too long though because after nearly 24 hours of travel I was ready for bed and the sound of the rain on the roof quickly put me to sleep. After a great nights rest we all woke up to breakfast that was prepared for us in the lobby of the lodge, an assortment of fruit and omelet’s that are custom made for you to order. I was less interested in the breakfast as I was to go out and see the city.
Our adventure into Arusha was very excited, we started off the day with a lunch at a local “touristy” restaurant, which was awesome, and then proceeded to exchange our dollars for Tanzanian schillings. As soon as we got to the exchange we were surrounded by street vendors trying to sell us paintings, bracelets, and other various things. It was pretty overwhelming because they don’t exactly like the word no, and will follow you down the street trying to convince you. Myself personally was convinced to buy five bracelets. Once we had some money we went to the Massai Market in town to do some more shopping. The Market is large with many small shops, each with a different owner. Every owner wanted you to look and admire their goods, but there was just not enough time to try and please every owner.
When we left the market that was when the rain started up again. Our travel guides led us to our last destination and back home with the goal of keeping us as dry as possible, but its safe to say we were all significantly soak on our arrival back to the Outpost. My impression of Tanzania is that it is beautiful, there is so much green vegetation everywhere and the prettiest flowering trees line the streets. The people all over town were very friendly and polite to us, they seemed to enjoy practicing their English on us as well as teaching us some Swahili. Even the workers at the lodge have become our unofficial Swahili teachers. So far so good, and even though the rain seems to never end our first day was very fun and the area is beautiful.