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The Solo Scooterist

Documenting my travels on a Vespa

Date: June 26, 2014

Rain stops play

Back in Arusha it was a time for friends and preparation for the next part of our journey . Tim organised a cab for the day , a physio appointment and waived me goodbye to take on the little city that offers a new definition for gridlock and artistic town planning . Everest my very able guide and driver took on the challenge like a knight riding out on a crusade . Our first stop to collect the petrol bags that Tim had taken into town to try and re seal for me , then off to the petrol station to test the craftsmanship , no luck still the petrol found its way out , so a different solution has to be found.

The  physio next on the list , luckily  all was fine with the shoulder and arm , I have to do some additional exercises because sitting on the scooter for so many hours was effecting my circulation and causing the problem with the arm. Great news and I was off to the town barber for a haircut and a beard trim , wow was this an education . Conversation came slowly as the master barber took on the tufts and curls , machine then scissors then machine then scissors . I wish I had my camera with me , it has been a long time since I have been able to see my hair on the floor all around me after a hair cut . The four decade  old family business still boasted some of the original apparatus from when dad started it all those years ago , one piece of which was about to be used on me .The stuff movies are made of , that Chicago cut throat made its appearance  right in front of me . Conversation ceased as I closed my eyes , lay back exposed my throat and  life all for vanity. The sound that blade makes as it  cleans and clears the scrub is hypnotic and in no time I was an addict to cut throat therapy. I lost my heart to old school and decided when I am back home  I will try and find a cut throat and a tutor of course , so on  special occasions I can recount the day the wild man from the road was tamed by steel and skill.

 

Mount Meru from Tim's front garden

Mount Meru from Tim’s front garden

Early morning sunrise , what a place.

Early morning sunrise , what a place.

To put Arusha city into perspective , my total travel for the day  was 30 kilometers , the time it took to navigate the traffic and streets took us 5 hours of which around two hours were used to do all the chores , what a great day out . The rest of my  time in Arusha was spent with Tim and his nearest and dearest . Thank you to all the Arushan’s who so graciously opened their hearts and homes to me , I loved being a part of your world for a brief moment in time , I will treasure the words we shared , the time we spent in each others company and most importantly the genuine effort you all put into my time with you.

On Saturday afternoon we packed the old school is to cool Land Rover and Janelle drove us up to a place that let’s your mind soar with eagles . It is a friend of theirs who lives high up on the slopes of Mount Meru in a home that reminds one what humans are capable of creating when they are left to dream . What a place , your eyes roam free over Masai land , the dust , like plumes of smoke rise from the cattle’s hooves , the sound of joyous children rises up from the valley , the sunsets before your eyes as you hold back your emotions at the beauty of this raw land . This place does not suffer fools , the lazy or the selfish , it does not compromise on its harsh reality , it is what it is . We spent a fantastic night out at Natasha’s enjoying good food and great times.

 

Sunrise from my bedroom

Sunrise from my bedroom

On our way home we stopped off at the supermarket to purchase some tick and flea dog shampoo , George the bush guru told me the best way to rid oneself of these pests was washing with dog shampoo. While in the bush I had found a couple of ticks feasting on my body and tick bite fever is not very pleasant , so Tim and I were trying to decide which of the two to choose , Hey Tim I said this print is a little small and I don’t have my reading glasses please come and help so I can choose the more appropriate one . Tim picked up both and started laughing , his response Mike I don’t understand Arabic , all the instructions in Arabic  we purchased what looked like the mildest and hoped that Tim’s muscle memory from dog ownership  years ago would kick in when the diluting took place. Washed and tick free , it even smelt great. Not as nice as my Geo Trumper West Indian limes body scrub mind you , Wow how life changes.

I spent the rest of the day at home  getting  ready for my departure in the morning , so I spent the time pottering about the house , Tim playing some great music as we both realised our time in Arusha was coming to an end , so melancholy the mood , prepping activity the solution. Off to bed for tomorrow the road to Singida calls . That night the heavens opened and the rain came down while we slept , so I woke to a grey , wet Monday. This ordinarily would not be a problem but where Tim lives it is life altering , the road to the tar is made from  soil called black cotton that only allows passage to those baptised in hard core 4×4 prowess and those who are members of the old school Land Rovers association . So rain stopped play and Victoria and I just had to sit it out and wait for the sun to work her magic.

 

The road I had to use to get out of Dodge.

The road I had to use to get out of Dodge.

 

Victoria would not enjoy this mud bath.

Victoria would not enjoy this mud bath.

I got a lift down to the tar and spent the day hanging out next to the fire at coffee lodge , doing mails and the blog , feeling relaxed and letting my mind return to the plains of the  Serengeti. The next day the road was still not in great riding condition but the sun was out , so I packed up Vic and waited for our window of opportunity , which arrived around 11h00 , I jumped on and down the hill we went , Tim running me out of town , checking that I got out. We were off,  tar under wheel our destination the Stanley motel in Singida.

It is not often in our busy lives that friends get an opportunity like the one I had with my gracious  friend Timothy . Decades of friendship and days in Arusha to distil  those memories in laughter and conversation . Thank you Tim a time to treasure.

So we rode , Vic and I loving the wind on us and  the sense of freedom that only the road can bring , five hours later we arrived at the motel , only to be welcomed like long lost friends by Christian the manager who I had met on my previous stay. Christian  , you made me feel so welcome and thank you for all you did to make our stay as great as the previous one .

The next day we rode up to Kahama where I am relaxing in the coffee bar updating the blog. Once all is done I am going to explore this vibrant town . When I rode in yesterday I thought to myself , it is a pity I am leaving tomorrow for my next country , so luckily  I overslept and now will have a day to enjoy at leisure before I head for Rwanda at first light tomorrow.

My hotel in Kahama

My hotel in Kahama

 

Coffee bar , I am sitting in.

Coffee bar , I am sitting in.

 

Hotel restaurant

Hotel restaurant

 

The main road outside the hotel.

The main road outside the hotel.

Tomorrow a 460 kilometre ride to Kigali , a new country , new rules , great for Victoria being Italian and riding on the right hand side of the road , a mind shift for me , both in  rules of the road and  language , so lets see what tomorrow will bring. Rwanda here we come .

Until we meet again

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Street life in Kahama

 

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