I’m in Arusha. The flight here was sufficiently comfortable, perhaps because I had made sure to drug myself with Dramamine to make sure the nauseous state I have been in for the past few days did not result in a barfing episode on the plane. I slept through most of the flight between Cairo and Nairobi.
The flight from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro Airport was amazing. I caught my first glimpse of Mt. Kilimanjaro. If I do nothing else on this trip, that one glimpse was enough to make it worthwhile.
The mountain stood way above the cloud cover below. It looked as if it was at the same altitude as the plane we were in. What most caught my eye was how black it was. And that it was a lone mountain completely surrounded by flat land. There was not much of a snow cap on top.
At the airport, I was met by Peter, who will guide us up the mountain, and our driver. They were both very nice and welcoming.
We did have one conversation that rather concerns me.
Since I’m obsessing about my health because of the very weak state I’m in I’ve been seriously considering not taking my next dose of anti-malarial pills (due tomorrow). But I want this to be an informed decision.
So I asked Peter and the driver how prevalent malaria actually was in Tanzania.
The driver emphasized that it really is not a problem, especially in the region we are in. And to confirm that, he said, “I’m sure if you ask Peter when was the last time he had malaria he won’t even remember.” “F#*$!,” was the first thing I thought in response to that. So they do get malaria here. But maybe Peter will tell me it was so long ago that he LAST got malaria that I realize this was a disease of the past. Peter contemplated. “I’m not sure,” he said. “Five years ago?”
Ok. So this means that malaria IS actually quite prevalent in this country and that I need to be careful. I will probably delay taking my next anti-malaria dose until I’m back from the mountain, though. I won’t be able to go up if I do take it. And the mosquitoes, I understand, are not a problem at high altitudes. And until then I’ll just have to use the mosquito nets and repellants exceptionally well.
I’m finding myself mildly irritated by the fact that the people staying at my hotel all seem to have a lot of energy. I’m certain they are all taking anti-malarial pills. So why is it that I’m the one with this severe reaction? Arrrggghh!
The hotel is really nice. I’m glad to see that the ridiculous amount of money I’ve paid for this trip at least got me into a really nice hotel. It brings back images from movies about colonial Africa. It has a main reception building, which is built like a large hut. That opens up at the back into a large, green yard with a small swimming pool. And then it’s full of white people, mainly Brits, Germans, French, and Americans as far as I can tell. They are of all ages, shapes and sizes. I’m wondering whether all those people are here to go up the mountain. I’m hoping they are because they make me feel I might actually be in decent shape. But I’m sort of thinking many of them are here for the safaris and not the mountain climb.
Lunch was excellent. I’ll spend the rest of the day resting and reading my book. I might walk around the hotel grounds just to get some exercise in since I haven’t had any of that for the past week. Hopefully by Tuesday I’ll have enough energy in me to attempt a hike. We’ll see.
My roommate arrives tonight. The rooms here are actually small chalets. Really nice and comfortable although a bit cold. The weather is like the beginning of winter in Egypt and I’m a bit worried that I don’t have enough warm clothes now.
Tomorrow we’ll probably spend the day in the city.
And that’s my daily report for ya!