It was very cold this morning--some people had trouble sleeping. I guess I slept through the entire night becuase it wasn't until the morning that I had realized my hands were so cold. Breakfast was at 6:00--afterwards we loading the 4x4s and went down to the Ngorongoro Crater. We spent 5 hours or so driving around, at least an hour or so just to get to the base. I snapped a few photos curbside before our descent, some of a nearby Maasai Village.
|Driving to the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania|
|Zebras playing in the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania|
The crater was very open, just like I had imagined. The amount of wildlife was unreal. Buffalo, Wildebeest, Antelopes, Zebras, and the like flooded the horizon in every direction. Birds, Hyenas, and Jackels were also very plentiful. We saw some hyenas feasting on a dead buffalo, some zebras playing/fighting with eachother, and a swarm of hundred+ (maybe a thousand+) flamingos. We saw some Black Rhinos (3 or 4) but they were so far in the distance that I wouldn't 'really' say that we saw them. It's a bit of a shame, but I guess seeing 4 of the big 5 is not too shabby.
|Hyenas Sunbathe in the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania|
We did see a half dozen Lions throughout the day. I was lucky enough to witness a male and female sleeping side by side--the male got up and mounted the female. After no more than 10 seconds the female slapped the male lion across the head and roared very loudly at him. That was the end of that--they both went back to sleep in their original spots. When lions mate they do this sort of thing every 15 minute or so and continue at it for 3 days. <kitty porn joke omitted here>.
|Male and female lion in the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania|
We drove around a bit more and finally took a lunch down by a lake filled with dozens of hippos. The birds smelled our food and after a while of stretching my legs I finished my lunch in the 4x4. Lunch was horrible, just like yesterday's. A very old, stale, and dry muffin, package of biscuits, a hardboiled egg, one small piece of old dry chicken wrapped in foil, a browning banana, and 1.5 pieces of of bread that had one thinly sliced piece of cheese in between. Actually the cheese didn't even cover the entire piece of bread. We also had some sort of juice, but I didn't drink it.
|Birds trying to eat our lunch in the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania|
During our game drive Debby had lost her contact. She had lost it in her eye, which before today I would have thought was just impossible. Our driver, Mushaka, didn't understand what a contact was. After much explanation by Debby our driver just replied, "why you have bad eyes? You need to eat more carrots". We just chuckled and went on with our drive.
Divia, Vincent, Debby, and I all tried to sleep on the ride up the Crater but the gravel roads proved too much for us. There were at least two times when I was just about sleeping when my head nearly smacked our car's roof. Fuck these roads...and I'm sure our driver isn't trying to make things any better.
We stopped several times for restrooms, for our driver to de-register our car from the park, a craft market on the side of the road, and one time for a diesel refueling. It's 4:15pm and Marshuka said we still have ~55kms remaining. The roads outside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are paved so the drive is much more comfortable. We should arrive at camp around 5:15pm. I'm glad tomorrow is my last day--I'm done with the long drives.
It's wierd becuase when I'm given a chance to relax in my room I get bored and have nothing to do. I'm gotten so accustomed to 'doing nothing' all day on the truck that I don't know what to do with myself when I have free time outside it. Partaking in any type of 'active' activity is just too taxing after such long days.
The market we stopped at was such rubbish. The moment I walked in a man took a shallow wicker basket/dish and walked up beside me. He tried to talk to me and tell me that everything I wanted I should place inside the tray. After I was done I will bring it up to the front and he will "give me the best rate". I told him Jambo, which means hello in Swahili, but that I just wanted to look. He continued to follow me so I began to walk in circles and retraced my route several times until he realized I was just fucking with him. He finally left me alone. I went to talk with Marcia and later to Debbie, and Vince about their products. Debbie inquired about a bowl--the lady priced it at $65 dollars. It was easily worth $5, $10 if she really had to have it. By the time I reached the other side of the shop another guy came up to me with a wicker basket. I told him Jambo and that I am just looking and am not interested. A few times I would pick up an item to examine it closer. The guy would just start rambling about it, trying to grab it and place it into the basket and tell me, "you like, very good price for you". I picked up a Maasai Sword, just like the one I purchased yesturday and asked, "how much for this". He went on for 5 sentences explaining me how great it was and how valuable it is. Then he said $70. I said thanks and put it back and walked away. He tried to negotiate with me, but the day had already been too long and I wasn't in the mood for this. I told him I am not interested, but he continued to follow me around. I did grab a pair of napkin rings and he tried to take them from me to put in that damn basket he had been carying while following me around. I said I'll just take it to the front and ignored the guy. I put it on the counter and asked, "how much?" The man said $15 dollars. I countered and said $5. They both looked at eachother and lauched. They said no, $15 is best price. I said no thanks, left the item on the counter, and walked back to my car. As I walked out the door one man said, "ok $10 for you". I said nope without even looking at him and kept my pace. While we were collecting by the car the wicker-basked guy came back and said, "ok $10". I said no and to leave me alone. Then he said, "ok, we can sell at your price". I looked at him and said, "You were greedy, you tried to rip me off and then you laughed at me when I made a fair offer. You are getting no sale from me today."
Some may think I am being hostile and that I am wasting my time. My take on it is that "I am providing free education on the subject of business ethics one person at a time".
I think I am developing a cold. My throat was 'scratchy' for the last 2-3 days, today my my nose is starting to run, and I've just begun to sneeze. Fortunately I don't stay sick long and should be fine by my flight in two days.
|Sunrise near the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania|