Lions...Hippos...Busses...Jesus Keyrings and Vocanos...Holiday with the mother...the conclusion...
on Sarah's Blog (Rwanda), 24/May/2010 13:34, 34 days ago
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Friday 23rd April 2010SO this must be the complete opposite feeling to that of someone having a baby...who is a week over their due date...A week later and the mother is still here...larger than life...hanging out in Rwanda...this morning we all caught motos up to the VSO office...myself and Dorothy had a meeting for the mean time...we pointed the mother in the direction of the bus stop and suggested she venture out in town...about half way through the meeting...the woman from British High Commission called again just to see how the mother was bearing did the manager from Ethiopian Airlines...who was trying to get her on a flight as soon as possible...I went out for a‘we have made it through the workshop’ lunch...while the mother went back to Ethiopian Airlines with a block of it happens...I think the lady from BHC had been down to the the mother had an hour to get over town...pack her bags and get on the next plane to the UK...I met her at the VSO office and then got a moto to AEE where I helped her pack...and then went with her to the airport...she was rushed through and we hardly had a chance to say goodbye...but I guess that was for the best as she is over emotional at the best of times!!! I headed back to AEE...where I enjoyed the sound own company...Thursday 22nd April 2010And there is no sign of the mother’s departure yet...much of the morning was spent on the phone...not that I got any answer...Ethiopian Airlines were rejecting my I called the British High Commission...the lady said she was not able to do anything...yet with 2 hours...I had received a very nice phone call from the horrid manager at Ethiopian Airlines...explaining that he was doing all he possibly could to get the mother on a flight...and just minutes after that...a phone call from the British High Commission ‘just seeing how things were going’. The mother was a little frantic as she had missed another week ofwork...while I was frantic at having another week ‘in the company of...’ (kidding) there was still no news on flights...but at least they had a rocket up their bottoms and might start actually doing something!!! The workshop went as well as can be expected...there was a free and frank exchange of views, over a set of laminated donkeys...not real ones of course...paper ones...and I was in and out and quite distracted...but we made it through in one piece...Wednesday 21st April guessed it...the mother is STILL here...she headed back over to the VSO office while we had the workshop...when it was all done and everyone had gone home...we all headed over to the office to finish the final preparations for the next day...we ended up taking the laminator back to AEE and finishing the work there...thank goodness we was gone midnight when we finally finished...Tuesday 20th April 2010When is this going to end...will the mother ever be gone!!! Today was an office day...discussing how we felt the workshop had gone and planning for the next two days of workshops...the mother was in and out...she went off to the new intake groups in-country training with Portia...she seemed to have a good day...our day was long...but most of the work was done...Monday 19th April 2010The workshops started a little later than originally planned...Emmanuel and Espe came over in VSO vehicles...which then took the mother back to the VSO off where she would spend the day working with Portia in the VSO office...she would be organising the books in the volunteer resource room the afternoon...after agreeing that we would give Ethiopian Airlines time and space to come through with news on a flight...they headed over to the office...of course, it did not go well...and the manager got very angry...the man is an idiot...but they should have been left alone...Portia managed to get the mother to go on a moto...but it was a super long way...maybe 20 minutes..which is more than I would have done for my first trip!!! The workshop went quite well...although there were a few little hitches along the way...but aren’t there the end of the day I was super tired and headed off for an early night...Sunday 18th April 2010After breakfast, myself and Dorothy headed over to the VSO office where we were going to be meeting with Emmanuel, Esperance and Bridget (from British Council) to plan the workshops for the week...Esperance was ill and didn’t come...but the meeting went surprisingly well...the mother on the other hand...had found some evangelical church group to take her along to a self-help group...for the afternoon...she seemed to have a good time and was much happier by the evening...I finished my meeting and went back to AEE tojoin early night was had before the first workshop tomorrow morning...Saturday 17th April 2010I was up early in the morning and went back to Ethiopian Airlines to try and sort out a ticket for the mother...I cancelled the meeting with Emmanuel and Dorothy (again) and decided to have a little quite reflection time on my own...I headed for Bourbon...armed with my laptop...and did a little bit of catching up with people in the real world...not this crazy parallel universe where I was stuck with the mother for eternity!!!! Anyway...she made her way up after doing all the washing which I had managed to create...we had a little lunch and then moved over to AEE, where the workshops were going to be held the following week...the rooms are clean and the beds a little more comfortable...and the mother seemed happier...Friday 16th April 2010Up bright and early...all packed up and ready to hit the road...we headed up the road...bags trailing behind...uphill the the sunshine with 2, 20kg suitcases and a backpack...not the best idea I have ever had...the mother was struggling somewhat...but thankfully we were met half way up the hill by John who took the mothers bag the rest of the way up to the UTC shopping centre...I ordered the mother’s final cup of Rwandan coffee in Bourbon, while she went to make sure that the flight was still leaving... where we bumped into Shala and Dorothy...who joined us for a snack and drink...the flight was still going, leaving our things at Nakumat, we headed for one final trip to the craftmarket...the mother managed to buy yet more bits and pieces...we had agreed with VSO that the mother would carry a motorcycle helmet and guitar...we booked a taxi to take us to the airport for 1pm...where we were going to meet Ruth with the things from VSO...only on our arrival at the airport...they had decided that the flight had been cancelled after what...another day in the company of the mother...I was supposed to be in a meeting with Dorothy and Emmanuel for Global Schools Partnerships...but I cancelled in order to try and sort out the situation with the mother...her bags wereleft at the VSO office...and we headed into town to try and get another flight...needless to say we failed...she was wait listed for the next available flight...she had an overnight bag of things with her...and we headed back to St. Paul’s after a nice meal at a little Indian restaurant in the centre of town...Thursday 15th April 2010Most of the packing was done yesterday...but there are always little bits and pieces to pack on the day...I also had to pack as I was going to be spending a week in Kigali running Global Schools Partnerships had rained all night...and carried on for much of the morning...we waited it out and it did eventually stop...but not before the roads had turned to sticky red mud...we decided that it would be easier to get a taxi than trying to carry all our bags up to the Sotra office...the taxi took a little longer than anticipated to arrive...but carried all our bags up the steps...we just about made it over the bridge into Butare...the road was so flooded that people were walking in water up to their knees...I am sure at one point the car was actually floating! We headed for the Sotra office only to find that yet again...there were no tickets...back in the car, we went to Volcano...this time I was just ignored...until the taxi driver came in and then they couldn’t be helpful enough...but again had no tickets...we went back to Sotra...where they had tickets for the next, but one bus...we popped in the Faucon for a drink and snack...when the lady from the Sotra office came in to say that they had managed to find three tickets for us (and extra one for thebaggage) on the next bus...back in Kigali we checked back in to St. Paul’s...and called my Grandparents...but on the granddad mentioned something about a volcano which had erupted...nothing to worry about...we walked up to heaven...where we bumped into John from Save, who had a computerwith him...we asked if we could check the internet...the news was not good...but I was still point in worrying about such things...we would just have to go to the Ethiopian Airlines office in the morning to check about the point in worrying about it now...lets just havea nice last supper and enjoy our last evening together...but it all seriousness...the mother HAS to go tomorrow!!!!Wednesday 14th April 2010This morning I think we both managed to get out of bed on the wrong side...we needed to get out of the house...but there were no buses out of the village...the whole place was closed down...we went back home and packed and tomorrow was going to be the big trip back to Kigali...Tuesday 13th April 2010We were up early...ready for another trip to Butare...this time the mother was headed for the museum...pretty easy to find...just down the main road...thankfully she managed it...I headed for the bank and then the post office to send all my post cards...and then settled myself in Matar awaiting the arrival of the mother...and then it happened...a very red sweaty mother was just about able to walk through the door and up the steps of Matar...I had not realised just how hot it was...she wasn’t too burnt...just enough to be amusing! We headed for the bus back to the Big G...and spent the rest of the day watching of the best ways to spend holidays!Monday 12th April 2010After a couple of cold showers we headed into Butare...we wandered around the is like a warren...not very clean...pretty claustrophobic...but it does the job....not my favourite place to we didn’t stay too long...we went to Matar for a drink before getting the bus back to the Big G...we cooked in the evening...tomato sauce with spicy sausage...I think it is the most adventurous I have been with my cooking since I arrived here...the mother needed a wee...and it was still raining...she decided that she could hold it no longer and headed out for the loo...but coming back...she walked straight up the steps and then along...only she chose the wrong step...and happened to the edging along the step where the water falls from the roof...needless to say...she was soaking...squealing and laughing...a pretty damp and soggy mother fell asleep pretty early while I stayed up and watched a movie...Sunday 11th April 2010After a nice sleep in Sunday was definitely a day of rest...and relaxation...and very nice it was too...I spent much of the day putting my new music onto my computer...the mother listened and chatted...Ruairi came home in the evening after being in Bujumbura...he was only home for a few hours before heading off to Kigali for the new volunteers early the next morning...but it was nice that they had a chance to meet...put names . to the faces..Saturday 10th April 2010With our bags packed for what was hopefully going to be the last time...we called a taxi to take our bags up the hill to the UTC shopping centre...we were meeting Melanie in Butare for lunch as she also had visitors, in form of a mother and a aunt...after drink in Bourbon we headed for the usual...nothing was simple...we got to the Sotra office...and they had no tickets for the 11am I headed up to the Volcano the meantime...the man from Sotra spotted me...and asked the mother where I was going...and came to get me back...they somehow managed to fit us and our suitcases onto the bus...I had the wheel-arch seat, while the mother was on bag watch in the back seat...not that anyone could have stolen them...they would hardly make for a quick inconspicuous get away...but she seemed happy enough, chatting with a family from Rwanda...natter natter natter...I managed to make polite conversation for all of about 20 mins before the headphones were in and the homeward bound music was playing...and thank goodness I did...across the aisle and a seat in front were two with two young boy and a it happens...the boy coughed...and coughed...and coughed...and then vomited on the leg of the other lady and on the floor...this was followed by much retching...more really was super pleasant!!! I now realise what it is I like so much about public transport...anyway...we finally made it to Butare...our bags were unloaded from the bus...and we went in search of Melanie and her dint take much to find them...firstly, Butare is not the biggest of towns...secondly, it had been shut down for the afternoon (and this would be happening every day for the rest of the week). But we found them in the Hotel Ibis...the mother and I made our introductions, ordered some lunch and then we left the visitors to chat while Melanie and I went to check my post box and have a good catch up...before we knew it, it was time for Melanie and her guests to head for the bus back to Nyanza, while the mother and I got a taxi with all our luggage back to the Big G...we opened the front door...and there in the middle of the living room...was a!!!! I was very excited about this...but still had to give the grand tour of the house...not there was that much to see...we made the beds and started the unpacking...and the mother met Alexandre...who gave her quite a one point we didn’t know if he was laughing or crying!...we made dinner...rice and soy sauce...who says I don’t know how to treat a guest...the mother fell asleep fully dressed...after what has been a very long journey...Friday 9th April 2010The mother was feeling a lot better today...we went to Kimironko market...where material, baskets and allsorts were bought...later in the afternoon we headed to the memorial centre...we got a taxi because the mother didn’t want to get a moto...but to be honest...neither did I!!!! The centre itself was maybe even more difficult going a second time...but it was late in the day and we were rushed through the end of it and didn’t have time to see the gardens...we called the taxi driver and he came to collect us andtake us back to St Pauls...we had a quick rest before heading to ‘Heaven’ for dinner...the chocolate brownie is definitely a must when there...yum yum yum!!!Thursday 8th April 2010The mother was recovering from all the excitement of Tanzania...after a relaxing morning we headed into town to the craft market...the mother was feeling pretty tired and worn out and wanted to go back to the we did...Wednesday 7th April 2010Yet another early start...we had booked a taxi to collect the 4 of us and take us back to the bus station at 5.30am to get the bus to the boarder...we arrived at the bus station...paid for the taxi and then realised that we didn’t know which one was our bus...we asked around and it was clear that the buses that were waiting were not going to Rusumu...then as if out of nowhere...a guy came over...led the 4 of us through the bus station...and round the back of the buildings...and there was our bus...once there we realisedthat we had lost Yuki...Maike went to find her and I made sure all the bags were on the was not sure that it was a good time to arrive in Rwanda...but I was outvoted and I found myself crossing the boarder...Back in Rwanda there were some problems with Yuki and Mike as they didn’t have the right visas...but in the end they were allowed to pass...back in Rwanda we booked onto the next bus leaving...there was about an hour to wait...we found a small bar where we got fanta and ate the packed breakfast from the hotel in Kahama...some sort of sweetened spaghetti...very strange but almost nice!!! Eventually the bus was ready to leave and after some discussion about paying for luggage we were off...we arrived in Kigali and it was like a ghost town...we walked down to St Pauls and managed to check in. All the shops and most restaurants were closed...the only place we could find which was open was Nakumat...we bought some supplies and headed back to St Pauls for dinner...Tuesday 6th April 2010Our tickets had be bought before our incredible safari...and the bus was at 5.30 in the A M...yet again we were up, packed and ready...the porters came to collect our bags and we made our way to the bus station...being stupidly early, it was still dark...there was some confusion over the bus which we were getting, but we managed to find it in the our bags were being loaded into the hold, the driver suggested we buy some large plastic bags to protect our luggage...we couldn’t understand refused and got onto the most uncomfortable bus each row there were 2 seats, the aisle and then 3 seats...thankfully we had a 2 seats...but there was no room for our hand luggage, legs or anything really...there were people standing in the aisle and we were off...Mohamed Express had departed...the bus was so old I think it might have actually been owned by Mohamed himself...with seats covered in what felt like carpet...and windows which barely opened...after a short while we were off the main road...and cruising down very dusty, dirt track...7 hours later...we were still cruising down the dirt track...and finally 13 hours later...we arrived at the bus station in Kahama...the mother was in charge of finding somewhere to stay, while I went to find tickets to Kigali for the following day...The bus companies were far from honest and tried to sell me a ticket to Bujumbura in Burundi rather than actually getting us to Kigali...but eventually we found the tickets we needed, although they only went as far as the board...the mother had found us somewhere to stay and had also befriended a Korean Man called Mike and a Japanese girl called they joined us...we got a taxi to the hotel and after arguing with the taxi driver we were booked in...and it was actually very nice...we went for a walk around the town, but it was dark and not a lot seemed to be happening so we headed back to the hotel for dinner...Monday 6th April 2010I don’t think I have ever got up this early on Easter Monday...but the excitement was too much and we were both soon up, showered and raring to go...thankfully, even though the mother was on the go was still dark when we had breakfast...and it was not long before we were on the road again...but this time heading for Ngorongoro Crater...the sun was starting to come up as we were making our way...stopping at the Lake Manyara lookout point...which in the misty haze of a bright morning...was in fact stunning...but we were back in the car before long and heading for the Ngorongoro lookout point...the view which we were met with could never be described...and although the pictures make it look beautiful...they are nothing compared to the real thing and do it no justice really is incredible! We stayed for a while as the sun was coming up...but we had a safari to be getting on with...and it was back in the car and off to the entrance of the crater...the road to the entrance was steep and narrow...there were trucks coming through as it is also one of the main roads to the Serengeti and it is the route supplies are taken on...after an ear popping climb we were at the entrance...the driver went off to pay for the car and our entrance fees...while we made a quick loo stop and bought some postcards...and the mother chatted to the boy in the shop...who was apparently was Masai Mara...who knows...maybe he was...but he then went on to ask for money...there are places where I would expect that to happen...but not at the shop and information centre at entrance...but maybe that is just me! Anyway...I finally managed to drag the mother away and get her back in the car...and we were took a while before we were in the crater...more climbing up steep slopes andthen driving around the rim to the entrance...maybe I forgot to mention that Ngorongoro Crater is a volcano which has collapsed and is now dormant...making a crater in the middle of it which is inhabited by thousands of wild animals...and makes for an extremely rewarding safari!!! The Masai have grazing rights in the conservation area...but they can often be seen trying to sell Masai jewellery and other bits and pieces...on our way around the rim...the mother asked to stop to take photos...(even though we had discussed the fact that they would try and charge us for the photo...) she went ahead and was then very surprised when they asked her for money for the photo...the driver managed to negotiate them down to a more reasonable price...and we were off again...As we got to the crater floor we saw wildebeest...I had never seen them before and I always thought that it was just another namefor Buffalo...but no...they are different...with long faces...they are not the prettiest of creatures...a little further on and in the distance...there was a sandy coloured blob...then it moved and started to pace up and down...yes it was in fact a LION...apart from being thrilled that I was actually seeing a real live LION...I was also a little disappointed that it was so very far away and I couldn’t see it properly! But wild animals are wild...and if I wanted to see it close up I should maybe go to a zoo...but I couldn’t help that little feeling of disappointment...but we had animals up and lets get it was Thompson’s Gazelle followed by more Wildebeest...before the first Zebra of the day...they seemed to be quite a young group and were playing around...the baby zebra were more brown in their colouring and the fur was fluffy and slightly tufted, rather than smooth and sleek...then it was down to the small lake in the crater...where there were Flamingo...they were quite a distance away...but could be seen clearly...they were there with Zebra, Wildebeest and maybe even a Buffalo or two were down there...then in the a misshapen...rather bedraggled bear...was in fact a real life Hyena...although I love the experience of safari...I am surprised by the ugliness of many of the animals available for viewing...they really are not very pretty...and Hyena is also added to the list...although they are not as skinny or tired looking asI thought they would be!...passed the more Antelope and a Jackal...and we were faced with a rather large puddle in the road...maybe a little more like a river...but there was only one way through...we had been standing up as we were driving along...but the mother (very sensibly) decided to sit downat this point...I on the other hand thought I would be super brave and stand all started very well...but then about half way through there was a huge hole in the road which we had not seen as it was filled with water...and all of a sudden I was hanging onto the roof for dear life...swingingfrom side to side...with my camera swinging around my neck...I lost my grip and tumbled into the car...the big lens of my camera bashed against the door of the car and I landed sideways on, in a fit a laughter, in the chair...thankfully four wheel drive was invented for such events and we made it tothe other side of the bad patch of road...the lens of the camera was a little dented and chipped, but thankfully I had a filter on so it was that which was damaged rather than the actual lens...phewph!!!!! But on the other side of the bad road...there was...LIONS!!!! and this time they were super close to the road...they were there, just snoozing in the long grass...then they got up and started walking around the I not really liked my hands...or life all that much...I would have been able to put my hand out of the car a stroked them they were so close...but I was sensible andkept all my limbs inside the car...we set off again and came upon some more Zebra...but this time it was Zebra hugging...standing next to each other with their heads on each other’s was time to stop for lunch by the Hippo pool...the Hippos could only just be seen in the water as the weather was so very nice...thank goodness we had seen then in their full glory the day before...lunch had to be eaten in the car as there were Eagles flying around on the hunt for food...and these particular ones were not afraid of humans...I spent much of lunch pestering about how much I wanted to see a Rhino-saurus...but was told that it would not be possible as although the weather was nice, it was windy and Rhinos don’t like I was resigned to heading back to Arusha...Via a few elephants...but on the way...they driver suddenly started to pick up speed...and was speeding down the track...then there it the distance...a Rhino-saurus...horns and day was made...and I was more than happy to make the long journey back to Arusha...we made the journey back...stopping to see some Elephants on the way...and then it was up up up and out of the crater...thenaround the rim...and down down down to the road home! And before we knew it...and after a little snoozing we were back at the hotel...our bags were taken to our room and we prepared for another early start and long journey the next day...breakfast was brought to our room so we didn’t have to takethe time going down to the dining hall and it was arranged that the night porters would some and collect our bags and walk with us to the bus station...Sunday 5th April 2010Safari time was upon us...and a little too soon for my liking...since being in the heart of Africa...I have certainly developed the ability to sleep...although I don’t always need it...sleep is the new black. The mother was a little bleary eyed too...but did manage to befriend an evangelical Christian at breakfast...boy oh boy...that was a lucky treat...I jokingly suggested I gave her one of the Jesus keyrings I had bought in Dar Es Salaam...the mother of course thought that this was a great see...she just doesn’t understand the brilliance of Jesus (or anything to do with any religion) paraphernalia...but I was not ready to give up the keyring...and instead sipped on my watermelon juice...which is not actually that nice...but it did mean that I was able to keep the keyring! Anyway...our bags were packed and stored away...and we were ready to start the day...first things first...and possibly the most painful part of the entire holiday...handing over all the it all had to be paid in cash...and in US Dollars...but once it wasdone...we were off...myself...the mother...and the guide/driver...all in a 4x4 with a popup roof...and we were off...just one stop to collect the animal books and binoculars...I do so very much like the fact that they have thought of absolutely everything! We had been going for about half an hour when we stopped at a craft shop...possibly the most expensive craft shop I have ever been in...but nice to look around...I will never lose my passion for shopping...but everything was very over priced...even by my standards! Anyway...we were off again before was about a 2 hour drive from Arusha to Lake Manyara...we had been going for about an hour and a half when we suddenly, super close to the road...was a small herd of elephants...just roaming around...hanging out...the mother was beside herself with excitement and her camera was out fast than I could even blink...if I am honest...Ialso thought it was pretty amazing...but I just have a little more self control that the mother!!! After much photo taking...driving backwards and forwards to get the best shot...we were off again...and this time we managed to make it all the way to the entrance...there was a little exhibition to walk around on a boardwalk...through the trees and plants...very well presented...the toilets were very nice indeed...not having a ‘proper’ toilet myself...I tend to rate places on their toilets...Lake Manyara it has to be said rates very highly indeed...we stopped for lunch before heading into the park itself...I was having a super slow day...and had only managed to eat my chicken when the mother and the driver had both finished...there was no time to wait though and I took mine back to the car...the roof was popped...and we were off...The road was scattered with baboons...big red bottoms out at the ready...a little further down the road and we cam upon the first giraffes of the you know that ‘giraffe’ is Arabic for ‘fast walker’...while ‘Twiga’ is Swahili for giraffe...boy it is a complicated world we live there they were in all their glory...the fast walkers...also I have since found out that they get darker with the older they are the darker their markings...making the ones we saw nearly as old as the mother...KIDDING!!!! The roads were not in very good condition as we were there during the rainy season...and at some points the road were impassable and we had to find another route...but it was only after we were stuck in the mud and the driver had to get out to do something to the 2 wheel/4 wheel drive thing that we realised this...anyway...the new road took us straight past possibly the ugliest creatures in the world...PumbaI am so very sorry...but you really are not a oh man they are urrrgly!!!! Not even the ladies have any redeeming features...having said that...the same can be said for Banbury girls on a night out!!! Anyway...I had previously thought that they were shy timid animals...but they appeared perfectly happy to roll in the mud and play fight for our amusement...then it was off to the Hippos...and because the weather had not been great they were out of the water...wallowing in the mud by the pool...there was a fence around...I am guessing for our I for one would have been tempted to go just a little bit closer...but those quick thinking Tanzanians saw me (and my rather soggy feet) coming...maybe it was a good thing I couldn’t get any closer...partly due to the danger of the animals...and partly as my feel were already slightly swampy...and it really would not have been nice...but at least you can clean feet!!! We left the hippos to carry on the fun...we saw impala (which I think might nearly be my faves!) monkey, vulture, more baboons, mongoose...and elephant – which were super close in fact I had to put the little lens on my camera...themother has some awesome video too...we carried on a little further and found a lookout point over the lake...where we had a break from all the bumping around in car...there were lots of birds around...and a beautiful view over the lake...we carried on a little further and saw some zebra...and moregiraffe...which it was noticed by the mother have a rather strange walk...also known as an ambling the legs on either side of the body move together...rather than opposites...but eventually it was time to head back to the guest house where we were staying for the night...we stopped on theway at a some stalls at the side of the road...there was a drunken brawl and we decided that we would leave...but we found another larger craft market...but the prices were a joke...celebrity skin = MONEY!!!! We ended up leaving without actually buying anything...although there were some canvases which I would have liked...but we went back to the guesthouse...which was simple but nice...dinner was and potatoes amongst other things...half way through the meal...I found myself with a grasshopper on my back..not particularly pleasant...but I was able to keep my cool...just...and then it was back to the room...where yet again...I managed to secure myself the dwarfs bed in the corner...but thank goodness there was a mosquito net!!! It was early to bed as it was going to be early to rise in the morning...breakfast was to be in the dark so that we would be able to see the sunrise!Saturday 4th April 2010We woke early, showered and managed to make it to the bus on time...our tickets were checked, our luggage put onto the bus and we settled ourselves in our was not long before we had stopped at the bus station across town, where we were going to pick up some more passengers...there was a little confusion as there were more people with the same ticket as ours...and it was not long before it was realised that we were in fact on the wrong bus, but we were in the right place to get on the right but! Our luggage was transferred and we settled onto the new was not long before we were off...there was a stop at some service station, where the toilets were actually very nice for this part of the world...there was a bottle of pop, a bottle of water and a packet of biscuits for each passenger...but it was well over 12 hours on the bus when we finally arrived in Arusha. From what I could see...Arusha was not somewhere I was going to like very much...we walked a little way down what i thought might be the main road in serch of somewhere to stay...we found The Golden Rose but it looked very nice and we consulted the map and went in search off all the rooms which are cheap but nice (ish)...we found it and I went off to see what the rooms were like...but they were all either full or not very place I had asked if the room was en suite...of course it is but the toilet is just out here...and boy what a toilet it was a western style toilet, sunk into the ground to become a pit latrine...I left pretty sharpish...the mother was left standing on the corner with most of the bags while i had been off...we thought it might be a good idea to head off and find somewhere to stay before it got dark...the mother was not liking it very much and we decided to try The Golden Rose anyway...we managed to get a nationals rate and our bags were carried for us to our room...the water was hot and the room was very clean. The hotel also had a travel booking agency for booking safari...I still think we should have shopped around a little bit, but we had a goo deal...we would be driven from Arusha to Lake Manyara National Park the following morning, we would stay at a small lodge in Karatu on Sunday night and then visit Ngorongoro crator early on Monday morning before being driven back to Arusha in the evening...our bags were stored at the hotel as we only had one more sleep before safari time!!!