Day One – The getting there
Somehow I look back on this day and I was in darkness on a plane for most of it, it seems. I left Logan last night around 6:30. We were blessed with the pull of the blizzard we were hit with over the weekend, and ended up getting pulled across the Atlantic nearly an hour quicker than we were supposed to. So early that we had to kill time in Boston before we left so as to avoid the curfew fine if we’d arrived before 7 a.m.
So with a quick less than 6 hour trip to Amsterdam under my belt, I geared up for the longer flight to Kilimanjaro. This ended up being about 8 hours all told but starting with the first flight it was a bit much. I dozed off and on and appreciated the landscape as we flew down over Africa. We landed here after dark, and when I say dark, I mean DARK. The bright lights of big cities that I’m so used to seeing when we land somewhere are non-existent here. The first real light I saw was when we touched down on a runway. But the stars are incredible. Just thousands of them, a blanket of stars all across the sky, like I’ve never seen before.
We disembarked the plane and it was 34 degrees Celsius, which was a slap in the face having just left winter a mere 18 hours ago. We did the cattle call for visa and passport control, with no air conditioning and electricity fading in and out periodically. Said says that's to alert tourists that we are actually in Africa. My luggage made it, which is always a good sign.
Our guide Said met us outside baggage claim. He’s a sweet guy who looks all of 20 but says he’s 48. He likes to joke with us and was pointing out what little we could see of banana and coffee plantations on the ride to our first lodge.
Arumeru River Lodge is off this tiny dirt road and it has about 20 little cabins with thatched roofs. It will be interesting to see it in the daylight tomorrow and explore the grounds a bit before we head out. Said said tonight he’d like to do the afternoon game ride tomorrow in Tarangire. Animals are generally out early morning and late day avoiding the midday heat, and as Tarangire is 3 ½ hours from here, if we head out mid-morning we’ll be there as they rise up for the afternoon.
Looking forward to a good sleep.