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Hacktreks Travel

Hacktreks 2

First Chapters

Emma Seagus on extended vacation in Africa

One extreme difference Robert and I have noticed between our North American culture and the African culture, especially in the more rural areas, is that the Africans choose not to wear deodrant. Tanzania has offered us an array of body odours ranging from the musky mild odour to the powerfully strong "knock you off your feet" body odour. These odours are with us at all times even while waiting in a bank line up, or going to the shop, sitting on the bus(the worst place because you cannot escape it), or just walking down the street.

When we arrived back to our hotel from Kilimanjaro a very foul body odour had followed us into our room. Both Robert and I were perplexed as to where the smell was coming from. Surely it couldnt me us!! Absolutely horrified, Robert realized it was coming from his bag. It must of been his porters body odour that was still clinging to his bag. Luckily my bag escaped this transfer of smell but poor Robert, his bag was still steaming. Frantically, he got a scrub brush and took his backpack into the shower with him.

They were in there a long time but when he returned it was looking hopeful and he placed the backpack on the balcony to dry. An hour later I was made to check on the bag but the smell was still clinging strong, so Robert got out his shampoo and hit the shower again. He turned into this crazed mad man obsessed with getting rid of the smell. Muttering to himself that he was going to have to buy a new backpack and dump this one. After about three scrubbings, a spray of mosquito repellant and a saturation in antiseptic, Robert finally collapsed on his bed clutching his pack with a satisfied grin on his face. Thank God for that because I was beginning to worry!

Tanzania offers some of the most beautiful scenery.never ending plains of long yellow wisps of grass rippling in the wind. Trees that are so picturesque with their smooth white trunks and large canopies that stretch out then flatten at the top. My favourites are the Baobab tree, its root like branches give it the impression its upside down. The sunshine popsicle tree(this is what I call it, don’t know the real name) with its large umbrella like canopy spotted with yellow flowers that perch ontop like popsicles.
All this surrounds us as we make our way to the Ngorongoro Crater. It is one of Africas best known wildlife viewing areas and one of the largest calders in the world. We camped one night at the rim of the crater before setting off the next morning into its depths to see the animals.

Not only did we spot wildebeast, water buffalo, ostriches, giraffes, gazelles, zebras and elephants but dozens of other land cruisers scouting around like ants searching for food. Our driver opened the roof of our vehicle which put a different perspective on things. I felt like a typical tourist with half my body exposed and jutting out of the top of our jeep, armed with my camera and getting excited about every animal I saw. It was actually quite comical watching all the other tourists whizzing around and comparing notes as to where all the best animals were.

We stopped for lunch at Ngoitokitok the name of the springs that bubble forth in such abundance that a lake is formed before spreading into a vast swamp on the south side of the crater. As I munched on a sandwich, suddenly out of nowhere a Black Kite (large brown hawk) came swooping down out of the sky with incredible speed and accuracy and snatched the sandwich right out of my hand. I was too stunned to realize what had happened at first. Then Robert pointed up and we both found dozens of these rather large and cunning birds circling over us like prey. It didnt take us long to both dash for the vehicle to seek cover and protection. Our driver was doubling over with laughter. I'm glad he found it so entertaining. I almost lost my hand!.
Stoopid Tourists!!!!

Update March 28th
Imagine standing precariously on the edge of a cliff peering down into a 100 meter deep gorge. At the count of three you take a step into space, air, nothingness and plummet 50 meters straight down at over 100 km/hour. Your heart stops beating, the cheeks get a facelift, and all your internal
organs gravitate to the top of your chest cavity. You are simply disconnected from the world, powerless and absolutely terrified.
Luckily you are harnessed to a rope that pulls you back before you inevitably would have met the ground, but only to swing you towards the other side of the gorges jagged rock face. And just before contact you swing back and the heart starts beating again. A sense of relief shudders through your body and you then begin to enjoy the ride. And you ask why did I do this? Challenge, adventure, experience and pure adrenaline

© Emma Segus March 2003

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