Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bukoba to Mwamza Adventure

I am posting today from Zanzibar, an island in the Indian Ocean, having flown here, after having completed at 1200 mile tour of some of the most amazing countryside in the world. I hope in subsequent posts to tell something of the Serenghetti, the Ngorogoro Park, Olduvai Gorge, Ngorogoro Crater, Lake Myanara and the Great Rift Valley. Before I get to that many of you were concerned about me taking the night ferry alone across Lake Victoria to the city Mwamza where I was to meet my guide.

From the pleading of my family, concerned for my safety, I was dissuaded to book a steerage ticket, because, as expected, I was one of only two other mzungus, white people, who would be crammed in with almost 500 people and a boatload of cargo. When I arrived early in the day at the ticket office, I asked for a first class ticket which would provide me a room, but was told the few double rooms were already sold out. The ticket agent, taking pity on me, told me he would find a crew member who would sell me his private room for the night.

The bottom photo, taken from the crew quarters, shows my area, devoid of people, but housing a rooster tied to a winch, that crowed the whole night long. It was impossible to sleep so I roamed the ship and watched the people and the night sky, wondering whether I was dreaming or really on a small freighter in the middle of Lake Victoria in Tanzania.

The second photo, taken about 11:30 pm, of a port dock bathed in yellow flood lights, was a stop to load even more bananas, tea, sacks of dried fish and even more people.

I am sorry about the top photo being out of focus. Those globs of green on the deck are, of course, mountains of bananas. I arrived at 6 AM, having been up all night, so I probably forgot to find the right setting for night and movement. I was worried also that no one would be at the exit of the port to pick me up. I didn't relish being in a strange town unable to speak Swaheli and no one really to call. My fear was not unwarranted, but that it a story for another time.


  1. For some reason I'm enjoying these pix even more than some others. It doesn't matter about the light and focus - it's again another world. I was wondering if the chicken was looking for tasty bugs and spiders in the bananas, but as you say it crowed all night, I guess it just wanted to annoy you. I'm seriously looking forward to the next post and the next. Just the names of the places sound so exotic.

  2. Cock-a-doodle-do....a sound you probably hope never to hear again. Probably wouldn't have done much good to put in ear plugs or ask for a refund. I can hardly wait to hear what happened at the dock and all about the Serenghetti. How did you get all the adventure genes? love, sis

  3. I have to agree with everything that tapirgal has written. Love your photos and, no, the light and focus aren't important and it is another world! Can't wait to read your next post. This has been such an incredible, amazing, journey! And there's still more to come! Fantastic! What an adventure! And it's been wonderful to share it through your posts!

  4. Jane: You should know by now that your little brother was born crazy, and has apparently gotten even crazier as he's gotten older! I don't know what he was thinking even considering getting a steerage ticket, but if you were one of the family members who talked him out of it, and I assume you were...THANK YOU!!! He may have gotten all the adventure genes in the family, but you obviously got most if not all of the common sense genes, and right now I'm very grateful for that.

    Lee: When I looked at that second picture, I immediately thought of Harry Belafonte's "Banana Boat Song" from the early 1960s. Never imagined I'd picture you in that song when I first heard it, though. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the pictures from your incredible safari, but mostly I'm relieved that you're alive and well and posting again. I'm sure that rooster was a pain, but you can't possibly imagine you would have slept any better in steerage!

  5. Another leg of your great adventure begins. Look forward to hearing all about everything. Stay safe, dear friend!

  6. The Road to Zanzibar
    Bing Crosby and Bob Hope
    Were you there too with Dorothy Lamour?


  7. After seeing this post with the chicken I had some crazy dream about chickens. Hope you have made it to your next stop. Love you!