Thursday, January 21, 2010


bye-bye to the animals
9 Jan.

Danny and I were pretty quiet driving back out of the Serengeti. We fondly remembered the worst parts of the trip in "hey, this is where you had your first absolute freak out and took out the emergency flask!" or "hey, isn't this where you got out to pee and had to dance to get the tsetse flies off of you?" We paid another visit to the Grumeti River crossing, which was flooded and filled with crocs. And finally, we were at the gate. Danny haggled with the rangers about the fee, and I sat in the car reading and fending off vervet monkeys that were trying to break in and steal stuff (little bastards).

oh, hi. gimme your cookies.

It was high fives all around when we got back onto the tarmac and made our way to Mwanza. I think I even heard the Defender give a loud sigh of relief.

The rock outcroppings of Mwanza are unmistakable, surrounding the lake shore with scenery. They reflected pink, dusky light as we entered the town from the east. Mwanza is Tanzania's third-largest city. At the suggestion of my Kampala Book Club friend, Anna, we drove straight to Hotel Tilapia.

the buganda queen

It was when we were touring the available rooms that Danny and I caught a glimpse of "Buganda Queen," the steamship permanently docked at the hotel. They'd turned the ship into guest rooms, and to our delight, the Marner Suite was available.

We spent two days in Mwanza, without really leaving Hotel Tilapia. The permanently-docked room listed to the left, so you had to do a bit of a gravity-dance in the bathroom so as not to slip and hit the wall. All part of the charm. On the second night we ordered in, Indian food by candlelight on the bow/patio, amidst the old cranks and chains. The rest of the time we caught up on Al-Jazeera and watched Religulous on my netbook. I could have stayed there for a month.

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