|I am now in Tanzania. A lot has happened in the last few days so I will break it down into catagories.
The New Group:
10 of the people from the Uganda trip have stayed on for the entire journey and then my friend from home, Yvi, came to meet me and then there were 12 newbee's. This has been a struggle to stay the least. 24 people to do anything is a mission. I feel like cattle when we all go to eat. This huge line up and we all just kind of shuffle along. The only saving grace for me is that I don't eat meat so there is always this special little meal waiting for me. It's also a struggle in the way that I am just sick of the "Where are you from, how long have you been travelling?" conversation. We are only into day 5 so there is plenty of time to get to know eachother...or not. Our tour guides are amazing though. This trip is truly the lap of luxury in comparisson to the last part of the journey. Our very first day we break into 3 groups and jump into vans and head to Maasai Mara National Park. The vans were sweet. We show up at our campsite and we are staying in stilted tents that have 2 beds w/ bedding and a toilet. The shower is just out back from the tent complete with hot water. It was so posh!!!
After getting set up at our camp we all went on a Maasai Mara village walk. The Massai Mara are the people who dress in red and do the ear lope stretching. They also do the jumping dance. I was torn on weither I wanted to go on the walk or not. I didn't just want to stroll through there village and watch them like some kind of attraction or something but as it turned out it was not like that. You pay your $10US and all the men come out and do this tribal dance and then the jumping dance. The jump like 3-4 feet off the ground. It's wild. Then the women come out and sing us a number and then we go to their houses. The way the houses are set up is in a cirle around a mud centre. The mud centre is where the livestock are kept at night so that they are not eaten by the wild animals (lions, cheetahs...). The houses are are made from mud and poop. There are 2 beds, one for the wife and kids and the other is for the husband. There is also a small enclousre for the baby cows to sleep. The baby cows sleep in the house so that they don't drink too much of their mothers milk. The traditional drink of the MM's is Cows blood and milk. They have it for breakie and supper. Although completely repulsive to me and hopefully all of you apperently to them is delisous, just like sugar cane. Eeeewwwww!!!The MM men can have up to seven wives. The first marrige is arranged and them he can choose the other six.
A couple of facts about the MM's:
The boys are casturated at the age of 15 or 16. They have no pain killers and if the cry they are deemed unworthy of becoming a warrior. The operation can only take place outside of the village and after it has been completed all the elders go outside the village and have a huge bash with their traditional "beer". After the operation is completed this boy then only wears the black robes.
The "beer is made from honey and aloe vera root. This is then mixed with water and put in a wooden barrel for 3-4 days to ferment. This drink can only be drank with the horn of a water buffalo.
The women get their caturation only after a man has said he would like to marry her. Usually around the age of 14. This operation can be performed in the village and after it is completed she is then free to marry.
These are important facts because these are instrumental periods in a MM's life.
After the village walks we hopped into vans with pop up roofs and headed out on a game drive. This was amazing. This is when I saw my first Lion. There were 2 Lionesses just chillin on a little hill. We got really close to them. Then a bunch more came and I got out of the van to get a better picture....just kidding Mom and Dad. But more did come and someone did jump out and he slammed his door and it scared one of them and she ran straight at our van and I was sitting on the roof of the van. I've never moved that fast ot at those angles cause I was back in van in a slip second. It was scary. Then she went behind a bush and just stared at us, stalking us. I also saw my first Hyhena and Tipo( a deer type thing). I saw some more Water Buff, Giraffes, Zebras, Wildabeast, and gazelles. AWESOME!! The next morning we got up early and went on an all day game drive. This is when I saw my first elephant. I was almost in tears. They are just so cool. I eneded up seeing quite a few that day which rocked. We also saw two full prides. One was eating off of a water buff carcus which I though would disgust me and it really didn't. An understanding washed over me and I finally got the concept of the circle of life. It's not like they kill for fun and they waste nothing. Then the Hyhenas and vultures come and eat whatever is left over. Right after we left the Lions we got stuck in the mud and we all had to get out of the van. We all had to kind of hang togeher cause there was a Hyhena like 30 feet away and the grass was so long that a Lion could totally be lurching and you wouldn't even know it. I had a bit of a panic attack.
This is just so cool, the animals are so amazing and beautiful. When we were driving we picked up this army guy and he was packing an AK47 in the front seat. He was loading it, it was freaky. Oh shoot I almost forgot that we went to this river and saw a whole bunch of hippos and crocs. The hippos are so funny. They make this noise that's like a fat man's belly laugh. I am happy that we were far away from them though cause they are the number one killers of tourists in Africa. If they were two bight you they would literally snap you in half.
Right before I came into the Internet cafe our guide just told us that if a Poilice man asks you to hold a package just cross your arms and walk into the nearest shop. Apparently men are dressing up like the police and getting tourists to hold packages that are filled with weed. Then they say either you give us all of your money or we will take you to jail. It's times like that when reality really slaps me in the face.
Well my time is up so I gotta go. Things are great with me and I am loving this trip. I have learned so many new things about animals, people and myself. I miss everyone and I love all of your emails only the connections are always so slow so it makes it hard for me email everyone back. Know that I'm thinking about and lovin' you.
Many hugs and much happiness,