|I woke early but played with my computer trying to set up this blog site. It meant that I did'nt set off until about past ten but I was heading to Iringa which was only about five hours away.
Not long after I left I was pulled over again for speeding, this time doing 50 in a 60 zone. Radar guns seem to be everywhere in Tanzania or is it just me that attracts them everywhere?! Again they were very friendly and the policeman and I had a five minute chat in Swahili before getting down to the business of the fine. I decided not to ask for a receipt, not because of the money but because I couldn't afford the time he would deliberately take to write it. This automatically qualified me for a big discount and after a bit of friendly haggling the 30,000 shillings was reduced to 10,000 which disappeared quickly into his pocket and I was on my way with the sincerest wishes for a safe journey. ..but no receipt.
The drive was stunning. After a short while the main road took me through Mikumi National Park, where many of the usual African sights appeared. Giraffe, buffalo, elephants and antelope grazed intermittently by the side of the road and a recently overturned truck lay in a ditch with the driver asleep on top.
After this the road climbed steeply onto a plateau followed by a very windy steep descent through a valley stuffed with Baobabs . Many of them had white slogans painted on them in Swahili which I presumed were of great political importance until I noticed one which simply stated "Mr Ubaya fucks goats". So perhaps either they were either used to trade insults or maybe even some form of tabloid newspaper informing us of the latest gossip.
I arrived at Riverside Campsite outside Iringa. I set up tent under the shade of a fever tree by the side of a fast moving river. I was quite surprised to see so many others staying there and found myself amongst 20 or so missionaries, mainly from different denominations in America, learning to speak Swahili so that they could pass on the word - or at least their versions of it.
It was ironic that most of the Swahili teachers were Muslim and one might expect that teaching Swahili to missionaries might come back and bight Islam on the bum. But many of the missionaries had been there for months (all expenses paid of course) and their progress seemed pitifully slow. Perhaps it was all part of a cunning plan.