This morning has been really eye opening. Several of us have been into the nearby town of Moshi and it was an experience to say the least. If the retail scrum at the Mweka gate yesterday was bad then today has been even worse. When we were waiting for people outside a craft shop the bus was literally besieged by people trying to sell us the same things that we were offered (and refused) outside the gate yesterday: t-shirts, bracelets, hats and flags. The touts really need to work on their sales pitch because when we weren't buying anything it seemed to me as if their sense of entitlement kicked in and they started calling us typical tight English. Obviously they prefer Americans who I guess prefer the easy life and are more likely to give in to their harassment. There must be a small number of craft shops that the tour companies ferry people to, and these are surrounded by touts selling exactly the same items as the stores, no doubt of an inferior quality as they see a regular captive market.
We're now sat in the restaurant of the hotel waiting for lunch (that traditional African delicacy, vegetable samosa and chips) before heading back to the airport for the start of the long journey back to the UK.
I can't believe that this adventure is nearly over and the time has absolutely flown by, as it does when you are having fun. Last night was really enjoyable, although I have no idea where the energy has come from as I really have had very little sleep this week (about 10 hours in total with 9 of those coming in Millennium Camp on our way down). I guess that pure adrenaline has done it, but no doubt there will be a cost to pay in the next few weeks.