Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Kilimanjaro (Day 1 & 2)
Kilimanjaro (via Umbwe, aka The Whiskey Route): Day 1
First of all, I do have to say I am a little upset I did not see any monkeys today.
I woke up at 6:21 this morning to finish packing and get ready. I then spent some time with the other volunteers and had breakfast. I had way too much coffee. It was only a cup and a half, but it was strong, and with my excitement, it left me jittery. Before leaving, I gave hugs to the volunteers, my friends, who were leaving and I will probably never see again.
The taxi with my guide, 3 porters, and chef were supposed to pick me up at 8, but they were on TFT (Tanzanian Free Time) so it was closer to 8:20 when they arrived. Only my guide and taxi driver really spoke English. I felt bad for the 2 porters in the back, buried beneath bags and supplies.
We drove first to the Machame Route to get our permits. Machame and Marangu seem to be the headquarters, and have a “touristy” feel. Umbwe (pronounced oo-mb-way), on the other hand, is in the middle of nowhere. I know that because we turned around about 5 times (the normal road had been washed out last year). I also found it interesting that my guide drank a beer on the way up. I chose not to say anything- that’s really pretty normal around here. Plus, all I really care about is if he gets me up the mountain.
We finally got to the start around 11:15. The last sign in was 1/22/12. I knew Umbwe was much less traveled than the other routes, I just didn’t realize how much less. To my surprise, 20 minutes later another van showed up with an American, a triathlete from Alabama, now working as an engineer in Houston.