By the time May rolled around, I realized I wasn't going home as soon as I had planned. So I rented this great house. Which I'm now thinking I want to move out of, because a bar has opened within a couple hundred feet of our bedroom window and it's music and happy drunks until past midnight. Even during blackouts! They must have invested in a generator. You can click here and here and here to read about my house hunting and home decorating exploits.
On a clear day, you can see Mt. Kilimanjaro from a high point just down the road from my house.
Within a week of moving in, I met my favorite neighbors, Fatuma and Shabani.
In June, I went to the Tourism Expo in Arusha. Lots of commercial displays from expensive lodges and safari companies. Also, Maasai performing traditional dances and not objecting to having their picture taken.
I love road trips in America, and I did two while I was there. First, to Seattle to visit cousins. Here I am (I'm the short one) with my cousin Chris and her daughter Sheila all decked out in souvenir khangas from Tanzania.
Chris introduced me to Mike and Sandi Wright. This was a treat for me, because Mike has been one of my most faithful readers. You can click here and here to read about my highly entertaining cousins.
Next, it was off to Wyoming and the Tetons...
...to attend the Grand Targhee Bluegrass Music Festival with a group of friends from my halcyon days as an employee of the U.S. Forest Service. This was one annual tradition back home that I didn't have to miss. Right now I'm wondering how to handle the annual tradition back home of filing income taxes, which are due mid-April in America. You can click here to read more about the Bluegrass Festival (the same post as the second one linked just above).
One last bit of fun while home: I attended the Eastern Idaho State Fair with my brother, Bob. Click here to read more about that (still the same post as linked above).
Anna and I made a weekend trip to Marangu, on the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro. We toured a tunnel in which the Chagga people used to hide the women and cattle from marauding Maasai.
Then we took a lovely hike around the hillside, past native impatiens...
here. Also included in that post: the Machame Girls' Secondary School founded by Anna's great aunt, the first woman to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro.
October's big event, though, had to be the national elections on Halloween. President Kikwete was re-elected to his second term. The election and aftermath were generally peaceful. There was a bit of excitement in Arusha which freaked me out, but I'm okay now. And Arusha's OK now, too.
K2 and I bought a second car, this Nissan Rasheen. I told you that we bought it because it was so cute that it made us laugh. Well, we stopped laughing about two weeks later. The cute little thing stops running randomly while you're driving it in crazy Arusha traffic. We took it for repairs several times to the one garage in town that has computers for electronic diagnostics. The problem seems to be the result of dirty petrol. That's hard to avoid here. The mechanic showed us his collection, in 1.5 liter plastic water bottles, of different colors of petrol with different types of sediment drained from various cars in Arusha. After numerous attempts at cleaning various parts of the fuel system, the problem kept getting worse. The owner of the small car lot where we bought it actually let us bring it back. He's trying to sell it for us. If he succeeds, we'll get some money back.
Anna, K2, and I traveled to Monduli Juu, about 90 minutes from Arusha, and hiked through little Maasai villages and the beautiful countryside.
I made a trek to Mkadini Beach and Fish Eagle Point Lodge with new friends Shanette and Cynthia. Click here to read an African road trip story and see many fabulous beach photos.
click here to read more about jiggers: what they are, what they do, and just how like alien parasites from a sci-fi movie an insect can be.
And just so I don't end the "year in review" on a disgusting note--here's a scenic shot of Lake Duluti, which Shanette and I hiked around a couple of hours after the jigger surgery.