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Re: Tanzania??
Old 05-08-2006, 01:52 PM   #21
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Re: Tanzania??

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Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
The thread was about Tanzania, not Iraq! - Being a tourist is totaly different than working for an invading country.

Not that I ever wanted to go, but I would rule out traveling the Middle East until the World has drastically changed its view of America - Don't hold your breath on this one!
You can't lump the whole middle east together, but I get your general point. And if people ask you where you are from, you can always say Canada. I had no problems in Turkey and Morocco, but those aren't hardcore Islamic fundamentalist places and I don't stick out as an American. Those in the Middle East who hate Americans only hate white Americans. And there are freaky fundamentalist people everywhere, not far from where I used to live in London was one of the craziest Mullahs, who had one eye and a hook for a hand, for real, not making this up, who advocated killing Americans. It was a huge scandal because he actually collected disability and all kinds of public benefits from the government. Ooh, just googled him. He was arrested a while back. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Hamza_al-Masri
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Re: Tanzania??
Old 05-08-2006, 03:39 PM   #22
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Re: Tanzania??

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And there are freaky fundamentalist people everywhere.......
Is there any other kind? : Don't answer that.
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Re: Tanzania??
Old 05-08-2006, 04:14 PM   #23
 
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Re: Tanzania??

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Originally Posted by newyorklady
You can't lump the whole middle east together, but I get your general point. And if people ask you where you are from, you can always say Canada. I had no problems in Turkey and Morocco, but those aren't hardcore Islamic fundamentalist places and I don't stick out as an American.
I would have no problems going to Turkey, Morocco, Eqypt and many other countries. My list of Countries that I would not visit is Iraq, Iran, Jordon, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Afganistan, A few in Africa and others I'm sure that don't come to mind right now.
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Re: Tanzania??
Old 05-08-2006, 04:28 PM   #24
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Re: Tanzania??

I have been to Turkey and I would have no problems going back. I felt safe the whole time but their government is totally different from the other countries in the Mideast. I am not sure that given the current climate that I would want to travel to other Mideast countries.
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Re: Tanzania??
Old 05-08-2006, 05:03 PM   #25
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Re: Tanzania??

Barry -- Not sure that I can be of any help relative to some others on this thread, but let me give it a try.

Our little group of 4 climbed Kilimanjaro last January and went on Safari afterwards -- it was a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. You have an amazing trip in front of you and I am incredibly jealous!!!!

We stayed at and had our climb managed by the Marangu Hotel. We were very satisfied. Their staff is incredibly friendly, their porters (long-term employees) are well treated, the accommodations were fine (though not luxurious), and the grounds are lovely. Many African birds live on-site and they have a bird expert on staff if you have questions.

You can see Kilimanjaro from the lawn and imagine yourself on top! The food is good, and trek safety is top priority. A staffer comes by and inspects all your gear before leaving to make sure you have what you need.

Their website answers a lot of questions: www.maranguhotel.com


A few thoughts, in no particular order:

We took the longer route – 5 days to summit. We saw more of this incredible mountain, dramatically reduced the risk of altitude sickness, and increased our chances of making it to the top. We saw several very ill people on the way up -- none of us was so affected.

If I could do it over I’d come DOWN in two days vs. one. The summit climb was murder, given that we were processing 1/2 the usual oxygen, but going down was WORSE for me -- my knees were screaming all the way. Summit day was the physically hardest of my life -- you may be younger and have better knees though, so don't be dissuaded, just prepared. (This day was also very long -- we started for the summit at midnight and arrived back in camp late the next day. BUT! This punishing schedule put you on top to watch the sun rise over Africa -- unbelieveably beautiful.)

We asked the hotel for a guided walking tour of the area - we got a fabulous view into how the industrious Chagga people farm and live. One of the highlights of the trip.

My partner and I arrived several days early to get over jetlag. We were in much better shape that our traveling companions, who had to deal with the time change and altitude at the same time.

This was a very hard trip to pack for as it took us from sweltering jungle to rainforest to a freezing peak and back again. Not to mention a couple of days in Amsterdam in winter. Our porters did the hard work on the climb but we had to pack and unpack every night and schlep everything through airports, too. We had a LOT more than we needed, despite severe editing prior to the trip.

We needed a lot of shots, and some had to be taken well before the trip because they required boosters and/or a time-lag to take effect.

For the summit push, our guide urged us to dress as warmly as possible – Uhuru Peak temperatures can be well below zero. Trouble is, we ROASTED ALIVE inside all those clothes on the steep climb up. For a while I thought I'd faint. Next time I’ll wear coats, sweaters, and even long underwear with zippers so I can better regulate my temperature.

Those little chemical boot-warmer inserts were lifesavers – no cold feet, even at sub-zero temps.

We were stunned and amazed by the poverty in Africa – it was unimaginable in places. We were WEARING more on our persons than most Tanzanians make in a year and, while we were insulated from other people by our guides on the hike and on safari, we turned into fair game in the larger towns and at the base of the mountain after the hike. We didn’t feel threatened, exactly, but mobs of street peddlers trying to sell us trinkets refused to take “no” for an answer. It was very uncomfortable.

Colonialism is alive and well in Africa and it took some getting used to. The porters worked harder than I’ve ever seen anyone toil. They climbed the mountain with 65 lbs on their heads, often in sandals. The sweat ran off them at lower elevations, and some of them froze up high. It’s a tradition to give away some / all of your cold-weather gear after the trip – and we brought extra gear to distribute. Hiking boots are especially prized as they’re not made in this jungle country, even if anyone could afford them. My porter jumped as though stung when I came over to him with my boots in hand, he was so delighted. His old boots were so used up that the soles flapped open at the toes.

My DP learned several phrases in Swahili and was well rewarded for his effort – the guides, porters, and hotel staff really appreciated it and opened right up to him with smiles and help with pronounciation.

Most of the trinkets you buy in the local shops or on the street are cheaper in Kilimanjaro airport. Unless you see something really special, you can get cloth, beaded belts, wooden statues, etc. etc. at the end of the trip. (Or, for that matter, on Ebay.)

If you can swing it at ALL find a safari. I have a recommendation if you want it. Ngorongo crater was TEEMING with wildlife and a trip to a Maasai village was a real eyeopening experience. Not to be missed!'

One last comment -- waterless hand sanitizer. Lots of it.

Whew – back to work – feel free to ask if you have more specific questions! And -- have the time of your life!
Caroline

P.S. We flew into Kilimanjaro airport – Dar Es Saalam and terrorist bombers were long ago and far away.
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Re: Tanzania??
Old 05-08-2006, 05:13 PM   #26
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Re: Tanzania??

yes, my trip included a visit to a maasai village and it was very interesting. beautiful people.
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Re: Tanzania??
Old 05-08-2006, 05:40 PM   #27
 
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Re: Tanzania??

Wow Caroline! - What a trip! 8)
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Re: Tanzania??
Old 05-09-2006, 10:24 AM   #28
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Re: Tanzania??

WOW, Caroline!!!!!!!!!!! Now, that's my idea of a great trip!!! Lots of adventure outside, local culture... I'm ready (better get my passport out of the safe deposit box ). Thanks for all the details.
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Re: Tanzania??
Old 05-09-2006, 10:38 AM   #29
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Re: Tanzania??

Re Altitude Sickness, at one time in my Marathon days, 25 mile runs were weekly occurences.

I visited Aspen, I could not even run a half mile, I was exhausted.
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Re: Tanzania??
Old 05-09-2006, 10:48 AM   #30
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Re: Tanzania??

My70 year old boss is heading there the 2nd week of June. He is using a highly regarded (read very expensive) Thompson Treks and going on safari afterwards with the same company.
He has been using a hypox machine to get accustomed to the change in oxygen from sea-level Charleston, SC to the mountain air and is also hiking up our awesome new bridge 2x week (the only hill in town!). He was at a marginal age for the trip and it took some convincing for them to believe he was fit and able--reason to go sooner than later! He has been training very seriously for it, and the company had a great preparation guide he has used.
I will let him know about leaving some gear behind for the porters. Great idea!
Sarah
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Re: Tanzania??
Old 05-09-2006, 11:04 AM   #31
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Re: Tanzania??

Sarah -- I used every ounce of energy in my 48-year-old body to get to the top of Kilimanjaro... I was 10 feet from the summit when I passed an old guy coming down. I just had to stop him and ask (between gasps for breath), how old he was.

Seventy five years old!!!! I congratulated him on his success, and his reply was: "This is easy. You just put one foot in front of the other, and lean forward!"

I didn't know whether to worship him or murder him!! ;-D

Sounds like your boss is doing all the right things. My own plan is to go again when I'm 75 myself. I figure that's as good a motivation as any to stay in shape!

Good to know about this hypox machine -- thanks for the tip. I've never heard of such a thing but I'm going to find out since we're going to Nepal in October! (Some people simply never know when to quit.)


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Re: Tanzania??
Old 05-09-2006, 01:53 PM   #32
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Re: Tanzania??

wow, i went on safari, no climbing for me. might be something i would be interested in doing in the future. i am cheap though, and when i went i got a luxury safari for literally cost due to going right after the terrorist thing in kenya. they just wanted to fill spots up since people were scared off immediately after that happened. that was my first and only trip to Africa (besides Morocco) and i wanted a super luxury trip as i thought africa is kind of scary. now that i went, i see that kenya is so not scary and i could have done a budget safari. glad i did cottar's safari and it would have been worth full price for anyone willing to throw money around. i have a case of severe cheapness though, and am wondering how much a trek like yours would run me. is it something you can do on a budget or is that not a good idea?
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Re: Tanzania??
Old 05-09-2006, 03:50 PM   #33
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Re: Tanzania??

More on gifts for the porters:* my boss says that some friends who went last year said that the porters were super excited at gifts of duct tape!* Such a cool idea.*
He was also heartened to hear of the 75-yr old you met, Caroline.* He has so much pride riding on this trip; I so want him to get to the top! He has been relatively sedentary since retiring from dentistry and now spends a lot of time traveling/lecturing on retirement planning for dentists, so this will be the first really tough adventure for him.* I'm planning a trip to Mongolia next year, so we spend a lot of time discussing getting into shape for trekking!* I'm glad I'm starting younger!
Sarah
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Re: Tanzania??
Old 05-09-2006, 09:58 PM   #34
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Re: Tanzania??

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Originally Posted by mclesters
up our awesome new bridge 2x week (the only hill in town!)...
I haven't been paying attention-- has the Cooper River bridge been replaced?
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Re: Tanzania??
Old 05-10-2006, 08:35 AM   #35
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Re: Tanzania??

Nords, it is awesome!* They built it over the existing 2 Cooper River bridges and crews have been blowing up the old ones since it opened.* So cool.* I can't post a picture, but there is a great photo on Wikepedia of all three bridges.* Named after crazy Arthur Ravenel, our geechee statesman.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Ravenel,_Jr._Bridge

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Re: Tanzania??
Old 05-10-2006, 11:59 AM   #36
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Re: Tanzania??

From Newyorklady:

Quote:
i have a case of severe cheapness though, and am wondering how much a trek like yours would run me.* is it something you can do on a budget or is that not a good idea?
I can't remember what our trek cost -- somewhere around $1.5K for three hotel nights, the trek, travel, all food, etc., if I recall.

You might be able to go with several fewer porters, depending on the level of comfort you want. I know that our porters carried a LOT of things I'd never bring along on a backpacking trip -- fresh eggs, heavy pots and pans, a big mess tent to eat in, chairs for everyone, etc.* I even saw one group with a personal toilet and a tent to go with it!!!* Looks like you can hire as many porters as you'd like, to carry anything you'd like.*I've heard that you can negotiate for fewer porters also, though you are required to take a guide.

Beyond that the porters do a tremendous amount of work -- hauling water from streams, breaking camp down behind you and running to set it up in front of you every day, etc.

All of that being said, I DO know that a large part of the cost is in non-negotiable national park fees, so even if you did the trek on the cheap you'll have to pay that part of it.* Porters earn, last I heard, only $10 per day before tips.

If you're really interested there's a great Kilimanjaro guidebook you can buy that runs it all down for you.* Kilimanjaro: A Trekking Guide to Africa's Highest Mountain, Includes City Guides to Arusha, Moshi, Marangu, Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam (Trailblazer)

Best of luck!





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Re: Tanzania??
Old 05-10-2006, 12:27 PM   #37
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Re: Tanzania??

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Nords, it is awesome!* They built it over the existing 2 Cooper River bridges and crews have been blowing up the old ones since it opened.* So cool.
Dang, I remember the Cooper River when it only had one bridge and was one of the hairiest navigational challenges in the submarine force. A tugboat ran into one of the stantions and shut it down for months of repairs (I swear I wasn't on board at the time).

I notice the new bridge eliminates a lot of tug obstacles!

I guess this means my Cooper River Bridge Run t-shirt is officially a collectible...
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