- Matches used: 0, but not a problem
as actual electric light available
Hot showers taken: 1 (v.v. good)
Carcasses: hyena, probably flattened by car
We rise early for a drive to the Manyara Serena Resort. This is not a long drive, so we make several stops on the way. This serves both to delay our arrival for a few hours, as well as to offer several much-needed breaks in the Osterizing experience that is long-distance driving in Tanzania. One stop is at a small town where we buy fabric and provide entertainment for villagers. The antics of Westerners seriously perusing stacks of kanga and kitenge, searching for the perfect buy, no doubt provides conversational fodder for days to come.
The resort deserves the name -- we are met with fruit juice and eager porters, ready to lug our frighteningly dirty duffels to our rooms. Our room is lovely, but once the curtains are open the delights of a real bed and real plumbing pale in comparison to the view. All you can see is the floor of the Rift Valley, hundreds of feet below, framed by soft hills. A lake shimmers in the bottom of the gorge. White birds obligingly fly across our view.
After a lovely lunch and a half-hour of plumbing worship, we meet for a short game drive in the Lake Manyara Park. We lose three members of our party to the temptations of a swimming pool and a comfortable bed. The park is verdant and beautiful, with entirely different types of flora than we had previously encountered. We see a large troop of baboons, some zebra, some impala, and the rare black giraffe. Only the male giraffe are black, which causes me to immediately ponder giraffe X chromosomes. Surely there's a dissertation topic in there somewhere for some lucky biologist.
This park is particularly famous for its tree-climbing lions, which are unfortunately extremely camera-shy. We do not have time to drive to the other end of the park, so we don't have the opportunity to search the trees in vain for a stray tail. The guestbook at the hotel makes it clear that few of the cars see lions, and one suspects that some of the "sightings" feature vines. There is a long and very funny entry by a young Spanish boy who seemed very excited about the entire concept. His schoolmates in Barcelona will probably have to endure several weeks of being pounced on from trees, jungle gyms, and staircases.
We return to our room, where I look forward to my first hot shower in days -- since we left Boston, in fact. What bliss it will be! What delight! What a shock when freezing cold water hits my head! Steve, after hearing a very loud screech, calls down to the desk to request help. Two large men appear with a ladder and climb through to the roof of the hut to perform search and rescue on the hot water lines. I pout and throw myself on the bed to write in the journal.
Hot water finally appears. I depart for the shower, possibly never to return.