June 4, 2012
Today I feel pretty. I can see my reflection on the notebook. Yesterday I washed my hair and today it’s nice and curly. The face is a bit tanned (the rest of my body is still white, except maybe for a bit of arms). I am wearing some new earrings that my roommate in Arusha forgot before she left. And I am wearing a skirt. Long. The only thing out of place is the white blouse that is not white anymore and won’t be white ever.
It’s 12.47pm, I’m up since 7am, and I haven’t seen anything of Iringa yet. Because just after breakfast I went to an internet point where I bought a 3 day internet credit (that I finished in one hour because it only had 80MB in upload) to update my blog. Of course the connection was very slow and it took me three hours to upload the pictures from the safari.
Then I came to this coffeeshop recommended by Lonely Planet, where you get UNLIMITED coffee for 2.500 Tsh (about 1.25€), and why should I ever get up from here? I’m already at my second cup. This place is a meeting point for foreigners. Prices are almost Western-like, they have burgers and sandwiches, the design is rich (African style in the European idealization of Africa, with palm trees and wooden tables, not the real decadent African style made of plastic tablecloth and crumble walls) and they have a nice washroom with toilet paper and running water. I actually came here for this. I needed a toilet and knew here I could find one; when I asked if I could go to the toilet, I was told “are you going to buy anything?”. Ops. Nothing more anti-Tanzanian than this. In African local restaurants you can use the toilet when you want, you can also bring your own food from home and buy only a beer, or you can sit without buying anything, just to rest a bit.
There’s a group of English people having lunch with pies and cappuccino. They probably manage a safari agency (Iringa is near Ruaha National Park, less popular than the parks of the North, but equally beautiful) and I don’t like them too much. They seem arrogant. The Whites living the dream rich life in a country of poor people.
The Indian girl on the bus told me that Iringa is her favorite place, she wouldn’t live anywhere else. And she said I would have loved it, because here I can find many fellow travelers. And recommended me to stay at least one week, to go see a camping site a bit out of town because there go many foreigners and recommended a hotel, favored by my “friends”. She probably doesn’t feel Tanzanian, or doesn’t like to be, despite the fact that she was born in Iringa, and she loves tourists company; you could tell it from the way she was annoyed by other passengers on the bus, while with me she was all sweet and nice.
Iringa is pretty indeed, with its nice houses and the kind people, but I must be careful. It’s a trap! It seduces you with its welcoming atmosphere and the comfort of its services, but it’s far from the Africa I came to see, with the chai at 300 Tsh and the children looking at you as if you were an alien. And nobody called me Mzungo!! Ok, it was nice to reconnect with the world for abit, but it’s best if I go away. Tomorrow I’m taking a bus to Songea.