Monday, June 20, 2005
On Sunday we went for a hike in the Pugu Hills not too far outside Dar es Salaam. It's a green area that used to stretch for hundreds of miles but now, due to deforestation, has been reduced considerably. I'm not sure how expansive it is now but it was big enough for us to get lost.
Our small group of four headed out for the hike early enough in the day so as to finish by when it gets really hot. We didn't take a guide (my friends Peter and Soyeon wife had been here before) though a guy did approach us offering up his services as our bodyguard. Such an offer is sometimes cause for concern. Either it means it's usually a dangerous area or our refusal will cause him to go get his friends to come back and rob us. Sometimes it's safer just to pony up a couple of dollars and take the guy with you just as insurance. Nonetheless, we said no and sent him on his way. Since the brief chat was in Swahili, I didn't know what the discussion was about until I inquired after we were well on our way. Due to my new-found capacity for travel fear, I might have tried to pursuade the conversation to go in a different direction. I also wasn't sure how much confidence I had in Peter's guiding skills.
After a short picnic, the trail back was easy to spot and relatively easy to follow. The trailhead was at a fairly nice resort-ish place where we had lunch and a couple of cold and very enjoyable beers. Another couple, Germans I think, recounted to us their adventures in the woods in which their guide had a brush with a deadly snake. I decided I was happier with the getting lost thing. It is comforting, however, to do stuff like this with an MD, even if they get you a little lost.
In any case, the view was pretty nice and we were in no hurry to leave. It's funny, I keep doing stuff like this and I always stop to think how cool it is - how lucky I am to have the chance to do all this exploring and adventure. I hope I never take it for granted. I've been doing this sort of thing for a long time and I don't think I will.