Day 13 Kilimanjaro – Oct 8, 2013 Arusha

         Also see YouTube for the Kilimanjaro song sung by the porters:
Happy birthday to Charmayne!

Hooray, we are on our way back to Arusha, a proper bed and HOT showers! I awake excited to know that tonight I will be in a very comfortable bed at the Snow Crest in Arusha. Seconds later remember that we still need to hike down 14km and bus 2 hours before this can become reality.

The mood in camp is very jovial and the porters are just as excited to get home. Before heading back we are stopping in Moshi for a traditional Tanzanian lunch in honour of the porters and guides and I think they are all looking forward to it – along with a Kilimanjaro beer or Coke.

Although we are slow moving from the long day yesterday we still manage to be on our way by 7:15am. The porters pass us quickly and we are left to our pole pole pace down off the mountain. Generally down is at a quicker pace however each one of us has an issues; blisters, sore toes, bad knees etc. which makes us a bit pokey.

By 9:00am we arrive at Mweka Camp at 3010m and stop for a facilities break. Sian and I are thrilled as their is actually a toilet with a proper seat instead of a squat – very much appreciated as squatting means possibly not being able to get back to standing when you have sore knees!

At 12:30pm the “walking wounded” arrived at Mweka Gate and sign out of the Parks. Our bus arrives and their is a flurry of activity as the porters load the bus. Once loaded we hand out new T-shirts to everyone and take group photos. Now the best part of the morning; the porters sing the Kilimanjaro song, Jambo Bwana (I think that is what it is called). Jim and I video tape the full song, we clap and cheer and jump on the bus for our ride to Moshi and lunch!

We pull up to a side street in Moshi and enter the Restaurant. We are all seated and served our drinks. I was so thirsty I drank down 2 orange Fantas – always the best when in a foreign country. The porters were very animated and just as happy as we were to be off the mountain (as beautiful as it is).

Our buffet lunch is ready and we were invited to head to the buffet first. We said no, I should be Amy (ladies first – the Tanzanians are very proper in the regard) and then Ema! It was time he was served instead of him serving us. This brought a huge grin got his face and cheers from the group. Everyone else took turns and we went last – they had all worked so hard making our trip the best.

Pleasantly full it was now time to give the porters their tips and wages. There were lots of cheers, happy smiling faces and laughter when I said they can’t spend it all today! It was a great afternoon.

We clamoured back on to the bus, said farewell and Asante Sana (thank you very much) to those that lived in or near Moshi and then departed for Arusha. Two hours later we arrived at the Snow Crest Hotel and again there was a flurry of goodbyes, Asante Sana and then they were off.

Silvano the afternoon doorman welcomed us back and the 4 of us all but ran to our rooms for our long awaited showers!

I stood in the shower for what seemed like an eternity and then went down to the lounge to check emails and have an evening snack. I didn’t see anyone else from the group so assumed they were all enjoying the showers and proper beds! I went up to my room around 10:00pm and watched some TV before crashing into a wonderful sleep.

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