It was an embarrassing dinner. Using the newfound Power of the Internet, Christine and I found a restaurant just north of the Millennium towers called Rose Garden that had pretty good Google maps reviews. Side note – I’ve so far been very impressed with the diligence of business owners,  putting a dozen or so photos on Google maps of their wares. That’s better than most Americans do! But perhaps there are less competitors like Yelp, etc here.

When we asked for menus,  the waitress smiled and told us she would read it to us, they didn’t have any. We each ordered a plate of spicy chicken,  me with the Tanzanian National dish Ugali, which Christine says is very similar to Togo’s fufu, and her with rice. We cracked open a couple of Tanzanian made Castle Lager beers, which the waitress specifically asked us if we wanted “cold”  or not. I remembered that was a thing in smaller villages in Jordan, too – refrigeration costs extra, otherwise you just get something out of a camping cooler. We ate our spicy food,  with our respective Ugali and Rice mashed in, and watched some music videos on the veranda. A couple of spotted,  almost Savannah or Bengal cat looking kittens cautiously played around our feet, not scared of us but also completely ignoring Christine’s fluttering napkin and inticement to play.

The bill…caught us by surprise. After paying 2 dollars for chips and eggs and fifty cents, the total bill was 49,000 shillings,  about 25 dollars. And here I thought I’d walk without my wallet on me for an 11pm dinner and only had a mere 44,000 shillings on me. I went red with embarrassment. A muzungu Explorer in Tanzania, with his significant other,  unable to pay his tab? I knew I shouldn’t have ordered that second cold Castle. The waitress brought over a waiter with better English, and after they consulted a bit together, he said “go in peace, don’t worry about the 5000.”Well, I promised him that’d I’d come back tomorrow with 10,000 for his kindness and trouble. He told me he wouldn’t be there, but wrote down his coworker Shaderak’s name. We left quickly, avoiding eye contact. Someone tried to offer us a tuktuk ride and we said “we have no money at all. None.”As we walked away he said “then I will give it to you for free my friend!”

We asked the receptionist back at Collobus, a pretty young woman who looked about 16 or 17, if we could have a taxi called for us at 9am. She seemed a bit confused by this,  still smiling but with a furrowed brow, but agreed. Fast forward to 4am…the room phone suddenly begins jingling and Christine blearily gets her arm tangled in the mosquito netting around the bed to reach it. I listen as she talks… “Yes… No… What?? What time is it now?” I grab for my phone,  with the correct Airtel-set Tanzanian time on it, and show it to her. “No… No we need a taxi for 9am.It is 4am now. What… No,  not now. 5 hours from now. Five.” Finally she hands the phone to me and I repeat what she says. The young woman’s voice buzzes through the old phone line,  but I can tell it’s her. She says “I call now then?” No,  I say… Five hours from now! “Now?” No! Finally she puts on another person, a man. He seems to have a similar problem,  until I count for him 1,2,3,4,5…and finally he says “9am? Five hours?” to which I exult yes,  yes that’s it exactly. Goodnight sir,  he says. We both lay back in bed,  partially wrapped in mosquito netting,  and burst out laughing from the weirdness of it all.

The only things we can think of,  offhand,  is something I came across online that says that Tanzanian clock counting only goes by 6 hour time periods,  and then resets. I came across only a couple websites mentioning this, but perhaps that would explain the miscommunication? If I were on a real browser instead of the WordPress app,  I’d totally hunt for some links to add,  but it’s a bit of a pain on here.

Now Christine and I are back at the airport,  ready for our hour flight to Kilamanjaro Airport and begin the safari.

Packing up our spacious room at the Collubus