18 July 2007

Making butter and freezing cold near the equator

That's right, I made butter on my Sunday ride. There is the "finger lickin" delicious butter on my finger. I will explain later how that came about, first lets talk about cold in Africa.

After the rains end in late May our "cold" season starts and lasts into August and then slowly gets warmer. It is all relative but in Arusha the mornings can get as low as 10C/50F. It is always under 14C in the mornings.

I got out of bed early enough ( 4:15am) but move in slow motion trying to eat and get ready. Take that back, I move fast enough it is just that I don't accomplish much. I spent 15 minutes looking for my reading glasses and it was 530 before I rolled out with two headlamps. I decided to head towards Lolkisale area, SW of Arusha. I turn off the highway after full light ( 615 am ) and stopped to remove helmet and wind jacket at the tree below. After a few moments it was too cold to not have the windbreaker on. I pondered the implications of being near the equator in Africa and freezing.

I felt good cruising south. There was a light sprinkle earlier and it made the black cotton soil cling slightly to my tyres and get thrown off. It made a racket hitting my frame.

I stopped at a dam at Moita village for a few moments and looked at the water and gathered some seeds from an acacia tree. (months later they still sit in our kitchen). I don't feel like swimming today. At 9am I stop for breakfast, milk tea I had put in a water bottle. Upon opening the lid it looked as if the milk had curdled. I thought that a bit odd as it was fresh milk and boiled. I tasted it and it was sweet. Hmmm. I think about that and realize the cream in the milk had turned to butter on the vibrations and washboard of the track. I relished the taste of the butter and drank the tea.

It was now perfect temperature and together with a tailwind I cruised into some hills and had another break and a sandwich and stretch off in the bushes. I figured it would be nicer to ride back on the same track instead of the old Lolkisale road,so I started back on the same track.

I recall that Saning'o Meliari lives around here and after some asking, back tracking, and asking found his boma. He lives in a big rambling house that looks like a farmers place. Machinery and sheds. Kind of like our house. He gave me a soda and we had a good talk, trying to catch up with each other. We taught school together and lived in the same house about 100 years ago, well 30 years maybe. We also ran around together when in town even after he went on to become a priest. Later he left the priesthood.

Saning'o now spends half the year in California being a counselor. I asked him if psychological problems are same for Tanzanians as Americans. He said no. He says there are some pretty f***ed up people in America but basically their problem is they have no one to talk to, so have to pay someone to talk to them. That is his take of what he does in America, makes sense to me from my experience.
Saning'o tells me of a shorter track and after he dropped some cement off at a school, swung me by the start of the track. He shows me this 2 meter Egyptian cobra he had seen dead yesterday. I am quickly in a vast treeless plain with no houses and no domestic livestock.

In the middle of this plain I happened upon a pickup full of hunters! Turned out to be Joe Mfinanga and some friends and his boys. I am heading home and I will pass right by his house at the main highway. Joe and I have a discussion if I am heading the right direction! We both think the other is completely crazy. I left them driving around in circles and took the straight track up to Meserani. At Meserani the track turns 90 degrees and parallel to the highway, but and a small path went directly to the highway through the shops. Kumbe there is a big korongo behind the shops, no wonder the road makes a turn.

Up until this point I had been feeling great. Perfect temperature, little wind, no dust, mostly hard firm surface. Now on the highway I start to feel slightly the 90km I had done so far. I was only an hour home I pushed on and was home at 230pm.

Can't remember but must of been 120km
Good ride.

Some where in the middle of the ride there is this grove of trees.
On the previous trip this way it was full of weaver nests.

1 comment:

  1. I loved the title. I asked Bob about the 'freezing' weather there. He said 'freezing' was relative. He said it was just pleasant by Puyallup standards. :-)