In Kondoa we find our New Planet Guesthouse and set about finding a guide for visiting the rock pantings in nearby Kolo. we engage the help of the guesthouse owner but we are unsure what we get for our money so contact a different guide listed in our guidebook. We decide to go with the latter - later we discover that we have caused a minor hiccup in the Kondoan business world as the locals battle for business. Our chosen guide called Juma is from the Irangi tribe. He offers to show us around Kondoa as he is training up a new apprentice. We accept, and wander through to the edge of town where we are welcomed by an Irangi tribe Mama and sample the local brew: Choya - made from flowers, sugar and millet. It's sweet and good. The cup is shared around the table just as with the banana beer in the Maasai market in Mto Wa Mbu.
Next day E&C have a cacking breakfast of chai and chapatti street side, using our newly learn Irangi phrases, the Mamas welcome us!
We depart in a 4WD Toyota for Kolo. The rock paintings vary in age from 7000 years to more recent 200 years old, and depict animals and local tribesfolk. Many are becoming washed away with time. Our park guide Pascali points out the more faded images in red colour made from ochre and fig. It's a real treat to see this ancient culture.
Onwards from Kondoa we travel by bus to the capital Dodoma. We stay at the Tanzanian Christian Centre which is a compouond of budget priced blocks of basic rooms. We visit Julius Nyere park and then stop for ice creams in the Aladdin's Cave. It is more cosmopolitan here than we have seen for ages, and even people wearing sunglasses. We buy our onward ticket to Mwanza up on the shores of Lake Victoria, leaving on Monday at the bustling bus station. We are getting better at this with our basic Kiswahilli. we decide to go by bus rather than take the train as everyone we have spoken too tells us the train is very unreliable - when the locals say this over and over again, it's probably a sign (Ace of Base are singing in our ears). Later we take a look in a Chinese restaurant in a big hotel, but decide we are more comfortable sitting in a cheap local restaurant. Sundown beers outside a little bar by the rail tracks with the to-ing and fro-ing of life in the advancing dusk is gorgeous. There's a toot, and a freight train crawls by towards the setting sun.
Breakfast at the Tanzanian Christian Centre is basic, and we share it with a blaring T.V showing an enthusiastic evangelist healing people on stage.
Next day a 10 hour bus trip beckons as we leave the TCC compound at 5am and walk to the bus station. The bus leaves on time and is full, or so we think. Heading north west from Dodoma we pass through a waking landscape of green brush and trees strewn with mounds of iregular boulders of varying sizes. As we make the first of many stops, the aisle of the bus fills with people and bags and suitcases. The sellers at the bus stations hawk their wares at the windows of the bus and a pasenger behind us decides it is a good price for a live chicken and makes his purchase. We hear the occassional squawk from the new purchase throughout the journey (later we hear the sound of a bleeting sheep, but this turns out to be a ring tone. slightly dissappointed, neither of us would have been surprised if it wasn't). C now has a Mama perched 9leaning right across) on the armrest of her aisle seatfor several hours. As passengers get off, we finally get window seats in a seat of 3, only for E to have the seat next to him (and half of his seat) occupied by a large Mama with babe. The babe is changed and breast fed throughout the next few hours.