After asking for our credentials, we proceeded with the shake-down. We followed them back to a dusty, vacant room with only two tables and one room that read "interrigation office"-written in pen on some loose paper, hung above the door. They asked for our documents and asked what are business was in the village. We replied, "just to check out the scene and visit the Masai." Cesar told them not to worry because our embassy knows we're here...he then proceeded to ask for their names and pulled out his cell phone (that doesn't work overseas) and pretended to call for our safety (after feeling they were being shady and trying to scare us).
In the end, we were held by them for a couple of hours...We found out that this area is the only place in the world that mines Tanzanite (a precious gemstone), and they have to make sure no one comes to smuggle it out. For our adventure, they required us to have an escort (basically a local that they trusted) to monitor our movements around Merirany.
After finding a guide and bikes (passed by the immigration officials), we made our way out to a Masai village. The ride there was full of bumps, loose dirt, sand and rocks...it was like out of movie. After 30 miles we arrived at the village and met the locals who showed us their homes. Some were traditional mud-huts (sticks and cow poop), which are only made by the women. We exchanged conversation through our translator, who barely knew english himself. We all sat around under the full, African moon and talked. They fed us some awesome beef and rice dish and tea before we headed to the mud-hut to sleep.
Shots with the Masai and our guide (babysitter)
This was our bed in the mud-hut
The following day, we rode out further to see some mines and hike up a rock formation. The view was nice, land was flat, and it was peaceful. Due to the failure of the clutch, we had to return to the center of town. From there, we headed back to Arusha to get ready for our next trip to Ngorongoro Crater. (Internet cafe is shutting down, so we're out)
View from rock outcrop