Well we survived the night, no monkeys or other wildlife invaded the tent and the strong winds that were shaking the trees didn't bring anything down on top of us. After a quick breakfast we were packed up and back on the road bound for Makambako.
Despite being pretty hilly, the road was not as steep as it has been for the last few days. Instead today we were battered by an extremely strong crosswind. That and the fact that Debs has been having some trouble with her right hip made progress more difficult than it should have been. The beautiful scenery and generally friendly locals helped a bit, but it was still a struggle. It probably didn't help Debs that I seemed to be having one of those days when it just felt easy. No-one wants to be struggling in the wind and hills while watching someone disappear into the distance with comparative ease. In my defence I always stopped to wait at the top and eventually sat behind her for the remainder of the journey. It is always a challenge to try and match our speeds, especially when we are climbing. Anyone who has cycled will know that everybody has a natural pace that they are comfortable at. Trying to go faster or slower than that pace is very difficult. Generally on the flat we are fairly evenly matched, so it doesn't cause a major problem.
An interesting trait of cycling in Tanzania is the locals habit of happily slip streaming us on the hills and in the windy conditions. Obviously our wide loaded bikes make for a good wind buffer. It is not uncommon to be riding hard up a hill, only to look in your mirror and see a happy, smiling local being towed along in our wake. Usually they do utter some kind of thanks when they eventually pass us or turn off.
Although we arrived in Makambako quite early at 12:30pm, it was quite a relief to be getting out of the wind. We quickly found one of two guest-houses we had considered staying at and with a little bit of gesturing managed to procure a room. 'Midtown Lodge' seems alright, we have stayed in better but it was cheap enough and Debs really needs to rest her hip. We still have at least three days of climbs to go before a big descent, so we are hoping she is going to be alright.
After a quick shower, Debs' was cold so we are hoping the water heats up again later so she can have a hot one, we went to the restaurant for some lunch. The food was good and there was plenty of it, which is just as well because the service was terrible. Tanzania is a strange country for us, we realise we don't speak Swahili, but many of the people seem at best indifferent. Interestingly we had read on one of the cycling websites that we may find the people less friendly here than in the rest of Africa, so we are hoping for a return to what we are used to on the rest of our journey.
Lunch was followed by a return to the room, the wind hasn't abated and being quite high up means that it is surprisingly cold. We have only ventured out once this afternoon for a wander round the town. It seems to be mainly agricultural supplies and wholesalers around where we are staying. Picking up some snacks for dinner, we are still full from lunch, we headed back to the hotel. We will probably give the restaurant and its terrific service a miss this evening. If there is any justice and the wind doesn't change from the pattern it has followed throughout our time in the country, we should have a tail wind tomorrow, fingers crossed.