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Adrienne’s African Adventure

September 30th, 2009

TANZANIA-ARUSHA

SEPT 21 2009
First day in Africa was fast and furious.  I arrived late the first night, unable to see how different and similar Kenya was.  Similar in the types of trees and flowers to Maui.  Tropical.  The people are lovely.  Very friendly and seem to be gentle.  They all ask about Obama everywhere we go.  Most of the people we meet are very intelligent and seem to know a lot about what is going on in the world.  My taxi driver to the hotel from Nairobi airport used to be a teacher, but the government doesn’t really support education and do not pay teachers, so he makes more money driving.  The group that I am traveling with is younger than me and from all over the world. Most are single women traveling for a year or more, a few newlyweds.  We all work together on this trip.  We wash our dishes and clean the bus.  We have our leader McCurry, from Kenya and a great cook, Simon with a driver.  We picked up a single lady the next day and she is my tent mate.  Vivienne is from Australia, and has humor the same as Ellen DeGeneres.  So funny.


Our first real day we hiked around a small town, farm, school in the heat.  We must have walked 5 miles, but saw how the locals live.

SERRINGETI
There are no superlatives I can use to describe how unbelievable the three days we spent in the Serengeti.  Each minute was better than the first and it never disappointed any of us in any way. There are two events in my life that cannot be replaced and will always be at the top, which is the birth of my daughter, Kianna and the birth of my granddaughters, Kailani and Kalani.  This adventure is the third! Since I have been five years old I have wanted to come to Africa and do exactly what I am doing now.  I don’t know whether it was when I lived in England as a child and our house was 400 years old and was owned by a gent in the British  army that would go to Africa on safaris and have rugs all over the place from lions, leopard, and whatever else with the heads on.  As a child you are curious as to how these animals lived.

Our entrance to the Ngornongo Crater was welcomed by a family of baboons passing by. The crater is massive and filled with most of the Big Five.  Thousands of wildebeests, zebras, ostriches, lots of hippos, a couple of lions, two elephants, and giraffes.  Each of us was in awe.  What we thought was a photographic haven was paled to what was to come.  Little did we know when we entered the Serengeti Plains, nothing could ever beat our experience and all of us will be talking about the every minute we lived for the rest of our lives.  It is hard to explain to someone that is not in the moment, and has not had my dream to go to Africa, how fantastic it is.

The day drive to our campsite out in the middle of nowhere started out with every African animal you could think of except the elephant.  We were in four safari trucks.  Our leader was in our truck and was very informative with everything we could possibly ask.  We would stop, could not get out of the truck and take as many photos as we wanted.  Thank goodness most like to take as many as me.  A photographic dream.  I am guessing that 90% of Africa’s roads are NOT paved and are extremely dusty, bumpy and rough.  I have bruises all over from being knocked around.  We can stand up in the trucks which carry 6 of us, including the driver.  Popping our heads out of the roof and spotting lions, and giraffes and hippos.  Most of what we saw were gazelles, and wilder beasts.  We were fortunate enough to see a kill moments after by three cheetahs.  We were close and could hear the crunching of the wilder beast’s bones.  Hard for me to look at, but still part of live on the Serengeti.  Sometimes you look over the vast expanse of desert and grasses and will spot the head of a lion peaking out and looking for prey.  Most of the animals blend in with the earth and are sometimes hard to pick out.  We saw a leopard with its kill in a tree.  The most emotional moment for me was the male lion.  Everyone and everything was silent except for the wind.  He lay in the grass and was so close and majestic.  It reminded me of how much my late brother loved the male lion.  He had drawn and painted many of them. He would have loved to have seen this lion.  This one was for you Wain.

We camped in tents in the middle of nowhere with no running water or electricity. We were explicitly instructed not to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night without someone because this is when all the animals are out eating!!!!.  Our first night we woke up to weird noises and then the biggest wail and screech that was sooooo close and scared ALL of us!  I thought it was an elephant, but our leader said it was hyenas.  These dogs like animals eat anything.  No one got sleep the rest of the night.  The next night I would Viviane, my tent mate to go to the bathroom.  As we were walking and shinning our lights out into the dark you could see all these big eyes looking at us! Lots of adrenaline.  We are still not sure what they were.  The next morning we head out of the surreal Serengeti for a long ride back to our base camp.  We are all glad to peal the dust off of us and exchange stories.

The drives are long and dusty.  All red dirt that is embedded in our skin and closes.  Really hard to get out.  We spot Kili as the locals call her.  Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain.  Some of the people on the tour have just finished climbing her.  Some made it and some did not.  I have photos of the glacier that is melting on her summit.  Quiet impressive.  We spend the night in a hill top village.  Since we are high in altitude, it is rather cold.  I am not used to cold.  I do not predicate in the hike this morning since my knee is giving me trouble.  I feel it may be dehydration.  I go into the village an meet the locals.

We now do a very long drive over the desert to a hill top village in the Usambura Mountains.  This is a German settlement.  My tent mate and a few others opt for a hotel room for the next two nights with a real bed and shower!!  Quite a luxury.  It is not what you think Africa is like, very Alpine like and cool.  We are here for two days.  I will walk into the village and help our wonderful cook, Simon bring supplies back to camp.  I am so excited that there is wireless internet here and will be able to maybe see Kianna on video call today.  Right now she is just starting her sleep.  We are in the next day, 10 hours ahead.

We are off tomorrow on an eight hour bus ride to Dar es Salaam where we camp for the night on a beach and then spend two nights in Zanzibar!!!  To be continued.

Adrienne
Please excuse the misspellings; I don’t have my glasses with me right now.

October 1, 2009

Hello All,
We finally made the long 8 hour trek to Dar es Salaam two days ago.  A very large city on the coast.  We took the 2 hour ferry to the Island of Zanzibar.  What a fantastic place.. The island in in the Indian Ocean and the water and sand are unbelievable. Sand is like talc powder, so white and the water is turquoise.  The rest of my group went snorkeling today, but I will walk around the Island and take photos.  I will take a Dhow this afternoon around the Island.  Those are the boat that are very Arabic looking.  This Island is 95% Muslim and the Arabic influence is all around.  Nice to see contrast. Some of the people have been sick on the trip. My tent mate was lucky enough to be sick when we had a hotel room.  I had a funny stomach the morning of the ferry. Sorry about no photos.  It is hard to find fast computers and we are not sure if we use our memory cards they will get a virus.  We learn allot on the road about others experiences.  Being around all the Aussie and Brits, I am starting to get my Brit accent back.  We are at a beautiful resort.  We needed this after all the nights of putting up tents and pulling them down, going to the bathroom across a field and rushing around making deadlines. 
 
It is very interesting how many Swahlie words we use in our language.  I am finally learning a lot.  I kept saying Hatari thinking is was the word for good morning, but it meant “Danger”  Just think what the people thought that I was trying to be friendly to.  The girls I am with thought that was hysterical.  Hakuna Matata!  No worries.  Kianna, now I can say it properly.
 
Must go now and discover the island.
Hope all of you are very well.
Adrienne

 

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