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Adrienne’s African Adventure

December 23rd, 2009

October 10. 2009

This place we are staying at is run by Germans and they are not user friendly.  I will try to send email from my next stop since they will not let me use my memory stick here. 
We are now in Zambia and it seems to be getting more rural.  I believe this area was settled by Europeans and most of them are either German or Dutch.  I am hearing the people in the office talking about people getting robbed and people are scared about something. 
i have written a long note so I will have to send it later. enjoy


October 5, 2009

cheetah131Some of the word or phrases we use a lot are: TIA    THIS IS AFRICA  We get that answer when we ask why this doesn’t work or why is alike this? Just around the corner is a phrase our leader Micory uses.  We always ask when we will get there…..

I am trying to remember the moment which my images of Africa I had expected to see which have been influenced by movies, books and stories, blended into what I see now.  My first days in Kenya and the Serengeti were nonstop photos since everything was so different than my life in Maui and the USA.  The houses or mud huts made from cow dung and the bright material those envelopes the ladies and their heads.  Women carrying heavy buckets and baskets on their heads.  So different!  There would be times we would drive for hours and see nothing but deserts and plains and you would spot a lone Massa worrier out in the middle of nowhere walking in the hot sun, going to who knows where.  The Masaai are all over the north of Africa.  They are very unique with their bright blue drape and the lavish amounts of beads and of course their long wooden staff.  The last couple of days I haven’t taken as many photos as my first week.  I think now I just want to study the places we pass and try to understand how their lives are.  All the small children always wave and get excited as out bus goes screaming by.  We try to wave to each and every one.  The children are so cute.  Some of the girls will wear dresses too big and look like they are going to a party when they live in a small village with no electricity. 

There are sometimes I get so exhausted from the traveling and the rushing around.  This morning I told everyone now I know what a rock star feels like always on the go.  They seem to get a kick out of me.  Who knew?

The mornings are the hardest after sleeping in a tent. Now you have to pull it down again.  The part I hate the most is stuffing my massive sleeping bag back into the very small cover and while you are doing it, you know you must do it tomorrow also.

There are two ladies from London, Liz and Jules.  Liz is a corp. attorney in London and Jules use to be a copper (police).  There are times we can upgrade when we come into a camp to a hotel room.  It seems we take advantage of the luxury of a soft bed and a bathroom near your bed.  The rest of the young ones think it’s funny. Usually the rooms are $20 but tonight they are $125.  They must be really fancy for that price.  It seems the Malawi government will not allow money exchange on the streets only in banks.  This must have started just recently since our leader was not aware of it.  Now most of us have gotten stuck with Tanzanian shillings and cannot exchange them. It seems that each country doesn’t like the next one.

We are going to spend 8 days in Malawi then head off to Livingstone and the Falls.  Lake Malawi is huge, hundreds of miles and one fifth of the country.  Crossing the border was not fun this time. Very slow and dirty and really hot.  The people are supposed to be the friendliest, but have not seen much of that at the moment. 
We have a cook that travels with us named Simon.  Great cook.  We all pitch in and help.  I think the crew is from Kenya.  Very nice and respectful and seem to be very educated.

Ever since my three days of flying, my left ankle has been swelling.  At first I chalked it up to sitting for long periods, but it has gotten to where it hurts quite a bit and is hard for me to walk.  I have missed out on two hikes.  A few of us think it is the Malaria medicine.

Happy birthday to Jesse, John and Mickey.  Enjoy.
Josh and Tracy I hope your family is well.
Chamille, are you sharing my emails with everyone?
Big Bill from MJ, Thanks again, you are a lifesaver.  I never take them off.


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.

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.

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.
This place we are staying at is run by Germans and they are not user friendly.  I will try to send email from my next stop since they will not let me use my memory stick here.
We are now in Zambia and it seems to be getting more rural.  I believe this area was settled by Europeans and most of them are either German or Dutch.  I am hearing the people in the office talking about people getting robbed and people are scared about something.
i have written a long note so I will have to send it later.

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