Monthly Archives: April 2017

Pyramids and the Nile, oh my!

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Sadly, I have to rush this post because I have so much going on right now.  Miss is too, too busy.  BUT, Brandy and I went to Egypt last weekend, and while it was too short of a trip it was still amazing.  I’ll first throw out a plug for our guide and driver.  They truly made this the perfect two-day trip.  It is because of them we got to see and do so much.  If you’re planning an Egypt trip, email ranymostapha@yahoo.co.uk.  He’ll customize the trip to what you’re looking for — and what you didn’t even know you were looking for.

Our first day was a doozy.  We landed around 7 a.m. and went straight to Giza.  Oh my goodness we got to see and learn so much, from pyramids, to tombs, to the sphinx, to mummification chambers, to cruising alongside Nile tributaries while farmers worked, to papyrus making, to rug weaving, to bread making, to thankfully finally sitting down to cold bevies and grilled meat.  When we finally checked into our gorgeous room at the Sofitel on the Nile, we were too pooped to do anything other than order room service and sip bevies from our balcony — okay to be honest mostly just from our beds, but it was an awesome balcony.

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Since I’m rushing through writing this, please read photo captions on slide show to get a taste.

One of our highlights was crawling up, into, down the very narrow steep ramp thingy, into the middle of Red Pyramid, then up the stairs to the tomb area, and then up and out of the pyramid.  It was very hot, and the ramp thing was narrow, and it was crazy to know we were inside a pharaoh’s tomb.  I saw the innards of an Egyptian pyramid!  We didn’t take pictures of the inside out of the respect for the dead, plus I don’t think we were allowed to.

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The entrance to pyramid and very red, hot us after surviving the climb.  LOL Brandy wasn’t happy with me.

Day two we focused on Cairo, and, again, another amazing day.  We visited the white mosque, the Egyptian museum, more I can’t remember right now, and walked through market streets, and ate lunch and smoked shisha with Rany in the midst of it all.  Another highlight was hearing the call to prayer from our balcony and from where we ate lunch.  I hear and enjoy it all of the time, but these two resonated with my spiritual self.  While my way of praying to Allah is different, it stirs me the same —- and Thank Our Powers That Be for the godly moments.

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The word Allah carved into a bush.  Best altar ever.

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Some Cairo scenes for you.  I’ll try to get back in and caption more later.

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As always it’s the people we meet along the way who make it memorable!

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And we ate and drank some amazing goodies!

As did the birds, who joined us for breakfast, which we ate alongside the Nile!

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Our breakfast view

Oh there’s more to share, but I’ve gotta go.  I just wanted to hurry and post something about our amazing time before I got too bogged down with all the other crazy going on in my life.

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Last but not least, woo hoo let’s embrace the world like this lil guy, bush, twig.  All I know is it seems to be really happy.

 

Safari!

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I’ve been busy readjusting to my real world, which included Michelle’s first Dubai brunch and good-bye happy hour.  I have around four more weeks of actual classes, and then it’s grading, paperwork and exam proctoring.  Plus, the whole selling my stuff and closing out my residency here.  It’s going to be a busy time that’ll fly by quickly.

So, before I get bogged down with all of that, let me blast you with safari pics and thoughts.  There are so many guides you can use, and we checked out a lot of them.  Our plan was to fly into Mombassa and do a 3-night tour that included Amboseli and one night at the Salt Lick Lodge.  We ended up going with Julius T. Safaris based of his fair price and good TripAdvisor reviews, and we’re glad we did.  Our driver Moses was awesome, and all of our accommodations were great.  Moses worked hard to make sure we were comfortable and seeing what we wanted to see.  Asante Sana and a big ole hug to him for making this such a great adventure for us.

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Cheers Moses!  We three taking a balcony break at Salt Lick Lodge.  My laptop is out, so I could hurry and post the lion pictures we got that day.   What a high that was!

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Safari girls coming out the roof!

I have so many pictures and stories to tell, but there’s not enough time to sort through them all.  All I know is driving through the savannah sunrise and sunset is pretty damned awesome stuff — even better is doing a night drive under the milky way with lions bellowing out their discontent.

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These two guys were sleeping when we crept up on them.  Before we got to them we were mostly marvelling at the night sky.  Michelle kept asking if we could turn the car lights off to see more falling stars.  Her request was ignored UNTIL we came up close to these two and woke them up.  Then our spotlight guy told Moses to shut the lights.  Mind you the roof was up, our windows were open, and there were lions just a jump or two away from us.  It was pitch black, except for the stars.  For the first time in my life I empathised with my dogs’ chew toys because I was pretty sure I’d share their fate.  Then the lights came back on, the boys got up, walked away and ROARED at us.  I might have peed a little.

We also got to see lions during the day.  The first time was on our second day of safari where we saw a lioness in the distance, later on in the late afternoon game drive we saw another lioness being chased by a herd of elephants.  Apparently, she was just too close to their babies for their liking.  She ran right across the road in front of our van.  This was our lion highlight until the next day when Moses pulled up to another snoozing couple.

My legs shook for a good while after this one.  Mama lion was all stretched out snoozing while Daddy patiently waited for her.  We were told they were on their honeymoon.

We were so high on adrenaline after that we needed a cocktail break overlooking the waterhole at Salt Lick.  It turned into a freak show for the birds.

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but we fed them

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We also got to watch monkeys drink and play.

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Another highlight of the trip was getting caught in the rain.  All of a sudden the skies just dumped on us and the herd of water buffalo nearby.  I have no pics of this to do it justice, but Michele posted video of our running with the bulls (and one day I’ll put together a video page for this blog).  Our van and the buffalo were hightailing it outta the mud together.  I swear we were living the National Geographic camera crew life.

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Dry buffalo wondering why I’m still clicking away — rain is gone in this pic, and so is the need to run.

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Elephants and zebras wowed us too!  Lol check out the wild ones in the bottom corner throwing out their “hey bitch!  whatcha doing?”

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But this lil guy was my fave

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And all of these animals amazed us too

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I literally have around 2,0000 photos to scan through, so this is just a taste of all the adorableness we saw, and, yes, I wanted to scrub every one of their bellies — even the lions.  But, I like my arms so I kept them to myself.

We also got to visit a Masai village.

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And there is so much more to share, but it is Thursday night, and I did just finish my first whole week of teaching again.  I don’t know who was more tired by the end of it — me or the girls.  And, I cannot believe just two weeks ago we were doing all of these amazing things. Luckily, the theme for this trimester is exploration and discovery, so I’ve got plenty I can share with my girls.

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Until the next time, here’s a tiny tree tough enough to live amongst the wild.

It’s okay. I brushed my teeth with gin

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Yes those are lions in the bush behind us…

Selfies by Michelle

First off let me say Kenya was ahhhmazing.  We had an unbelievably awesome experience.  This trip will go down as one of my absolute faves.  I’ll dedicate the next post to our 4-day safari, which included a night in Tsalvo East, a night in the prettiest tent I’ve ever slept in at Amboeseli park, and a night at Salt Lick lodge at Taita hills.  I’m still processing all that we saw during those four days.

This post will just show off some pics and remind folk of how adaptable you should become when traveling to an African country.  Lights and water pressure will go out, bugs will be big, baboons will bully you, snakes might end up in your room (it was a really tiny baby one, but holy hell did it scare us), and sweat will become your second skin.  You’ll see some shit, you’ll smell some shit (um sometimes literally), and you’ll taste and hear some shit, but me oh my if you can get past the stuff that you find ugly or unsettling you will be amazed by the grace and beauty that surrounds you.  If you can remember to live by Hakuna Matata and have a good sense of humour about it all, you’ll have a blast and do things like brush your teeth with gin when you realise whoops no bottled water.

Our first night was at Bamburi Beach in a place called Ziwa Beach Hotel, and it was perfect.  We slept in what felt like a tree house, which had an outdoor patio that included a swing and view of the beach and pool.  I’m not sure of all that we consumed, but the mosquitos didn’t have a chance with our blood. Luckily we also feasted on delicious vegetarian dishes that preserved the rest of our bodies.  Bright and early the next morning, our amazing driver Moses picked us up for our safari.  Four days later he dropped us off at the end of a long, oh-my-god-it-felt-like-it’d-never-end road, where a well-worn boat took us to Chalet island.  If you do nothing else in your life, by all means do try to find a way to spend a few days on Chalet island, around 60 kilometres from Mombassa.  It is everything you imagined a tropical island to be.  For those of you who remember Fantasy Island, I totally expected Tattoo to announce our arrival.

There is only one resort on the island, The Sands, but it’s a good one with three lovely pools (one of them right across from the mangrove forest), a stunning beach, bright and cheery African decor, A/C humdallah that works!, and friendly staff.  The baboons not so much, and I’m still ticked at the one who almost peed on us, but, for the most part, they’re chased away.  Monkey drama is all part of the fun.  I totally plan on visiting again with Joe.

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Pool in a mangrove forest…yes, please

A few tips before I blast you with more pics.  Make sure you have a lot of 100 Kenya shilling or American dollar bills.  The people at the island resort or any of the hotels we visited don’t pester you for tips, but you’ll want to tip them.  It can get a little overwhelming every where you go because staff members are so helpful, and they deserve every shilling you give them.   Also, bring some candy and school supplies for the kids.  It totally slipped my mind to pack these things, and it drove me crazy that I couldn’t give them to the kids we met in rural areas.  Tourists are approached quite a bit by people trying to sell one thing or another, but if you politely say no and let them know you’re adamant about that no, they’ll thank you and move on.  Some will stay and chat and really just want to laugh with you —- whalla!  Not a single Kenyan treated me poorly, including the many, many people I said no to.

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Take for example “Mr. Coconut,” whose souvenirs I did not buy, but he still walked me to a cove to show off these unreal starfish.

And then there is the nature.  My words are useless here..

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Mt Kilmanjaro

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Even seaweed looks good

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Good Moring sun!  Photo taken by Michelle

And there is so much more to show you!  But, I’m still on vacation finishing off my final off day in Dubai.  I’ll post more when I have time and better wifi.  I’ve only a few thousand photos to choose from.  Animal lovers there are a ton of wildlife photos waiting to say hi to you.

La La Salama until next time!

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