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Archive for January, 2008

I have just had lunch in a lovely restaurant in Stone Town, Zanzibar, where you sit around on cushions and they have cool fans gently ruffling the curtains (trust me, in this heat and humidity, it’s bliss).  I had steamed octopus with passion fruit sauce (which, with hindsight, must have also contained copious amounts of garlic).  I’ve left the others for the afternoon, as we are going out together tonight to watch the sunset with a G&T from Africa House bar and then on to dinner somewhere.  There is normally a fish market in Stone Town where you can eat amazingly cheap and (apparently excellent) fish but this closed 3 days ago for a referb (in Africa??  What’s happening!!).

So, I have a new man in my life.  We sleep together every night and, although he has had many relationships in the past, I know he’ll be loyal to me during my time here.  His name is Bob and he’s my tent.  Well, I think his African name is something like Takka or Ticko, but someone has kindly re-named him in blue marker pen, so I’m happy.  We slept on the beach in Dar Es Salaam last night and this morning I opened the door to the sight of Dhows sailing on the Indian Ocean, which prompted me to go for an invigorating swim (but I then got into a tangle with a nasty bit of seaweed, leaving my leg itching – I wonder if there is actually such a thing as paradise).

Tomorrow we are off to Jambiani on the East of the island for a couple of nights, which looks idyllic.  Before that though, we are going on a tour of Stone Town and various spice plantations – it’ll be sweaty, but fun!

I’m also having issues withdrawing my money – apparently MasterCard is a shite credit card to have in Africa (or anywhere, if our guide is to be believed) – almost all of the ATMs will only take Visa, and even that’s a gamble.  Hmmm, money is actually going very quickly here – there are just so many amazing, once-in-a-lifetime things to do that I wonder how much time I’ll be able to spend in South Africa…but I guess that is a much easier holiday destination for another time anyway!  Also, it’s so hard to get to grips with crazy currencies where 1,000 is only about 50p! As soon as you start getting the hang of it, we move on to the next country.  But it is cheap on the whole – my lunch probably cost me about 2.50 (no pound sign on this computer!)

Anyway, I have decided that unless the Internet connection is good in Livingstone, I’ll just have to load my pics up when I get home, or in Cape Town.  I’m not sure when I’ll next have a chance to get to the Internet either – we are doing another mission drive in a few days (yesterday we were on the road for 13 hours), then we’ll be entering Malawi on Thursday (approx).  There may be some Internet places there, but I’m planning on doing some serious market bargain-hunting!

TTFN

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The Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater

I’ve just  had my first shower since last blogging (I feel lovely!).  We’ve just come back from a 3 day safari in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro crater and it was out of this world.  Yesterday I (yes, me) spotted the spot of the century – a female Leopard sat in the bough of a tree less than 5m from the road – the 5 other trucks had just driven by so we were alone with her for almost 10 mins!  It was breath taking – in my whole 6 weeks working on the game reserve in SA I only saw a Leopard once, and it was nothing as spectacular as this!  I’ll upload a pic if and when I can get to broadband!  We camped in the bush on our first night and there was the most incredible thunderstorm – the lightning felt like someone was shining their tourch in your face and the thunder made the ground shake under my Thermarest!  Also, the guides saw two Lions by the loo in the night and there were Hyena tracks all around camp the following morning!

We are off to Kilimanjaro tomorrow for a base camp walk, then making our way to Zanzibar on Sunday – I can’t wait. 

The people here are lovely and driving through all the villages is almost as much pleasure as getting out!  The others have been sick today, so I’m the last one up (8.30pm is late for camping when you have to be up before 6am!) – hopefully I won’t wake up in the night with a dicky tummy either…

There are so many wonderful things to tell, but they’ll have to wait for another time.

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London to Arusha

I am experiencing my first African Internet connection.  All I can see on my screen are lines (like binary code!) so i hope this does work – apologies for any errors.  Anyway, we arrived in Tanzania today (I almost got left at the border as the bus left Kenya!) and it’s very nice.  we’ve actually just had a thunder storm!  Nairobi was fine – I spoke with ‘John’, the frindly manager of Mbo Travel at the airport and he reckons that the foreign media has over-reported the news from Nairobi – ‘the media is a business, Emily, just like any other’.  I guess he has a point.  It was wierd seeing posters of Mwai Kibaki all around town though…

Africa is lovely – it smells good and it looks brilliant.  I spent about 5 hours on a shabby bus today with the wind blowing right in my face, much like a dog, but it was lovely (and kept me awake – I’m kanckered!)

 Tomorrow we are off to do a 2-3 day safari in the Serengeti and to see Ngorongoro crater, so I can’t wait!!

My current travelling companions are 4 Kiwis (they are everywhere here!!), who are two seperate couples, so I am the Limey Lemon!  Oh, well, they all seem pretty friendly and we meet our tour guides later!

OK, I have been warned that I only have 10 mins left and, seeing as WordPress took about 15 to load, I’d best say ciao for now!

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Nairobi

Right, less than a week to go and BA assure me that, despite the much publicised political unrest, my flight will (almost definitely) go ahead.  For those of you who don’t know, I am going to be travelling overland on a big truck* from Nairobi to Cape Town until the end of February, taking in such sights as lake Malawi, Zanzibar (yes, I do know that Freddie Mercury was born there), The Serengeti, Okavango Delta, Ngorongoro crater, the skeleton coast, the striking Namibian desert etc.  That’s if we manage to get through the first 24 hours in Kenya…I will keep you updated. *NB.  despite trying to give you visual pleasure with an image of said vehicle, I was unable to get it to format correctly so either use your imagination or Google-image it! 

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The Bell at Aldworth

You will either know this pub and be miffed that I am uncovering this gem, or you may not know of this lovely place, in which case – read on!  It’s not a new discovery, far from it in fact, but it is one of the best pubs that I have visited in the Thames Valley.  If you’re looking for proper, genuine Berkshire olde world charm, look no further.  In winter their warm hearth and wooden benches are a welcome respite from the icy air and in summer the pretty garden with the old apple tree is the ideal spot.  Plus its location on the Ridgeway makes it an ideal (and therefore popular) stop for lunchtime snacks and drinks.  Sundays are especially busy.  They serve a surprisingly delicious and satisfying range of hot crusty rolls and soups (as well as my sister’s favourite puddings and sponges) but be warned – you will want at least two rolls, so avoid distress and get them in in the first instance, along with your pint of Berkshire breweries’ finest ales and ciders.  Whether there are just a couple of locals at the bar or whether it is thronging with families, dogs, old and young (and the occasional London yuppie, I’m afraid to admit), the atmosphere in this pub will not disappoint.  Also, it is a guaranteed hit with  guests, especially those from abroad!

More Info                                                                                                  

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