Fire and Water

Early start this morning. Ali had the top popped up on the Jeep so we could stand and look out. We spent the morning driving around Murchison National Park looking for animals. We saw elephants, warthogs, lots of birds lots of different kinds of antelopes, a few monkeys, several of the highly endangered Rothschild giraffe and a lion. We also saw miles of grassland, the grass was tall, so we couldn't see many animals. The park has a burning program, where they intentionally set the dry grasslands on fire. There were many stretches where the land had been burnt on one side of the road, with tall dry grass on…
More

Walking with the Rhinos

On our trip to the Serengeti, the only one of the so-called big five that we didn't see was the rhino. Today, we fixed that. Our flight yesterday from Addis Ababa was smooth. We saw the outlet of the White Nile from Lake Victoria, so check, both sources of the two branches of the world's greatest river sighted. Ali, our driver/guide for the Uganda leg of the trip, meet us at the airport and took us to the lodge where we spent the night, 5km north of the equator. 6am start this morning, to beat Kampala traffic. I suppose we mostly beat it, but we did hit some jams. Eventually,…
More

Flying and Flies – Lalibela

We are on the Historical Route, through the ancient capitals of Ethiopia. This is a popular tourist path to visit the country. We're not surprised to see lots of tourists at the sites, hotels and restaurants we're visiting. But what IS surprising is to see the same groups everywhere. There are the two Spaniards whose guide wears a Cuba cap. We've seen them multiple times at different restaurants in different cities. There is the group of Italians which we've been seeing a lot lately. There is the solo guy from Hong Kong who we saw on our second day, then again 5 days and hundreds of miles later. Four women…
More

Simien Mountains

This morning, a new driver picked us up for the next leg of our tour. This guy, appropriately enough, is named Malas ("bad" in Spanish). He smokes cigarettes, which has evidently damaged his olfactory system because he could use a shower. He's a scary driver, though I got more comfortable as I observed him for a while. Unlike Maria. We had a few close calls, but the only time he slammed on the brakes was when a kid threw a rock at the car. Other than that, our only complaint is that he looks at you to talk. Not a big issue because he doesn't speak English. And he got…
More

Ethiopian Emperors

Because of the mosquitos the other night, we started taking malaria pills earlier than we had hoped. The rest of our stay here is at altitudes over 6000 feet, too high for mosquitos. We had hoped to delay until we got to Uganda, but now we need to take them every day until a week after we get home. We spent the day today in Gondar, the third capital of Ethiopia. The first two, Axum and Lalibela are our next two cities. Somewhere along the line, a king established his capital here at Gondar and built a castle in 1638. Gondar is in a valley surrounded by mountains, so evidently…
More

Lake Tana and the Drive to Gondar

Another early morning, this one after a pretty bad night. Our cute little bungalow's bathroom smelled of sewer gas and we were plagued by mosquitos. No mosquito net. Mas and Tardi picked us up at the hotel at 7:30 for a boat trip on Lake Tana. Early on the morning, the lake was like glass. We first went to the Nile outlet where we saw a family of 4 hippos, fishing eagles, pelicans and other birds. Then we headed across the open water to visit an Orthodox monastery. The trip over took an hour. A mist hung over the trees on the shore, while we were in sunshine. It was…
More

Blue Nile Falls

We were up at 5 this morning for a 6am ride to the airport to go to Bahir Dar, an hour's flight north. The flight was smooth and we landed around 8:30. Bahir Dar is the home of Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile which flows 900 miles north to Khartoum where it joins the White Nile and flows on through Egypt to the Mediterranean. The longest river in the world*. We are staying near where the river flows out of the lake. After dropping our luggage at the hotel, our guide Mas and driver Tardi took us on a ride, maybe 90 minutes over increasingly rough roads past…
More

Addis Ababa

After 14 hours of flying and 7 hours waiting in Frankfurt (where we rented a small, in-terminal hotel room for 3 hours to sleep), we got to Addis Ababa at 10pm just in time to get in a huge line at immigration. 90 minutes later, we got to the front of the line only to be told that our eVisas were not authorized. It took another hour following guys around to keep our passports in sight when they finally straightened it all out and we were admitted. During this process, we saw another American woman's passport sitting on a desk - no woman in sight, so who knows what happened…
More

Along the Himalayas to Bhutan

Up at 3:15 this morning to meet the group for a 4:30am departure from the hotel.   Through the Indian version of silly security then sit and wait for our 7:30 flight. When we asked for a window seat on the left side of the plane, she told us they were all taken, but we could get aisle and center on the left. Better than nothing, we said sure. When we boarded, no one was sitting in the window seat, but he came eventually and asked if we wanted to move over and sit on the window. Turns out, he was in a group of 20 and wanted to move…
More

First Day in Delhi

After 2 long flights and 10 time zones, we arrived in New Delhi just past midnight on Tuesday, on a journey that started Sunday. After collecting our luggage and passing through immigration, which included a silly, malfunctioning fingerprint reader, we exited into a chaotic hubub of people waiting for passengers. One guy had a sign with Maria's name on it, so that part worked! We had arranged a ride from the airport with our AirBnB. The guy took us on the 45 minute drive to the apartment in the center of New Delhi. Third floor and mercifully, air conditioned. We conked out.   Up at 6:45 to get into Old…
More

Tarangire: Cheetahs and a Village Visit

At 6:00am, a guy knocked on our door. Time to get up. Breakfast, then we were up and on our way at 7:15. We drove past some tiny villages of different tribes until we arrived at Tarangire National Park. More giraffes, elephants and impalas. We saw our first herd of wildebeests, who were walking single file towards the river. They had several zebras with them. Wildebeests can smell well but have week eyesight. Zebras can see well but can't smell too well. Wildebeests like to eat short grass, zebras cut the tall grass and the wildebeests the can munch on the stubs. We spotted an ostrich doing a mating dance,…
More

In the Wilds of East Jamaica

We are in a house across the road from the beach in Long Bay, Jamaica. Long Bay is a little village on the coastal road between Port Antonio and the town of Manchioneal. It has maybe 50 houses, a little supermarket, a gas station, a post office/library combination, a bunch of churches (today is Sunday, we passed several churches and saw many church ladies in their hats), a school and a dozen or more bars, which are little shacks made of scrap wood and corrugated metal. All sell beer and drinks; many serve food. The bar across the street from our house is run by LaToya, who has been keeping…
More

Jamaica and Senegal

Avoiding Jamaica's resorts, we got a car and headed to the boonies and were struck by how much this place reminds us of driving across Senegal. Cities and towns built by past colonials crumbling into disrepair, yet still functioning to some degree. Shacks made of sheet metal and cast off lumber where someone has set up a shop. Transportation centres like the gare routieres where too many people are cramming into route taxis that resemble newer sept places. The Jamaican patois is loaded with African words. Rastafari are a lot like the Baye Fall. A lot more rain and vegetation here. We can converse better in English than our broken…
More

Ocho Rios is Kinda Sucky

We arrived in Ocho Rios on Monday, March 13. We had driven, mostly without incident, from the Montego Bay airport. We found out too late that Ocho Rios is a cruise ship port. Every day a new behemoth arrives and disgorges its load of passengers who wander around town buying souvenirs. Consequently, numerous shops and market stalls have sprung up to sell these people crappy junk. Besides the cruise ships, all-inclusive resorts abound, where sun seekers can pay $350 per day to a hotel corporation to sit on a beach, get fed and entertained by loud DJs who exhort them to get up and drink. The only money that goes…
More

Fire and Water

Early start this morning. Ali had the top popped up on the Jeep so we could stand and look out. We spent the morning driving around Murchison National Park looking for animals. We saw elephants, warthogs, lots of birds lots of different kinds of antelopes, a few monkeys, several of the highly endangered Rothschild giraffe and a lion. We also saw miles of grassland, the grass was tall, so we couldn't see many animals. The park has a burning program, where they intentionally set the dry grasslands on fire. There were many stretches where the land had been burnt on one side of the road, with tall dry grass on…
More

Walking with the Rhinos

On our trip to the Serengeti, the only one of the so-called big five that we didn't see was the rhino. Today, we fixed that. Our flight yesterday from Addis Ababa was smooth. We saw the outlet of the White Nile from Lake Victoria, so check, both sources of the two branches of the world's greatest river sighted. Ali, our driver/guide for the Uganda leg of the trip, meet us at the airport and took us to the lodge where we spent the night, 5km north of the equator. 6am start this morning, to beat Kampala traffic. I suppose we mostly beat it, but we did hit some jams. Eventually,…
More

Flying and Flies – Lalibela

We are on the Historical Route, through the ancient capitals of Ethiopia. This is a popular tourist path to visit the country. We're not surprised to see lots of tourists at the sites, hotels and restaurants we're visiting. But what IS surprising is to see the same groups everywhere. There are the two Spaniards whose guide wears a Cuba cap. We've seen them multiple times at different restaurants in different cities. There is the group of Italians which we've been seeing a lot lately. There is the solo guy from Hong Kong who we saw on our second day, then again 5 days and hundreds of miles later. Four women…
More

Simien Mountains

This morning, a new driver picked us up for the next leg of our tour. This guy, appropriately enough, is named Malas ("bad" in Spanish). He smokes cigarettes, which has evidently damaged his olfactory system because he could use a shower. He's a scary driver, though I got more comfortable as I observed him for a while. Unlike Maria. We had a few close calls, but the only time he slammed on the brakes was when a kid threw a rock at the car. Other than that, our only complaint is that he looks at you to talk. Not a big issue because he doesn't speak English. And he got…
More

Ethiopian Emperors

Because of the mosquitos the other night, we started taking malaria pills earlier than we had hoped. The rest of our stay here is at altitudes over 6000 feet, too high for mosquitos. We had hoped to delay until we got to Uganda, but now we need to take them every day until a week after we get home. We spent the day today in Gondar, the third capital of Ethiopia. The first two, Axum and Lalibela are our next two cities. Somewhere along the line, a king established his capital here at Gondar and built a castle in 1638. Gondar is in a valley surrounded by mountains, so evidently…
More

Lake Tana and the Drive to Gondar

Another early morning, this one after a pretty bad night. Our cute little bungalow's bathroom smelled of sewer gas and we were plagued by mosquitos. No mosquito net. Mas and Tardi picked us up at the hotel at 7:30 for a boat trip on Lake Tana. Early on the morning, the lake was like glass. We first went to the Nile outlet where we saw a family of 4 hippos, fishing eagles, pelicans and other birds. Then we headed across the open water to visit an Orthodox monastery. The trip over took an hour. A mist hung over the trees on the shore, while we were in sunshine. It was…
More

Blue Nile Falls

We were up at 5 this morning for a 6am ride to the airport to go to Bahir Dar, an hour's flight north. The flight was smooth and we landed around 8:30. Bahir Dar is the home of Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile which flows 900 miles north to Khartoum where it joins the White Nile and flows on through Egypt to the Mediterranean. The longest river in the world*. We are staying near where the river flows out of the lake. After dropping our luggage at the hotel, our guide Mas and driver Tardi took us on a ride, maybe 90 minutes over increasingly rough roads past…
More

Addis Ababa

After 14 hours of flying and 7 hours waiting in Frankfurt (where we rented a small, in-terminal hotel room for 3 hours to sleep), we got to Addis Ababa at 10pm just in time to get in a huge line at immigration. 90 minutes later, we got to the front of the line only to be told that our eVisas were not authorized. It took another hour following guys around to keep our passports in sight when they finally straightened it all out and we were admitted. During this process, we saw another American woman's passport sitting on a desk - no woman in sight, so who knows what happened…
More

Along the Himalayas to Bhutan

Up at 3:15 this morning to meet the group for a 4:30am departure from the hotel.   Through the Indian version of silly security then sit and wait for our 7:30 flight. When we asked for a window seat on the left side of the plane, she told us they were all taken, but we could get aisle and center on the left. Better than nothing, we said sure. When we boarded, no one was sitting in the window seat, but he came eventually and asked if we wanted to move over and sit on the window. Turns out, he was in a group of 20 and wanted to move…
More

First Day in Delhi

After 2 long flights and 10 time zones, we arrived in New Delhi just past midnight on Tuesday, on a journey that started Sunday. After collecting our luggage and passing through immigration, which included a silly, malfunctioning fingerprint reader, we exited into a chaotic hubub of people waiting for passengers. One guy had a sign with Maria's name on it, so that part worked! We had arranged a ride from the airport with our AirBnB. The guy took us on the 45 minute drive to the apartment in the center of New Delhi. Third floor and mercifully, air conditioned. We conked out.   Up at 6:45 to get into Old…
More

Tarangire: Cheetahs and a Village Visit

At 6:00am, a guy knocked on our door. Time to get up. Breakfast, then we were up and on our way at 7:15. We drove past some tiny villages of different tribes until we arrived at Tarangire National Park. More giraffes, elephants and impalas. We saw our first herd of wildebeests, who were walking single file towards the river. They had several zebras with them. Wildebeests can smell well but have week eyesight. Zebras can see well but can't smell too well. Wildebeests like to eat short grass, zebras cut the tall grass and the wildebeests the can munch on the stubs. We spotted an ostrich doing a mating dance,…
More

In the Wilds of East Jamaica

We are in a house across the road from the beach in Long Bay, Jamaica. Long Bay is a little village on the coastal road between Port Antonio and the town of Manchioneal. It has maybe 50 houses, a little supermarket, a gas station, a post office/library combination, a bunch of churches (today is Sunday, we passed several churches and saw many church ladies in their hats), a school and a dozen or more bars, which are little shacks made of scrap wood and corrugated metal. All sell beer and drinks; many serve food. The bar across the street from our house is run by LaToya, who has been keeping…
More

Jamaica and Senegal

Avoiding Jamaica's resorts, we got a car and headed to the boonies and were struck by how much this place reminds us of driving across Senegal. Cities and towns built by past colonials crumbling into disrepair, yet still functioning to some degree. Shacks made of sheet metal and cast off lumber where someone has set up a shop. Transportation centres like the gare routieres where too many people are cramming into route taxis that resemble newer sept places. The Jamaican patois is loaded with African words. Rastafari are a lot like the Baye Fall. A lot more rain and vegetation here. We can converse better in English than our broken…
More

Ocho Rios is Kinda Sucky

We arrived in Ocho Rios on Monday, March 13. We had driven, mostly without incident, from the Montego Bay airport. We found out too late that Ocho Rios is a cruise ship port. Every day a new behemoth arrives and disgorges its load of passengers who wander around town buying souvenirs. Consequently, numerous shops and market stalls have sprung up to sell these people crappy junk. Besides the cruise ships, all-inclusive resorts abound, where sun seekers can pay $350 per day to a hotel corporation to sit on a beach, get fed and entertained by loud DJs who exhort them to get up and drink. The only money that goes…
More

Fire and Water

Early start this morning. Ali had the top popped up on the Jeep so we could stand and look out. We spent the morning driving around Murchison National Park looking for animals. We saw elephants, warthogs, lots of birds lots of different kinds of antelopes, a few monkeys, several of the highly endangered Rothschild giraffe and a lion. We also saw miles of grassland, the grass was tall, so we couldn't see many animals. The park has a burning program, where they intentionally set the dry grasslands on fire. There were many stretches where the land had been burnt on one side of the road, with tall dry grass on…
More

Walking with the Rhinos

On our trip to the Serengeti, the only one of the so-called big five that we didn't see was the rhino. Today, we fixed that. Our flight yesterday from Addis Ababa was smooth. We saw the outlet of the White Nile from Lake Victoria, so check, both sources of the two branches of the world's greatest river sighted. Ali, our driver/guide for the Uganda leg of the trip, meet us at the airport and took us to the lodge where we spent the night, 5km north of the equator. 6am start this morning, to beat Kampala traffic. I suppose we mostly beat it, but we did hit some jams. Eventually,…
More

Flying and Flies – Lalibela

We are on the Historical Route, through the ancient capitals of Ethiopia. This is a popular tourist path to visit the country. We're not surprised to see lots of tourists at the sites, hotels and restaurants we're visiting. But what IS surprising is to see the same groups everywhere. There are the two Spaniards whose guide wears a Cuba cap. We've seen them multiple times at different restaurants in different cities. There is the group of Italians which we've been seeing a lot lately. There is the solo guy from Hong Kong who we saw on our second day, then again 5 days and hundreds of miles later. Four women…
More

Simien Mountains

This morning, a new driver picked us up for the next leg of our tour. This guy, appropriately enough, is named Malas ("bad" in Spanish). He smokes cigarettes, which has evidently damaged his olfactory system because he could use a shower. He's a scary driver, though I got more comfortable as I observed him for a while. Unlike Maria. We had a few close calls, but the only time he slammed on the brakes was when a kid threw a rock at the car. Other than that, our only complaint is that he looks at you to talk. Not a big issue because he doesn't speak English. And he got…
More

Ethiopian Emperors

Because of the mosquitos the other night, we started taking malaria pills earlier than we had hoped. The rest of our stay here is at altitudes over 6000 feet, too high for mosquitos. We had hoped to delay until we got to Uganda, but now we need to take them every day until a week after we get home. We spent the day today in Gondar, the third capital of Ethiopia. The first two, Axum and Lalibela are our next two cities. Somewhere along the line, a king established his capital here at Gondar and built a castle in 1638. Gondar is in a valley surrounded by mountains, so evidently…
More

Lake Tana and the Drive to Gondar

Another early morning, this one after a pretty bad night. Our cute little bungalow's bathroom smelled of sewer gas and we were plagued by mosquitos. No mosquito net. Mas and Tardi picked us up at the hotel at 7:30 for a boat trip on Lake Tana. Early on the morning, the lake was like glass. We first went to the Nile outlet where we saw a family of 4 hippos, fishing eagles, pelicans and other birds. Then we headed across the open water to visit an Orthodox monastery. The trip over took an hour. A mist hung over the trees on the shore, while we were in sunshine. It was…
More

Blue Nile Falls

We were up at 5 this morning for a 6am ride to the airport to go to Bahir Dar, an hour's flight north. The flight was smooth and we landed around 8:30. Bahir Dar is the home of Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile which flows 900 miles north to Khartoum where it joins the White Nile and flows on through Egypt to the Mediterranean. The longest river in the world*. We are staying near where the river flows out of the lake. After dropping our luggage at the hotel, our guide Mas and driver Tardi took us on a ride, maybe 90 minutes over increasingly rough roads past…
More

Addis Ababa

After 14 hours of flying and 7 hours waiting in Frankfurt (where we rented a small, in-terminal hotel room for 3 hours to sleep), we got to Addis Ababa at 10pm just in time to get in a huge line at immigration. 90 minutes later, we got to the front of the line only to be told that our eVisas were not authorized. It took another hour following guys around to keep our passports in sight when they finally straightened it all out and we were admitted. During this process, we saw another American woman's passport sitting on a desk - no woman in sight, so who knows what happened…
More

Along the Himalayas to Bhutan

Up at 3:15 this morning to meet the group for a 4:30am departure from the hotel.   Through the Indian version of silly security then sit and wait for our 7:30 flight. When we asked for a window seat on the left side of the plane, she told us they were all taken, but we could get aisle and center on the left. Better than nothing, we said sure. When we boarded, no one was sitting in the window seat, but he came eventually and asked if we wanted to move over and sit on the window. Turns out, he was in a group of 20 and wanted to move…
More

First Day in Delhi

After 2 long flights and 10 time zones, we arrived in New Delhi just past midnight on Tuesday, on a journey that started Sunday. After collecting our luggage and passing through immigration, which included a silly, malfunctioning fingerprint reader, we exited into a chaotic hubub of people waiting for passengers. One guy had a sign with Maria's name on it, so that part worked! We had arranged a ride from the airport with our AirBnB. The guy took us on the 45 minute drive to the apartment in the center of New Delhi. Third floor and mercifully, air conditioned. We conked out.   Up at 6:45 to get into Old…
More

Tarangire: Cheetahs and a Village Visit

At 6:00am, a guy knocked on our door. Time to get up. Breakfast, then we were up and on our way at 7:15. We drove past some tiny villages of different tribes until we arrived at Tarangire National Park. More giraffes, elephants and impalas. We saw our first herd of wildebeests, who were walking single file towards the river. They had several zebras with them. Wildebeests can smell well but have week eyesight. Zebras can see well but can't smell too well. Wildebeests like to eat short grass, zebras cut the tall grass and the wildebeests the can munch on the stubs. We spotted an ostrich doing a mating dance,…
More

In the Wilds of East Jamaica

We are in a house across the road from the beach in Long Bay, Jamaica. Long Bay is a little village on the coastal road between Port Antonio and the town of Manchioneal. It has maybe 50 houses, a little supermarket, a gas station, a post office/library combination, a bunch of churches (today is Sunday, we passed several churches and saw many church ladies in their hats), a school and a dozen or more bars, which are little shacks made of scrap wood and corrugated metal. All sell beer and drinks; many serve food. The bar across the street from our house is run by LaToya, who has been keeping…
More

Jamaica and Senegal

Avoiding Jamaica's resorts, we got a car and headed to the boonies and were struck by how much this place reminds us of driving across Senegal. Cities and towns built by past colonials crumbling into disrepair, yet still functioning to some degree. Shacks made of sheet metal and cast off lumber where someone has set up a shop. Transportation centres like the gare routieres where too many people are cramming into route taxis that resemble newer sept places. The Jamaican patois is loaded with African words. Rastafari are a lot like the Baye Fall. A lot more rain and vegetation here. We can converse better in English than our broken…
More

Ocho Rios is Kinda Sucky

We arrived in Ocho Rios on Monday, March 13. We had driven, mostly without incident, from the Montego Bay airport. We found out too late that Ocho Rios is a cruise ship port. Every day a new behemoth arrives and disgorges its load of passengers who wander around town buying souvenirs. Consequently, numerous shops and market stalls have sprung up to sell these people crappy junk. Besides the cruise ships, all-inclusive resorts abound, where sun seekers can pay $350 per day to a hotel corporation to sit on a beach, get fed and entertained by loud DJs who exhort them to get up and drink. The only money that goes…
More

Fire and Water

Early start this morning. Ali had the top popped up on the Jeep so we could stand and look out. We spent the morning driving around Murchison National Park looking for animals. We saw elephants, warthogs, lots of birds lots of different kinds of antelopes, a few monkeys, several of the highly endangered Rothschild giraffe and a lion. We also saw miles of grassland, the grass was tall, so we couldn't see many animals. The park has a burning program, where they intentionally set the dry grasslands on fire. There were many stretches where the land had been burnt on one side of the road, with tall dry grass on…
More

Walking with the Rhinos

On our trip to the Serengeti, the only one of the so-called big five that we didn't see was the rhino. Today, we fixed that. Our flight yesterday from Addis Ababa was smooth. We saw the outlet of the White Nile from Lake Victoria, so check, both sources of the two branches of the world's greatest river sighted. Ali, our driver/guide for the Uganda leg of the trip, meet us at the airport and took us to the lodge where we spent the night, 5km north of the equator. 6am start this morning, to beat Kampala traffic. I suppose we mostly beat it, but we did hit some jams. Eventually,…
More

Flying and Flies – Lalibela

We are on the Historical Route, through the ancient capitals of Ethiopia. This is a popular tourist path to visit the country. We're not surprised to see lots of tourists at the sites, hotels and restaurants we're visiting. But what IS surprising is to see the same groups everywhere. There are the two Spaniards whose guide wears a Cuba cap. We've seen them multiple times at different restaurants in different cities. There is the group of Italians which we've been seeing a lot lately. There is the solo guy from Hong Kong who we saw on our second day, then again 5 days and hundreds of miles later. Four women…
More

Simien Mountains

This morning, a new driver picked us up for the next leg of our tour. This guy, appropriately enough, is named Malas ("bad" in Spanish). He smokes cigarettes, which has evidently damaged his olfactory system because he could use a shower. He's a scary driver, though I got more comfortable as I observed him for a while. Unlike Maria. We had a few close calls, but the only time he slammed on the brakes was when a kid threw a rock at the car. Other than that, our only complaint is that he looks at you to talk. Not a big issue because he doesn't speak English. And he got…
More

Ethiopian Emperors

Because of the mosquitos the other night, we started taking malaria pills earlier than we had hoped. The rest of our stay here is at altitudes over 6000 feet, too high for mosquitos. We had hoped to delay until we got to Uganda, but now we need to take them every day until a week after we get home. We spent the day today in Gondar, the third capital of Ethiopia. The first two, Axum and Lalibela are our next two cities. Somewhere along the line, a king established his capital here at Gondar and built a castle in 1638. Gondar is in a valley surrounded by mountains, so evidently…
More

Lake Tana and the Drive to Gondar

Another early morning, this one after a pretty bad night. Our cute little bungalow's bathroom smelled of sewer gas and we were plagued by mosquitos. No mosquito net. Mas and Tardi picked us up at the hotel at 7:30 for a boat trip on Lake Tana. Early on the morning, the lake was like glass. We first went to the Nile outlet where we saw a family of 4 hippos, fishing eagles, pelicans and other birds. Then we headed across the open water to visit an Orthodox monastery. The trip over took an hour. A mist hung over the trees on the shore, while we were in sunshine. It was…
More

Blue Nile Falls

We were up at 5 this morning for a 6am ride to the airport to go to Bahir Dar, an hour's flight north. The flight was smooth and we landed around 8:30. Bahir Dar is the home of Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile which flows 900 miles north to Khartoum where it joins the White Nile and flows on through Egypt to the Mediterranean. The longest river in the world*. We are staying near where the river flows out of the lake. After dropping our luggage at the hotel, our guide Mas and driver Tardi took us on a ride, maybe 90 minutes over increasingly rough roads past…
More

Addis Ababa

After 14 hours of flying and 7 hours waiting in Frankfurt (where we rented a small, in-terminal hotel room for 3 hours to sleep), we got to Addis Ababa at 10pm just in time to get in a huge line at immigration. 90 minutes later, we got to the front of the line only to be told that our eVisas were not authorized. It took another hour following guys around to keep our passports in sight when they finally straightened it all out and we were admitted. During this process, we saw another American woman's passport sitting on a desk - no woman in sight, so who knows what happened…
More

Along the Himalayas to Bhutan

Up at 3:15 this morning to meet the group for a 4:30am departure from the hotel.   Through the Indian version of silly security then sit and wait for our 7:30 flight. When we asked for a window seat on the left side of the plane, she told us they were all taken, but we could get aisle and center on the left. Better than nothing, we said sure. When we boarded, no one was sitting in the window seat, but he came eventually and asked if we wanted to move over and sit on the window. Turns out, he was in a group of 20 and wanted to move…
More

First Day in Delhi

After 2 long flights and 10 time zones, we arrived in New Delhi just past midnight on Tuesday, on a journey that started Sunday. After collecting our luggage and passing through immigration, which included a silly, malfunctioning fingerprint reader, we exited into a chaotic hubub of people waiting for passengers. One guy had a sign with Maria's name on it, so that part worked! We had arranged a ride from the airport with our AirBnB. The guy took us on the 45 minute drive to the apartment in the center of New Delhi. Third floor and mercifully, air conditioned. We conked out.   Up at 6:45 to get into Old…
More

Tarangire: Cheetahs and a Village Visit

At 6:00am, a guy knocked on our door. Time to get up. Breakfast, then we were up and on our way at 7:15. We drove past some tiny villages of different tribes until we arrived at Tarangire National Park. More giraffes, elephants and impalas. We saw our first herd of wildebeests, who were walking single file towards the river. They had several zebras with them. Wildebeests can smell well but have week eyesight. Zebras can see well but can't smell too well. Wildebeests like to eat short grass, zebras cut the tall grass and the wildebeests the can munch on the stubs. We spotted an ostrich doing a mating dance,…
More

In the Wilds of East Jamaica

We are in a house across the road from the beach in Long Bay, Jamaica. Long Bay is a little village on the coastal road between Port Antonio and the town of Manchioneal. It has maybe 50 houses, a little supermarket, a gas station, a post office/library combination, a bunch of churches (today is Sunday, we passed several churches and saw many church ladies in their hats), a school and a dozen or more bars, which are little shacks made of scrap wood and corrugated metal. All sell beer and drinks; many serve food. The bar across the street from our house is run by LaToya, who has been keeping…
More

Jamaica and Senegal

Avoiding Jamaica's resorts, we got a car and headed to the boonies and were struck by how much this place reminds us of driving across Senegal. Cities and towns built by past colonials crumbling into disrepair, yet still functioning to some degree. Shacks made of sheet metal and cast off lumber where someone has set up a shop. Transportation centres like the gare routieres where too many people are cramming into route taxis that resemble newer sept places. The Jamaican patois is loaded with African words. Rastafari are a lot like the Baye Fall. A lot more rain and vegetation here. We can converse better in English than our broken…
More

Ocho Rios is Kinda Sucky

We arrived in Ocho Rios on Monday, March 13. We had driven, mostly without incident, from the Montego Bay airport. We found out too late that Ocho Rios is a cruise ship port. Every day a new behemoth arrives and disgorges its load of passengers who wander around town buying souvenirs. Consequently, numerous shops and market stalls have sprung up to sell these people crappy junk. Besides the cruise ships, all-inclusive resorts abound, where sun seekers can pay $350 per day to a hotel corporation to sit on a beach, get fed and entertained by loud DJs who exhort them to get up and drink. The only money that goes…
More

Fire and Water

Early start this morning. Ali had the top popped up on the Jeep so we could stand and look out. We spent the morning driving around Murchison National Park looking for animals. We saw elephants, warthogs, lots of birds lots of different kinds of antelopes, a few monkeys, several of the highly endangered Rothschild giraffe and a lion. We also saw miles of grassland, the grass was tall, so we couldn't see many animals. The park has a burning program, where they intentionally set the dry grasslands on fire. There were many stretches where the land had been burnt on one side of the road, with tall dry grass on…
More

Walking with the Rhinos

On our trip to the Serengeti, the only one of the so-called big five that we didn't see was the rhino. Today, we fixed that. Our flight yesterday from Addis Ababa was smooth. We saw the outlet of the White Nile from Lake Victoria, so check, both sources of the two branches of the world's greatest river sighted. Ali, our driver/guide for the Uganda leg of the trip, meet us at the airport and took us to the lodge where we spent the night, 5km north of the equator. 6am start this morning, to beat Kampala traffic. I suppose we mostly beat it, but we did hit some jams. Eventually,…
More

Flying and Flies – Lalibela

We are on the Historical Route, through the ancient capitals of Ethiopia. This is a popular tourist path to visit the country. We're not surprised to see lots of tourists at the sites, hotels and restaurants we're visiting. But what IS surprising is to see the same groups everywhere. There are the two Spaniards whose guide wears a Cuba cap. We've seen them multiple times at different restaurants in different cities. There is the group of Italians which we've been seeing a lot lately. There is the solo guy from Hong Kong who we saw on our second day, then again 5 days and hundreds of miles later. Four women…
More

Simien Mountains

This morning, a new driver picked us up for the next leg of our tour. This guy, appropriately enough, is named Malas ("bad" in Spanish). He smokes cigarettes, which has evidently damaged his olfactory system because he could use a shower. He's a scary driver, though I got more comfortable as I observed him for a while. Unlike Maria. We had a few close calls, but the only time he slammed on the brakes was when a kid threw a rock at the car. Other than that, our only complaint is that he looks at you to talk. Not a big issue because he doesn't speak English. And he got…
More

Ethiopian Emperors

Because of the mosquitos the other night, we started taking malaria pills earlier than we had hoped. The rest of our stay here is at altitudes over 6000 feet, too high for mosquitos. We had hoped to delay until we got to Uganda, but now we need to take them every day until a week after we get home. We spent the day today in Gondar, the third capital of Ethiopia. The first two, Axum and Lalibela are our next two cities. Somewhere along the line, a king established his capital here at Gondar and built a castle in 1638. Gondar is in a valley surrounded by mountains, so evidently…
More

Lake Tana and the Drive to Gondar

Another early morning, this one after a pretty bad night. Our cute little bungalow's bathroom smelled of sewer gas and we were plagued by mosquitos. No mosquito net. Mas and Tardi picked us up at the hotel at 7:30 for a boat trip on Lake Tana. Early on the morning, the lake was like glass. We first went to the Nile outlet where we saw a family of 4 hippos, fishing eagles, pelicans and other birds. Then we headed across the open water to visit an Orthodox monastery. The trip over took an hour. A mist hung over the trees on the shore, while we were in sunshine. It was…
More

Blue Nile Falls

We were up at 5 this morning for a 6am ride to the airport to go to Bahir Dar, an hour's flight north. The flight was smooth and we landed around 8:30. Bahir Dar is the home of Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile which flows 900 miles north to Khartoum where it joins the White Nile and flows on through Egypt to the Mediterranean. The longest river in the world*. We are staying near where the river flows out of the lake. After dropping our luggage at the hotel, our guide Mas and driver Tardi took us on a ride, maybe 90 minutes over increasingly rough roads past…
More

Addis Ababa

After 14 hours of flying and 7 hours waiting in Frankfurt (where we rented a small, in-terminal hotel room for 3 hours to sleep), we got to Addis Ababa at 10pm just in time to get in a huge line at immigration. 90 minutes later, we got to the front of the line only to be told that our eVisas were not authorized. It took another hour following guys around to keep our passports in sight when they finally straightened it all out and we were admitted. During this process, we saw another American woman's passport sitting on a desk - no woman in sight, so who knows what happened…
More

Along the Himalayas to Bhutan

Up at 3:15 this morning to meet the group for a 4:30am departure from the hotel.   Through the Indian version of silly security then sit and wait for our 7:30 flight. When we asked for a window seat on the left side of the plane, she told us they were all taken, but we could get aisle and center on the left. Better than nothing, we said sure. When we boarded, no one was sitting in the window seat, but he came eventually and asked if we wanted to move over and sit on the window. Turns out, he was in a group of 20 and wanted to move…
More

First Day in Delhi

After 2 long flights and 10 time zones, we arrived in New Delhi just past midnight on Tuesday, on a journey that started Sunday. After collecting our luggage and passing through immigration, which included a silly, malfunctioning fingerprint reader, we exited into a chaotic hubub of people waiting for passengers. One guy had a sign with Maria's name on it, so that part worked! We had arranged a ride from the airport with our AirBnB. The guy took us on the 45 minute drive to the apartment in the center of New Delhi. Third floor and mercifully, air conditioned. We conked out.   Up at 6:45 to get into Old…
More

Tarangire: Cheetahs and a Village Visit

At 6:00am, a guy knocked on our door. Time to get up. Breakfast, then we were up and on our way at 7:15. We drove past some tiny villages of different tribes until we arrived at Tarangire National Park. More giraffes, elephants and impalas. We saw our first herd of wildebeests, who were walking single file towards the river. They had several zebras with them. Wildebeests can smell well but have week eyesight. Zebras can see well but can't smell too well. Wildebeests like to eat short grass, zebras cut the tall grass and the wildebeests the can munch on the stubs. We spotted an ostrich doing a mating dance,…
More

In the Wilds of East Jamaica

We are in a house across the road from the beach in Long Bay, Jamaica. Long Bay is a little village on the coastal road between Port Antonio and the town of Manchioneal. It has maybe 50 houses, a little supermarket, a gas station, a post office/library combination, a bunch of churches (today is Sunday, we passed several churches and saw many church ladies in their hats), a school and a dozen or more bars, which are little shacks made of scrap wood and corrugated metal. All sell beer and drinks; many serve food. The bar across the street from our house is run by LaToya, who has been keeping…
More

Jamaica and Senegal

Avoiding Jamaica's resorts, we got a car and headed to the boonies and were struck by how much this place reminds us of driving across Senegal. Cities and towns built by past colonials crumbling into disrepair, yet still functioning to some degree. Shacks made of sheet metal and cast off lumber where someone has set up a shop. Transportation centres like the gare routieres where too many people are cramming into route taxis that resemble newer sept places. The Jamaican patois is loaded with African words. Rastafari are a lot like the Baye Fall. A lot more rain and vegetation here. We can converse better in English than our broken…
More

Ocho Rios is Kinda Sucky

We arrived in Ocho Rios on Monday, March 13. We had driven, mostly without incident, from the Montego Bay airport. We found out too late that Ocho Rios is a cruise ship port. Every day a new behemoth arrives and disgorges its load of passengers who wander around town buying souvenirs. Consequently, numerous shops and market stalls have sprung up to sell these people crappy junk. Besides the cruise ships, all-inclusive resorts abound, where sun seekers can pay $350 per day to a hotel corporation to sit on a beach, get fed and entertained by loud DJs who exhort them to get up and drink. The only money that goes…
More

Fire and Water

Early start this morning. Ali had the top popped up on the Jeep so we could stand and look out. We spent the morning driving around Murchison National Park looking for animals. We saw elephants, warthogs, lots of birds lots of different kinds of antelopes, a few monkeys, several of the highly endangered Rothschild giraffe and a lion. We also saw miles of grassland, the grass was tall, so we couldn't see many animals. The park has a burning program, where they intentionally set the dry grasslands on fire. There were many stretches where the land had been burnt on one side of the road, with tall dry grass on…
More

Walking with the Rhinos

On our trip to the Serengeti, the only one of the so-called big five that we didn't see was the rhino. Today, we fixed that. Our flight yesterday from Addis Ababa was smooth. We saw the outlet of the White Nile from Lake Victoria, so check, both sources of the two branches of the world's greatest river sighted. Ali, our driver/guide for the Uganda leg of the trip, meet us at the airport and took us to the lodge where we spent the night, 5km north of the equator. 6am start this morning, to beat Kampala traffic. I suppose we mostly beat it, but we did hit some jams. Eventually,…
More

Flying and Flies – Lalibela

We are on the Historical Route, through the ancient capitals of Ethiopia. This is a popular tourist path to visit the country. We're not surprised to see lots of tourists at the sites, hotels and restaurants we're visiting. But what IS surprising is to see the same groups everywhere. There are the two Spaniards whose guide wears a Cuba cap. We've seen them multiple times at different restaurants in different cities. There is the group of Italians which we've been seeing a lot lately. There is the solo guy from Hong Kong who we saw on our second day, then again 5 days and hundreds of miles later. Four women…
More

Simien Mountains

This morning, a new driver picked us up for the next leg of our tour. This guy, appropriately enough, is named Malas ("bad" in Spanish). He smokes cigarettes, which has evidently damaged his olfactory system because he could use a shower. He's a scary driver, though I got more comfortable as I observed him for a while. Unlike Maria. We had a few close calls, but the only time he slammed on the brakes was when a kid threw a rock at the car. Other than that, our only complaint is that he looks at you to talk. Not a big issue because he doesn't speak English. And he got…
More

Ethiopian Emperors

Because of the mosquitos the other night, we started taking malaria pills earlier than we had hoped. The rest of our stay here is at altitudes over 6000 feet, too high for mosquitos. We had hoped to delay until we got to Uganda, but now we need to take them every day until a week after we get home. We spent the day today in Gondar, the third capital of Ethiopia. The first two, Axum and Lalibela are our next two cities. Somewhere along the line, a king established his capital here at Gondar and built a castle in 1638. Gondar is in a valley surrounded by mountains, so evidently…
More

Lake Tana and the Drive to Gondar

Another early morning, this one after a pretty bad night. Our cute little bungalow's bathroom smelled of sewer gas and we were plagued by mosquitos. No mosquito net. Mas and Tardi picked us up at the hotel at 7:30 for a boat trip on Lake Tana. Early on the morning, the lake was like glass. We first went to the Nile outlet where we saw a family of 4 hippos, fishing eagles, pelicans and other birds. Then we headed across the open water to visit an Orthodox monastery. The trip over took an hour. A mist hung over the trees on the shore, while we were in sunshine. It was…
More

Blue Nile Falls

We were up at 5 this morning for a 6am ride to the airport to go to Bahir Dar, an hour's flight north. The flight was smooth and we landed around 8:30. Bahir Dar is the home of Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile which flows 900 miles north to Khartoum where it joins the White Nile and flows on through Egypt to the Mediterranean. The longest river in the world*. We are staying near where the river flows out of the lake. After dropping our luggage at the hotel, our guide Mas and driver Tardi took us on a ride, maybe 90 minutes over increasingly rough roads past…
More

Addis Ababa

After 14 hours of flying and 7 hours waiting in Frankfurt (where we rented a small, in-terminal hotel room for 3 hours to sleep), we got to Addis Ababa at 10pm just in time to get in a huge line at immigration. 90 minutes later, we got to the front of the line only to be told that our eVisas were not authorized. It took another hour following guys around to keep our passports in sight when they finally straightened it all out and we were admitted. During this process, we saw another American woman's passport sitting on a desk - no woman in sight, so who knows what happened…
More

Along the Himalayas to Bhutan

Up at 3:15 this morning to meet the group for a 4:30am departure from the hotel.   Through the Indian version of silly security then sit and wait for our 7:30 flight. When we asked for a window seat on the left side of the plane, she told us they were all taken, but we could get aisle and center on the left. Better than nothing, we said sure. When we boarded, no one was sitting in the window seat, but he came eventually and asked if we wanted to move over and sit on the window. Turns out, he was in a group of 20 and wanted to move…
More

First Day in Delhi

After 2 long flights and 10 time zones, we arrived in New Delhi just past midnight on Tuesday, on a journey that started Sunday. After collecting our luggage and passing through immigration, which included a silly, malfunctioning fingerprint reader, we exited into a chaotic hubub of people waiting for passengers. One guy had a sign with Maria's name on it, so that part worked! We had arranged a ride from the airport with our AirBnB. The guy took us on the 45 minute drive to the apartment in the center of New Delhi. Third floor and mercifully, air conditioned. We conked out.   Up at 6:45 to get into Old…
More

Tarangire: Cheetahs and a Village Visit

At 6:00am, a guy knocked on our door. Time to get up. Breakfast, then we were up and on our way at 7:15. We drove past some tiny villages of different tribes until we arrived at Tarangire National Park. More giraffes, elephants and impalas. We saw our first herd of wildebeests, who were walking single file towards the river. They had several zebras with them. Wildebeests can smell well but have week eyesight. Zebras can see well but can't smell too well. Wildebeests like to eat short grass, zebras cut the tall grass and the wildebeests the can munch on the stubs. We spotted an ostrich doing a mating dance,…
More

In the Wilds of East Jamaica

We are in a house across the road from the beach in Long Bay, Jamaica. Long Bay is a little village on the coastal road between Port Antonio and the town of Manchioneal. It has maybe 50 houses, a little supermarket, a gas station, a post office/library combination, a bunch of churches (today is Sunday, we passed several churches and saw many church ladies in their hats), a school and a dozen or more bars, which are little shacks made of scrap wood and corrugated metal. All sell beer and drinks; many serve food. The bar across the street from our house is run by LaToya, who has been keeping…
More

Jamaica and Senegal

Avoiding Jamaica's resorts, we got a car and headed to the boonies and were struck by how much this place reminds us of driving across Senegal. Cities and towns built by past colonials crumbling into disrepair, yet still functioning to some degree. Shacks made of sheet metal and cast off lumber where someone has set up a shop. Transportation centres like the gare routieres where too many people are cramming into route taxis that resemble newer sept places. The Jamaican patois is loaded with African words. Rastafari are a lot like the Baye Fall. A lot more rain and vegetation here. We can converse better in English than our broken…
More

Ocho Rios is Kinda Sucky

We arrived in Ocho Rios on Monday, March 13. We had driven, mostly without incident, from the Montego Bay airport. We found out too late that Ocho Rios is a cruise ship port. Every day a new behemoth arrives and disgorges its load of passengers who wander around town buying souvenirs. Consequently, numerous shops and market stalls have sprung up to sell these people crappy junk. Besides the cruise ships, all-inclusive resorts abound, where sun seekers can pay $350 per day to a hotel corporation to sit on a beach, get fed and entertained by loud DJs who exhort them to get up and drink. The only money that goes…
More

Fire and Water

Early start this morning. Ali had the top popped up on the Jeep so we could stand and look out. We spent the morning driving around Murchison National Park looking for animals. We saw elephants, warthogs, lots of birds lots of different kinds of antelopes, a few monkeys, several of the highly endangered Rothschild giraffe and a lion. We also saw miles of grassland, the grass was tall, so we couldn't see many animals. The park has a burning program, where they intentionally set the dry grasslands on fire. There were many stretches where the land had been burnt on one side of the road, with tall dry grass on…
More

Walking with the Rhinos

On our trip to the Serengeti, the only one of the so-called big five that we didn't see was the rhino. Today, we fixed that. Our flight yesterday from Addis Ababa was smooth. We saw the outlet of the White Nile from Lake Victoria, so check, both sources of the two branches of the world's greatest river sighted. Ali, our driver/guide for the Uganda leg of the trip, meet us at the airport and took us to the lodge where we spent the night, 5km north of the equator. 6am start this morning, to beat Kampala traffic. I suppose we mostly beat it, but we did hit some jams. Eventually,…
More

Flying and Flies – Lalibela

We are on the Historical Route, through the ancient capitals of Ethiopia. This is a popular tourist path to visit the country. We're not surprised to see lots of tourists at the sites, hotels and restaurants we're visiting. But what IS surprising is to see the same groups everywhere. There are the two Spaniards whose guide wears a Cuba cap. We've seen them multiple times at different restaurants in different cities. There is the group of Italians which we've been seeing a lot lately. There is the solo guy from Hong Kong who we saw on our second day, then again 5 days and hundreds of miles later. Four women…
More

Simien Mountains

This morning, a new driver picked us up for the next leg of our tour. This guy, appropriately enough, is named Malas ("bad" in Spanish). He smokes cigarettes, which has evidently damaged his olfactory system because he could use a shower. He's a scary driver, though I got more comfortable as I observed him for a while. Unlike Maria. We had a few close calls, but the only time he slammed on the brakes was when a kid threw a rock at the car. Other than that, our only complaint is that he looks at you to talk. Not a big issue because he doesn't speak English. And he got…
More

Ethiopian Emperors

Because of the mosquitos the other night, we started taking malaria pills earlier than we had hoped. The rest of our stay here is at altitudes over 6000 feet, too high for mosquitos. We had hoped to delay until we got to Uganda, but now we need to take them every day until a week after we get home. We spent the day today in Gondar, the third capital of Ethiopia. The first two, Axum and Lalibela are our next two cities. Somewhere along the line, a king established his capital here at Gondar and built a castle in 1638. Gondar is in a valley surrounded by mountains, so evidently…
More

Lake Tana and the Drive to Gondar

Another early morning, this one after a pretty bad night. Our cute little bungalow's bathroom smelled of sewer gas and we were plagued by mosquitos. No mosquito net. Mas and Tardi picked us up at the hotel at 7:30 for a boat trip on Lake Tana. Early on the morning, the lake was like glass. We first went to the Nile outlet where we saw a family of 4 hippos, fishing eagles, pelicans and other birds. Then we headed across the open water to visit an Orthodox monastery. The trip over took an hour. A mist hung over the trees on the shore, while we were in sunshine. It was…
More

Blue Nile Falls

We were up at 5 this morning for a 6am ride to the airport to go to Bahir Dar, an hour's flight north. The flight was smooth and we landed around 8:30. Bahir Dar is the home of Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile which flows 900 miles north to Khartoum where it joins the White Nile and flows on through Egypt to the Mediterranean. The longest river in the world*. We are staying near where the river flows out of the lake. After dropping our luggage at the hotel, our guide Mas and driver Tardi took us on a ride, maybe 90 minutes over increasingly rough roads past…
More

Addis Ababa

After 14 hours of flying and 7 hours waiting in Frankfurt (where we rented a small, in-terminal hotel room for 3 hours to sleep), we got to Addis Ababa at 10pm just in time to get in a huge line at immigration. 90 minutes later, we got to the front of the line only to be told that our eVisas were not authorized. It took another hour following guys around to keep our passports in sight when they finally straightened it all out and we were admitted. During this process, we saw another American woman's passport sitting on a desk - no woman in sight, so who knows what happened…
More

Along the Himalayas to Bhutan

Up at 3:15 this morning to meet the group for a 4:30am departure from the hotel.   Through the Indian version of silly security then sit and wait for our 7:30 flight. When we asked for a window seat on the left side of the plane, she told us they were all taken, but we could get aisle and center on the left. Better than nothing, we said sure. When we boarded, no one was sitting in the window seat, but he came eventually and asked if we wanted to move over and sit on the window. Turns out, he was in a group of 20 and wanted to move…
More

First Day in Delhi

After 2 long flights and 10 time zones, we arrived in New Delhi just past midnight on Tuesday, on a journey that started Sunday. After collecting our luggage and passing through immigration, which included a silly, malfunctioning fingerprint reader, we exited into a chaotic hubub of people waiting for passengers. One guy had a sign with Maria's name on it, so that part worked! We had arranged a ride from the airport with our AirBnB. The guy took us on the 45 minute drive to the apartment in the center of New Delhi. Third floor and mercifully, air conditioned. We conked out.   Up at 6:45 to get into Old…
More

Tarangire: Cheetahs and a Village Visit

At 6:00am, a guy knocked on our door. Time to get up. Breakfast, then we were up and on our way at 7:15. We drove past some tiny villages of different tribes until we arrived at Tarangire National Park. More giraffes, elephants and impalas. We saw our first herd of wildebeests, who were walking single file towards the river. They had several zebras with them. Wildebeests can smell well but have week eyesight. Zebras can see well but can't smell too well. Wildebeests like to eat short grass, zebras cut the tall grass and the wildebeests the can munch on the stubs. We spotted an ostrich doing a mating dance,…
More

In the Wilds of East Jamaica

We are in a house across the road from the beach in Long Bay, Jamaica. Long Bay is a little village on the coastal road between Port Antonio and the town of Manchioneal. It has maybe 50 houses, a little supermarket, a gas station, a post office/library combination, a bunch of churches (today is Sunday, we passed several churches and saw many church ladies in their hats), a school and a dozen or more bars, which are little shacks made of scrap wood and corrugated metal. All sell beer and drinks; many serve food. The bar across the street from our house is run by LaToya, who has been keeping…
More

Jamaica and Senegal

Avoiding Jamaica's resorts, we got a car and headed to the boonies and were struck by how much this place reminds us of driving across Senegal. Cities and towns built by past colonials crumbling into disrepair, yet still functioning to some degree. Shacks made of sheet metal and cast off lumber where someone has set up a shop. Transportation centres like the gare routieres where too many people are cramming into route taxis that resemble newer sept places. The Jamaican patois is loaded with African words. Rastafari are a lot like the Baye Fall. A lot more rain and vegetation here. We can converse better in English than our broken…
More

Ocho Rios is Kinda Sucky

We arrived in Ocho Rios on Monday, March 13. We had driven, mostly without incident, from the Montego Bay airport. We found out too late that Ocho Rios is a cruise ship port. Every day a new behemoth arrives and disgorges its load of passengers who wander around town buying souvenirs. Consequently, numerous shops and market stalls have sprung up to sell these people crappy junk. Besides the cruise ships, all-inclusive resorts abound, where sun seekers can pay $350 per day to a hotel corporation to sit on a beach, get fed and entertained by loud DJs who exhort them to get up and drink. The only money that goes…
More

Fire and Water

Early start this morning. Ali had the top popped up on the Jeep so we could stand and look out. We spent the morning driving around Murchison National Park looking for animals. We saw elephants, warthogs, lots of birds lots of different kinds of antelopes, a few monkeys, several of the highly endangered Rothschild giraffe and a lion. We also saw miles of grassland, the grass was tall, so we couldn't see many animals. The park has a burning program, where they intentionally set the dry grasslands on fire. There were many stretches where the land had been burnt on one side of the road, with tall dry grass on…
More

Walking with the Rhinos

On our trip to the Serengeti, the only one of the so-called big five that we didn't see was the rhino. Today, we fixed that. Our flight yesterday from Addis Ababa was smooth. We saw the outlet of the White Nile from Lake Victoria, so check, both sources of the two branches of the world's greatest river sighted. Ali, our driver/guide for the Uganda leg of the trip, meet us at the airport and took us to the lodge where we spent the night, 5km north of the equator. 6am start this morning, to beat Kampala traffic. I suppose we mostly beat it, but we did hit some jams. Eventually,…
More

Flying and Flies – Lalibela

We are on the Historical Route, through the ancient capitals of Ethiopia. This is a popular tourist path to visit the country. We're not surprised to see lots of tourists at the sites, hotels and restaurants we're visiting. But what IS surprising is to see the same groups everywhere. There are the two Spaniards whose guide wears a Cuba cap. We've seen them multiple times at different restaurants in different cities. There is the group of Italians which we've been seeing a lot lately. There is the solo guy from Hong Kong who we saw on our second day, then again 5 days and hundreds of miles later. Four women…
More

Simien Mountains

This morning, a new driver picked us up for the next leg of our tour. This guy, appropriately enough, is named Malas ("bad" in Spanish). He smokes cigarettes, which has evidently damaged his olfactory system because he could use a shower. He's a scary driver, though I got more comfortable as I observed him for a while. Unlike Maria. We had a few close calls, but the only time he slammed on the brakes was when a kid threw a rock at the car. Other than that, our only complaint is that he looks at you to talk. Not a big issue because he doesn't speak English. And he got…
More

Ethiopian Emperors

Because of the mosquitos the other night, we started taking malaria pills earlier than we had hoped. The rest of our stay here is at altitudes over 6000 feet, too high for mosquitos. We had hoped to delay until we got to Uganda, but now we need to take them every day until a week after we get home. We spent the day today in Gondar, the third capital of Ethiopia. The first two, Axum and Lalibela are our next two cities. Somewhere along the line, a king established his capital here at Gondar and built a castle in 1638. Gondar is in a valley surrounded by mountains, so evidently…
More

Lake Tana and the Drive to Gondar

Another early morning, this one after a pretty bad night. Our cute little bungalow's bathroom smelled of sewer gas and we were plagued by mosquitos. No mosquito net. Mas and Tardi picked us up at the hotel at 7:30 for a boat trip on Lake Tana. Early on the morning, the lake was like glass. We first went to the Nile outlet where we saw a family of 4 hippos, fishing eagles, pelicans and other birds. Then we headed across the open water to visit an Orthodox monastery. The trip over took an hour. A mist hung over the trees on the shore, while we were in sunshine. It was…
More

Blue Nile Falls

We were up at 5 this morning for a 6am ride to the airport to go to Bahir Dar, an hour's flight north. The flight was smooth and we landed around 8:30. Bahir Dar is the home of Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile which flows 900 miles north to Khartoum where it joins the White Nile and flows on through Egypt to the Mediterranean. The longest river in the world*. We are staying near where the river flows out of the lake. After dropping our luggage at the hotel, our guide Mas and driver Tardi took us on a ride, maybe 90 minutes over increasingly rough roads past…
More

Addis Ababa

After 14 hours of flying and 7 hours waiting in Frankfurt (where we rented a small, in-terminal hotel room for 3 hours to sleep), we got to Addis Ababa at 10pm just in time to get in a huge line at immigration. 90 minutes later, we got to the front of the line only to be told that our eVisas were not authorized. It took another hour following guys around to keep our passports in sight when they finally straightened it all out and we were admitted. During this process, we saw another American woman's passport sitting on a desk - no woman in sight, so who knows what happened…
More

Along the Himalayas to Bhutan

Up at 3:15 this morning to meet the group for a 4:30am departure from the hotel.   Through the Indian version of silly security then sit and wait for our 7:30 flight. When we asked for a window seat on the left side of the plane, she told us they were all taken, but we could get aisle and center on the left. Better than nothing, we said sure. When we boarded, no one was sitting in the window seat, but he came eventually and asked if we wanted to move over and sit on the window. Turns out, he was in a group of 20 and wanted to move…
More

First Day in Delhi

After 2 long flights and 10 time zones, we arrived in New Delhi just past midnight on Tuesday, on a journey that started Sunday. After collecting our luggage and passing through immigration, which included a silly, malfunctioning fingerprint reader, we exited into a chaotic hubub of people waiting for passengers. One guy had a sign with Maria's name on it, so that part worked! We had arranged a ride from the airport with our AirBnB. The guy took us on the 45 minute drive to the apartment in the center of New Delhi. Third floor and mercifully, air conditioned. We conked out.   Up at 6:45 to get into Old…
More

Tarangire: Cheetahs and a Village Visit

At 6:00am, a guy knocked on our door. Time to get up. Breakfast, then we were up and on our way at 7:15. We drove past some tiny villages of different tribes until we arrived at Tarangire National Park. More giraffes, elephants and impalas. We saw our first herd of wildebeests, who were walking single file towards the river. They had several zebras with them. Wildebeests can smell well but have week eyesight. Zebras can see well but can't smell too well. Wildebeests like to eat short grass, zebras cut the tall grass and the wildebeests the can munch on the stubs. We spotted an ostrich doing a mating dance,…
More

In the Wilds of East Jamaica

We are in a house across the road from the beach in Long Bay, Jamaica. Long Bay is a little village on the coastal road between Port Antonio and the town of Manchioneal. It has maybe 50 houses, a little supermarket, a gas station, a post office/library combination, a bunch of churches (today is Sunday, we passed several churches and saw many church ladies in their hats), a school and a dozen or more bars, which are little shacks made of scrap wood and corrugated metal. All sell beer and drinks; many serve food. The bar across the street from our house is run by LaToya, who has been keeping…
More

Jamaica and Senegal

Avoiding Jamaica's resorts, we got a car and headed to the boonies and were struck by how much this place reminds us of driving across Senegal. Cities and towns built by past colonials crumbling into disrepair, yet still functioning to some degree. Shacks made of sheet metal and cast off lumber where someone has set up a shop. Transportation centres like the gare routieres where too many people are cramming into route taxis that resemble newer sept places. The Jamaican patois is loaded with African words. Rastafari are a lot like the Baye Fall. A lot more rain and vegetation here. We can converse better in English than our broken…
More

Ocho Rios is Kinda Sucky

We arrived in Ocho Rios on Monday, March 13. We had driven, mostly without incident, from the Montego Bay airport. We found out too late that Ocho Rios is a cruise ship port. Every day a new behemoth arrives and disgorges its load of passengers who wander around town buying souvenirs. Consequently, numerous shops and market stalls have sprung up to sell these people crappy junk. Besides the cruise ships, all-inclusive resorts abound, where sun seekers can pay $350 per day to a hotel corporation to sit on a beach, get fed and entertained by loud DJs who exhort them to get up and drink. The only money that goes…
More

Fire and Water

Early start this morning. Ali had the top popped up on the Jeep so we could stand and look out. We spent the morning driving around Murchison National Park looking for animals. We saw elephants, warthogs, lots of birds lots of different kinds of antelopes, a few monkeys, several of the highly endangered Rothschild giraffe and a lion. We also saw miles of grassland, the grass was tall, so we couldn't see many animals. The park has a burning program, where they intentionally set the dry grasslands on fire. There were many stretches where the land had been burnt on one side of the road, with tall dry grass on…
More

Walking with the Rhinos

On our trip to the Serengeti, the only one of the so-called big five that we didn't see was the rhino. Today, we fixed that. Our flight yesterday from Addis Ababa was smooth. We saw the outlet of the White Nile from Lake Victoria, so check, both sources of the two branches of the world's greatest river sighted. Ali, our driver/guide for the Uganda leg of the trip, meet us at the airport and took us to the lodge where we spent the night, 5km north of the equator. 6am start this morning, to beat Kampala traffic. I suppose we mostly beat it, but we did hit some jams. Eventually,…
More

Flying and Flies – Lalibela

We are on the Historical Route, through the ancient capitals of Ethiopia. This is a popular tourist path to visit the country. We're not surprised to see lots of tourists at the sites, hotels and restaurants we're visiting. But what IS surprising is to see the same groups everywhere. There are the two Spaniards whose guide wears a Cuba cap. We've seen them multiple times at different restaurants in different cities. There is the group of Italians which we've been seeing a lot lately. There is the solo guy from Hong Kong who we saw on our second day, then again 5 days and hundreds of miles later. Four women…
More

Simien Mountains

This morning, a new driver picked us up for the next leg of our tour. This guy, appropriately enough, is named Malas ("bad" in Spanish). He smokes cigarettes, which has evidently damaged his olfactory system because he could use a shower. He's a scary driver, though I got more comfortable as I observed him for a while. Unlike Maria. We had a few close calls, but the only time he slammed on the brakes was when a kid threw a rock at the car. Other than that, our only complaint is that he looks at you to talk. Not a big issue because he doesn't speak English. And he got…
More

Ethiopian Emperors

Because of the mosquitos the other night, we started taking malaria pills earlier than we had hoped. The rest of our stay here is at altitudes over 6000 feet, too high for mosquitos. We had hoped to delay until we got to Uganda, but now we need to take them every day until a week after we get home. We spent the day today in Gondar, the third capital of Ethiopia. The first two, Axum and Lalibela are our next two cities. Somewhere along the line, a king established his capital here at Gondar and built a castle in 1638. Gondar is in a valley surrounded by mountains, so evidently…
More

Lake Tana and the Drive to Gondar

Another early morning, this one after a pretty bad night. Our cute little bungalow's bathroom smelled of sewer gas and we were plagued by mosquitos. No mosquito net. Mas and Tardi picked us up at the hotel at 7:30 for a boat trip on Lake Tana. Early on the morning, the lake was like glass. We first went to the Nile outlet where we saw a family of 4 hippos, fishing eagles, pelicans and other birds. Then we headed across the open water to visit an Orthodox monastery. The trip over took an hour. A mist hung over the trees on the shore, while we were in sunshine. It was…
More

Blue Nile Falls

We were up at 5 this morning for a 6am ride to the airport to go to Bahir Dar, an hour's flight north. The flight was smooth and we landed around 8:30. Bahir Dar is the home of Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile which flows 900 miles north to Khartoum where it joins the White Nile and flows on through Egypt to the Mediterranean. The longest river in the world*. We are staying near where the river flows out of the lake. After dropping our luggage at the hotel, our guide Mas and driver Tardi took us on a ride, maybe 90 minutes over increasingly rough roads past…
More

Addis Ababa

After 14 hours of flying and 7 hours waiting in Frankfurt (where we rented a small, in-terminal hotel room for 3 hours to sleep), we got to Addis Ababa at 10pm just in time to get in a huge line at immigration. 90 minutes later, we got to the front of the line only to be told that our eVisas were not authorized. It took another hour following guys around to keep our passports in sight when they finally straightened it all out and we were admitted. During this process, we saw another American woman's passport sitting on a desk - no woman in sight, so who knows what happened…
More

Along the Himalayas to Bhutan

Up at 3:15 this morning to meet the group for a 4:30am departure from the hotel.   Through the Indian version of silly security then sit and wait for our 7:30 flight. When we asked for a window seat on the left side of the plane, she told us they were all taken, but we could get aisle and center on the left. Better than nothing, we said sure. When we boarded, no one was sitting in the window seat, but he came eventually and asked if we wanted to move over and sit on the window. Turns out, he was in a group of 20 and wanted to move…
More

First Day in Delhi

After 2 long flights and 10 time zones, we arrived in New Delhi just past midnight on Tuesday, on a journey that started Sunday. After collecting our luggage and passing through immigration, which included a silly, malfunctioning fingerprint reader, we exited into a chaotic hubub of people waiting for passengers. One guy had a sign with Maria's name on it, so that part worked! We had arranged a ride from the airport with our AirBnB. The guy took us on the 45 minute drive to the apartment in the center of New Delhi. Third floor and mercifully, air conditioned. We conked out.   Up at 6:45 to get into Old…
More

Tarangire: Cheetahs and a Village Visit

At 6:00am, a guy knocked on our door. Time to get up. Breakfast, then we were up and on our way at 7:15. We drove past some tiny villages of different tribes until we arrived at Tarangire National Park. More giraffes, elephants and impalas. We saw our first herd of wildebeests, who were walking single file towards the river. They had several zebras with them. Wildebeests can smell well but have week eyesight. Zebras can see well but can't smell too well. Wildebeests like to eat short grass, zebras cut the tall grass and the wildebeests the can munch on the stubs. We spotted an ostrich doing a mating dance,…
More

In the Wilds of East Jamaica

We are in a house across the road from the beach in Long Bay, Jamaica. Long Bay is a little village on the coastal road between Port Antonio and the town of Manchioneal. It has maybe 50 houses, a little supermarket, a gas station, a post office/library combination, a bunch of churches (today is Sunday, we passed several churches and saw many church ladies in their hats), a school and a dozen or more bars, which are little shacks made of scrap wood and corrugated metal. All sell beer and drinks; many serve food. The bar across the street from our house is run by LaToya, who has been keeping…
More

Jamaica and Senegal

Avoiding Jamaica's resorts, we got a car and headed to the boonies and were struck by how much this place reminds us of driving across Senegal. Cities and towns built by past colonials crumbling into disrepair, yet still functioning to some degree. Shacks made of sheet metal and cast off lumber where someone has set up a shop. Transportation centres like the gare routieres where too many people are cramming into route taxis that resemble newer sept places. The Jamaican patois is loaded with African words. Rastafari are a lot like the Baye Fall. A lot more rain and vegetation here. We can converse better in English than our broken…
More

Ocho Rios is Kinda Sucky

We arrived in Ocho Rios on Monday, March 13. We had driven, mostly without incident, from the Montego Bay airport. We found out too late that Ocho Rios is a cruise ship port. Every day a new behemoth arrives and disgorges its load of passengers who wander around town buying souvenirs. Consequently, numerous shops and market stalls have sprung up to sell these people crappy junk. Besides the cruise ships, all-inclusive resorts abound, where sun seekers can pay $350 per day to a hotel corporation to sit on a beach, get fed and entertained by loud DJs who exhort them to get up and drink. The only money that goes…
More

Fire and Water

Early start this morning. Ali had the top popped up on the Jeep so we could stand and look out. We spent the morning driving around Murchison National Park looking for animals. We saw elephants, warthogs, lots of birds lots of different kinds of antelopes, a few monkeys, several of the highly endangered Rothschild giraffe and a lion. We also saw miles of grassland, the grass was tall, so we couldn't see many animals. The park has a burning program, where they intentionally set the dry grasslands on fire. There were many stretches where the land had been burnt on one side of the road, with tall dry grass on…
More

Walking with the Rhinos

On our trip to the Serengeti, the only one of the so-called big five that we didn't see was the rhino. Today, we fixed that. Our flight yesterday from Addis Ababa was smooth. We saw the outlet of the White Nile from Lake Victoria, so check, both sources of the two branches of the world's greatest river sighted. Ali, our driver/guide for the Uganda leg of the trip, meet us at the airport and took us to the lodge where we spent the night, 5km north of the equator. 6am start this morning, to beat Kampala traffic. I suppose we mostly beat it, but we did hit some jams. Eventually,…
More

Flying and Flies – Lalibela

We are on the Historical Route, through the ancient capitals of Ethiopia. This is a popular tourist path to visit the country. We're not surprised to see lots of tourists at the sites, hotels and restaurants we're visiting. But what IS surprising is to see the same groups everywhere. There are the two Spaniards whose guide wears a Cuba cap. We've seen them multiple times at different restaurants in different cities. There is the group of Italians which we've been seeing a lot lately. There is the solo guy from Hong Kong who we saw on our second day, then again 5 days and hundreds of miles later. Four women…
More

Simien Mountains

This morning, a new driver picked us up for the next leg of our tour. This guy, appropriately enough, is named Malas ("bad" in Spanish). He smokes cigarettes, which has evidently damaged his olfactory system because he could use a shower. He's a scary driver, though I got more comfortable as I observed him for a while. Unlike Maria. We had a few close calls, but the only time he slammed on the brakes was when a kid threw a rock at the car. Other than that, our only complaint is that he looks at you to talk. Not a big issue because he doesn't speak English. And he got…
More

Ethiopian Emperors

Because of the mosquitos the other night, we started taking malaria pills earlier than we had hoped. The rest of our stay here is at altitudes over 6000 feet, too high for mosquitos. We had hoped to delay until we got to Uganda, but now we need to take them every day until a week after we get home. We spent the day today in Gondar, the third capital of Ethiopia. The first two, Axum and Lalibela are our next two cities. Somewhere along the line, a king established his capital here at Gondar and built a castle in 1638. Gondar is in a valley surrounded by mountains, so evidently…
More

Lake Tana and the Drive to Gondar

Another early morning, this one after a pretty bad night. Our cute little bungalow's bathroom smelled of sewer gas and we were plagued by mosquitos. No mosquito net. Mas and Tardi picked us up at the hotel at 7:30 for a boat trip on Lake Tana. Early on the morning, the lake was like glass. We first went to the Nile outlet where we saw a family of 4 hippos, fishing eagles, pelicans and other birds. Then we headed across the open water to visit an Orthodox monastery. The trip over took an hour. A mist hung over the trees on the shore, while we were in sunshine. It was…
More

Blue Nile Falls

We were up at 5 this morning for a 6am ride to the airport to go to Bahir Dar, an hour's flight north. The flight was smooth and we landed around 8:30. Bahir Dar is the home of Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile which flows 900 miles north to Khartoum where it joins the White Nile and flows on through Egypt to the Mediterranean. The longest river in the world*. We are staying near where the river flows out of the lake. After dropping our luggage at the hotel, our guide Mas and driver Tardi took us on a ride, maybe 90 minutes over increasingly rough roads past…
More

Addis Ababa

After 14 hours of flying and 7 hours waiting in Frankfurt (where we rented a small, in-terminal hotel room for 3 hours to sleep), we got to Addis Ababa at 10pm just in time to get in a huge line at immigration. 90 minutes later, we got to the front of the line only to be told that our eVisas were not authorized. It took another hour following guys around to keep our passports in sight when they finally straightened it all out and we were admitted. During this process, we saw another American woman's passport sitting on a desk - no woman in sight, so who knows what happened…
More

Along the Himalayas to Bhutan

Up at 3:15 this morning to meet the group for a 4:30am departure from the hotel.   Through the Indian version of silly security then sit and wait for our 7:30 flight. When we asked for a window seat on the left side of the plane, she told us they were all taken, but we could get aisle and center on the left. Better than nothing, we said sure. When we boarded, no one was sitting in the window seat, but he came eventually and asked if we wanted to move over and sit on the window. Turns out, he was in a group of 20 and wanted to move…
More

First Day in Delhi

After 2 long flights and 10 time zones, we arrived in New Delhi just past midnight on Tuesday, on a journey that started Sunday. After collecting our luggage and passing through immigration, which included a silly, malfunctioning fingerprint reader, we exited into a chaotic hubub of people waiting for passengers. One guy had a sign with Maria's name on it, so that part worked! We had arranged a ride from the airport with our AirBnB. The guy took us on the 45 minute drive to the apartment in the center of New Delhi. Third floor and mercifully, air conditioned. We conked out.   Up at 6:45 to get into Old…
More

Tarangire: Cheetahs and a Village Visit

At 6:00am, a guy knocked on our door. Time to get up. Breakfast, then we were up and on our way at 7:15. We drove past some tiny villages of different tribes until we arrived at Tarangire National Park. More giraffes, elephants and impalas. We saw our first herd of wildebeests, who were walking single file towards the river. They had several zebras with them. Wildebeests can smell well but have week eyesight. Zebras can see well but can't smell too well. Wildebeests like to eat short grass, zebras cut the tall grass and the wildebeests the can munch on the stubs. We spotted an ostrich doing a mating dance,…
More

In the Wilds of East Jamaica

We are in a house across the road from the beach in Long Bay, Jamaica. Long Bay is a little village on the coastal road between Port Antonio and the town of Manchioneal. It has maybe 50 houses, a little supermarket, a gas station, a post office/library combination, a bunch of churches (today is Sunday, we passed several churches and saw many church ladies in their hats), a school and a dozen or more bars, which are little shacks made of scrap wood and corrugated metal. All sell beer and drinks; many serve food. The bar across the street from our house is run by LaToya, who has been keeping…
More

Jamaica and Senegal

Avoiding Jamaica's resorts, we got a car and headed to the boonies and were struck by how much this place reminds us of driving across Senegal. Cities and towns built by past colonials crumbling into disrepair, yet still functioning to some degree. Shacks made of sheet metal and cast off lumber where someone has set up a shop. Transportation centres like the gare routieres where too many people are cramming into route taxis that resemble newer sept places. The Jamaican patois is loaded with African words. Rastafari are a lot like the Baye Fall. A lot more rain and vegetation here. We can converse better in English than our broken…
More

Ocho Rios is Kinda Sucky

We arrived in Ocho Rios on Monday, March 13. We had driven, mostly without incident, from the Montego Bay airport. We found out too late that Ocho Rios is a cruise ship port. Every day a new behemoth arrives and disgorges its load of passengers who wander around town buying souvenirs. Consequently, numerous shops and market stalls have sprung up to sell these people crappy junk. Besides the cruise ships, all-inclusive resorts abound, where sun seekers can pay $350 per day to a hotel corporation to sit on a beach, get fed and entertained by loud DJs who exhort them to get up and drink. The only money that goes…
More

Fire and Water

Early start this morning. Ali had the top popped up on the Jeep so we could stand and look out. We spent the morning driving around Murchison National Park looking for animals. We saw elephants, warthogs, lots of birds lots of different kinds of antelopes, a few monkeys, several of the highly endangered Rothschild giraffe and a lion. We also saw miles of grassland, the grass was tall, so we couldn't see many animals. The park has a burning program, where they intentionally set the dry grasslands on fire. There were many stretches where the land had been burnt on one side of the road, with tall dry grass on…
More

Walking with the Rhinos

On our trip to the Serengeti, the only one of the so-called big five that we didn't see was the rhino. Today, we fixed that. Our flight yesterday from Addis Ababa was smooth. We saw the outlet of the White Nile from Lake Victoria, so check, both sources of the two branches of the world's greatest river sighted. Ali, our driver/guide for the Uganda leg of the trip, meet us at the airport and took us to the lodge where we spent the night, 5km north of the equator. 6am start this morning, to beat Kampala traffic. I suppose we mostly beat it, but we did hit some jams. Eventually,…
More

Flying and Flies – Lalibela

We are on the Historical Route, through the ancient capitals of Ethiopia. This is a popular tourist path to visit the country. We're not surprised to see lots of tourists at the sites, hotels and restaurants we're visiting. But what IS surprising is to see the same groups everywhere. There are the two Spaniards whose guide wears a Cuba cap. We've seen them multiple times at different restaurants in different cities. There is the group of Italians which we've been seeing a lot lately. There is the solo guy from Hong Kong who we saw on our second day, then again 5 days and hundreds of miles later. Four women…
More

Simien Mountains

This morning, a new driver picked us up for the next leg of our tour. This guy, appropriately enough, is named Malas ("bad" in Spanish). He smokes cigarettes, which has evidently damaged his olfactory system because he could use a shower. He's a scary driver, though I got more comfortable as I observed him for a while. Unlike Maria. We had a few close calls, but the only time he slammed on the brakes was when a kid threw a rock at the car. Other than that, our only complaint is that he looks at you to talk. Not a big issue because he doesn't speak English. And he got…
More

Ethiopian Emperors

Because of the mosquitos the other night, we started taking malaria pills earlier than we had hoped. The rest of our stay here is at altitudes over 6000 feet, too high for mosquitos. We had hoped to delay until we got to Uganda, but now we need to take them every day until a week after we get home. We spent the day today in Gondar, the third capital of Ethiopia. The first two, Axum and Lalibela are our next two cities. Somewhere along the line, a king established his capital here at Gondar and built a castle in 1638. Gondar is in a valley surrounded by mountains, so evidently…
More

Lake Tana and the Drive to Gondar

Another early morning, this one after a pretty bad night. Our cute little bungalow's bathroom smelled of sewer gas and we were plagued by mosquitos. No mosquito net. Mas and Tardi picked us up at the hotel at 7:30 for a boat trip on Lake Tana. Early on the morning, the lake was like glass. We first went to the Nile outlet where we saw a family of 4 hippos, fishing eagles, pelicans and other birds. Then we headed across the open water to visit an Orthodox monastery. The trip over took an hour. A mist hung over the trees on the shore, while we were in sunshine. It was…
More

Blue Nile Falls

We were up at 5 this morning for a 6am ride to the airport to go to Bahir Dar, an hour's flight north. The flight was smooth and we landed around 8:30. Bahir Dar is the home of Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile which flows 900 miles north to Khartoum where it joins the White Nile and flows on through Egypt to the Mediterranean. The longest river in the world*. We are staying near where the river flows out of the lake. After dropping our luggage at the hotel, our guide Mas and driver Tardi took us on a ride, maybe 90 minutes over increasingly rough roads past…
More

Addis Ababa

After 14 hours of flying and 7 hours waiting in Frankfurt (where we rented a small, in-terminal hotel room for 3 hours to sleep), we got to Addis Ababa at 10pm just in time to get in a huge line at immigration. 90 minutes later, we got to the front of the line only to be told that our eVisas were not authorized. It took another hour following guys around to keep our passports in sight when they finally straightened it all out and we were admitted. During this process, we saw another American woman's passport sitting on a desk - no woman in sight, so who knows what happened…
More

Along the Himalayas to Bhutan

Up at 3:15 this morning to meet the group for a 4:30am departure from the hotel.   Through the Indian version of silly security then sit and wait for our 7:30 flight. When we asked for a window seat on the left side of the plane, she told us they were all taken, but we could get aisle and center on the left. Better than nothing, we said sure. When we boarded, no one was sitting in the window seat, but he came eventually and asked if we wanted to move over and sit on the window. Turns out, he was in a group of 20 and wanted to move…
More

First Day in Delhi

After 2 long flights and 10 time zones, we arrived in New Delhi just past midnight on Tuesday, on a journey that started Sunday. After collecting our luggage and passing through immigration, which included a silly, malfunctioning fingerprint reader, we exited into a chaotic hubub of people waiting for passengers. One guy had a sign with Maria's name on it, so that part worked! We had arranged a ride from the airport with our AirBnB. The guy took us on the 45 minute drive to the apartment in the center of New Delhi. Third floor and mercifully, air conditioned. We conked out.   Up at 6:45 to get into Old…
More

Tarangire: Cheetahs and a Village Visit

At 6:00am, a guy knocked on our door. Time to get up. Breakfast, then we were up and on our way at 7:15. We drove past some tiny villages of different tribes until we arrived at Tarangire National Park. More giraffes, elephants and impalas. We saw our first herd of wildebeests, who were walking single file towards the river. They had several zebras with them. Wildebeests can smell well but have week eyesight. Zebras can see well but can't smell too well. Wildebeests like to eat short grass, zebras cut the tall grass and the wildebeests the can munch on the stubs. We spotted an ostrich doing a mating dance,…
More

In the Wilds of East Jamaica

We are in a house across the road from the beach in Long Bay, Jamaica. Long Bay is a little village on the coastal road between Port Antonio and the town of Manchioneal. It has maybe 50 houses, a little supermarket, a gas station, a post office/library combination, a bunch of churches (today is Sunday, we passed several churches and saw many church ladies in their hats), a school and a dozen or more bars, which are little shacks made of scrap wood and corrugated metal. All sell beer and drinks; many serve food. The bar across the street from our house is run by LaToya, who has been keeping…
More

Jamaica and Senegal

Avoiding Jamaica's resorts, we got a car and headed to the boonies and were struck by how much this place reminds us of driving across Senegal. Cities and towns built by past colonials crumbling into disrepair, yet still functioning to some degree. Shacks made of sheet metal and cast off lumber where someone has set up a shop. Transportation centres like the gare routieres where too many people are cramming into route taxis that resemble newer sept places. The Jamaican patois is loaded with African words. Rastafari are a lot like the Baye Fall. A lot more rain and vegetation here. We can converse better in English than our broken…
More

Ocho Rios is Kinda Sucky

We arrived in Ocho Rios on Monday, March 13. We had driven, mostly without incident, from the Montego Bay airport. We found out too late that Ocho Rios is a cruise ship port. Every day a new behemoth arrives and disgorges its load of passengers who wander around town buying souvenirs. Consequently, numerous shops and market stalls have sprung up to sell these people crappy junk. Besides the cruise ships, all-inclusive resorts abound, where sun seekers can pay $350 per day to a hotel corporation to sit on a beach, get fed and entertained by loud DJs who exhort them to get up and drink. The only money that goes…
More

Fire and Water

Early start this morning. Ali had the top popped up on the Jeep so we could stand and look out. We spent the morning driving around Murchison National Park looking for animals. We saw elephants, warthogs, lots of birds lots of different kinds of antelopes, a few monkeys, several of the highly endangered Rothschild giraffe and a lion. We also saw miles of grassland, the grass was tall, so we couldn't see many animals. The park has a burning program, where they intentionally set the dry grasslands on fire. There were many stretches where the land had been burnt on one side of the road, with tall dry grass on…
More

Walking with the Rhinos

On our trip to the Serengeti, the only one of the so-called big five that we didn't see was the rhino. Today, we fixed that. Our flight yesterday from Addis Ababa was smooth. We saw the outlet of the White Nile from Lake Victoria, so check, both sources of the two branches of the world's greatest river sighted. Ali, our driver/guide for the Uganda leg of the trip, meet us at the airport and took us to the lodge where we spent the night, 5km north of the equator. 6am start this morning, to beat Kampala traffic. I suppose we mostly beat it, but we did hit some jams. Eventually,…
More

Flying and Flies – Lalibela

We are on the Historical Route, through the ancient capitals of Ethiopia. This is a popular tourist path to visit the country. We're not surprised to see lots of tourists at the sites, hotels and restaurants we're visiting. But what IS surprising is to see the same groups everywhere. There are the two Spaniards whose guide wears a Cuba cap. We've seen them multiple times at different restaurants in different cities. There is the group of Italians which we've been seeing a lot lately. There is the solo guy from Hong Kong who we saw on our second day, then again 5 days and hundreds of miles later. Four women…
More

Simien Mountains

This morning, a new driver picked us up for the next leg of our tour. This guy, appropriately enough, is named Malas ("bad" in Spanish). He smokes cigarettes, which has evidently damaged his olfactory system because he could use a shower. He's a scary driver, though I got more comfortable as I observed him for a while. Unlike Maria. We had a few close calls, but the only time he slammed on the brakes was when a kid threw a rock at the car. Other than that, our only complaint is that he looks at you to talk. Not a big issue because he doesn't speak English. And he got…
More

Ethiopian Emperors

Because of the mosquitos the other night, we started taking malaria pills earlier than we had hoped. The rest of our stay here is at altitudes over 6000 feet, too high for mosquitos. We had hoped to delay until we got to Uganda, but now we need to take them every day until a week after we get home. We spent the day today in Gondar, the third capital of Ethiopia. The first two, Axum and Lalibela are our next two cities. Somewhere along the line, a king established his capital here at Gondar and built a castle in 1638. Gondar is in a valley surrounded by mountains, so evidently…
More

Lake Tana and the Drive to Gondar

Another early morning, this one after a pretty bad night. Our cute little bungalow's bathroom smelled of sewer gas and we were plagued by mosquitos. No mosquito net. Mas and Tardi picked us up at the hotel at 7:30 for a boat trip on Lake Tana. Early on the morning, the lake was like glass. We first went to the Nile outlet where we saw a family of 4 hippos, fishing eagles, pelicans and other birds. Then we headed across the open water to visit an Orthodox monastery. The trip over took an hour. A mist hung over the trees on the shore, while we were in sunshine. It was…
More

Blue Nile Falls

We were up at 5 this morning for a 6am ride to the airport to go to Bahir Dar, an hour's flight north. The flight was smooth and we landed around 8:30. Bahir Dar is the home of Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile which flows 900 miles north to Khartoum where it joins the White Nile and flows on through Egypt to the Mediterranean. The longest river in the world*. We are staying near where the river flows out of the lake. After dropping our luggage at the hotel, our guide Mas and driver Tardi took us on a ride, maybe 90 minutes over increasingly rough roads past…
More

Addis Ababa

After 14 hours of flying and 7 hours waiting in Frankfurt (where we rented a small, in-terminal hotel room for 3 hours to sleep), we got to Addis Ababa at 10pm just in time to get in a huge line at immigration. 90 minutes later, we got to the front of the line only to be told that our eVisas were not authorized. It took another hour following guys around to keep our passports in sight when they finally straightened it all out and we were admitted. During this process, we saw another American woman's passport sitting on a desk - no woman in sight, so who knows what happened…
More

Along the Himalayas to Bhutan

Up at 3:15 this morning to meet the group for a 4:30am departure from the hotel.   Through the Indian version of silly security then sit and wait for our 7:30 flight. When we asked for a window seat on the left side of the plane, she told us they were all taken, but we could get aisle and center on the left. Better than nothing, we said sure. When we boarded, no one was sitting in the window seat, but he came eventually and asked if we wanted to move over and sit on the window. Turns out, he was in a group of 20 and wanted to move…
More

First Day in Delhi

After 2 long flights and 10 time zones, we arrived in New Delhi just past midnight on Tuesday, on a journey that started Sunday. After collecting our luggage and passing through immigration, which included a silly, malfunctioning fingerprint reader, we exited into a chaotic hubub of people waiting for passengers. One guy had a sign with Maria's name on it, so that part worked! We had arranged a ride from the airport with our AirBnB. The guy took us on the 45 minute drive to the apartment in the center of New Delhi. Third floor and mercifully, air conditioned. We conked out.   Up at 6:45 to get into Old…
More

Tarangire: Cheetahs and a Village Visit

At 6:00am, a guy knocked on our door. Time to get up. Breakfast, then we were up and on our way at 7:15. We drove past some tiny villages of different tribes until we arrived at Tarangire National Park. More giraffes, elephants and impalas. We saw our first herd of wildebeests, who were walking single file towards the river. They had several zebras with them. Wildebeests can smell well but have week eyesight. Zebras can see well but can't smell too well. Wildebeests like to eat short grass, zebras cut the tall grass and the wildebeests the can munch on the stubs. We spotted an ostrich doing a mating dance,…
More

In the Wilds of East Jamaica

We are in a house across the road from the beach in Long Bay, Jamaica. Long Bay is a little village on the coastal road between Port Antonio and the town of Manchioneal. It has maybe 50 houses, a little supermarket, a gas station, a post office/library combination, a bunch of churches (today is Sunday, we passed several churches and saw many church ladies in their hats), a school and a dozen or more bars, which are little shacks made of scrap wood and corrugated metal. All sell beer and drinks; many serve food. The bar across the street from our house is run by LaToya, who has been keeping…
More

Jamaica and Senegal

Avoiding Jamaica's resorts, we got a car and headed to the boonies and were struck by how much this place reminds us of driving across Senegal. Cities and towns built by past colonials crumbling into disrepair, yet still functioning to some degree. Shacks made of sheet metal and cast off lumber where someone has set up a shop. Transportation centres like the gare routieres where too many people are cramming into route taxis that resemble newer sept places. The Jamaican patois is loaded with African words. Rastafari are a lot like the Baye Fall. A lot more rain and vegetation here. We can converse better in English than our broken…
More

Ocho Rios is Kinda Sucky

We arrived in Ocho Rios on Monday, March 13. We had driven, mostly without incident, from the Montego Bay airport. We found out too late that Ocho Rios is a cruise ship port. Every day a new behemoth arrives and disgorges its load of passengers who wander around town buying souvenirs. Consequently, numerous shops and market stalls have sprung up to sell these people crappy junk. Besides the cruise ships, all-inclusive resorts abound, where sun seekers can pay $350 per day to a hotel corporation to sit on a beach, get fed and entertained by loud DJs who exhort them to get up and drink. The only money that goes…
More

Fire and Water

Early start this morning. Ali had the top popped up on the Jeep so we could stand and look out. We spent the morning driving around Murchison National Park looking for animals. We saw elephants, warthogs, lots of birds lots of different kinds of antelopes, a few monkeys, several of the highly endangered Rothschild giraffe and a lion. We also saw miles of grassland, the grass was tall, so we couldn't see many animals. The park has a burning program, where they intentionally set the dry grasslands on fire. There were many stretches where the land had been burnt on one side of the road, with tall dry grass on…
More

Walking with the Rhinos

On our trip to the Serengeti, the only one of the so-called big five that we didn't see was the rhino. Today, we fixed that. Our flight yesterday from Addis Ababa was smooth. We saw the outlet of the White Nile from Lake Victoria, so check, both sources of the two branches of the world's greatest river sighted. Ali, our driver/guide for the Uganda leg of the trip, meet us at the airport and took us to the lodge where we spent the night, 5km north of the equator. 6am start this morning, to beat Kampala traffic. I suppose we mostly beat it, but we did hit some jams. Eventually,…
More

Flying and Flies – Lalibela

We are on the Historical Route, through the ancient capitals of Ethiopia. This is a popular tourist path to visit the country. We're not surprised to see lots of tourists at the sites, hotels and restaurants we're visiting. But what IS surprising is to see the same groups everywhere. There are the two Spaniards whose guide wears a Cuba cap. We've seen them multiple times at different restaurants in different cities. There is the group of Italians which we've been seeing a lot lately. There is the solo guy from Hong Kong who we saw on our second day, then again 5 days and hundreds of miles later. Four women…
More

Simien Mountains

This morning, a new driver picked us up for the next leg of our tour. This guy, appropriately enough, is named Malas ("bad" in Spanish). He smokes cigarettes, which has evidently damaged his olfactory system because he could use a shower. He's a scary driver, though I got more comfortable as I observed him for a while. Unlike Maria. We had a few close calls, but the only time he slammed on the brakes was when a kid threw a rock at the car. Other than that, our only complaint is that he looks at you to talk. Not a big issue because he doesn't speak English. And he got…
More

Ethiopian Emperors

Because of the mosquitos the other night, we started taking malaria pills earlier than we had hoped. The rest of our stay here is at altitudes over 6000 feet, too high for mosquitos. We had hoped to delay until we got to Uganda, but now we need to take them every day until a week after we get home. We spent the day today in Gondar, the third capital of Ethiopia. The first two, Axum and Lalibela are our next two cities. Somewhere along the line, a king established his capital here at Gondar and built a castle in 1638. Gondar is in a valley surrounded by mountains, so evidently…
More

Lake Tana and the Drive to Gondar

Another early morning, this one after a pretty bad night. Our cute little bungalow's bathroom smelled of sewer gas and we were plagued by mosquitos. No mosquito net. Mas and Tardi picked us up at the hotel at 7:30 for a boat trip on Lake Tana. Early on the morning, the lake was like glass. We first went to the Nile outlet where we saw a family of 4 hippos, fishing eagles, pelicans and other birds. Then we headed across the open water to visit an Orthodox monastery. The trip over took an hour. A mist hung over the trees on the shore, while we were in sunshine. It was…
More

Blue Nile Falls

We were up at 5 this morning for a 6am ride to the airport to go to Bahir Dar, an hour's flight north. The flight was smooth and we landed around 8:30. Bahir Dar is the home of Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile which flows 900 miles north to Khartoum where it joins the White Nile and flows on through Egypt to the Mediterranean. The longest river in the world*. We are staying near where the river flows out of the lake. After dropping our luggage at the hotel, our guide Mas and driver Tardi took us on a ride, maybe 90 minutes over increasingly rough roads past…
More

Addis Ababa

After 14 hours of flying and 7 hours waiting in Frankfurt (where we rented a small, in-terminal hotel room for 3 hours to sleep), we got to Addis Ababa at 10pm just in time to get in a huge line at immigration. 90 minutes later, we got to the front of the line only to be told that our eVisas were not authorized. It took another hour following guys around to keep our passports in sight when they finally straightened it all out and we were admitted. During this process, we saw another American woman's passport sitting on a desk - no woman in sight, so who knows what happened…
More

Along the Himalayas to Bhutan

Up at 3:15 this morning to meet the group for a 4:30am departure from the hotel.   Through the Indian version of silly security then sit and wait for our 7:30 flight. When we asked for a window seat on the left side of the plane, she told us they were all taken, but we could get aisle and center on the left. Better than nothing, we said sure. When we boarded, no one was sitting in the window seat, but he came eventually and asked if we wanted to move over and sit on the window. Turns out, he was in a group of 20 and wanted to move…
More

First Day in Delhi

After 2 long flights and 10 time zones, we arrived in New Delhi just past midnight on Tuesday, on a journey that started Sunday. After collecting our luggage and passing through immigration, which included a silly, malfunctioning fingerprint reader, we exited into a chaotic hubub of people waiting for passengers. One guy had a sign with Maria's name on it, so that part worked! We had arranged a ride from the airport with our AirBnB. The guy took us on the 45 minute drive to the apartment in the center of New Delhi. Third floor and mercifully, air conditioned. We conked out.   Up at 6:45 to get into Old…
More

Tarangire: Cheetahs and a Village Visit

At 6:00am, a guy knocked on our door. Time to get up. Breakfast, then we were up and on our way at 7:15. We drove past some tiny villages of different tribes until we arrived at Tarangire National Park. More giraffes, elephants and impalas. We saw our first herd of wildebeests, who were walking single file towards the river. They had several zebras with them. Wildebeests can smell well but have week eyesight. Zebras can see well but can't smell too well. Wildebeests like to eat short grass, zebras cut the tall grass and the wildebeests the can munch on the stubs. We spotted an ostrich doing a mating dance,…
More

In the Wilds of East Jamaica

We are in a house across the road from the beach in Long Bay, Jamaica. Long Bay is a little village on the coastal road between Port Antonio and the town of Manchioneal. It has maybe 50 houses, a little supermarket, a gas station, a post office/library combination, a bunch of churches (today is Sunday, we passed several churches and saw many church ladies in their hats), a school and a dozen or more bars, which are little shacks made of scrap wood and corrugated metal. All sell beer and drinks; many serve food. The bar across the street from our house is run by LaToya, who has been keeping…
More

Jamaica and Senegal

Avoiding Jamaica's resorts, we got a car and headed to the boonies and were struck by how much this place reminds us of driving across Senegal. Cities and towns built by past colonials crumbling into disrepair, yet still functioning to some degree. Shacks made of sheet metal and cast off lumber where someone has set up a shop. Transportation centres like the gare routieres where too many people are cramming into route taxis that resemble newer sept places. The Jamaican patois is loaded with African words. Rastafari are a lot like the Baye Fall. A lot more rain and vegetation here. We can converse better in English than our broken…
More

Ocho Rios is Kinda Sucky

We arrived in Ocho Rios on Monday, March 13. We had driven, mostly without incident, from the Montego Bay airport. We found out too late that Ocho Rios is a cruise ship port. Every day a new behemoth arrives and disgorges its load of passengers who wander around town buying souvenirs. Consequently, numerous shops and market stalls have sprung up to sell these people crappy junk. Besides the cruise ships, all-inclusive resorts abound, where sun seekers can pay $350 per day to a hotel corporation to sit on a beach, get fed and entertained by loud DJs who exhort them to get up and drink. The only money that goes…
More

Fire and Water

Early start this morning. Ali had the top popped up on the Jeep so we could stand and look out. We spent the morning driving around Murchison National Park looking for animals. We saw elephants, warthogs, lots of birds lots of different kinds of antelopes, a few monkeys, several of the highly endangered Rothschild giraffe and a lion. We also saw miles of grassland, the grass was tall, so we couldn't see many animals. The park has a burning program, where they intentionally set the dry grasslands on fire. There were many stretches where the land had been burnt on one side of the road, with tall dry grass on…
More

Walking with the Rhinos

On our trip to the Serengeti, the only one of the so-called big five that we didn't see was the rhino. Today, we fixed that. Our flight yesterday from Addis Ababa was smooth. We saw the outlet of the White Nile from Lake Victoria, so check, both sources of the two branches of the world's greatest river sighted. Ali, our driver/guide for the Uganda leg of the trip, meet us at the airport and took us to the lodge where we spent the night, 5km north of the equator. 6am start this morning, to beat Kampala traffic. I suppose we mostly beat it, but we did hit some jams. Eventually,…
More

Flying and Flies – Lalibela

We are on the Historical Route, through the ancient capitals of Ethiopia. This is a popular tourist path to visit the country. We're not surprised to see lots of tourists at the sites, hotels and restaurants we're visiting. But what IS surprising is to see the same groups everywhere. There are the two Spaniards whose guide wears a Cuba cap. We've seen them multiple times at different restaurants in different cities. There is the group of Italians which we've been seeing a lot lately. There is the solo guy from Hong Kong who we saw on our second day, then again 5 days and hundreds of miles later. Four women…
More

Simien Mountains

This morning, a new driver picked us up for the next leg of our tour. This guy, appropriately enough, is named Malas ("bad" in Spanish). He smokes cigarettes, which has evidently damaged his olfactory system because he could use a shower. He's a scary driver, though I got more comfortable as I observed him for a while. Unlike Maria. We had a few close calls, but the only time he slammed on the brakes was when a kid threw a rock at the car. Other than that, our only complaint is that he looks at you to talk. Not a big issue because he doesn't speak English. And he got…
More

Ethiopian Emperors

Because of the mosquitos the other night, we started taking malaria pills earlier than we had hoped. The rest of our stay here is at altitudes over 6000 feet, too high for mosquitos. We had hoped to delay until we got to Uganda, but now we need to take them every day until a week after we get home. We spent the day today in Gondar, the third capital of Ethiopia. The first two, Axum and Lalibela are our next two cities. Somewhere along the line, a king established his capital here at Gondar and built a castle in 1638. Gondar is in a valley surrounded by mountains, so evidently…
More

Lake Tana and the Drive to Gondar

Another early morning, this one after a pretty bad night. Our cute little bungalow's bathroom smelled of sewer gas and we were plagued by mosquitos. No mosquito net. Mas and Tardi picked us up at the hotel at 7:30 for a boat trip on Lake Tana. Early on the morning, the lake was like glass. We first went to the Nile outlet where we saw a family of 4 hippos, fishing eagles, pelicans and other birds. Then we headed across the open water to visit an Orthodox monastery. The trip over took an hour. A mist hung over the trees on the shore, while we were in sunshine. It was…
More

Blue Nile Falls

We were up at 5 this morning for a 6am ride to the airport to go to Bahir Dar, an hour's flight north. The flight was smooth and we landed around 8:30. Bahir Dar is the home of Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile which flows 900 miles north to Khartoum where it joins the White Nile and flows on through Egypt to the Mediterranean. The longest river in the world*. We are staying near where the river flows out of the lake. After dropping our luggage at the hotel, our guide Mas and driver Tardi took us on a ride, maybe 90 minutes over increasingly rough roads past…
More

Addis Ababa

After 14 hours of flying and 7 hours waiting in Frankfurt (where we rented a small, in-terminal hotel room for 3 hours to sleep), we got to Addis Ababa at 10pm just in time to get in a huge line at immigration. 90 minutes later, we got to the front of the line only to be told that our eVisas were not authorized. It took another hour following guys around to keep our passports in sight when they finally straightened it all out and we were admitted. During this process, we saw another American woman's passport sitting on a desk - no woman in sight, so who knows what happened…
More

Along the Himalayas to Bhutan

Up at 3:15 this morning to meet the group for a 4:30am departure from the hotel.   Through the Indian version of silly security then sit and wait for our 7:30 flight. When we asked for a window seat on the left side of the plane, she told us they were all taken, but we could get aisle and center on the left. Better than nothing, we said sure. When we boarded, no one was sitting in the window seat, but he came eventually and asked if we wanted to move over and sit on the window. Turns out, he was in a group of 20 and wanted to move…
More

First Day in Delhi

After 2 long flights and 10 time zones, we arrived in New Delhi just past midnight on Tuesday, on a journey that started Sunday. After collecting our luggage and passing through immigration, which included a silly, malfunctioning fingerprint reader, we exited into a chaotic hubub of people waiting for passengers. One guy had a sign with Maria's name on it, so that part worked! We had arranged a ride from the airport with our AirBnB. The guy took us on the 45 minute drive to the apartment in the center of New Delhi. Third floor and mercifully, air conditioned. We conked out.   Up at 6:45 to get into Old…
More

Tarangire: Cheetahs and a Village Visit

At 6:00am, a guy knocked on our door. Time to get up. Breakfast, then we were up and on our way at 7:15. We drove past some tiny villages of different tribes until we arrived at Tarangire National Park. More giraffes, elephants and impalas. We saw our first herd of wildebeests, who were walking single file towards the river. They had several zebras with them. Wildebeests can smell well but have week eyesight. Zebras can see well but can't smell too well. Wildebeests like to eat short grass, zebras cut the tall grass and the wildebeests the can munch on the stubs. We spotted an ostrich doing a mating dance,…
More

In the Wilds of East Jamaica

We are in a house across the road from the beach in Long Bay, Jamaica. Long Bay is a little village on the coastal road between Port Antonio and the town of Manchioneal. It has maybe 50 houses, a little supermarket, a gas station, a post office/library combination, a bunch of churches (today is Sunday, we passed several churches and saw many church ladies in their hats), a school and a dozen or more bars, which are little shacks made of scrap wood and corrugated metal. All sell beer and drinks; many serve food. The bar across the street from our house is run by LaToya, who has been keeping…
More

Jamaica and Senegal

Avoiding Jamaica's resorts, we got a car and headed to the boonies and were struck by how much this place reminds us of driving across Senegal. Cities and towns built by past colonials crumbling into disrepair, yet still functioning to some degree. Shacks made of sheet metal and cast off lumber where someone has set up a shop. Transportation centres like the gare routieres where too many people are cramming into route taxis that resemble newer sept places. The Jamaican patois is loaded with African words. Rastafari are a lot like the Baye Fall. A lot more rain and vegetation here. We can converse better in English than our broken…
More

Ocho Rios is Kinda Sucky

We arrived in Ocho Rios on Monday, March 13. We had driven, mostly without incident, from the Montego Bay airport. We found out too late that Ocho Rios is a cruise ship port. Every day a new behemoth arrives and disgorges its load of passengers who wander around town buying souvenirs. Consequently, numerous shops and market stalls have sprung up to sell these people crappy junk. Besides the cruise ships, all-inclusive resorts abound, where sun seekers can pay $350 per day to a hotel corporation to sit on a beach, get fed and entertained by loud DJs who exhort them to get up and drink. The only money that goes…
More

Fire and Water

Early start this morning. Ali had the top popped up on the Jeep so we could stand and look out. We spent the morning driving around Murchison National Park looking for animals. We saw elephants, warthogs, lots of birds lots of different kinds of antelopes, a few monkeys, several of the highly endangered Rothschild giraffe and a lion. We also saw miles of grassland, the grass was tall, so we couldn't see many animals. The park has a burning program, where they intentionally set the dry grasslands on fire. There were many stretches where the land had been burnt on one side of the road, with tall dry grass on…
More

Walking with the Rhinos

On our trip to the Serengeti, the only one of the so-called big five that we didn't see was the rhino. Today, we fixed that. Our flight yesterday from Addis Ababa was smooth. We saw the outlet of the White Nile from Lake Victoria, so check, both sources of the two branches of the world's greatest river sighted. Ali, our driver/guide for the Uganda leg of the trip, meet us at the airport and took us to the lodge where we spent the night, 5km north of the equator. 6am start this morning, to beat Kampala traffic. I suppose we mostly beat it, but we did hit some jams. Eventually,…
More

Flying and Flies – Lalibela

We are on the Historical Route, through the ancient capitals of Ethiopia. This is a popular tourist path to visit the country. We're not surprised to see lots of tourists at the sites, hotels and restaurants we're visiting. But what IS surprising is to see the same groups everywhere. There are the two Spaniards whose guide wears a Cuba cap. We've seen them multiple times at different restaurants in different cities. There is the group of Italians which we've been seeing a lot lately. There is the solo guy from Hong Kong who we saw on our second day, then again 5 days and hundreds of miles later. Four women…
More

Simien Mountains

This morning, a new driver picked us up for the next leg of our tour. This guy, appropriately enough, is named Malas ("bad" in Spanish). He smokes cigarettes, which has evidently damaged his olfactory system because he could use a shower. He's a scary driver, though I got more comfortable as I observed him for a while. Unlike Maria. We had a few close calls, but the only time he slammed on the brakes was when a kid threw a rock at the car. Other than that, our only complaint is that he looks at you to talk. Not a big issue because he doesn't speak English. And he got…
More

Ethiopian Emperors

Because of the mosquitos the other night, we started taking malaria pills earlier than we had hoped. The rest of our stay here is at altitudes over 6000 feet, too high for mosquitos. We had hoped to delay until we got to Uganda, but now we need to take them every day until a week after we get home. We spent the day today in Gondar, the third capital of Ethiopia. The first two, Axum and Lalibela are our next two cities. Somewhere along the line, a king established his capital here at Gondar and built a castle in 1638. Gondar is in a valley surrounded by mountains, so evidently…
More

Lake Tana and the Drive to Gondar

Another early morning, this one after a pretty bad night. Our cute little bungalow's bathroom smelled of sewer gas and we were plagued by mosquitos. No mosquito net. Mas and Tardi picked us up at the hotel at 7:30 for a boat trip on Lake Tana. Early on the morning, the lake was like glass. We first went to the Nile outlet where we saw a family of 4 hippos, fishing eagles, pelicans and other birds. Then we headed across the open water to visit an Orthodox monastery. The trip over took an hour. A mist hung over the trees on the shore, while we were in sunshine. It was…
More

Blue Nile Falls

We were up at 5 this morning for a 6am ride to the airport to go to Bahir Dar, an hour's flight north. The flight was smooth and we landed around 8:30. Bahir Dar is the home of Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile which flows 900 miles north to Khartoum where it joins the White Nile and flows on through Egypt to the Mediterranean. The longest river in the world*. We are staying near where the river flows out of the lake. After dropping our luggage at the hotel, our guide Mas and driver Tardi took us on a ride, maybe 90 minutes over increasingly rough roads past…
More

Addis Ababa

After 14 hours of flying and 7 hours waiting in Frankfurt (where we rented a small, in-terminal hotel room for 3 hours to sleep), we got to Addis Ababa at 10pm just in time to get in a huge line at immigration. 90 minutes later, we got to the front of the line only to be told that our eVisas were not authorized. It took another hour following guys around to keep our passports in sight when they finally straightened it all out and we were admitted. During this process, we saw another American woman's passport sitting on a desk - no woman in sight, so who knows what happened…
More

Along the Himalayas to Bhutan

Up at 3:15 this morning to meet the group for a 4:30am departure from the hotel.   Through the Indian version of silly security then sit and wait for our 7:30 flight. When we asked for a window seat on the left side of the plane, she told us they were all taken, but we could get aisle and center on the left. Better than nothing, we said sure. When we boarded, no one was sitting in the window seat, but he came eventually and asked if we wanted to move over and sit on the window. Turns out, he was in a group of 20 and wanted to move…
More

First Day in Delhi

After 2 long flights and 10 time zones, we arrived in New Delhi just past midnight on Tuesday, on a journey that started Sunday. After collecting our luggage and passing through immigration, which included a silly, malfunctioning fingerprint reader, we exited into a chaotic hubub of people waiting for passengers. One guy had a sign with Maria's name on it, so that part worked! We had arranged a ride from the airport with our AirBnB. The guy took us on the 45 minute drive to the apartment in the center of New Delhi. Third floor and mercifully, air conditioned. We conked out.   Up at 6:45 to get into Old…
More

Tarangire: Cheetahs and a Village Visit

At 6:00am, a guy knocked on our door. Time to get up. Breakfast, then we were up and on our way at 7:15. We drove past some tiny villages of different tribes until we arrived at Tarangire National Park. More giraffes, elephants and impalas. We saw our first herd of wildebeests, who were walking single file towards the river. They had several zebras with them. Wildebeests can smell well but have week eyesight. Zebras can see well but can't smell too well. Wildebeests like to eat short grass, zebras cut the tall grass and the wildebeests the can munch on the stubs. We spotted an ostrich doing a mating dance,…
More

In the Wilds of East Jamaica

We are in a house across the road from the beach in Long Bay, Jamaica. Long Bay is a little village on the coastal road between Port Antonio and the town of Manchioneal. It has maybe 50 houses, a little supermarket, a gas station, a post office/library combination, a bunch of churches (today is Sunday, we passed several churches and saw many church ladies in their hats), a school and a dozen or more bars, which are little shacks made of scrap wood and corrugated metal. All sell beer and drinks; many serve food. The bar across the street from our house is run by LaToya, who has been keeping…
More

Jamaica and Senegal

Avoiding Jamaica's resorts, we got a car and headed to the boonies and were struck by how much this place reminds us of driving across Senegal. Cities and towns built by past colonials crumbling into disrepair, yet still functioning to some degree. Shacks made of sheet metal and cast off lumber where someone has set up a shop. Transportation centres like the gare routieres where too many people are cramming into route taxis that resemble newer sept places. The Jamaican patois is loaded with African words. Rastafari are a lot like the Baye Fall. A lot more rain and vegetation here. We can converse better in English than our broken…
More

Ocho Rios is Kinda Sucky

We arrived in Ocho Rios on Monday, March 13. We had driven, mostly without incident, from the Montego Bay airport. We found out too late that Ocho Rios is a cruise ship port. Every day a new behemoth arrives and disgorges its load of passengers who wander around town buying souvenirs. Consequently, numerous shops and market stalls have sprung up to sell these people crappy junk. Besides the cruise ships, all-inclusive resorts abound, where sun seekers can pay $350 per day to a hotel corporation to sit on a beach, get fed and entertained by loud DJs who exhort them to get up and drink. The only money that goes…
More