A Travellerspoint blog

Nairobi to Arusha

Nairobi to Arusha

Side note: There aren't going to be too many pictures in this post as I was barely awake for the past day or so and figured I would get plenty of pictures of the road at a later time.

After arriving in Nairobi we made our way through customs and then pleasantly surprised when Thom spotted a guy with my name on a sign waiting for us. You see we had made other arrangements to start our trip. We were arriving a day early from when our tour was to start and we were suppose to originally stay in Nairobi for two nights. Realizing we weren't really going to see much in Nairobi as our tour was heading out on the second day anyway and things weren't sounding too great on the news about the area Intrepid told us we could meet up with the group on the second day in Arusha, Tanzania instead and so we chose that option. I had booked us a seat on a local shuttle to take us from the airport to Arusha and knew I had to find some guy named Peter near a restaurant. So when I didn't have to go looking around asking for directions I was pleased.(Thom's ADHD comes in handy sometimes...he he he)
So we were suppose to board or leave around 8 am but we are on "Africa" time now so I'd say by the time the shuttle actually left it was probably 9:30. :-)

As we pulled out I saw my first wild animal a zebra....unfortunately it was road kill :-( We'll take that as a positive omen for the future....thanks for the memories Kenya.

The trip to Arusha was actually really cool and if I could have kept my eyes open long enough or had the energy to actually pull my camera out I might have had some photos to share. So some brief descriptions is all ya going to get now.

The landscape went from vast flat lands to distant soft mountains in the backgrounds. We passed several herds of goats, donkeys and cattle. Yay more cows!!! One heard slowed our trip down as they crossed. We passed Majestic Masai men and women herding their flocks and caring baskets on their heads. I woke Thom from his slumber once in amazement to see a ton of camels being herded on the side of the road. Yup more camels too! Two hours later we stopped at the boarder crossing got out filled out more forms and got finger printed again.... Back on the shuttle. Thom woke me in time to see an ostrich which I know was real but it felt like a miráge as I stared really hard to make sure I wasn't hallucinating from lack of sleep.

The weather here is wonderful too. Way better than sticky NJ. Sunny and warm during the days maybe in the 80s. You can get hot in the sun but because there is no humidity it is significantly cooler in the shade. Nights are actually chilly so no air con needed.

We finally made it to our hotel and it is really nice!
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I have pictures of this only because I took them the next day after they re made our bed and I could function in the day again...lol

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So now we are just relaxing and resting up as tomorrow we leave this comfort to hit the road overland style.
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Side note the Tusk beer is named that based on an elephant that killed one of the original brewers or founders of this beer...or so the story on the bottle says.
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We'll be camping at least 17 of our nights and I'm sure I won't have wifi as often. I plan to keep record and account as best I can and then post when or if wifi becomes available. So posts will probably be nothing and then maybe multiple all at once.
Tomorrow we meet up with our group and truck and head to A small village community, Mto Wa Mbu that is said to offer an excellent way to get a close-up look at life in an African town away from the main tourist trail. It will be our first campsite.

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Kwa heri!

Posted by Kelly Rose 07:50 Archived in Tanzania Comments (3)

Planes trains and canals....

Getting there...
As we woke Thursday morning I was conscious of what clothes I decided to wear as I realized these would be my only options for the next two days. We had about a 7 hour flight to Amsterdam, a 15hr layover there to explore, another 8 hour flight to Nairobi and then since we wanted out of Kenya early due to some uneasy news we had been getting from there we were taking a shuttle for 5 hours straight to Arusha in Tanzania....sheesh! But first we had a two hour car ride with my mom to JFK airport. She is the best and we are truly thankful for her bravery and time put in as our airport shuttle service xoxoxo. As we waited in the airport we decided to indulge in a beer and burger at Shake Shack and it was there that my heart sank as we saw across the news on a tv about the Malaysian airliner full of tourists and civilians leaving Amsterdam was shot down over Ukraine. I have no words only sadness in hearing this. Even as I try to write now I am still in a bit of shock trying to process such a thing. Trying to keep my already heightened nerves calm during this journey would prove to be a bumpy ongoing process and my stomach was taking the brunt of it the whole way.

Moving on because that is what you do. So I totally underestimated and forgot about time differences when it came to our physical body time clock on this journey. In my mind and on paper it seemed awesome. Sleep a little on the plane and then have all day to walk around stretch our legs and then sleep some more on the way to Africa. Only problem is our bodies thought it was 11:00 p.m. when we landed at 6:00 a.m. Amsterdam time...ha! But whatever we can sleep more later....

So first we headed to the trains where I got us a round trip ticket to central station and back for the day. No problem except of course that when we walked down to the platform all the trains that come every 15 min were all on hold because of a fire or smoke in one of the tunnels. Sound familiar patco and NYC transit people :-)
Luckily it wasn't too long of a wait for us and we were finally on our way.

Now I had been to Amsterdam before for a couple of days but it was over 10 years ago. I was prepared with 9:00 tickets to the Van Gogh museum but no map on how to exactly get there..ha!
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It was early in the morning and the streets were quiet so wandering around the city using city posted maps was confusing since we couldn't come close to pronouncing half the street names but the walk itself was actually quite lovely and peaceful.
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We made our way to Museumplein - Amsterdam's Most Convenient Park dominated by an expanse of grass bordered by the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum (currently under renovation and located behind Centraal Station).

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When we finally arrived at the Van Gogh Museum we were some of the first ones there which was great and didn't have to wait in any huge lines which formed very quickly soon after. The museum was completely renovated since my last visit. Our visit was truly inspiring and educational! We saw paintings neither of us had seen before, learned historical information we did not know and Thom felt that for him it was a very important part of his life - VERY inspiring!!! An amazing man, a gifted artist- much can be found from this one man's story.

So our bodies beginning to fade from standing and time differences we made our way to a "coffee shop" recommended from a friend. Chilled out over some milkshakes and then off again. We walked through most of the neighborhoods seeing Dam square (which disappointingly they had what looked like a beach volleyball tournament set up in the middle of???. Bleachers surrounding a center court of sand???). We took a stroll through the red light district although it is pretty quiet during the day. We walked through busy crowded shopping areas...

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...markets and passed hostels busy with young travelers ready to party their brains out for their whole stay. Not being my scene in general we headed more towards the quieter side of town just outside of where Anne Frank's house was and sat at a table under an umbrella near a canal set by a lovely cafe.
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OMG we were soooooooo tired and worn down already. To make it short we split a lovely sandwich and eventually wondered up past all the boat houses and eventually back to central station and the airport. We were sweating and tired and honestly done for the day. We were running on two- three hours of sleep. I did manage to get in some poffertjes - mini fluffy Dutch pancakes with powdered sugar, before we left.

Posted by Kelly Rose 05:09 Archived in Netherlands Tagged amsterdam Comments (6)

Back to Africa...for me at least...

One more journey in the works...

So yup....it's not South East Asia for us AGAIN!
Some of you might have heard us planing for that adventure a while back.
Part of us thinks that it is just not working out for us to go there because that is where we are going to end up living and teaching abroad perhaps a few years down the road and therefore, the universe keeps telling us to go see other places first. At least that is what we are telling ourselves for the moment...he he he.

This trip would not even be a thought let alone an actual plan if a few special things didn't happen to fall into our laps to make it affordable and possible and so we are jumping to take advantage of these special opportunities while we can. It's the earth and spirits aligning in a different way and frankly we are just as excited and feel super blessed.

So come this summer we are heading to Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe!

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More to come then but for now we got a whole list of visas and shots to get..lol

Posted by Kelly Rose 14:32 Comments (2)

Goa's on!

So even though we are home I still need to post about the very end of our trip. I got a little lazy and comfortable there and didn't feel like posting but as these posts are some I will reflect on years later I want to complete it. Also I have two more posts to add after this. One will be all the silly quirks we witnessed and one will hopefully be embedded short videos so that you too can really get a sense of things like driving in a rickshaw during rush hour in India and feel better about your choice of New Jersey next time you get stuck on the turnpike in grid lock.

But for now a quick recap of our last few days there.
Goa
Well we took our final two trains and finally made it to Goa. We would be staying for one final night with our group in Northern Goa at hotel Santiago between Calangute and Baga . This area is kind of like the Spring Break vacation zone with more bars and liquor stores then I have seen in all 35days of travel in India. It is also known for having a significant Russian population who have set up clubs and shops. Now being that is is off season we didn't get the full effect of all of that and I am kind of thankful as even though I like to drink and have a good time my trance rave party like a rock star all night days are kind of behind me, especially when it is with a bunch of all Indian male teenagers grasping to the one chance they get to be crazy and free on their own visit to Goa.

Hotel Santiago was a pretty decent place with a fridge and nice swimming pool.
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After breakfast it was straight to the beach
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Later it was shopping for all the last minute gifts and things I wanted and tried to put off as to not carry too much along the way.
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Then pool time and finally a goodbye dinner
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I did go out briefly with Paige and the guys to a place right on the beach the boys had been drinking and hanging out during the day
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The next day Chetan had help to book us two nights in a really nice 5 star place in South Goa so with tears in our eyes we said finall goodbyes especially to those who had been there since the beginning.

When we got to Taj Exotica we were taken back by how fancy smancy it was. AWESOME!
Welcome drinks and a rose
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Helicopter launch pad in case you were curious about taking yours out this weekend
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Our room and view facing the ocean in the distance
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The only room facing the ocean left was one with two beds which they then pushed together to make a monster size bed!

All of our food was included and there were three different restaurants to choose from
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They let you use bikes to ride around the property
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Then it was mostly just pool and spa time. We did get massage/ facials here too.
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Walks on the beach
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In the end it was just what we needed before taking a full 24 hr day on 3 different planes to get home.

We both loved India. It wasn't easy travel all the time. You have to be willing to let go and take chances in India even with a group or a guide. If you want to see India outside of just the nice resorts like this you have to be willing to check your ego, grip onto your patiences, leap off a few cliffs and laugh the crazies away. But if you do the country and it's vast diversity is one of the most rewarding and amazing places to experience. I am so glad that we ended up here and thankful for the changes this trip has made in me and my views of the world and traveling.
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Posted by Kelly Rose 05:30 Archived in India Comments (1)

Hampi

Hampi
I am behind due to lack of Internet but as of now we are staying 5 star all inclusive for our final two nights so I will try to catch up poolside :-)

The views from the train to the hotel were beautiful. Rice green rice patties surrounded by rock formations.
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Hampi is a visual delight, especially due to its stark contrast from most other places. Rocks are all you see whichever direction you look at. Vegetation is visible in the wet months; but again it never dominates the landscape. It is an ideal spot for people who are interested in history and/or nature.

The hotel was great small personal hut like rooms with s swinging bed to relax on attached to each porch.
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After Brunch we took a walk to the river. It was high and the bridge to the other side was flooded. We were going to rent bikes or go to the monkey temple but opted to chill out and try that out the next day. Check out this basket boat filled with kids arriving home from school.
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So we came back and had some beers and dinner in the lounge hut overlooking more beautiful scenery.
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Then we took a walk down through the rice patties to the water to watch the sun set.
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Amazing!

The next morning half of our group wanted to take a private car across the river to see more temples but since you had to check out by 8:30 in the morning with all your stuff and later that day we would be getting on two more final trains we decided to hang back, eat a nice breakfast and lunch and check out the monkey palace and shower. By doing this we had our rooms until 2:30 and after seeing so many temples already we much preferred this.

So after breakfast Thom, Megan, Paige, Melinda and I headed out to the Monkey Temple. We had to cross the water using the basket boat. HA!
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The Hanuman Temple on Anjenaya Hill (involves climbing up 572 steps, is believed to be the birth place of Hanuman) The views are beautiful.
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When we neared the top there was a large group of men from Bangladesh heading up to make offerings. They were hilarious all wanting us to take group pictures with them. Super funny!
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On the way down we saw tons of Monkeys!
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So close to us eek!

So by the time I post this I will have taken two more trains to GOA!
A great beachy resort do nothing place to just chill and relax for a few days before coming home.

Posted by Kelly Rose 04:28 Comments (1)

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