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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Zambia, A Five Hour Tour, A Five Hour Tour

 

Although this was my second trip to Zambia it is the first time that I have explored Livingstone by bike. Through Cowboy Bicycle Safari we have arranged a tour across the city for just $25 per person.

 

IMG_0222On a beautiful early morning we meet our guides at Jolly Boys Hostel and set off for what turns out to be a wonderful adventure.

 

 

 

 

Our first stop is at one of the more popular local markets which is big part of many Zambians daily lives. It is a hub of activity where you may hear up to seventy two different languages spoken. Locals come from all across the city to purchase fresh fruits, clothing and other goods including fresh made peanut butter.

 

IMG_0214In one area I sample a handful of miniature salted dry fish and make small talk with some of the mostly female vendors.

Interestingly, pregnant women come to the market to purchase soil from terminate mounds which is eaten as a good source of iron.

 

As we walk around the market a young boy passes us pulling a busted out car speaker which I at first thought was just child play. However, I discover it is his home made metal detector. He is walking the market hoping to attract loose coins. Ingenious!

 

IMG_0218A cool purchase. Coming soon to a Saks 5th Ave near you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Zambia, A Scenic Arrival

 

From Nairobi we board Kenya Airways for a non-stop flight to Livingstone, Zambia.

 

2005-01-01 13.23.00Besides distant views of the highest mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro, we get a close up and personal view of Victoria Falls on our arrival into Livingstone, Zambia.

This was all made possible by an awesome Kenya Airways Captain.

 

 

 

 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Kenya, A Brief Visit

 

 

Despite warnings to avoid travel to Kenya, we decide to “YOLO” and make a brief visit to Nairobi as a part of our African vacation.

A friendly welcome from an Immigration official and sixty dollars later we have three transit visas for 72 hours. Before long we are driving the streets of Kenya and making our way to a local hotel with the help of an employee from our rental car company riding shotgun.

 

IMG_0139Checked into our hotel we are soon off to an elephant orphanage.

A lunch break at a mall that has airport type security and military soldiers walking around with guns then it is back to the streets of Nairobi.

 

 

Missing unmarked speed bumps turns out to be fun as every now and then we go airborne as I fail to see them in time to slow down. A few stops for what seems like misguided direction and we end up at the Giraffe Center.

 

IMG_0151Here we learn about our long necked friends and I don't miss the opportunity for a “Giraffe Kiss”.

 

 

 

 

 

A somewhat personal tour of the property and we get to spend sometime with a few race winners. Seeing their top speeds I just don’t know how they win every time against the hare.

 

 

IMG_0159African Leopard Tortoise

 

 

IMG_0003Back in our hotel neighborhood it is time for dinner.

At a local restaurant we have uagli (a cornmeal staple), roasted goat leg and cold beers as we join a few locals to cheer on Ivory Coast in their World Cup match against Greece.

 

 

 

IMG_0013Although our visit was brief we look forward to returning to Kenya and hope its internal turmoil will only get better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

United Arab Emirates, Some Desert Fun

 

On an early June afternoon it is still over 300 degrees when we are picked up from our hotel in a Toyota Landcruiser.

A drive across a landscape almost void of meaningful contrast and about forty five minutes later we are watching a caged camel enjoy a refreshing drink of bottled water.

 

2004-12-31 19.14.26For three dirhams I attempt to quench my thirst but I do not think I have as much fun or get as much satisfaction from my bottled water as my new humpback friend.

 

 

After a short break we are back in the Landcruiser this time with seat belts on and slightly deflated tires. In less than half a mile we begin one of the reasons we are back in Dubai and that is to share the “Dune Bashing” experience with our son.

 

 

2014-06-23 18.49.41

 

 

Driving up then sometimes sliding down mounds and mounds of sands the excitement reaches levels of screaming and “OMG" that is so much fun. At one point it all comes to a stop as we watch a Dubai desert sunset.

As night falls we make an almost normal drive across the desert to sort of a camp. Here we make a failed attempt at “Sand Boarding” then it is a free camel ride before dinner and some local entertainment.

If I could have gotten my belly dancing moves perfected this experience would have been worth a lot more than the bargain price of just US$50 per person.

 

 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Belarus, Off To Minsk

 


2014-05-20 17.02.39After a planned stay over in Vilnius, Lithuania, we board an afternoon train for Minsk. At 15:03 we are on track to hopefully see the USA Hockey Team play in the Quarter Finals tomorrow afternoon.

 

 

 


At Gudogai Station we make our official crossing into Belarus and for us it is an interesting one. Our train comes to a stop and a swarm of Customs, Immigration and Police officials board the train. Some of them have on very cool hats but I am afraid to take pictures as for the most part they seem very stern.

 


2014-05-21 08.54.06We wait somewhat nervously for them to check our documents especially when my passport is taken for a closer examination.

After about 15-20 minutes we are back on track.

 

 

 


Around 5:45pm we arrive at Minsk Central and a $9 cab ride later we are somewhere on the outskirts of the city in a neighborhood apartment. In a few minutes we will be ready to let our Minsk experience begin.

 

 

 

2014-05-21 11.30.41Minsk, Belarus

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mexico, A Krazy Lobster Day

 

From the port area we load up with about twenty other cruise passengers and for $3 per person we are off for a day at Manahual Beach.

In less than twenty minutes we are walking towards “The Krazy Lobster” a spot we had done research on before leaving for our cruise.

 

2014-04-10 13.09.56On a shaded beach with clear skies and a mild tropical breeze blowing with temperatures in the mid 70's we enjoy a few buckets of mini coronas, chips, salsa and margaritas.

 

 

 

 

Later in the day we take a kayaking trip along the beach with views of the Norwegian Epic and her sister ship the Norwegian Dawn in the distance. A half hour massage on the beach for less than $15 dollars and I have some regret that we have to get back on the high seas.

 

 

2014-04-10 13.24.14For us, hanging in Costa Maya is what we want our lives to be all about. Good times, warm weather, good friends and cold beers along with a margarita or two.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mexico, Costa Maya

 

 

As we step out onto our balcony into the early morning sun, we are looking down the bow of the NCL Dawn.

 

 

 

2014-04-10 11.40.28Pool At Senor Frogs

 

A quick breakfast and we are soon disembarking in Costa Maya, our first visit to this Mexican port of call. A long leisurely walk along the dock then it is a quick Mexican cultural introduction before we are ordering up some adult beverages to really get our day going.

 

2014-04-10 11.43.14A few steps from Senor Frogs we watch some friendly dolphins interacting with their trainers then we make our exit to head to the beach.

 

 

 

 

Some pre-cruise research gives us the “Intel” we need for a FUN beach day. This information is confirmed as we soon discover we can get buckets of Coronas for $5.

 

I think we have found “Our Beach”.