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Lessons Learned

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

Well, here I am. Back in the “real world.” Re-entry has been interesting. Now I’m busy trying to process everything that has happened during the last nine months, while at the same time figure out what to do next. In looking back at my trip, here are some of the things I’ve learned:

Most people in the U.S. don’t know how to correctly use a round-about.

Oregon is a beautiful place.

I like Eugene, but can also live without it.

Good bourbon is hard to come by.

What makes a place really special is the people you meet there.

The air on top of a mountain smells better.

Nothing beats sleeping in your own bed. (Ok, almost nothing…)

Liar’s Dice is especially fun when played in a foreign country with people who don’t speak english.

Hippos are more dangerous than they look.

Good friends are really, really, really important. Keep in touch and let them know this.

I can do anything I want now.

I don’t know what I want to do now.

There’s more, but I can’t give it all away. You’ll have to go find somethings out for yourself.

Back in the U.S. of A.

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

Yesterday evening I landed in Atlanta, GA after a 9 hour flight from London. Although the Delta flight was probably good compared to most US flights, it was the worst flight I’ve been on this whole trip. No personal video screens, no free booze, and the airport security in Atlanta was a hassle. I think I want to go back to Africa. 🙂

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Cruising around the Cape

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

The last couple of weeks in Cape Town have been a random mixture of non-stop action and sitting around the hostel all day doing nothing. After my last post I was invited by some locals to go up to a little town called Clanwilliam for a big music festival that was happening that weekend. The In-SAN-ity Festival was a big three-day affair ben, outside on the river, with dj’s playing non-stop music while everyone camped out. Picture the Oregon Country Fair, only with trance/house music instead of jam bands, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what this was like. There were three music stages, people swimming and floating in the river, and lots of vendors selling everything from pancakes to magic mushrooms. I drove up with four other people, all from CT, and we camped out in the back of a VW van. Trying to sleep in the van was a little difficult, but we didn’t expect to get much sleep anyway, what with the dj’s playing loud trance music all night long. Sunday morning we packed up and headed back to CT, stopping a long the way at a beautiful secluded swimming hole along the river. It was a great weekend, and reminded me of Eugene quite a bit. 🙂

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Back to the City

Friday, October 13th, 2006

Man, I can’t believe that it’s been four whole weeks since my last post. Where did the time go? Well, I’ll tell you where it went. It went game driving, safari walking, cheetah feeding, quad biking, beer drinking, table dancing, dune hiking, wine tasting, and t-shirt shopping. 🙂

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Screeech, Crash, Bang!

Friday, September 22nd, 2006

Apparently the BootsnAll server crashed recently, and several of my recent entries were lost. I’ve reposted them, but unfortunately the pictures aren’t there anymore. Instead of re-uploading the pics, I’m just going to refer you to my photo site.

I’m woefully behind on uploading pics, and have hundreds more from the overland trip. I’ll get them up as soon as I can.




Saturday, September 16th, 2006

The last three weeks have been action-packed, and it’s hard to believe I’ve been on the overland truck for five weeks already. Harder still to believe is that aside from the guesthouses in Zanzibar and the houseboat in Zambia, I’ve been sleeping on the ground in an old A-frame tent for the last five weeks.

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You don’t see this everyday!

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Last night we camped on the edge of the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. Wildlife routinely pass through the campground, and I woke up this morning to find this outside my tent:

Overland in Africa

Sunday, August 27th, 2006

It’s now been 14 days since I joined the overland trip to Capetown. The tour is operated by a UK company called Bukima, and they do trips of varying lengths all through Africa. Some are as short as four days, others as long as 30 weeks. My trip is called African Contrasts, and it is a 7 week tour from Nairobi to Capetown (I actually skipped Nairobi, and met the group in
Arusha on their first night instead). On the way to Capetown we travel through Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, seeing such sights as Zanzibar, Lake Malawi, Lake Kariba, Victoris Falls, and Fish River Canyon. Some of the people on this trip are on for just four weeks, others for seven weeks, and a couple for ten weeks, having been on an adjoining three week trip to Uganda just prior.

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Impressions of Moshi Town

Monday, August 21st, 2006

Apart from my Kili climb and safari with MEM, I spent a total of 3 1/2 weeks in Moshi just hanging out and getting to know the town. A good part of that was spent working with KPAP, but the rest of the time I wandered around town checking out the various restaurants, internet cafes, and shops, and practicing Swahili with some of the hawkers that frequented the main road in front of my hotel.

At my hotel I also had the good fortune of meeting a group of American kids, Laura, Gina, Daisy, and Joseph, and their Tanzanian friend Dennis. They were spending 5 weeks in Moshi volunteering at Amani Childrens Home, a home for orphans and street kids. The day after Kristen arrived in Moshi, Laura invited us to join them when they went to the school that afternoon. The school was a 45 minute walk from our hotel, through the outskirts of town. It was a nice day for a walk and fun to get out of the tourist section of town. When we arrived at Amani we were immediately greeted by several of the children. Despite their unfortunate circumstances, most of these kids seemed happy. Many of the younger ones ran up to us and gave us hugs, others played football in the small courtyard, and others did their chores. It was in stark contrast to being in the tourist parts of town where many of the young children view you only as a rich foreigner who they can ask for money.

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“I heard the Gnus today, Oh Boy…”

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

It’s been a busy few weeks, and I’ve got a bit of catching up to do. Since my Kili climb I’ve been on safari and seen the Big Five up close (Buffalo, Elephants, Leopards, Lions, and Rhinos), spent another week and a half in Moshi relaxing and working with the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistnace Project, and last weekend joined a dozen other travelers on an overland trip to Capetown. Right now I’m chilling out in Zanzibar, an island paradise off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean.

So where to start? I guess I’ll fill you in on the Safari first, and save my thoughts on Moshi and the details of my overland trip for separate posts.

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