On my way from Tanzania to the US of A, I spent six days in Germany during which I explored three cities: Berlin, Leipzig, and Dresden. A friend lives in downtown Leipzig, so most of the time was spent in Leipzig where I could wander the city from his place. An absolutely brilliant location to live topped of by the bakery in the building being a source of delicious breakfasts. During my time in Germany I wandered old cities, learned some history, managed to stay warm, drank some good beer, and met some fun people. It was a perfect stop between Africa and America.
Berlin: A Holocaust monumentÂ
Dresden: 4 photos in 1
Dresden: me & WDKÂ
Leipzig: Can you believe 5 minutes before this photo was taken it was almost a complete white out from falling snow?
Leipzig: One very traditional German meal.
I was born in Kenya while my parents where in the Peace Corps. While I only spent 7 months there out of the womb, I have always had a fascination, a connection of sorts, with the country and have wanted to return. 27 years after being one of two white babies in Nairobi Hospital, I returned. Five rip highlights:
1-Visiting the hospital where I was born. Though it has grown significantly, â€˜my wardâ€™ was still there, and mom and I snuck a quick photo while we walked down the hall.
2-A friend treated us to a wonderful day at a tea estate where we learned all about how tea is made, drunk our fair share of tea, ate some wonderful food, and enjoyed some magnificent gardens and tea fields.
3-We returned to Thika High School, the boysâ€™ boarding school where my parents taught math. We visited our house, and walked all around the school.
4-One night was spent at Castle Forest Lodge, where Queen Elizabeth stayed at age 19. A beautiful location, Mount Kenya gave me a beautiful birthday present when she was fully visible in the morning.
5-We had birthday cake and coffee at the Norfolk Hotel. A waiter searched high and low for a way to keep a candle lit with the wind outside, and was, finally successful. So not only did I get a beautiful piece of cake, but a candle to blow out as well.
Saturday night: In the shadows of Mt. Kenya
Sunday night: Nairobi, Kenya
Tonight: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Tuesday night: Berlin, Germany
Wednesday night: Leipzig, Germany
More to come on the fantastic Kenya trip, but for now it is laundry, packing, and otherwise preparing for the next batch of travels.
My time here in Dar es Salaam is almost done. Tomorrow I leave for Kenya with the parentals. I return on Monday and then begin my trip back to the States by way of Germany on Tuesday. It has been a good time, and I will enjoy it to its last. As I sit writing this I am at the yacht club where the sun is shinning, the sky blue, and the ocean calm.
This evening I went out for a swim. I think I was about 10 minutes out when my arm was stung by something. When my legs were stung I realized it was not the little stings that just go away and turned towards shore. When I got out of the water, I already had welts. Three nice strips across my right quad and a few random other spots on both legs and my left arm. Some treatment (salt water and fresh water rinse, vinegar rinse, and shaving the stung areas) and a couple of hours later the welts are mostly gone and it is more of a tingle than pain. Now I can add jellyfish to the list of creatures that I have not only seen, but also encountered.
Sometimes that is all you can say about a day. I set up a meeting last week. I called this morning to confirm the meeting. It is a hot day. When I stepped out of the taxi to go to the meeting, my glasses steamed over thanks to the cold, blasting ac in the car. The guards at the building told me that the person I was to meet was gone to a meeting. I phoned her cell. No response. I texted her cell to let her know I was there and waiting. No response. I talk to her secretary who says to be patient and wait; she is sure her boss will return.
I am given a UNICEF visitorâ€™s badge and am shuttled to the cold waiting room. Here I sit on a hard wood bench. This afternoon, I ran out of the house without reading material, so, as I freeze, I read promotional material sitting on the coffee table, make a few phone calls, and make lists of things to do. I decide to leave after two hours.
Next time I will be sure to have reading material and a scarf or jacket to keep warm. But, today, Africa won again.
Yesterday afternoon we went to an island just off of the coast of Dar. It has a lovely beach and good snorkeling, so is a delightful way to spend time. The water near the beach was quite nice, but a little ways out, where one would snorkel, there was a strong current and all sorts of things in the water that were more than happy to sting any exposed skin. Not sure what little creature was stinging us, but it was enough to drive us towards the shore. On the upside, much fun was had while floating in the warm water and relaxing in the sun (or really the shade). It was all topped off with fresh fish and chips.
Yesterday I also found out that Bethany (she and her parents are with us for a week) and I share our birthday, though separated by more than a few years. Needless to say, we have become fast friends. However, I have to admit that she wins in the speaking department as her posh English accent is far more fun to listen to than my boring American one.
I have a short consulting job, so have set up shop on our dining room table. It is really a good situation: big table, wireless (which is slooooooow), windows that look out to our gardens, and air conditioners and ceiling fans.
Every now and then we get a fly in the house, which mom chases, with much fervor, until she is triumphant in killing it. I always laugh and carefully watch the food as I am worried that her fly swatter might just land itself on my plate or in my face in the mad chase.
Yesterday afternoon I was home alone so was saved from that humorous chase when a solitary fly invaded my work space. Before long I went to take a last sip of my coffee to find him slowly doing the backstroke in my coffee. I guess this is a lazy man’s way of killing flies.
London has lifted its hand baggage restrictions for many of its airports, including Heathrow. This means that, when passing through Heathrow, you can carry the two pieces of luggage allowed at all other airports (if I there is another airport with this restriction, please correct me). It is a small thing, but will make upcoming travels a bit easier.