Out of Africa

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Me on safari

I can’t believe I’ve been here in Africa for a month and a half! I’ve never been anywhere that long on a vacation – it has been wonderful – and bits of it has seeped into me for life. I loved Africa and I will miss it! There are still places that I didn’t get to that I would have liked to go – but we’ll save that for another time (when I come back and try to climb Kilimanjaro again…ugh).

I really enjoyed Eastern Africa (Kenya and Tanzania). As happy as I was to get to South Africa and ‘normal’ life again – I found that after a week – I missed Eastern Africa. There was so much to see there and digest. The kids were soooo excited to see you there – I miss that wonder and excitement in their faces when they say you! I loved saying ‘Jambo’ (Hello) to everyone – it’s such a happy word – you really can’t be in a bad mood and say ‘Jambo’. I found that I felt very safe there – mainly because everyone was excited to see you – you were an anomaly.

South Africa had a whole different feel – the country itself was beautiful without a doubt – but the security concerns were always a hindrance. I guess there is a price to being a more advanced country…crime. You weren’t an anomaly here – you were just normal. However – you gotta love a country that you can have a dozen and a half oysters delivered fresh to your door – shucked – for a matter of $12 US dollars. Yup – that’s right – in Knysna we had oysters delivered – I was so tickled to see a delivery man again!!! The food and drink in Africa was CHEAP! The rest of the costs seemed normal – but I could get a glass of wine for $1.50 US – and it was good wine! A meal at a nice restaurant cost approximately $12 US.

The commerce here was interesting. There were many men in Cape Town walking down the street selling Super Glue…yup – you read that right – Super Glue. Who knew there was such a big market on it and I have NO idea what they were using it for….pottery disasters…I don’t think so! Also – at every major intersection in Africa there were people selling things…newspapers, bead art, paintings, flowers, strawberries, and puppies…yes puppies. I entertained myself by wondering how these guys decided what they were going to sell each day. Do they play rock/paper/scissors to decide who gets to choose their commodity first. If so – then I think that the person that won chose Newspapers and the loser got the puppy sales…as who is really going to buy a puppy off the street while at a red light??? However – the fact that they are out there means that they make some sales!

Yesterday I went out shopping…oh….my body was tingling with excitement – I hadn’t been shopping forever! I realized that after a month + of traveling that I needed some different things…a sweater for one – as it’s colder than I expected. I also needed a handbag…yup – that’s right – I needed to buy a purse. All of you people at Coach stop laughing. I realized that I looked like too much of a target tourist carrying my backpack and money belt everywhere – I felt like a dork. So I invested in a very cheap big purse that can make me feel more sophisticated…first non-Coach item I’ve bought in 3 years. As I was shopping with my money belt and backpack – I was quite embarrassed to even go in some of these stores – but I managed. I just wanted to tell them when I entered their store that I normally don’t look like this…normally I can be quite fashionable…I live in NYC after all. However all I could muster up when I entered a store was ‘Hello – I’m just looking’.

Living on the road so far has been good. I’m not sick of my suitcase yet…but I can’t say that it’s really fun living out of a suitcase. I miss my closet – and my shoes most days – but I get by! The first hostel I stayed at in Cape Town spoiled me – it really was great – clean, the people were amazing and I met so many travelers! I hope I can find other gems like that!

They have World Cup Fever here…it is supposed to be in South Africa in 2010. Gail – tell your parents I”m coming to stay with them again then!

Overall – Africa has been wonderful – I really will miss it – and the meat! But most of all – I will miss the people. The people were so amazing that I met along the way – starting with Mungai’s family, Douglas my Kili guide, Natie and Blume, Clare/Keith/Jacqui, the people at the hostel, Sam the Baz Bus driver, the guys at MEM – all of them made this time here memorable. I can’t wait to come back again someday. Hopefully I’ve convinced a few of you to make this trip to Africa too! It’s long – but worth it. You really need to see this country…it’s full of hope, kindness, and beauty.

For all of you that joined me on this leg – THANKS!!!!! I had a great time!

Hello Africa!!!! and goodbye…

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