Sunday, December 13, 2009

NYC Photos

Lunch In Little Italy - YUM.

Zane checking out a Turkey in Battery Park.  Wildlife in NYC?

We enjoyed The Lion King on Broadway.

Tana and Zane ice skating at Rockerfeller Center.

Giving the Wall St. Bull a little fondle for good luck.

The boys enjoying some street food
Empire Lego Building, ToysRUs, Times Square
More Christmas decorations, Fa La La La La.

Rockerfeller Center Christmas Decorations

New York City

From London we headed to NYC to reunite with Tana. It was colder than London, and we were even more freezing, but the weather was not so gloomy. Plus the Christmas decorations added a bit of warmth.

Oddly enough, although both Glenn and Tana had grown up about 150 miles from NYC neither of us had really ever been there before, so it was all new to us. We did our best to eat and (unfortunately for some) shop our way through Manhatten. It was interesting to walk by and actually see all those places we had heard about and seen so often through our lives - Times Square, Broadway, Carnegie Hall, Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Macy's, the Empire State Building, and so many more.

Aside from shopping, we managed some other touristy-type activities. Tana and Zane got in some Ice Skating at Rockefeller Center, we visited Battery Park to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, but did not venture out on the harbor as it was so cold and windy we feared the boat would be struck by icebergs. We did however meet a wild turkey in the park - how many wild turkeys live in Manhatten anyway?

On our walk from Battery Park to Little Italy for lunch we passed through the financial district where Glenn stopped to give the Wall St. Bull a friendly rub for good luck. We were hoping to see some grief-stricken investment bankers jumping from the tall buildings, but no luck.

We also managed to catch a performance of "The Lion King" on Broadway, which was quite enjoyable and reminded us of the warm weather in Africa and many animals we had seen before.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

London Photos

Nice view from the London Eye.
Windsor Castle.  Flag flying but no sign of the Queen.

Windsor Swans.

Westminster Cathedral
Parlaiment and the Thames River.
A bit of Sand Sculpture along the Thames.

Pies at Harrod's.
Natural History Museum.

Enjoying a little pub culture.

Ice skating at the Natural History Museum

London Calling

We flew from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania to London for a few days there. Unfortunately Tana continued directly on to New York to attend her father's funeral.

Of course it being December London was grey, dark, wet, and cold. We were freezing! Since Tana was not here it was our duty to do a little shopping - warm clothes, please! Believe it or not we also spent two ejoyable hours exploring Harrod's (voluntarily even), the most amazing store I have ever witnessed. The food alone was simply amazing. After that we found some warm clothes to purchase and we were on our way.

We used the underground to get around, which was easy and mostly enjoyable (except for the one time we got on the wrong train). We did some touristy things like riding on the London Eye, visiting Windsor to see the castle (flag was flying so queen was in but we did not see her peering out of any of the windows), Ice Skating at the Natural History Museum, and a visit to the IMAX theater to see "Polar Express" in 3D. Mostly we walked around until our legs were sore, and did our best to support the local restaurants and pubs. Also we dodged raindrops.

It was nice to see so many places in person that we had seen so many times in photos and films. In general we found the city to be quite friendly and low key after the chaos of some of the African cities we had seen.

We also caught up with some friends that we made while volunteering in Namibia and the Thai Elephant Camp back in January, which was great fun. They entertained us, showed us the sights and generally spoiled us rotten.

Next stop, NYC.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Northern Tanzania Photos

Large male baboon - very intimidating.

Ngorongoro Crater - largest in the world and full of animals!

Nursing hyena.
A very muddy Cape Buffalo.

Thompson's Gazelle.

We waited quite awhile for this little one to stand up.

Lazy lions, no doubt full of Cape Buffalo.

We saw only a couple Elephants in the crater.
Hyenas picking the ones clean.

Flamingos, of course.

A jackal and an eagle picking at scraps.
Vultures doing the dirty work.

Zane and his Masai friends.
Lots of animated Zebras in the crater.

It was rare to see a Giraffe not standing.

Big mouth.
The mobile phone network in Tanzania is called Zain, so everybody Zane introduced himself to easily knew his name.

Northern Tanzania

After Zanzibar we headed to northern Tanzania for a last bit of Safari before leaving Africa. Traveling through Masai country, we visited Lake Manyara National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area. Many Masai still live a fairly traditional life looking after their cattle wearing their colorful clothing.

Lake Manyara is located at the edge of the escarpment that defines the edge of the rift valley. We had a nice day of game viewing there, seeing many monkeys (baboons, sykes, and vervet) as well as antelope, giraffe, elephants, hippos, and many bird species, including large groups of flamingos.

If you have seen the movie "Madigascar 2" (parents, you know what I'm talking about), you will recognize Ngorongoro Crater, which is a caldera located at about 2,000 meters above sea level, approx 15km x 15km in size, and chock full of animals. Due to the gentle climate there, animals such as lions and hyenas normally active at night in hotter areas can be found active at any time of the day or night. We had a tremendous day driving around down in the crater. The scenery was amazing and it seemed there were animals everywhere you looked. We saw many zebra, wildebeest, and buffal0. Also elephants, black rhino, hippos, elephants, lions, hyena, and various antelope. The highlight was the two fresh buffalo carcasses we came across - the lions had been busy early in the morning. The first was picked fairly clean, but had a few jackals and vultures picking the bones clean. The second carcass had about 16-18 hyena nearby, and also many vultures. The hyenas tore into the carcass as the vultures worked to clean to bones, shaking the carcass and making an amazing noise as we watched from just a few feet away. We were very glad to be inside the vehicle!

Our final African adventure for the trip came when we took a bus from the town of Arusha in the north to Dar Es Salaam, where our flight to London would depart from. We left Arusha about 8:30 AM, and were making reasonable progress until about 1PM, when some horrible noises started coming from the rear axle, and we noticed the unmistakable smell of heating rubber. After a quick inspection stop we proceeded at a much reduced speed to the nearest village, which had a roadside bus stop/restaurant and not much else. Here we ate lunch while they began to work on the bus. After a couple hours we began to be concerned that we would not make it to Dar Es Salaam in time for the flight at 7AM the next morning. Tana started asking around, and the man who seemed to be organizing things at the establishment arranged fo us to get seats on another bus. We paid the fare and boarded the bus (Mohammed Transport), to find it was full and we had been given the staff seats in the front of the bus. They sat on the engine and stood by the door (after they had split our fares among them). Departing at 4PM we struck out on the road. The driver's theory seemed to be something like this: I am driving a very large and fast vehicle. It has a loud horn. Pedestrians, cyclists, cars, buses, and trucks will get out of my way no matter where on the road I am. We passed other vehicles near the crests of hills, around blind curves, and in the face of oncoming traffic. Miraculously, we arrived in Dar Es Salaam about 9PM safe and sound, but quite tired and with a few frayed nerves, in time for a brief night's rest before departure to London.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Zanzibar Photos


We could not figure out why this man took his chickens swimming.

Early morning scene.
Rollin' down the beach.
Red Colobus Monkey.  Not many left.
School field trip.
Seaweed is grown for sale.

On the way home from the seaweed patch.

Sailing out for a snorkel.
Stone Town, a great mix of Africa and Arabia.

Doing a little ship building, the old fashioned way.

Stone town, a great place to wander.

Dried Octopus at the market.  Yum?
Stone town was full of interesting old doors.