Saturday, June 30, 2007

Let the touring begin

Basically, a few bumps along the way but we are here without too much craziness. The hotel is as beautiful as the pictures, which we will post later. Weather will be steamy today as we do our historic Stone Town tour. Then we are heading to the north part of the island to Nungwi - supposed to be an incredible beach area!

Last night, we had an ok dinner but with a spectacular view over the Indian ocean. It was reminiscent of one place we ate at in Hawaii - music playing, ocean crashing, amazing sunset, etc. There was even a group of local musicians played live music during dinner - we have a sound clip for you all later.

We went walking around town last night as well. There is an outdoor market area where they were selling everything from fresh squeezed sugar cane juice to kebabs of meats, lobster and fish galore. Oh, I forgot to mention the grilled octopus legs - they looked yummy. :p

Allrighty, well we have just had a peaceful breakfast on the rooftop of the hotel and we are meeting our driver soon.

Kesha, kwa heri.
(Until tomorrow, goodbye).

The Safari Begins...

We made it safe and sound. Our journey (aka safari) went something like this...

Train to Victoria Station, tube to Heathrow Airport (2 hours)
Standing in line to check in with Kenya Airways (45 mins)
Standing in line to change to a British Airways flight because Kenya was overbooked (45 mins)
Going through security, Josh being pulled aside for the full body scan (20 mins)
British Airways direct flight, versus laying over in Nairobi with Kenya Airways (10 hours)
Passport control in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (30 mins)
Met driver and guide, sat in traffic, ran errands such as changing money, buying a SIM card, buying ferry tickets (2 hours)
Lunch at pub on coast (1.5 hours)
Ferry to Zanzibar, packed to the brim (4 hours)
Standing on Zanzibar port wondering where to go, looking for our new driver/guide (20 mins)
Found driver, Zanzibar passport control and transfer to our beautifully unique hotel (30 min)
Finding yourself in the midst of a new cultural experience (timeless)

More to come...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tanzania Itinerary

On popular request here is our itinerary for Tanzania along with an itinerary map I put together. Sorry for the long post and lack of links but we are gone for 17 days and I ran out of time, what could I do...

28 June - Travel Day
We leave from Heathrow. Unfortunately it takes almost 2 hours to get to the airport from Redhill on the train. We fly all night arriving early the next morning in Kenya. Its then a quick hop to Dar es Salaam our first destination.

Zanzibar Itinerary

29 June - Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar
After we are picked up from the airport we have a few errands to run and then we will be off for a quick lunch. After lunch we will catch a ferry at Dar Harbor to Zanzibar's Stone Town staying at Dhow Palace hotel.

30 June - Happy Birthday JNoland, Zanzibar Stone Town tours
After breakfast at the hotel we will have morning city tour of the many historical sites of Stone Town. From there we will have lunch and then an afternoon tour, possibly a Spice tour. The day will end with a drive to Ras Nungwi, the most northern point of Zanzibar. Here we will be staying at Ras Nungwi Beach Village HB Garden Rooms.

01 July - Ras Nungwi
This will be a day of leisure. The beaches at Ras Nungwi are picturesque white sand so we are going to catch a few rays. If we get bored they have plenty of water sports to keep us entertained. We will stay a second night at Ras Ningwi Beach Village HB Garden rooms.

02 July - Jozani Forest
This is another day of touring. We will first hit the Jozani Forrest where you can spot a monkey that only lives in this forest. Then we will drive back to Stone Town for the prison island tour. Finally we will catch the ferry back to Dar es Salaam staying at the Holiday Inn.

03 July - Off to Arusha, start of the wedding
We catch the Dar Express at 6:00am for the half day bus ride to Arusha, Sameer's home town. Estimates on the arrival time vary and depend on the driver. Some say arriving by 2-3pm other say arriving by 5-6pm?

Wedding Itinerary

03 July - Wedding Day 1
Mehndi Party at Patwa’s residence in Arusha at 05.30 p.m.

04 July - Wedding Day 2
Paan Gulab at Munaver’s residence in Moshi at 05.00 p.m.
Barne & Sharbat at Munaver’s residence in Moshi at 07.30 p.m.

05 July - Wedding Day 3
Nikah followed by Jaman at the Moshi mosque at 01.00 p.m.
Zafaf at the Youth League Hall, Moshi at 08.30 p.m.

06 July - Wedding Day 4
Walima Jaman at the mosque hall in Moshi at 01.30 p.m.
Reception at El Rancho Hotel, Moshi at 08.30 p.m.

Safari Itinerary

09 July - Safari Day 1
08h30, P/up from residence/hotel in Arusha and drive to Lake Manyara with lunch boxes, Afternoon game drive in Lake Manyara National Park, dinner and overnight at Lake Manyara Serena Lodge.

10 July - Safari Day 2
After breakfast depart with lunch boxes and drive to Ngorongoro Conservation Area, descend down the crater tour for game drive, dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge.

11 July - Safari Day 3
After breakfast depart with lunch boxes and drive to Serengeti National Park for game drive, dinner and overnight at Serengeti Sopa Lodge.

12 July - Safari Day 4
After breakfast have morning and afternoon game drive in Serengeti National Park, All meals and overnight at Serengeti Sopa Lodge.

13 July - Safari Day 5
After breakfast depart with lunch boxes and drive to Arusha.

14 July - Travel Day
Our final day in Tanzania. We catch the bus back to Dar es Salaam to the airport where are flight departs for London.

15 July - Early Arrival
We get in early morning UK time and catch the train back to Redhill.

Whew...That is it!

Keep an eye on the blog as we plan to update it while we are gone...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Delta SiteSeer Challenge

All you travelling buffs listen up. Delta is looking for people to participate in there SiteSeer Challenge for a chance to win 5 international trips and a load of Sky Miles.

Steph and I are planning on entering but we need some help. We are leaving for Tanzania on Thursday so it gives us a good opportunity to put together a video while we are in Zanzibar. Any ideas?

Drop us a comment with all of your creative and contest winning thoughts. Shout outs would be possible once we make the cut and get on the show.

Oh and speaking of shout outs, here is a big CHEERS to Bill Fisher who forwarded us the contest information.

Below are the contest details from the email...

We're looking for five teams of two great people to compete in the first ever SiteSeer Challenge from Delta and American Express.

  • Submit a homemade video by July 5, 2007 and Delta might choose your team to be one of the five! If we choose you as contestants, your team travels with all the other teams to an incredible international destination, where Delta captures your travel adventures on video.

  • After the trip, we'll post the travel videos for each of the five teams on People at home watch the videos and vote. The team with the fewest votes gets eliminated.

  • Then, the remaining four teams go on to the next international destination.

  • The whole process repeats for three more rounds of voting. The last team standing wins the grand prize—1 million miles from Delta and more! Submit your video to become a contestant by July 5, 2007.

  • Make us a short video starring you and a friend that shows us you'd be a great contestant team.

  • Wish us luck...

    Sunday, June 24, 2007

    A Ball of an Evening

    We had a wonderful evening at the PwC Summer Ball. It was a lot of fun getting dressed up and acting like high rollers at the track. We had a luxury box and were separated from the main crowd in a special viewing area to watch the races.

    However wagering on the races was a bit tricky because we didn't recognize many names although quite a few of the horses were bred in KY at farms in Lexington. Small world I know...

    Finally the Tanzania count down is on. More to come soon...

    Saturday, June 23, 2007

    Off to the ball

    Tonight PwC is throwing a black tie summer ball at Lingfield Park. Yes you heard me right, black tie affair.

    The racing probably won't be Keeneland quality but the evening will be done in posh style if other PwC events are any precursor.


    Tuesday, June 12, 2007

    Intercontinental Cats...Mia & Gypsy

    It has been quite a long 2 days for Mia & Gypsy but they have arrived in the UK safe and sound!

    Their journey began Monday morning about 9:00(EST) when I loaded them into their carriers and we drove Cleveland to catch our flight. They checked in at the cargo warehouse around 3:45pm and boarded the plane for London Gatwick at 7:00pm(EST). Their ticket was first class cargo, well under the first class seating in the main cabin anyway. The plane landed at 8:20(BST +5 hours) where it took roughly 2 1/2 hours to clear customs and get entry clearance so Steph and I could pick them up. Finally after a short cab ride we made it to our flat in Redhill around 12:00pm(BST). Their total trip in the carriers was almost 5000 miles with a ridiculous travel time of 22 hours.

    Here is a good picture of Mia relaxing after the long trip.

    I posted the pictures of their journey here.

    Before I hit the couch I want to give a couple shout outs.

    First I want to say a big time thank you to Continental Airlines and their PetSafe program for taking excellent care of my 2 special travelers. They went above and beyond the call of duty which helped ease our minds on such a stressful journey.

    Second, a super special thanks to Kenny and Lois for cat-sitting for the past two months and for enduring the drive with me to Cleveland. Mia wasn't happy and she let us know all about it.

    Finally before anybody asks... the cats don't meow with a British accent just yet.

    Saturday, June 2, 2007

    Naked sheep, bunny fields and cow circles...oh my!

    Over the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of commuting to a client site via a train across the beautiful Surrey countryside. I have come to realize that siteseeing from the train can sometimes be are sometimes traveling so fast, you see something interesting and by the time your brain starts to process what you are seeing - its gone - the train has moved on. I wanted to share some of surreal, funny and just neat things that I have been seeing.

    Naked Sheep: Apparently, in the past couple weeks it has been wool harvesting season. I had been seeing the cute, dirty, puffy sheep all spring here dotted in fields and one morning, to my surprise, the sheep were replaced with some bright white alien-looking animals! The sheep had been sheared and they were left to their super clean, bright white little bodies! That first siting was so funny once I realized what I saw that I nearly laughed out loud in the train. And over the past couple weeks more and more fields of sheep are going naked.

    Bunny Fields: Bunnies are everywhere. I have been going past fields where it honestly looks like a farmer has a herd of bunnies! I have also seen three red fox just 30 feet away from these dozens of bunnies and ironically, everyone was just chillin'. That was a surreal train moment because I would have loved to linger at that site....were the foxes about to go on a hunt?...were they just relaxing?...were bunnies about to scatter like cockroaches? I'll never know unless a train goes by at the exact right moment. Another unusual bunny field was actually a RABBIT field...I am talking rabbits as big as cats...big ears, huge rabbits....and the surreal sight was a field of dozens of these large rabbits and a CAT standing with one leg up, as if frozen mid-walk, in the middle of this rabbit field. Again, I was wondering what was about to play out in that scene. That one was truly fascinating!

    Cow Circles: Some of the mornings have been quite cold and I was surprised to see that cows cuddle in circles in the fields. I am talking about a filled-in circle, not a ring of cows. Even more strange, I saw one cow circle, then in the next field all the cows were up grazing, then in the next field many cows up grazing and two more cow circles. Per discussion with Josh, if one cow gets up the whole circle probably gets up. I just thought it was funny that some cows were "sleeping in"!

    Well, those were some interesting and surreal train sites. I also see many red fox and a game bird that I have yet to identify. But, just wanted to share those animal phenomenon with you all!

    Phantom Tickets

    I want to give a big shout out to Chris for scoring 4 tickets in the 8th row for tonights showing of The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majestys Theatre. Cross your fingers that there isn't any type of obstruction blocking our view...