March 14, 2010

Kirsten and Mt Meru

Kirsten at Mirikamba

Hello from the foot of Mt. Meru near Arusha! I had an exciting morning heading to Mt. Meru and setting off on a hike with one of the park’s rangers. We visited the Mirikamba huts (anyone interested in the Family Safari for Teens call me and I’ll tell you all about them!). The weather was warm and clear and we had a great view of Kilimanjaro. On the hike we found some elephant bones, and got a good look at the Ash Cone which formed in the crater of the former volcano. I would have loved to have climbed to the top of Meru but it takes 3 full days – including one day starting at 1AM! Maybe next time :)

I’m now at Mt. Meru Game Lodge awaiting the rest of the family safari group. There are some beautiful animals in the game reserve here – including a number of zebras! There are also monkeys swinging in the trees on the grounds, and they sometimes jump onto the roof of the buildings!

I’ll try and check in again but I may be out of touch in the parks for a few days.

March 12, 2010

Jambo from Arusha, Tanzania

Kirsten at the hippo pools

Hello from Arusha! I’ve been in Tanzania for 7 days studying tourism development in the country and I have to say — I love this place!! My journey has included a visit to the Ngorongoro crater where I saw my first Zebra (punda milia in Swahili), the Serengeti where I visited the hippo pool and a number of visits to local villages including two Maasai schools . I also had the privilege of meeting with conservation authorities and representatives from some local villages. I have loved learning about this beautiful country and meeting local Tanzanian people.

One of the surprises I have found in Tanzania is how green this country is. The soil is red clay but there are grass, trees, and rolling hills everywhere — it does not fit the arid, desert image of Africa. The weather has been perfect so far – warm and dry, which feels especially great after a cold Boston winter!

visiting with the local children

February 1, 2010

Two Left Shoes

the evidence

the evidence

If you caught this one in our August 2008 newsletter, forgive me for repeating it – it just happens to be my favorite travel story.

Flexibility is key to any good adventure and I can hardly think of a better example than this: our friend Sam, at the tender – but never awkward – age of 14, packed for a family safari in a big rush. She ended up in Tanzania with two left shoes. Since she’s an admirably light packer they also happened to be her only pair of shoes, except for flip flops. We were unable to find anything in her size before leaving town for the remote national parks, so Sam cheerfully donned those two left shoes every time we went out. She wore them without complaint or apology for two weeks, and always with a smile.

Needing some follow up, I wrote to see how things are now she is back home. To which my friend Sam wrote: “Yes… my feet have recovered. I actually had to wear two right shoes for a while because I was at my mom’s house and the two left ones were at my dad’s house. So maybe that helped, too….”

I know there is something to be learned in this story – something about packing, and humor, and the value of never letting the unexpected interfere with your good time. Maybe we should all wear two left shoes as a reminder.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.