Here are a few moments that I caught on video. I call these the circle of life.
Elephant saying hello.
A leopard killing baby warthog on nest. This was one of the most disturbing moments when a leopard found a baby warthog nest. After the mother warthog ran off, the leopard went to town killing the babies. I won’t go into details here, but those I have talked to have heard this story. So sad.
Cheetah killing baby impala. This was another crazy moment when a cheetah was killing a baby impala. The impala was alive the entire time until the cheetah finally suffocated it. Sigh.
Update: Something happened to the first picture I posted on this entry, so I updated it with an actual photo that I took while on safari. This was one of my favorite moments when a cheetah killed a baby impala.
My second (and last) summer adventure begins this week. I’m going on a 13-day safari in Kenya! Tonight, I fly to London to spend a few days before flying to Nairobi on Friday. From there I’ll visit four different camps throughout Kenya. I’ve never been to London or Kenya and I am particularly excited about my first trip to the African continent. I apologize if this comes as a surprise to anyone. I’ve been getting a lot of flack from friends saying that I never mentioned this trip. This wasn’t intentional. I just think it was overshadowed by my spontaneous trip to Spain. This trip was actually planned a year ago and was supposed to be my big trip for the year. Well, life happens leading to infinite possibilities…and here I am having two amazing trips this summer.
I am not taking my computer and will not have Internet access to do real-time updates so I am posting my itinerary below. I will keep a written journal and will upload some posts upon my return. I am all about new experiences and this trip brings about even more “firsts” this year. Who would have thought turning 30 would be this good? Here are a few firsts:
- Kenya (anywhere in Africa)
- Hot air balloon ride
- Mt. Kilamanjaro
- Masai warriors
- …to be continued…
If I have done one thing this summer, I hope I have inspired someone to travel. To take that trip you’ve always wanted to take or to go see that statue you’ve always wanted to see or to go visit that relative you haven’t seen in a while. Travel is one of my loves and one avenue that fosters the most growth for me. I know traveling may not be that thing for you, but take some time to figure out what it is, and then do it! Life is too short to sit back and wait for happiness to come. We have to go out find it for ourselves!
I’m sure all of you know that I love food. Part of what makes a city great to me is the quality of the food. I could be in the most amazing place, but if the food is bad it’s a thumbs down for me. So in the past six weeks, I’ve indulged in local cuisine and sought out small restaurants and bars and have found some great food in Spain. The food in Madrid, Granada, Sevilla was really good, but only average in Tenerife so I was hoping for good food in Prague. I was skeptical given that I wasn’t sure what Prague was known for. All I could think of was the one type of food that I hate…German. While walking the streets of Prague on my first day, I saw a stand on the street with sausages on a grill. The sausages looked and smelled so good that I stopped in my tracks. I whispered to Ana that I secretly wanted one and she said she did too. So we snuck away from our health conscious companions to buy some “street meat”. We emerged from the stand with a huge sausage that was so good, we ravished it in minutes. At that moment, I was hooked. The sausage cost 50 Kc with is about $3.00. This was great given that we had lunch at a place that was charging 500-600 Kc ($30-40) for a salad or sandwich. The sausage became my “Zahir” (see previous post) for the moment and I became obsessed with street meat. I obsessed over it so, that I turned it into a form of currency. I had a hard time making sense of the value of a Czech Koruna ($1=0.055Kc) was so I just started quoting things in street meat. “For that bottle of water, I could get 60 street meats….for that salad, I could feed 100 kids with 25 street meats…” I had to have street meat daily and probably drove my travel buddies crazy one day when were walking around a less touristy area that had no street meat vendors. I told them that I thought we should go look for street meat. I ignored the blank stares and continued on my pursuit. Luckily, I turned the corner and happen upon this guy with a grill selling street meat. Ahhh…divine intervention. I even got Janel to get one who kept telling herself that she shouldn’t. You probably think I’m crazy right now, but to drive the point home even more I’ve included a few photos to show the deliciousness that is Prague street meat!
“The more special something is, the more people start to take it for granted. It’s like they think it will never change.” – The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks
Today I am leaving Tenerife en route to Prague, Czech Republic. This is the final city on my tour of Spain this summer. Prague is a city that everyone says I will love, so I am looking forward to seeing it. I’ll be in Prague for four days. The good thing about this flight is that we have an 8-hour layover in Madrid! Normally that would suck, but I’m so happy to get a chance to return to Madrid one last time. My love for the city has grown since leaving. I appreciate it so much more now that I’ve been to other cities. Madrid will always be special to me because of the combination of the city itself and the experience I had here.
This week I am in the Canary Islands on the island of Tenerife in the city of Puerto de la Cruz. I was a little reluctant to put this on the itinerary because I hadn’t heard much about it. I was thinking, the Canary Islands sounds like a nice place, but how come I haven’t heard about it? I got here on Saturday and it has been nice so far. I rejoined my travel buddies Ana and Kate after a week alone, and was joined by another friend, J.Forde. It took a little getting used to, but I am glad we came after all. I had to go through Madrid withdrawal, but I enjoyed myself after that. Its very different than the other cities I’ve been to in Spain and does not feel like Spain. It’s quite tropical and touristy because it’s the vacation spot for many Europeans. Most restaurants have multi-lingual menu, which to me, takes away the adventure of being in a foreign country. There are also the street vendors and restaurant “sales people” who try to hustle you to buy their stuff or eat their restaurant. Fortunately, I think being Black gives me an advantage in this situation because I get approached way less than Ana who is White and blonde, and everyone thinks is Finnish. The weather is perfect with hot, sunny days and cool nights. The sun is ridiculously strong, as I believe we’re pretty close to the equator.
So what have I been doing with my time? I’ve resumed Spanish classes for the last week on the trip. I have morning classes this time, from 9:00AM to 1:00PM. It has been a struggle waking up early for class, but it’s the best thing for my time in Tenerife. Unlike Madrid, everything closes around 9 or 10pm. In the afternoons, I’ve done a variety of things like go hiking, go to the pool, visit the various black sand beaches, and take road trips to other cities on the island. It’s been very relaxing.
I will say that I could have done without classes this week. The classes are good, but I have reached a point where my learning curve is sloping downward. I’ve gotten to the various past tenses and frankly I have no idea when to use to use them. This is the time when I just need to do a complete review of everything I’ve learned at my own pace. The classes move so fast and my class in Tenerife has 8 people (vs. 3 in Madrid). Anyway, the trip is going well and I’m happy to have my travel buddies again. I’ve introduced them to the game Phase 10 and they are now hooked. Another group falls prey to the grip of Phase 10! Off to bed so I can try to wake up on time for class tomorrow. I only have two more days left so I guess I should take advantage of it.
Location: Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Today was a good day. I’m in Sevilla and loving it! I had a great night’s sleep and woke up around noon. I finished watching the movie I started last night, got dressed and left around 2pm for my afternoon in the city. I immediately went to find something to eat since the afternoon siesta will be in effect around 4pm and food options are limited until dinnertime, which is around 9pm.
Lunch is the best deal here where you can get the “menu del dia” which includes a first and second course dish with a drinks, bread and coffee or dessert for 8-10 euros.
I’m pretty oriented with the city now so I don’t have to wander around staring at a map like I did yesterday. I walked for a bit looking at different menus and found a place on a small, side street. I got a mixed salad and grilled calamari. Vegetables are kind of hard to come by so I try to get a salad when I can. Plus I must gear up for my two hour Arabic bathhouse experience tonight.