4 months, countless hours on the inter webs, airline research, hotel research, neck aches, emails back and forth across the world, back aches, book reading, highlighting, neck aches, camera purchases, memory card hoarding, back aches, pocket book aches, and finally…I think we’re ready to go to Africa, East Africa to be more precise. Well at least we had better be seeing as we leave on Thursday. I say this with a smirk knowing that we are going shopping again tomorrow to get things we’ve figured out we’re missing. When we reach that point of equilibrium where the stuff we want to take fits into the bags we’re taking, I’m not sure. We will most likely end up leaving clothes behind, since the camera gear, my real true love, has to go for sure.
Turns out booking the flights 6 months ago was the least amount of work, even though I spent a month trying to get the best deal. Eventually that ended up being to fly in and out of Nairobi. So that’s what we’re doing and then proceeding on a circle tour clockwise from there, down into Tanzania, west to Rwanda, north into Uganda and finally East back into Kenya, totalling, 5 weeks. Unfortunately 4 ish days of that will take place doing air travel. I hate airplanes. I’ve got all our top hotel/camping spots picked out and ready to be printed into our “guide” that I’ve created for the trip. The real trick is going to be figuring out how much money to be carrying at one time and in what currency. This is of course not helped by the fact that the banks/atms/other money changers, never offer the exchange rate that is apparently official. Why bother having and exchange rate if your home bank doesn’t even honour it, bah.
My most enjoyable experience in planning so far has been having our bank earn their fees. I sent Lindsay to the bank first and then I ended up going to second time. We were there to get USD cash, in bills no bigger than $20 and no older than 2009. So the tellers had a little sorting session where they went through the bills one by one picking out the good looking ones. We pretty much cleaned them out of anything in good condition. Why? Apparently Africans will only accept good condition USD bills, which we had happen in Central America as well so we’re coming more prepared this time. The best part, we got a card in the mail the other day from our bank thanking us for our patience while they sorted out bills with us! Sarcasm? Perhaps, but seems like we were their excitment for the week.
Getting super excited for this trip and trying to remember that my rudimentary Spanish will get me no where in Africa and if it does we’re probably way farther from where we’re trying to go then we should be.
After all this planning I see why people pay too much money to just join in with a cookie cutter tour. I, however, will never be that kind of person. Exploring on my own is so much more fun and you have so many options in front of you as you go.
Talk to you soon from Africa (as long as the flights get us the whole way there this time, cross your fingers)