Sunday, November 30, 2008

Reasons I am glad to be home

There are alot of reasons I am glad to be home. I think it was kind of appropriate that we got home at Thanksgiving, we have alot to be thankful for.

One thing would be that we were not in India when the attacks happened. The hotel that was attacked is in the same chain as the hotel that we stayed at in Agra. Mumbai is a much larger and more dangerous place than Agra, but Agra is home the the Taj Mahal which, in my opinion, would be an obvious place for terrorist to want to strike.

I went to Raleigh for Thanksgiving after coming home for a day to unpack, wash clothes, repack, sleep a little, and go! Here I am with Sheri, Twister, and two of Joe's children, Jake and Lilly! More reasons to be glad to be home, family and dogs! Not to mention an amazing American Thanksgiving feast!

I was also glad to get home just in time to watch a last pirate victory, of the regular season that is!

And now, I am going to sleep in MY bed!!!


London is such a cool place! It is so rich with history, but at the same time is very modern. Keeping old traditions but not afraid of news ones. We only got to hit the highlights of London as we were only there for a few days, so I will also only mention the highlight!

Wesminister Abbey! This was so historical it was hard to believe that you can walk around where kings and queens have been coronated and royalty have been married and laid to rest.

The Walkabout. They had us from Sweet Home Alabama. We walked in to this disaster because the shops were closed...but the bars weren't!

The Rosetta Stone

National Gallery
The Tower of London

The Tower Bridge, where the put the heads of the prisoners that they beheaded!
We Will Rock You!!! The musical uses only the music by Queen and it was so great and fun!!

Pretty much, London was a blast. But, it was completely different than the experiences of the rest of the trip.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Marrakech, Morocco

Our second to last stop on this journey around the globe! Marrakech was awesome and one of the few places I will be anxious to revisit. We landed a little after 7:00pm local time on Wednesday November 19. One great thing about this trip has been the ease with which we clear customs. TCS takes care of our landing/departure cards so all we do is show our passports and walk to a bus. Our bags are collected and delivered to our hotel rooms. Anyways, Marrakech was no exception. We got through customs and only had a ten minute ride to the Sofitel Marrakech Hotel. I wasn’t a fan of this place. It was a French hotel and everyone kept speaking French to us. I don’t know how many times I had to say, “I don’t speak French! And I don’t care to either!!” It just sounds arrogant. Ew. Now I sound arrogant.

Enough about that. We had a buffet dinner once we checked in, but It felt like it was after 10:00pm by this point so most people skipped out on dinner. Diana and I went for the free booze and desert. Not really, we just wanted a beer. Then it was off to bed in our 90 degree room. It was so hot! And when we opened our door to the porch we couldn’t sleep because of the noise from the street, aka cars and barking dogs. All night. Oh, also, we had to walk ten minutes to get from the lobby to our room. Blah.
On Thursday morning we took a walking tour of Old Marrakech, or the medina. This part of the city is surrounded by a wall and contains one of the most intact medieval cities in the Arabic world. I have alot of facts and names for what we saw, and I will be glad to share back is the US.

After our walking tour of the city we had lunch at the hotel and then went out for shopping at the local souk. It was very interesting... After the Souks we walked to the main square where there were Monkey handlers and snake charmers. Yep, look!
Who would have guesses it? I wanted to hold the Monkey?! He wouldn't let me take it though! It even had fingers and finger nails!
After shopping we returned to the hotel to pack for London and clean up for out farewell dinner. We ate at a traditional home, or Dar, that had been converted to an amazing resturant. There were three levels of roof-top porches that over looked the city. So beautiful! I didn't get good pictures of the view, but a few of the place.
The Dar is a square the looks like a run down building on the outside, but is a fabulous home on the inside. It had a courtyard in the middle with a pool! It was so neat!
They also had an open bar.
Exhibit A.
Also, Morocco had a film festival going on while we were there with a huge party at our hotel. We were going to try to sneak in but decided not to. However, we did get the red carpet photo taken! So silly, but at least we didn't sneak in to the Morocco Hollywood party. Ha!
Now we are in London for a few days before returning to the USA. I am ready to get home, but I have lots to say about this trip and I have so many more pictures. I will post about London while we are here! We are all looking forward to coming home in a few days though!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Serengeti, Tanzania

We left Dubai and headed for a whole different landscape on Monday. We got to the Kilimanjaro airstrip and then split in to two groups. Most of us went to the Serengeti Plains, but a few who had done this safari already went to the Ngorongo Crater. To the Plains we had a 55 minute flight in a hot and musty four engine plane that landed on a gravel runway. A little scary!

Here is our vehicle!

On the way to the Serengeti Sopa Lodge we saw lion cubs, a Leopard (which is really rare) with its lunch in the tree next to it, a dog looking fox, zebras, giraffes, Taris, and some other animals! And that was not even on the safari!

Oh, and this thing. Don't I look beautiful after traveling to the Serengeti all day? Ha!

We had dinner at the lodge and went to bed. Tuesday morning we were up and left the lodge at 8 for our Safari. It was amazing! We were so close to the animals you could hardly believe it! One of the neatest life experiences I think there is. We had a "bush lunch" that was so good at noon and then continued are safari. Here is a sample of what we saw!


Oh and this was our Nat Geo moment when there lions did the dirty right there in front of us. It was pretty awkward...until Larry (my aunt's husband) asked, "So is she going to light up a cigarette now?" It was so funny. Larry has kept us entertained this entire trip.
The Great Migration! Zebras and Wildabeasts travel together and it was so neat to see them! I mean as far as the eye can see there were zebras and wildabeasts!

She was telling us to leave her and her family alone! So we did!

We got back to the lodge at around 4 and cleaned up from the wind blown drive! Then we had a Q & A session and cocktails by the pool with local Messi Tribes men and women who sang and danced.

World's worst picture

We ate dinner at the lodge and then crashed! We had to leave the next morning by 7! So early! On the way back to the airstrip we saw even more animals! And we even saw a hippo out of the water! So cool! Diana said it was like seeing a Whale walking on land!

I have so many more pictures so I will have to show them all to you sometime!