Category Archives: Travel

With humor, from Kenya

 

During our last day in Kenya, we visited our host Mercy’s sister Rose’s home in Nairobi. Rose organized a lovely luncheon for our gang and invited some of her friends to join so we could get acquainted with some non-Maasai Kenyans.

 

While I was at Rose’s house, I transferred some items between my backpack and my suitcase, apparently losing a precious shopping bag full of jewelry bought at Kazuri Beads, a store run as part of a women’s empowerment project. I was crushed when I got home and realized my purchases hadn’t made the trip with me.

Fortunately Rose found the bag and kindly shipped the jewelry to me via DHL.

 

The jewelry arrived wrapped in newspaper. Somehow one blurb caught my eye.Kenya newspaper

 

 

I will never think of the phrase “Sweet Spot” the same way again. Pervert.

If you’re in the U.S. or Canada and would like to check out Kazuri, here’s the link to their North American site.

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More about Kenya: how we spent our days

Apparently you want to hear more about Kenya. How cool!

This post will help put part of our activities into perspective.

Friday, July 11 – Saturday, July 12

Fly from JFK to Dubai (approximately twelve hours) via Emirates. Most of us thought the long flight was painless, I think. It helped that the flight wasn’t full. Julie and I had an empty middle seat between us.

I read, watched three movies, checked out the plane-mounted cameras and slept a little. Oh, and we drank wine.

During a three-hour layover, we visited the last Starbucks we’ll encounter, and the Heineken bar. In spite of it being 8:30 am local time.

Starbucks

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Things that are hard to explain to a Kenyan teenager

You may have read this list elsewhere. However, this is an edited version with new! exciting! items. OK?

Some things are hard to explain to Kenyan teenagers.

  • Skyscrapers
  • The subway
  • A dog as a pet versus one who herds cows, goats and sheep
  • A dog wearing a coat made for a dog

dog in a coat

  • Snow (which is how I ended up showing them the picture above in the first place)
  • Why I have pictures of food in my phone
  • Being child-less and husband-less
  • Not living with my parents (which is where Kenyan singles live)
  • Being an only child – polygamy is the norm, as are large families
  • Seamless.com
  • Same-sex marriage

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Post-Kenya

Last night, I didn’t have to use a flashlight when I got out of bed to go to the bathroom.

Ibises and hyraxes didn’t wake me up at 4 am.

 

I didn’t have to tiptoe through an unfamiliar tent so as to avoid waiting my Kenya roommate Julie. (not that she ever complained; I highly recommend Julie as a travel companion!)

I didn’t need a hot water bottle to keep me warm as I slept.

HWB

I wasn’t greeted by several hundred children singing WELCOME OUR VISITORS! without having consumed an iced latte.

http://instagram.com/p/quEbWVELN6/ Continue reading

Airport shopping in Dubai

Hi friends! I have missed you.
I’m in Dubai on my way from a wonderful time in Kenya.

Don’t worry: I didn’t buy any of these.

image

I also considered buying a hookah just to see my friends’ reaction as I boarded the plane. But cooler heads prevailed.

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I also didn’t buy any Arabic lady fiction (because I will be asleep all the way to NYC).

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Presents!

Google Maps told me the walk would be 0.9 miles. The humidity was rising, but a mile isn’t so far.

Plus I had just eaten a chocolate muffin from St. Balmain, justifying the indulgence by noting that there would be zero chocolate muffins in Kenya.

Once I passed the McCarren Park pool, the walk started sucking. The part of Greenpoint I found myself in would be best described as Not Cute. Homely, perhaps, as opposed to homey.

Greenpoint

Around the 0.7 mile mark, I wanted to shout “this is for you, Maasai kids!” but they couldn’t possibly have heard me over the noise from the BQE.

I started crying almost as soon as I walked into the Greenpoint dollar store.

Not because I was in a dollar store, per se, but because as I shuffled up and down the aisles, I was reminded of the directions my trip organizer had given me about how to choose a gift for my “buddy,” the student who would be my companion during my days volunteering at the Maasai school.

Books need to be culturally sensitive. Don’t buy candy–most of the kids won’t have a toothbrush.

Avoid anything that requires batteries or electricity. These kids don’t have access to either. A well-intentioned volunteer gave his buddy an iPod, but once the battery dies, it’s useless.

Good gifts include a simple journal, a solar-powered flashlight or a puzzle that shows a picture the kids can relate to.

At the dollar store, I felt like a failure. None of the toys seemed right for my teenage buddy, a fourteen year old boy named Steven.

As I put a notebook, a pack of pencils and a pencil case in my cart, my heart sank: I had just committed to buying office supplies for someone who will almost certainly help me have an eye-opening, life-affecting experience.

I suppose he already has, in some ways.

Hopefully when the time comes, my modest gifts will somehow be the right ones.

[For context, this post was written on late on Thursday, July 10 and scheduled for Monday, July 14. I'm set to present these tokens to Steven on Friday, July 18.]

What We Ate (and Drank): Rehoboth Beach 2014

If you have been reading my posts for a while now, you know I look forward to my annual Rehoboth Beach trips with family and friends. We’re super lazy. A shopping trip to the outlets is about as much energy as we ever expend. And we like it that way.

Pool

Frankly I’m saving the learning and cultural exploration for Kenya. My adventure starts this Friday!

This year, I had some great food and drink in Rehoboth and nearby Lewes. If you head that way, this summer here are some places I think you should check out. Continue reading