June 4, 2013

I could taste it in my mouth, feel it on my skin and see it trying to get inside our vehicle as we travelled over eight hundred miles throughout Tanzania.  I was joking around with my other travel companions asking them how many times do you think we’ve opened and closed our windows during our “adventure?” Tanzania did have some paved roads but it seemed like the majority were dirt roads and anytime another vehicle passed a giant dust monster would try to get inside and invade all of our senses.  We almost sounded like an orchestra opening and closing our windows in a rhythmic percussion.

And don’t even get me started on the whole tsetse fly thing! Here I was all worried about the Mosquitos and contracting Malaria, little did I know that these flies would think I had to come to Africa to supply them with some of the finest cuisine America had to offer. These flies are as big as horseflies but with a much bigger bite. They appear in the early morning and evening especially in wooded areas and near water. I had on long pants, long sleeves and bug repellant. Unfortunately I wore short socks and that little bit of skin between my shoes and my pant leg became a feeding frenzy for these mannerless tsetse flies. These bug bites were the itchiest bites I’ve ever had, they would literally wake you up from a sound sleep and no amount of anti-itch cream helped. One of the girls had brought some Benadryl so I took that each night so at least I could sleep and not scratch the skin off my legs. So my advice in a nutshell if you ever go to Africa spend the money on insect repellant clothes, wear long socks and beware of wearing sandals.






June 3, 2013

Waking up was tough this morning! I was so exhausted from the long journey, lack of sleep and not being sure what time zone I was on. Had I even slept at all, I wondered? Our driver Peter had arrived in the lobby downstairs and we were ready to begin our African Safari. We all kind of chose our seats in the vehicle and these would remain our “set places” throughout our journey. Richard, an avid photographer had brought his old camera for me to use on this journey. Last night he gave me a quick lesson on the different modes that would probably work best for taking photos on this trip. I’ve always felt like I had a good eye for photos even though I am very much an amateur. I was excited to chronicle our trip in both photos and as a travel type journal. I love to write and the idea of doing a travel type blog really excited me. At the time I didn’t know that the Internet would be such a problem at all the remote locations we stayed at. I wasn’t able to share the experience with my readers as I was actually living it. But to be honest I was too damn tired at the end of each day to even take pen to paper.


The cast of characters on my travel adventure are:

Peter our driver



Beverly and Barb (sisters)



Richard and Dusty (married)




My mother-in-law Betty (behind the wheel)


And all the animals…








June, 2, 2012

After what seemed like forever our journey to Africa had finally arrived. My mother-in-law Betty was kind enough to allow me to accompany her on this trip. My other travel companions were a married couple Richard and Dusty Namikas along with sisters, Barb and Beverly. Richard had researched meticulously and planned this whole odyssey in which we were about to embark on. My thoughts over the months prior to this journey were how am I going to be able to handle such a long flight, I’m a bit fidgety and go a little crazy sitting for so long. How will I handle over thirty hours of traveling? I was pleasantly surprised that flying internationally seemed almost like traveling first class although the seats were just as cramped as flying domestic. Once we had leveled off the service began by the flight crew passing out hot, moist towels to wipe our hands and add some moisture to our faces, was I at a spa I thought? Each seat had its own tv like monitor in the back of the seat in front of us with an array of movies, television programs, music, games and just about anything else to keep your mind occupied. We were supplied with ear plugs, slippers, warm socks, eye masks, where was I? And this was all free? Why did I ever fly domestic, they never treat you this good. They came through the flight deck passing out little appetizers, all the free alcoholic beverages you wanted, gourmet meals with metal silverware, am I dreaming? And no charge for checked baggage, I felt like a queen! Thirty six hours later and looking a bit frayed and exhausted we had finally arrived in Africa!




I had the best intentions of blogging about my African Safari Experience as it was happening and bringng you all along on the journey. Unfortunately my experience with trying to get and keep an Internet connection has been nearly impossible at all these remote locations. I am keeping notes, taking tons of incredibly awesome photos and will have to work on it when I get back to civilization, Las Vegas NV.



Huambo (hello in Swahili)

After traveling for what seemed like weeks the crew and I “finally” reached our destination, Kilimanjaro, Africa. We definitely looked and felt we were “rode hard and put away wet.” We were tired, sweaty, sticky, uncomfortable, our backs hurt, our necks hurt and we couldn’t sleep. I’ve still been racking my brain with how a shaggy rug had attached itself to our teeth during our 36 hour travel ordeal?

Tomorrow we head out for our first day viewing the animals, it’s hard to contain my excitement.




Our itinerary…


01 Jun 2013                                          Kilimanjaro – Arusha

0110hrs – Arrive Kilimanjaro airport by TK673, meet and transfer to Arusha for overnight at Impala Hotel BB


02 Jun 2013                                                    Arusha

Breakfast at the Hotel

A day at leisure with overnight at Impala Hotel BB


03 Jun 2013                                             Arusha – Tarangire
0900hrs – Depart from Impala hotel to Tarangire Park with game viewing on arrival. Lunch at Tarangire Sopa Lodge

Afternoon game viewing in Tarangire Park – Much of the area has an unusual landscape, dotted with Baobab trees giving it an almost pre-historic look. It is also one of the best places in Northern Tanzania to see Elephant, especially along the river in the dry season. Dinner and overnight at Tarangire Sopa lodge


04 Jun 2013                                           Tarangire – Ngorongoro
With lunch boxes, early breakfast and a short drive to Ngorongoro Conservation area and enjoy spectacular views down to the floor and several kilometers across to the far wall. Descend into the crater for a day’s game viewing – there are some wonderful varieties of wildlife and Stunning landscape make this one of nature’s most unforgettable spectacles.

Dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge


05 Jun 2013                                          Ngorongoro – Serengeti

After breakfast, morning drive to Serengeti National Park for lunch at Serengeti Sopa and then afternoon game viewing in Serengeti Seronera Area. Dinner and overnight at Serengeti Sopa Lodge

06 Jun 2013                                                    Serengeti

Enjoy full day game drives in Serengeti endless plain – Seronera Area – Look out for Leopard along the riverine forest or marvel at the vast herds of Wildebeest and Zebra out on the plains. While Lion and Cheetah may be spotted lurking around the rocky Kopjes

Meals and overnight at Serengeti Sopa Lodge

07 Jun 2013                                                         Serengeti

Enjoy full day game drives in Serengeti endless plain – Seronera Area –

You may encounter one of the most incredible sights you will ever see. An unending stream of wildebeest pour across the plains, while a parade of hungry predators, lion, leopard and cheetah, anxiously try to prey upon the youngest or weakest members of the herd. Use your binoculars to look closely for topi and impala, grazing with zebra and the beautiful kudu. Other animals to see are giraffes, elephants, hippopotamus and even endangered black rhino.

Meals and overnight at Serengeti Sopa Lodge


08 Jun 2013                                              Serengeti – Lake Manyara

Enjoy an early morning game drive, before breakfast. Return to the lodge for late breakfast. Enjoy a mid morning and then depart to Ngorongoro Highlands – lunch at Gibb’s Farm.


Afternoon visit to the waterfalls


Dinner and overnight at Kirurumu Tented Lodge


09 Jun 2013                                                Serengeti – Lake Manyara

After  breakfast,  you  will  have  a  morning  game  drive  in  Lake  Manyara  National  Park  whose  inhabitants  include hippos,  monkeys,  tree  climbing  lions,  flamingos  and  other  varieties  of  birdlife.  Lunch at Kirurumu Tented Lodge.


After lunch, drive back to Arusha and proceed to Kilimanjaro airport

I have revamped my blog site a bit with a fresher looking theme.  It is set up with more of a newsletter type setup so I’m asking that people please “sign up for the Funny Side. (its right next to this post).

I sent out a mailing list recently but some people never received the notification, so you’ll need to “sign up.”     Please feel free to forward it to anyone you think might be interested in my blog.

I am going on an African Safari in ten days with my mother-in-law Betty and some of her friends.  I really want to bring everyone along on the adventure as its happening.  I’m excited to write, take photos, shoot videos and share it all with everyone.

Lets go to Africa!


Today was my Balloon Ride that I chose to do for my fiftieth Birthday.  The balloon companies always fly in the early morning hours when the weather is cooler and the winds are calmer.  There are about eleven balloon companies in town and we chose to fly with Las Vegas Balloon Rides.
When they unwrapped this balloon it took up almost two parking lots, it was crazy.  This balloon is the largest one in town and will hold up to 16 passengers.  We had a total of 12 on our flight so we did have a bit of room, which was nice.
Dale was a bit worried because of that whole, “I’m afraid of heights thing,” but he was fine.  I sent him an article before we booked about that very thing and people are more afraid of edges.  That is the main component of that fear.  We were pretty safe and secure in our big basket in the sky.
Our altitude was about 1500 feet for our one hour balloon ride.  The sky was so clear and we actually saw some other balloons out flying.
For some reason I thought it would be noisy, but it was so quiet and peaceful.  The only noise was when Doug our pilot was telling jokes, or shooting some propane up into the balloon. It was a very serene feeling, I liked it.
After the flight we had a really nice complimentary breakfast that really was a nice touch.
My consensus is that if the opportunity ever presents itself to go on a Hot Air Balloon Ride, say YES!
How big is this thing going to get?
Las Vegas Balloon Rides


I was at the Eye Doctor yesterday getting a new prescription for my bifocals, talk about my dry eye I’ve developed and ask if losing (because I can’t see them anymore) my upper eye lids can affect my vision.

Alright so maybe I was feeling my age today and that looming big number in a few days didn’t help my state of mind.

While staring into my dilated eyes my Doctor informed me that I have the eyes of a very young person, alright maybe I just added “very,”

Isn’t it crazy how sometimes the smallest compliment can just make your day.

Try it and watch the reaction on a person’s face, it’s pretty amazing.



I’m pretty good at guessing things that Dale has up his sleeve, but he really got me good today. I thought we were going out to shoot guns in the desert. We had a picnic lunch he packed with Barbecued chicken, cheese and crackers and some tasty beverages for our outing. He even tricked me by packing bullets in his nap sack that he made sure I saw. When we turned on this dirt road I said, “hey, look at that sign that says Lion Habitat.” I still didn’t realize we were going there until we turned into the driveway. I guess there was an article in the paper a week ago about this place opening to the public, of course I never saw this article because Dale “made it disappear.” This was an early birthday present, a prequel to my upcoming African Safari vacation that I’m going on in June with my mother-in-law Betty. A trip that is something I am truly excited about. I plan of taking lots of pictures and blogging often while in Africa.


Here are some photos from today at the Lion Habitat. These were the lions that were at an exhibit at the MGM Grand here in Vegas. They have over forty lions here at the habitat. Dale paid a little extra and we were able to interact with the cubs which was awesome. When we came home we hugged our cute little kitty but those cubs were, sorry Tip, but they were cuter.