Moving Stress

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I’m sorry that I’ve been so quiet since my big move announcement. I’ve been dying to tell you about my road trip to Portland and back, as well as all my tips for how to move cross country on a budget. Unfortunately, this move is taking up 100% of my time. Between waiting for craigslist people to show up (hint: they only actually come 5% of the time) and getting everything ready for a massive Salvation Army truckload donation, I’m out of time completely. With what little time is leftover in the day, I’ve had to spend it packing boxes and getting the car ready for the big cross-country drive. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. And of course the most important thing I’ve been trying to do is spend as much time with friends as possible. Thankfully I got to see my favorite LA comedy show, Hot Tub, at the Virgil last night. I’m supposed to hit the road in 5 days and I’m currently surrounded by belongings. STRESS!

Okay and whiningggg, done. I just wanted you to know you haven’t been forgotten about and when I’m writing to you from back east in early December, I promise the following posts:

- Road trip LA to Portland and back to LA (up the coast, down through the state parks)
– What’s the cheapest way to move from coast to coast? I know the answer!
– Road trip from LA to Connecticut. Follow the journey!
– Renovating Meyer Wire: The Before

Balboa Island + Newport Beach

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Sorry I’ve been MIA for the last week. Since announcing my move back east I’ve been trying to check a lot off my to-do list. Moving is such a big undertaking. I’ll do a post talking about the most economical way to move in the future. I also owe you a post all about my northern road trip from LA to Portland and back. The trip was beautiful and we did it on a very tight budget. I swear all of this is coming soon.

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In addition to moving, I’ve been trying to enjoy my last few weeks in LA. One place I’d been curious about seeing is Balboa Island, Newport Beach area. They talked about it a lot on Arrested Development. My friend Jamie and I made the trek down and it was the perfect day. It was 75 degrees, and sunny with a light breeze. We walked a full loop of the island, stopped in some cute shops on the main drag and enjoyed a yummy lunch before heading to Newport Beach. We walked the pier and boardwalk before sitting down and watching the sunset. It was such a gorgeous beach day.

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Halloween Costume 2014

Before I talk about this years Halloween costume, I thought we should look back at past costumes. Remember when we were featured in last years BUZZFEED article about costumes. That was an awesome day. You’ll notice that I take Halloween seriously and I’m anti-sexy-halloween. I use this dress-up opportunity to represent strong female leads and role models for young women.

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Here are my RISD friends and I as the Golden Girls.

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Above I’m dressed as Nancy Drew (from the books not the movie).

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Here is my boss and I as Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop in 2012.

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Here I am on Halloween night as Shari Lewis.

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This is my costume from 2013, when I went as…

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Angela Lansbury! Specifically, I went as her as Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote.

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Can you tell who I’m going as this year? It seemed like an obvious choice given my recent travels…. I’ll make the announcement when I add a picture of me in the costume after Halloween.

Have fun, be creative, and enjoy dressing up!

UPDATE: Here’s my official 2014 Halloween photo! We went to rainy West Hollywood for their parade of costumes. It was great people watching and a handful of people recognized this Jane Goodall.

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Big News!

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It’s time to officially announce my big news. I’ve hinted at it over the last year or so, but change is what keeps us moving forward, and I’ve got a big change coming. It brings me great sadness/excitement/nervousness to announce that at the end of November 2014 (aka in 5 weeks), I’m moving back to the East Coast. Don’t get me wrong, I love LA and my friends here, but this great work opportunity has come up in Connecticut and I’ve decided it’s time for a change. I’ve chronicled many of my LA journeys here on the blog, and I’ve lived my time here to the fullest, so I leave with no regrets or unfinished goals. It’s time for new goals, and new challenges.

I’ve worked in the television/film art department for many years now as a coordinator and I see that continuing on this path is no longer something I really want. A couple years ago I could feel myself hitting a wall in my career, and I figured out that even if I got a promotion it wouldn’t make me happy. This made me see that I needed to make a bigger change. After reading “find-yourself” type books, I decided to make a list of what I wanted my future life to have. For example, I want to be able to bike to work, and get a dog that I can bring  to work, and work normal 9-5 type hours. This list got longer and longer until I could almost visualize the changes I needed to make. After years of soul searching, it clicked!

As you know, I love wood-working, crafting and of course, blogging and I’ve found a way I can do all of these things as my job! Is that not living the dream?! My parents have been so supportive and have invited me to come work for Meyer Wire & Cable Co (their cable company) where we will be expanding to create different custom lighting fixtures as well as  broadening the scope of how these wires can be used. Not only will I be designing, but I’ll be working on the branding, blogging about the process, and I’ll even have my own wood working shop up and running, BMeyer Studio!

I’ll be moving to New Haven, Connecticut where I’ll be 15 minutes from Meyer Wire (shortest commute ever-score!). Meyer Wire is along a bike path that starts in New Haven, so I can bike to work. My parents bring their dog to work and have said I can bring one to work too. My hours would be 8:30-5p, which means I can even take woodworking classes at night locally. I’ve basically gained 4 hours of free time every day, and I could not be happier about it. Real estate in that area is also much more affordable, so in the not-too-distant future I could actually afford a cute fixer-upper. I’ll be closer in proximity to my family and I’m only a $15 train ticket from NYC, where many of my RISD friends live.

Of course with any big change there are many compromises that also have to be made. I’ve made a life here in Los Angeles with friends I love, and now I have to sadly say goodbye. Thanks to the internet, social media, and cell phones I’l be able to keep in touch with them as if I was still in LA, it’ll just be harder to see them in person. When I moved to LA I had to do the opposite, which was to leave my East Coast friends to start a life in LA, and I feel like all my friendships back east stayed strong as I made frequent visits. I plan to do the same this time too.

What does this mean for Life Absorbed? I’ll no longer be posting “Do This Today” with Los Angeles daily events, but instead I’ll be shifting the focus of my posts to be more about my future design work and lifestyle. For example, I’m currently in the process of figuring out how to cheaply ship an apartment worth of stuff to Connecticut and I’m excited to share with you my cheap-ish solution! I’ll be driving my car cross country to get there and look forward to sharing the journey. Once I’m in CT, step 1 at Meyer Wire is to renovate the offices and set-up my workshop, and I’ll share the whole process with you. New Haven is also a new city to me, which means I’ll be exploring not only the city but taking weekend trips to different New England towns and exploring Cape Cod. I also hope down the line to buy property and renovate it, which I will also share on the blog. One of my favorite blogs, Manhattan Nest, does this and to me he’s living the dream. I hope to follow a similar path.

But what about comedy? I talked above about making compromises and how leaving my friends in LA is going to be the biggest struggle. I would say my second biggest struggle is saying goodbye to cheap hilarious comedy. LA is a comedy mecca and it was one of the reasons I moved out here to begin with. To pay $5 and see Louis CK or Patton Oswalt, or Sarah Silverman has been unreal. I’ve seen 100’s of comedians perform on the stages around Los Angeles and I’ve loved every minute. By making this move I’ll have to work harder and pay a lot more to see comedy. I’m now allowing myself to invest more money into seeing comedians if this means taking the train into NYC or driving to Foxwoods where comedians often stop through. It’s a promise I made to myself when I decided to move. I won’t be able to see comedy quite as often but I’ll do whatever I need to to feed that passion of mine. For example, I’ve already purchased tickets to Patton Oswalt’s show at Carnegie Hall in January. It was an expensive ticket but it’s going to be such a memorable show.

But what about the weather? There’s no denying that Los Angeles weather is amazing and it’s sunny 100% of the time. New Haven gets snow and rain, and humidity in the summer. This is the 3rd compromise on the list: weather. I’m actually looking forward to the occasional rainy day, and playing in the snow. I’m sure I won’t be saying that in 6 months but I’m trying to be positive about the weather. I also walk outdoors in LA for at least an hour every day at all times of the year. I won’t be able to do this in Connecticut and I’ll have to adjust to it. I’ll need to invest in a gym membership and use it. I’m actually thinking of signing up at City Climb Gym, a New Haven rock climbing gym, but more on that when I’m back east :)

I really am sad to leave Los Angeles, but I’ve been treading water here for that last 2 years and I feel like this is a big step forward. I’m about to gain so much! I’m trying to stay focused on what I’ll be getting and not what I’m having to leave, as I really do love my LA family. Now on to a happier topic: what type of dog should I get!? :)

ONTOANEWADVENTURE New Haven, CT (Background photo by I Love New Haven)

Africa XXII: Stone Town and Heading Home

I’m very excited to share with you all the details of my Africa (Kenya/Tanzania) trip, and hopefully it helps you plan your own trip, encourages you to visit these places, or at the very least teaches you about another culture in another part of the world. I loved my Africa experience. To catch you up on my trip, check out all my Africa posts:

Africa I: Planning Logistics + Budgets + Immunizations + Clothing/Gear + Getting There
Africa II: Kenya Stop1, Baby Elephants
Africa III: Kenya Giraffes, Karen Blixen and Artcaffe
Africa IV: Arriving in Moshi + The Good Hope School
Africa V: Kilimanjaro Details
Africa VI: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 1
Africa VII: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 2
Africa VIII: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 3
Africa IX: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 4
Africa X: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 5
Africa XI: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 6 and 7
Africa XII: Nomad Tours Day 1, Visit the Snake Park
Africa XIII: Nomad Tours Day 2, Off to the Serengeti
Africa XIV: Nomad Tours, Our First Game Drive
Africa XV: Nomad Tours Day 3, Game Drives
Africa XVI: Nomad Tours Day 4, Game Drives!
Africa XVII: Nomad Tours Day 4, Maasai Warriors
Africa XVIII: Nomad Tours Day 5, The Ngorongoro Crater
Africa XIX: Nomad Tours Day 6 and 7, Overland to Dar es Salaam
Africa XX: Nomad Tours Day 8, Stone Town Zanzibar
Africa XXI: Nomad Tours Day 9+10, Northern Zanzibar

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Last I left off, Erica and I were with our Nomad Tours group for our Serengeti & Zanzibar 10 Day Trek South, where I finished my 10 day portion of the tour. Erica is continuing on with the group down to South Africa, but my time was now nearing an end. I continued with the group back to Stone Town where about half the group was splitting off and ending their tour. Back in Dar es Salaam, new people would join filling their place as the tour continued on. Instead of taking the ferry back to Dar, it just made more sense to spend an extra night in Zanzibar (heaven) and fly out through the Zanzibar Airport the next day.

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Before we left Northern Zanzibar we snapped this photo above. It’s everyone from our safari truck, minus Marjan who took this photo. I spent most of my time on the tour with these guys and they are defiantly my favorites :) While Robin (on the left) and my sister (on the right) continued on the tour together, Marjan, Myrna (green tank-top) and Jorien (red and black) were also staying in Stone Town for their last night. This meant I could spend some more time with them before the trip had to end.

The van made it’s way back to Stone Town and they were nice enough to drop me at my hotel for the night (the Shangani Hotel). Once I got settled in my hotel, I decided to spend the rest of the day here exploring on my own.

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I was nervous about walking alone after dark (as a single lady and all), so I decided to spend the day packed with exercise and exploring so then at night I would crash. The hotel let me borrow this map above. and I went to a local coffee shop/book store to plan out my trek. My dutch friends were staying at the Zanzibar Coffee House (which was super adorable), so I decided to figure out the maze of old Stone Town to find how to get there from my hotel.

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And I made it! After getting super lost a whole bunch, I stumbled upon it! Funny enough they were in the cafe below and waved me in. We made dinner plans and I set off on more of my self-guided tour of Stone Town.

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I just love this maze!

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This is the view from my floor of the hotel.

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Here’s the view from the other end of the hall my room was on.

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I made another stop at the Freddie Mercury house, just a stroll down the street from my hotel.

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I then looped around the tip of Stone Town seeing as much of the water as I could.

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Zanzibar is famous for their specialty doors. Check out that detailing above.

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I took a ginger ale break by the water at Tembo House Hotel. This is also where we ended up having dinner. It was yummy and cheap! This place is also a swanky hotel.

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This is the view from my hotel room above.

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Here’s Jorien, Marjan, Myrna, and me enjoying my last meal in Africa (they had an extra day here). It was so nice of them to invite me to dinner. I miss them.

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The next morning I took an early morning cab to the Zanzibar Airport. My itinerary was to fly from Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam and Dar to Nairobi, Kenya (both flights via Precision Air). From Nairobi, I was to fly to Amsterdam and then Amsterdam to JFK (New York) via KLM Airlines. New York was my final destination, as I decided a 2 week East Coast layover was necessary after my Africa trip. I ended up only taking 1 of my 4 scheduled flights.

I arrived at the Zanzibar Airport to see I was the only person waiting for the flight. Curious. Also, there was no one at the desk I was supposed to check-in at. When I asked the Security Guard what to do the response I got was “you’re too early”. Also curious, because  the flight was set to leave in 45 minutes… then 40 minutes… then 5 minutes.. then I officially missed the flight as I sat their waiting for anyone to come to the airline desk.

Once someone finally arrived, I was told that the fight I had booked a ticket on didn’t exist. Greaaaaat. I still had 3 additional flights to catch this same day, and already I was behind.

They were very nice and booked me on a 10:30a flight to Dar. Since I would miss my Dar to Nairobi flight, they booked me on a later flight for that leg too. I would make it into Nairobi with enough time to still catch my KLM flights. So at 7am it was already clear I would only be making 2 of my scheduled flights for the day. But alas I would still make it to NYC on schedule.

***When planning travel, especially in foreign countries, allow a TON of extra time between flights in the event that this happens. Thank goodness I allowed time for error.

So I arrive in Niarobi in time and make my scheduled KLM flight to Amsterdam. YES! Finally I made a flight I was supposed to be on. I arrive in Amsterdam to hear that KLM has canceled my 2nd flight from Amsterdam to New York. I was SO close, and yet still not home. They rebooked me on a later flight, so I had an extra 4 hours to kill at the Amsterdam Airport.

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This happened to be the same day that Robin Williams passed away. I first heard of this while waiting in the Dar es Salaam Airport. There was one tv and it had the bbc news on. I was shocked. Then at the Amsterdam Airport I saw this headline. I can’t read it, but I know what it says. So sad. So sad.

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While in the Amsterdam Airport I had plenty of time to walk around and explore, and I saw the weirdest food flavors.

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Look at this HUGE mentos!?! I put my hand in the photo for a sense of scale. Crazy.

After waiting around wishing I were back on US soil and daydreaming of what my “first meal” would be, I made my rescheduled flight back to the US. I was sad to leave Africa but so excited to have something I really missed: CHEESE! My first meal on US soil was Chipotle! And it was sooooo good!

I must say that after contacting KLM and submitting a request for refund (which is within their rules, as if you are on a rescheduled flight that leaves 3 hours later than scheduled, you are entitled to a partial refund), they refunded part of my flight. I am very grateful, as arriving many hours later created a ripple effect making getting into Connecticut significantly more difficult and expensive (it was rush hour).

Both Precision Air and KLM messed up my flights, but both did an excellent job trying to make it right. The customer service at both companies was top notch and I appreciate their efforts to get me home.

I’m sad to say this is the end of my Africa posts… for now :) Hopefully I take a trip back to do the rest of my Nomad Tour sometime in the near future. Than you for reading and be sure to email me (lifeabsorbed@gmail.com) with any questions!

Africa XXI: Nomad Tours Day 9+10, Northern Zanzibar

I’m very excited to share with you all the details of my Africa (Kenya/Tanzania) trip, and hopefully it helps you plan your own trip, encourages you to visit these places, or at the very least teaches you about another culture in another part of the world. I loved my Africa experience. To catch you up on my trip, check out all my Africa posts:

Africa I: Planning Logistics + Budgets + Immunizations + Clothing/Gear + Getting There
Africa II: Kenya Stop1, Baby Elephants
Africa III: Kenya Giraffes, Karen Blixen and Artcaffe
Africa IV: Arriving in Moshi + The Good Hope School
Africa V: Kilimanjaro Details
Africa VI: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 1
Africa VII: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 2
Africa VIII: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 3
Africa IX: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 4
Africa X: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 5
Africa XI: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 6 and 7
Africa XII: Nomad Tours Day 1, Visit the Snake Park
Africa XIII: Nomad Tours Day 2, Off to the Serengeti
Africa XIV: Nomad Tours, Our First Game Drive
Africa XV: Nomad Tours Day 3, Game Drives
Africa XVI: Nomad Tours Day 4, Game Drives!
Africa XVII: Nomad Tours Day 4, Maasai Warriors
Africa XVIII: Nomad Tours Day 5, The Ngorongoro Crater
Africa XIX: Nomad Tours Day 6 and 7, Overland to Dar es Salaam
Africa XX: Nomad Tours Day 8, Stone Town Zanzibar

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Last I left off, Erica and I were with our Nomad Tours group for our Serengeti & Zanzibar 10 Day Trek South, where we finished exploring Stone Town and headed up to the northern tip of Zanzibar for 2 days of resort bliss!

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Our luxurious stay on the island is at the Amaan Bungalows on Nungwi Beach. After finishing our walking tour mid morning, they arranged a bus to take us to the northern part of the island. Mid drive some people on our tour elected to do the extra excursion of a spice tour. I decided I’d rather skip the tour and head directly to the beach!

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Once we dropped half the group off at the spice tour (which Erica went on, so check her blog for details on that), our van continued on north. Since this van was smaller and less conspicuous than our Nomad Truck (Tommy), now was my chance to snap some photos of local life through the window of the van.

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This was typical architecture in Zanzibar and Tanzania.

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This was also common, seeing children collect water from local watering spots. The home in the back is also typical Tanzania architecture with a thatched roof and everything.

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Above is an example of their type of strip-mall shops. Each stall would have a vendor (butcher shop, general store, fruit stand for example) and has big metal doors to close up at night.

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After about 40 minutes we arrived at the Amaan Bungalows. It was like heaven! This time we didn’t have an ocean view, but it was still super adorable and a 3 minute walk from the ocean. This girl can’t complain, especially since I’d been camping so much of the trip and it was nice having a bed and bathroom.

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D19 above was our bungalow for the next couple days.

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This place was really nice. I can see how people would honeymoon here. Our room was very nice, clean, adorable and snake-free. I ended up having some sickness/stomach issues around this time of the trip, so I was in the room more than I expected and it was a comfy place to be when feeling sick.

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Before my sickness set-in, I had one full day here of relaxing by the pool and general awesomness. This resort had many food options, a coffee/ice cream shop, bars, stores etc, so there was no reason to leave. All the resorts are in a line and connected along the beach, and each has different restaurants and shops, so if one doesn’t have what you want, walk 50 ft and you’l be at the next set of shops and restaurants.

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This is the reverse view from the pool. You can swim in the pool while looking out at the ocean. I should note that even the ocean water felt like bath water.

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Above is the view from the resort walkway leading down to the water. At high tide the water comes right up to the steps. It’s incredible. You can walk from the stairs right into the water.

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Above, here are the steps at low tide. This is a great time to walk the beach. On day 2 when I wasn’t feeling well, I couldn’t partake in any of the excursions. I was going to do the all day snorkeling trip (I think it was $15 USD) where they bring you out to the island, provide you with lunch and the snorkeling gear. Some people did it from our tour group and liked it. I was sad to miss it, but hanging around the resort was still awesome. I could be within bathroom distance but still have a relaxing fun time.

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I spent the morning walking the beach, after a lovely complimentary breakfast (they do a nice job). It was fun looking for unique shells and starfish and feeling the super soft sand against my feet.

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The fishing boats are beautiful.

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I just loved watching the water. I could walk this beach all day.

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Red starfish!

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One thing I noticed around 10am was that many local women were in full clothes out in the water with spears. They were catching crabs, as there were many in the water even by my feet as I walked.

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Tide pool fun.

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I have no clue what this sea creature is but it was spiky and cool looking. 3 seconds after I took this photo it burrowed back into the sand and was never seen (by me) again.

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I passed through so many honeymoon type resorts. They were all beautiful and unique.

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There were local fishermen selling what they caught that day along the sand. I decided to stick to fish at the restaurant and not try to DIY dinner.

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Sunset! Another excursion offered was a sunset cruise. This was another case of “I can’t be away from a bathroom for that long”, so I had to pass. But I imagine it was a lot of fun and it was very reasonably priced. But I must say, the sunset from our resorts outdoor bar was pretty excellent :)

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Here’s an example of sunset at high tide The water really flows right up to the resort. You have to time your beach walks accordingly. I have to say even with my stomach acting up, I had a fantastic time here.

Up next on Wednesday, I’ll share my last Africa post as I head back to Stone Town, Zanzibar for my last night of the tour and then endure my 4 flights back to US soil (NYC!).

Africa XX: Nomad Tours Day 8, Stone Town Zanzibar

I’m very excited to share with you all the details of my Africa (Kenya/Tanzania) trip, and hopefully it helps you plan your own trip, encourages you to visit these places, or at the very least teaches you about another culture in another part of the world. I loved my Africa experience. To catch you up on my trip, check out all my Africa posts:

Africa I: Planning Logistics + Budgets + Immunizations + Clothing/Gear + Getting There
Africa II: Kenya Stop1, Baby Elephants
Africa III: Kenya Giraffes, Karen Blixen and Artcaffe
Africa IV: Arriving in Moshi + The Good Hope School
Africa V: Kilimanjaro Details
Africa VI: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 1
Africa VII: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 2
Africa VIII: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 3
Africa IX: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 4
Africa X: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 5
Africa XI: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 6 and 7
Africa XII: Nomad Tours Day 1, Visit the Snake Park
Africa XIII: Nomad Tours Day 2, Off to the Serengeti
Africa XIV: Nomad Tours, Our First Game Drive
Africa XV: Nomad Tours Day 3, Game Drives
Africa XVI: Nomad Tours Day 4, Game Drives!
Africa XVII: Nomad Tours Day 4, Maasai Warriors
Africa XVIII: Nomad Tours Day 5, The Ngorongoro Crater
Africa XIX: Nomad Tours Day 6 and 7, Overland to Dar es Salaam

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Last I left off, Erica and I were with our Nomad Tours group for our Serengeti & Zanzibar 10 Day Trek South, where we just finished traveling overland to get to Dar es Salaam where we took the ferry to Stone Town, Zanzibar. At the end of the last post I promised you a scary story and I won’t disappoint!

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But first, lets set the scene. Above is our hotel room! You heard me right not only did Erica and I get a hotel room here (unlike the camping we’ve been doing the whole trip) but we also were super lucky and got a room right on the water! Look at the view off the deck, below.

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So pretty! Since we were right along the beach (which can get a little dangerous at night for tourists), we also had armed guards that sat outside our room all day and night.

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Paradise!

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While we were getting ready for dinner we got to watch locals play a match of soccer out here at sunset.

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The following morning Erica and I both signed up for a walking tour, which was one of the optional excursions on the trip. This maze of a town reminded me of Old Jerusalem, Israel and it was nice to have a guided tour.

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We started at the fish market in Stone Town. Above is a live auction happening right in front of us. The fisherman auction off the fish and people buy the fish, cut it up saving some of the fish for their families, and then they move to a stall where they sell the rest of the fish for a prophet.

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This was dragged through the market when we got there. It’s huge!

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Above and below are photos of the different fish, squids, shrimp and seafood that vendors were trying to sell after just purchasing them from the auction. It was cool to see, but there were probably 1000 flies in that room. It was pretty smelly too with all the un-iced fish sitting around.

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We also went through the meat market, which you can imagine I didn’t take photos of. Yuck, that room was disturbing.

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I didn’t take may photos within the fruit and vegetable stalls in Stone Town because the vendors are pretty fussy about it. Above are some of the other Nomad Tour group members walking through the stalls.

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I just love these types of winding narrow streets.

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Above is our local guide teaching us about Zanzibar doors, something Stone Town is famous for.

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Narrow alleys are fun to explore.

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I just love the colors and textures around the city.

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We cut through the Old Fort and Cultural Center in Zanzibar.

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We moved over to the Shangani section of Stone Town where Freddie Mercury lived as a child. I should note that Zanzibar is like 90% muslim which means a dress code exists here, and women should not wear tank tops or other revealing clothing while not at the beach. It’s good to pack along scarves to help coverup too. I say this here because it’s also illegal to be homosexual here, which probably explains why Freddie Mercury lived here as a child but not as an adult.

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We walked by the Shangani Hotel, which is where I booked a room (with the help of Norman) for my last night in Zanzibar.

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In the center of Stone Town is an area where poeple sharing coffee and talking about current events. Since it’s a Muslim town, only men are allowed to partake in this tradition. They have a sign hanging about making international calls and a phone tied to the tree (above).

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As part of the walking tour we went into the Christ Church which sits on the old slave market. As part of the tour they take you down into where they kept the slaves before auction (below).

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They crammed tons of people in here and when the tides rose water would seep into this room located in the basement. People lived here for long lengths of time, with limited food and of course no bathrooms. Being down there was eerie and I just can’t imagine how bad it was down here.

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Above is a painting of Bishop Edward Steere who worked to abolish slavery in Zanzibar. Does he look like anyone you know? Maybe John Travolta?!

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Above is the Cathedral from the exterior. They are still doing restoration work on it.

After the tour ended we drove back to the hotel, picked up the rest of the Nomad Tour group and headed to the north part of Zanzibar. More on that in my next post!

WARNING– OPTIONAL SCARY STORY! 

The night we stayed in Zanzibar, in the room by the ocean, there was a snake in our room. I was alone in the room from 9p-11:30p, when Erica came back to the room. At 11:30 I went to sleep and at 12:30am I awoke to 2 of the guards in our room. When I asked in my sleepy stat ewhat was going on, Erica assured me that there was a rodent in the room and they were just getting it out. My mind immediately jumped to “THERE’S A SNAKE IN THE ROOM!” Erica assured me that there wasn’t any issue and I should go back to sleep. Then, WACK! One of the guards whipped something in the corner of the room. I was within the bed netting and my glasses were on the counter so it was all a bit blurry, but it freaked me out. I had nightmares the rest of the night about snakes.

The following morning after Erica and I checked out of the room, she finally explained to me the full story. She found a snake around midnight and tried to get it out of the room herself. Realizing how dangerous this was she called in the guards who were outside our room. Knowing I HATE HATE HATE snakes, her goal was to just get it out of the room without me knowing what was going on. She shared this photo with me the next day:

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