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The idea of this African Safari goes back many years. But it was only an idea that I never expected to follow through with.
It became more of a positive idea after I retired, in November 1990, from a prolonged Florida vacation. During that vacation trip, my old friend from grade school and high school, Jack Orwig and I drove through "Lion Country Safari" in West Palm Beach, Florida. Seeing the African animals roaming free in that "drive-through" zoo increased my interest and desire.
I felt the need to travel and to escape from the routine of being retired from a daily job, and living alone.
I picked up some brochures on African Safaris, and studied them. I decided I could afford a Safari, and made some tentative plans for the autumn of 1992.
The more I studied the travel brochures, the more i expanded my planning. I decided to include Tanzania in my Safari instead of limiting it only to Kenya. Studying the brochure further, Egypt sounded like an interesting addition. I decided that since I would be in Africa, I might as well include Egypt in the same trip.
After that, I made the decision to stop over in Rome on my way back from Egypt, and visit Franco Grillso. I had been corresponding with Franco for several years. Franco was the Art Director for a company that published comic books. Included in their line of comics were books of daily and Sunday Tarzan strips. He had been unable to obtain every strip and page he needed, so I have furnished copies of the Tarzan daily strips and Sunday pages to him.
I made the decision to have West Penn AAA Travel handle the details of the trip, since I could talk face-to-face wit their travel agent at South Hills Village office -- Mary Petsoules.
I picked "The Best of East Africa" Safari package TAE-1009 offered by Olson Travelworld, Inc. for the East
African portion, and "The Cleopatra Nile Cruise" (down the Nile River) by Wildlife Safari for the Egyptian part.
My son, John, a first officer on US Air flights could ticket me from Pittsburgh to Frankfurt, Germany on US Air. He also obtained reduced fare tickets from Frankfurt to Nairobi, Kenya; Cairo to Rome; and Rome back to Frankfurt for me.
I selected a departure date of September 23 from Pittsburgh to Frankfurt, then on to Nairobi to join up with the Safari Tour on Sunday, September 27.
I made the necessary down payment to West Penn Travel for the complete strip on June 30, with more paid on July 8.
But some unexpected things happened "On the Way to the Forum"!
On July 22, I fell off my wall alongside my driveway while cutting the grass. I broke five bones, dislocated a toe joint, and tore the tendon off the side of my left foot. This injury was a serious matter requiring surgery in a hospital, and a cast on my foot for eight weeks. I called West Penn Travel and was able to delay the trip until the departure date (from New York City) of October 9. (Their departure date.)
In early August I began to lose my voice. A doctor examination and CAT Scan analysis was that I had cancer of the left thyroid gland. This required surgery to remove on September 4. Upon pathology examination the growth proved to be nonmalignant. But, I experienced heart pains following surgery, and later in my left heart artery.
On September 16, I had balloon Cardiac Angioplasty to open up that artery. This was successful, and on September 23, I finally had the cast removed from my left foot, and an O.K. from all the doctors involved to go ahead on the Safari, which had b y now been completely paid for.
In order to join up with the Olson Safari group in Nairobi on Saturday, October 10, my plans called for leaving Pittsburgh on US Air, on a space available basis on Wednesday, October 7.
A flight from Frankfurt to Nairobi on October 8, arriving in Nairobi on Friday October 9, would get me there a day earlier than the rest of the group coming from New York City. I had West Penn Travel arrange for Olson to book me into the same Nairobi Hotel for my early arrival. I had taken all the required immunization shots, had a valid passport with valid visas, new shoes and clothes and everything ready to travel.
Following here then, is day-to-day account (all too brief) of my journey, to experience the real Africa. Not the Africa of Edgar Rice Burroughs, nor the Hollywood version, but the actual Africa, such as it is in 1992.
Monday ~ October 5, 1992
The Mechanics Union at USAir called a strike for 7:00 AM today, causing cancellations of some USAir flights. Johnny convinced me that I should leave Pittsburgh a day earlier than I had originally planned. I called the Quality Inn Hotel chain reservation number and made a room reservation in Frankfurt, Germany for Wednesday, October 7. I called USAir and listed for flight #816 from Pittsburgh to Frankfurt, GR. for Tuesday, October 6, leaving at 6:15 PM.
Tuesday ~ October 6, 1992
I had to make a quick trip out to West Penn Travel, to pick up the Egypt tour information and final papers which they had just received from Wildlife Safari.
Margaret Herzog arrived at my home at 2:00 PM, to take me out to the new Pittsburgh International Airport terminal. We left at 2:45 and arrived at the Airport at 3:20. She dropped me off, ,and I checked my bag to Frankfurt.
We boarded about 6:00 PM and, as a standby, I had to wait until all others had boarded before being given a seat assignment. I received a good seat -- #128 on the aisle. Seating was 2-3-2 across. We left the gate at 6:45 (30 minutes late).
As soon as we were airborne, I set my watch ahead 5 hours. So, on German time we were served dinner (chicken with green beans and rice) at 1:45.
Wednesday ~ October 7
After about 2 hours of sleep, a breakfast was served at 6:40 AM. We landed at Frankfurt, on time, at 7:50 AM, but out away from the terminal building. A bus took us into the terminal.
I found my bag OK, and exchanged traveler's checks to get a taxi to the hotel. First to the wrong hotel, then to the correct one (cost $50 for the ride).
I checked in and went to bed, sleeping about 4 hours. I got up at 3:30 PM and took a shower. Read and watched some TV. Had dinner in the hotel coffee shop (turkey with green beans and rice). The desk clerk gave me instruction on going back to the Airport by bus -- (at much less cost). I called Lufthansa Airline for the flight to Nairobi, Kenya, and was told it was good for stand-by. I watched TV news from England, read and went to sleep about 11:00 pm.
Thursday ~ October 8
Got up at 7:30, showered, dressed, and ate breakfast at the hotel (Free Smorgasbord breakfast). Requested late checkout time of 2:00 PM. Left hotel at 2:00 PM, went on two buses to Airport (cost about 8 DM). I arrived at the Air Terminal about 3:30 PM. I received a "stand-by" boarding pass from Lufthansa Air, but could not check bag at check-in. I was placed on the list of stand-bys. I was told to take my bag with me to the boarding gate, and if accepted then bag would be checked on the flight. I found a soft seat, and a baggage cart. Sat and read and rested, waiting for the evening loading time. Went to the boarding gate at 7:00 pm. I did NOT get on that flight to Nairobi. There were many empty seats, but only four out of about twenty stand-bys were picked, due to weight restrictions. I was not one of the four.
I went to the Sheraton Hotel, directly connected ot the Air Terminal and got a room for the night, with a 30% AARP discount. Went to bed and read, but had trouble getting to sleep.
Friday ~ October 9
Tot up at 7:30 AM, dressed and went back over to the Air Terminal -- to the USAir ticket counter. They could do nothing about upgrading my stand-by ticket on Lufthansa. Went to the Lufthansa ticket counter where they accepted the stand-by ticket as partial payment on a confirmed (reserved) seat to Nairobi, at an extra cost of $1,115 (or maybe $1638, I can't tell yet which, because of the D. Mark prices) (actually was $1553). Anyway, I now have a guaranteed seat tonight.
Went back to the Sheraton Hotel, took a shower, ate lunch (no breakfast) at the hotel restaurant. Checked out at 1:00 pm, then took my bag over to Lufthansa check-in to have it checked on to Nairobi. I sat around the Air Terminal for about 9 hours, read some, rested my eyes some, waiting for my flight, scheduled to leave at 11:15 pm. (Last night's flight, which I didn't make left one-hour late). Tonight's flight pulled away from the gate at 11:25 pm (Friday night) just 20 minutes later than scheduled. I had seat 33A, a window seat (seating 2-4-2).
Saturday ~ October 10
Dinner was served at 3:00 AM (Nairobi time - two hours later than Germany). I selected chicken stuffed with spinach with noodles. After dinner I tried to sleep, but I don't believe I slept. Breakfast (cheese and cold cuts) was served at 8:00 AM, and we landed at 9:30 AM (only 10 minutes late). No one was there to meet me, I called the number given to me by West Penn Travel, but no answer. I took a taxi to the Norfolk Hotel (cost 400 K.S.). Got into my room (#324), took a shower, went to bed at 12:30 pm (afternoon). No one from Olson Safari Tour here yet. Got a message that Johnny called here last night. I set the alarm clock for 4:45 pm, and slept for 4 hours. Got up, dressed and went to hotel restaurant, on front terrace.
For dinner I had lasagna (meat and cheese) and fruit cup with ice cream, at 6:15 pm. I bought some post cards, wrote some, and called Johnny (collect) at 11:00 pm to report what had happened since he called me in Germany. I read and went to sleep at 12:00, with the alarm set for 7:00 AM. I left a note at the front desk for Ann Cassidy (the Tour Manager) that I was in room 324.
Sunday ~ October 11
Up at 7:00 AM, showered, dressed and went to eat breakfast. Found note from Ann Cassidy to meet in lobby at 9:50 to go to Karen Blizen's farm home (movie - "Out of Africa"), then to a Giraffe manor to visit Rothschild's giraffe in park set up to save them. Did these visits then back to Norfolk Hotel for lunch.
After lunch walked to national Kenya Museum to look around. Came back from Museum, and had a swim at the hotel pool.
After swim got dressed to go to a cocktail welcome party and dinner hosted by Ann Cassidy for Olson Travel. I ate red snapper at the 5-star Hotel Dining Room.
Came back to the room and packed clothes to take on Safari, and other clothes to leave in storage at the hotel, in storage, for our return.
Took a shower, read and turned out the lights at midnight. Set the alarm clock for 6:30 AM.
"There ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them."-- MARK TWAINMonday ~ October 12
Up at 6:30 AM, dressed and went for breakfast. Set the bags outside the hotel room door and went to check-out. The tour troupe gathered together to drive to Amboseli Game Reserve in southern Kenya (100 miles). This is close to the Tanzania border, with Mount Kilimanjaro in sight, to the south, with snow on its top. Last 40 miles was on a trail that could hardly be called a road, dirt and very rough. We arrived about noon, and had a great buffet lunch, at Amboseli Serena Lodge in the Park. At 4:00 pm we left on a game viewing drive of 2 1/2 hours. We saw elephants, giraffe, cape buffalo, wildebeest, gazelle, different antelopes.
We were in a light-passenger mini-van, with a top that opened to stand up to view, and to take pictures. The clouds over Mt. Kilimanjaro cleared today, so we could see the permanent snow on the peak.
I had a leisurely dinner of Nile pike. Took a shower, went to bed to read, and set the alarm for 5:45, to get up for a game drive at 6:00 am.
Tuesday ~ October 13
Up at 5:45, dressed and ready for morning game drive at dawn. I saw hundreds of animals, with Mt. Kilimanjaro in the background.
After the game drive, had breakfast with the rest of the group. Went swimming in the Lodge swimming pool before lunch, at the Lodge.
After lunch had a performance of song, dances, and a lecture by a Maasai warrior. Then another game run until sunset. Came back to the room and did some packing before going to dinner with the group. I had turkey with vegetables, carrot soup, pineapple pie.
After dinner I soaked my left foot in cold water, and into bed a 10:00. Set alarm for 6:00 AM, read until 10:30.
Wednesday ~ October 14
I got up at 6:00 AM, before dawn. Dressed and had breakfast by 7:00. Packed and ready for the drive into Tanzania at 7:30. We traveled back for 1 1/2 hours on the dirt trail (very bumpy) to the border.
After going through passport control, and a change of mini-van and drivers, we had a smooth road to Mountain View Resort (at Arusha) for lunch. That is a very deluxe resort.
From there, we drove another very rough trail up the escarpment wall of the Ngorongoro volcano crater (7,500 feet) to the rim, overlooking the crater floor below (2000 feet below). I ate wildebeest (wild game) for dinner.
Had a shower (in cold water), and into bed to read until 11:00. Set the alarm for 6:15. It was very cold that high up there. All electricity goes off at 11:40. We stayed at the Ngorongoro Crater Wildlife Lodge, on the rim of the Crater.
Thursday ~ October 15
Up at 6:15, still dark outside, and went to breakfast with the group at 7:00. I left my dirty clothes for the laundry, to be picked up upon our return this evening.
We left the Lodge at 8:00 to drive down into the crater in six-passenger Land Rover, 4-wheel drive trucks. We went down a very steep, very narrow dusty trail to the floor of the crater.
We drove all over the 10 mile by 12 mile crater floor, mostly just following tire tracks. We saw elephants, about 8 rhinos (with 2 young ones), about 10 lions, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, monkeys, baboons, many antelope types, two pools with about 12-15 hippos. We ate a box lunch overlooking a hippo pool, with kite birds swooping down to grab some of our lunch. The birds did get some from two of the women, but not from me.
We drove back up the escarpment face about 4:00. I picked up my clean laundry, and went back to my room to rest before dinner at 8:00. I had zebra to eat, with the tour group. Watched a video tape in the lounge about wildebeest migration, a year long cycle. Went to bed at 10:00, set the alarm for 6:30 AM, and turned out the lights at 10:30.
Friday ~ October 16
Up at 6:15, went to breakfast at 7:00. Had the bags out by 8:00. We drove out from the Lodge into the Serengeti Plains.
We saw hundreds, perhaps thousands of zebra, wildebeest, and giraffe. We also saw more than a dozen lions. We looked for leopards in trees, but found none. We drove on dirt roads which were fairly smooth, to Seronera Lodge for lunch.
After lunch, we continued the drive through the Serengeti, looking for leopards, but not successfully. We saw the beginning of the wildebeest migration coming south out of Kenya. We found a hippo pool with 6-8 hippo and one crocodile.
We stopped at Oldivai Gorge, where Dr. Leakey discovered remains of pre-historic man, back millions of years.
The further north we drove, we saw many more elephants (15-25), including some very young. We had our firs rain shower on the trip, and then again at night at the lodge. We arrived at Lobo Lodge in north Tanzania (near Kenya border) about 5:30 pm. Cleaned up for dinner with the group. I had Cape buffalo. It was more tender than the zebra last night.
Watched a video tape about the Serengeti Cheetah in the lounge, but back to my room by 9:30. Set the alarm for 5:45, went to bed to read. We had heavy rain, with lightning and thunder.
Saturday ~ October 17
Up at 5:45, had coffee, then out for a game drive at 6:30. We saw lions, elephants, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, and many antelope. Back a the Lodge for breakfast at 9: 00. We had to check out at 10:00, which we did, and left for another game drive, looking for leopards. We came back to the Lodge for lunch (fish) at 1:00 pm.
We left the Lodge to drive to Seronera Wildlife Lodge, still part of the Serengeti. We looked for leopards again before arriving at the Lodge and SAW one, plus a small (6-8 month old) cub in a tree. The mother was lying on a branch, and the cub ran down out of the tree into the grass, but then climbed back up to feed on the kill which was in the tree (a baby antelope). I took many pictures, but the light was bad, and we couldn't get very close. Arrived at the Lodge at 6:00, checked in and had a shower (cold water), then went to dinner at 7:30. I had fish again (Nile perch)(from Lake Victoria).
No video tape tonight, went back to my room and read until 10:00. Set the alarm for 6:30.
On Saturday, while at Lobo Lodge, we saw these hyraxes. These small brownish-grey mammals are the closest living relatives to elephants.
Sunday ~ October 18
Up at 6:30, packed my bags, and went to breakfast at 7:00. We then left the Lodge for a game drive, going back to the Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge at the top of the crater rim for a sort break, then down the outside of the escarpment going to Gibb's Farm, a coffee plantation, for lunch.
We left Gibb's Farm at 2:00 to continue our drive to Lake Manyara Hotel, on a very rough road. We arrived about 3:30. After I checked into the room, I went swimming in the hotel pool, which overlooked the Rift Valley.
For dinner I had tomato soup, lamb, beef, and ham. I came back to the room at 9:15, set the alarm for 6:00 AM, and read in bed until 10:30.
Monday ~ October 19
Up at 6:00, ate breakfast, packed and left for Lake Manyara Park. The park is a "tropical rain forest." (A jungle). Our native mini-van driver (guide) told us that in the late 1950s (or early 1960s) a film crew came into this forest to film parts of a TARZAN movie. This would have to be one of the Gordon Scott films, probably "Magnificent." We saw 6 lions, many different antelope, 10-12 hippo, monkeys, baboons, and zebra. Leaving the park, we drove to Arusha (still in Tanzania), Mountain Village Lodge for lunch (fish). I rested and walked around the grounds of the Lodge, while most of the others went into town for shopping, or looking.
I had a tomato and cheese quiche, along with mashed potatoes and cauliflower, for dinner.
Back in my room at 9:00, took ANOTHER cold water shower (no electricity ot heat water). In bed at 9:45, read until 10:30, and alarm set for 6:00 AM.
Tuesday ~ October 20
Once again - up at 6:00 and went to the Lodge for breakfast. The bags were put out, to be packed into the van for the next leg of our Safari. We drove to the Tanzania/Kenya border, had the passports stamped for exit from Tanzania, and then for entry into Kenya. Drove on a smooth asphalt road to Nairobi, and the Norfolk Hotel. Arrived there about 12:00 noon. We got the bags out of storage that we had left there the week before. We had to separate our clothes into 3 bags: 1) large bag with suit, shirt and tie to be picked up later; 2) a small carry-on with clothes only for two days; and 3) a bag to leave at the hotel for the end of the trip. We ate lunch (buffet) on the deck by the swimming pool.
We left the hotel at 2:00 and drove to the small Wilson) airport. We boarded an eighteen passenger "Twin Otter" turbo-prop airplane. The flight of about 150 miles was from nairobi over the Rift valley (with its many escarpments), to a dirt landing strip in the Muarai Mara (Northern Serengeti Plains). We were picked up by a Land Rover, through the plains and bush country for about five miles. On the way we saw five lions feeding on a zebra. Arrive at the tent camp about 5:00. We watched seven Maasai warriors do a tribal dance and sing. After their show, we had dinner in the Lodge dining room. I had a steak for dinner, then sat in front of a big log fire (in a fireplace) with after dinner tea, before going back to the tent. I wrote some post cards, and had a good hot shower (in the tent). First hot water in 4 or 5 days. Left a call for 6:00 AM, and went to bed at 11:00. It rained hard tonight, but only for a short time.
Wednesday ~ October 21
Up at 6:00, with coffee delivered to the tent. Out on a game drive at 6:30. We saw a freshly killed zebra and the lion. We later saw two mother lions, with six cubs. The cubs were playing all together, three very young, the other three a little older.
Came back to the camp for breakfast at 8:45. After breakfast, I walked along the river bank, across from the tent camp.
I had lunch with the group, then went to the swimming pool, and soaked my feet in the cold water. I had not brought my swimming trunks to the tent camp, since we could only have a small carry-on bag on the airplane.
At 3:00 the whole group, except Meriam and Lynne, drove to a Maasai village. We went into the village of 15 huts, made of cow dung. I went into 2 of the huts, very dark, with no windows, just a few round holes, 3 to 4 inches in diameter, on the side walls for ventilation. They had an open fire pit in the center of the room. This was very interesting and educational for me. The villagers had a market set up in the center of the village to sell items of their handiwork (bought nothing).
We left the village and went on a game drive. We saw the same lions, but still had seen no cheetahs. We arrived back at camp at 6:00. At 7:30 we heard a lecture on Maasai culture by an educated Maasai, then dinner. I had Impala (venison), which was very tender, and not gamy. Went back to the tent, took a shower and into bed at 10:14. Left a wake up call for 4:55 AM.
My laundry had been done during the day, so had clean clothes to keep going.
Thursday ~ October 22
Up at 4:55, dressed and everything packed, then to the Lodge for coffee. We left the Lodge at 5:45 and drove to the site of a balloon launch. We were up above the plains before sun-up to view the animals from above. We saw the usual game animals, nothing new. We were up for about two hours, with seven people in the basket, and traveled about 10 miles.
When we landed, the ground crew had brought food and a gas grill to serve us a champagne breakfast. A tribe of Maasai walked up to the landing site with much trade goods to sell us. I bought a Maasai arrow, and carved wooden salad spoon and fork. We drove from the balloon landing site to the dirt airstrip to await the small airplane to fly us back to Nairobi. We had to wait for an hour or so, at a different lodge, before the airplane arrived for us. Again, we flew over the great Rift Valley. It looked very desolate and void of any water, but there were a few native villages see. The same "Twin Otter" airplane flew us back.
We arrived back in Nairobi about 12:30 and were driven to a restaurant near the airport for lunch. For lunch I ate some wildebeest, ostrich, and crocodile meat, with ice cream for dessert. (First ice cream served on the trip.)
From the restaurant we drove about 100 miles northwest from Nairobi to Aberdeen Game Park. We left most of our bags at a lodge there, and boarded a bus for a trip to "The Ark," (a hotel built like a ship, with cabins and deck letters (A, B, C, D). It had viewing decks overlooking a lighted water hole, to watch the animals come to it. Before dinner I saw a rhino come to the water hole, and roll in the mud.
For dinner I had half a small chicken. After dinner I went out on the deck to watch the water hole. Saw a couple of lions and a small genet (cat).
I went to bed at 10:00 with my clothes on. If animals show up at the water hole, a buzzer in the room goes off to wake me up to see them. Buzzed at 11:00 for a rhino, but he walked too far away for a photo.
Friday ~ October 23
At 3:15 AM, buzzed again. Two female and one male lion were trying to bring down a Cape Buffalo. The lions were on the back of the buffalo, but were shaken off. The lions chased the buffalo into the bush. We were not allowed to use a flash to take photos, so I tried, using only the light from the spotlights, with little success. Back in bed about 4:00 AM.
Up at 6:00 and packed to leave. Had breakfast at 7:00, then back on the bus to leave at 8:15. The bus took us back to the lodge where we had left our big bags and the mini-vans.
We saw some very rare Colossus Monkeys in the trees on the bus ride back.
We left the lodge in the mini-vans to drive to Samburu Serena Lodge on the Uaso Nyiro River, north of Mt. Kenya. Arrived in time for lunch. After lunch I went swimming in the swimming pool, then out on a game drive at 4:00.
We saw three elephants, one male lion, many antelopes, including an oryx, an eland (largest antelope), and finally a CHEETAH. I took pictures of the cheetah, but it was getting dark.
Back to the lodge in time to see a (spotlight) leopard eating the bait hung out for it, in a tree across the river. At dark food was put out for a crocodile that came up to the lodge wall from the river.
Had Nile perch for dinner. Today was Noreen Ikeuye's birthday (40?), and Ann Cassidy (tour manager) had a cake, decorated with candles, and a T-shirt gift for her. The whole dining room crew sang native songs, and "Happy Birthday" to her. A very nice surprise for her.
Went back to my room and took a shower with HOT WATER!! (finally). Into bed at 10:30 to read, lights out at 11:30.
Saturday ~ October 24
Up at 6:15. I skipped the game drive so that I could search the grounds for the arrow head (for the Maasai arrow) that I had dropped the night before. But, when I opened the door to go to breakfast, the arrowhead was on the outside door handle. Ann Cassidy had found it alongside the stone pathway to the cabins and brought it to my door on her way to the game drive.
So, I ate breakfast while the others were on the game drive. I had coffee with the group when they returned from the game drive. Walked around the lodge grounds and took a photo of a crocodile on the river bank, just outside my cabin door.
I went for a swim at 11:00, then had lunch at the lodge at 12:45. I had spaghetti with ox-tail sauce, and banana soup, and banana pie. Just loafed around the yard and pool until 4:00, when we left for yet another game drive. We saw a cheetah eating a freshly killed gazelle. Also the rare Gerenuk, a long-necked antelope that stands on its hind feet to reach up into trees to eat the leaves. We also saw the Grevy's zebra, that have the very narrow black stripes.
Back at 6:30, in time to see the leopard (baited) again before dinner. I ate fish and chicken - (very good). After dinner I saw the crocodile (again) that the lodge had put the food out for him to come up to the wall to eat.
Took a shower (hot water) and into bed at 10:00 to read. Lights out at 10:45 with the alarm set for 6:00 AM, to go on our last game drive.
Sunday ~ October 25
up at 6:00 for a game drive at 6:30. Saw several of the Grevy's zebra, a dozen or more elephants, mongoose, and a small squirrel. In this Samburu Game park are a different kind of giraffe -- the reticulated kind, with a pattern different from either the Rothschild's (that we saw in Nairobi) and the Maasai giraffe that we saw in the Serengeti.
We arrived back at the lodge at 8:00 for breakfast, then on the road again at 9:00, headed for the Mount Kenya Safari Club. At about noon we drove across the equator (from north to south). We stopped to have pictures taken right on the line, but my camera was packed in my suitcase. A man showed us the effect of water draining, both north (counter-clockwise) and south (clockwise), and then right on the equator itself, water just drains straight down.
We arrived at the Club about 12:30 and ate lunch there. After lunch I visited the Art Museum and the Animal Orphanage. The native Chuka drum dancers put on an excellent sow in the yard outside the Club.
The Animal Orphanage is a refuge for orphaned and sick animals to be later released into the wild. I saw the rare bongo and a large cheetah.
I came back to my room for a shower before dinner. At 5:30 a maid came into the room and built a log fire in the fireplace (each room has a fireplace). We were up at 7,000 feet, and it gets cold up that high, even though the Club is right on the Equator.
I can see Mt. Kenya (2nd highest in Africa at 17,000 ft.), from my room window. I can see snow on its top. (It is snow covered year round - even being at the equator).
I wrote some letters to Margaret and to Johnny, to be mailed when I get back to Nairobi. I had to dress in my (brown) suit, with white shirt and necktie for dinner at this club. (Only place on the trip.) Had dinner with the group - trout with the head still on it, and a 7 course meal. Went back to the room to read. Set the alarm for 6:30 and turned the light off at 11:30.
Monday ~ October 26
Up at 6:30 and down for breakfast at 7:00, then back to room to pack for the drive to Nairobi at 8:30. We drove on a good smooth road to Nairobi, arriving at the Norfolk Hotel about noon. I made arrangements with the hotel to stay over an extra night.
I diid some hand laundry in the bath tub and hung it near the open window to dry. I had a swim at the hotel pool then back to the room for a shower and shave.
The whole group went to the home of a retired United Nations financial accountant for a very fancy dinner. He is living in a very nice suburb of Nairobi. We had a several course meal -- filet mignon - served by four waiters, plus a woman that dished out the food to the waiters, served outside in a gazebo. His son (31 yrs old) was also at the dinner. He is a computer programmer, who has built his own Personal Computer from parts he ordered out of a catalog.
This home is in an area of three houses, with a high wall, a gate to enter, and armed guards at the gate and patrolling within the walled area.
We arrived back at the Norfolk a 10:30 and into bed to read. I set the alarm for 6:45 in order to have breakfast with the (departing) group. Light out at 11:30.
Tuesday ~ October 27
Up at 6:45 and went to breakfast. I had breakfast with Noreen, Eric and Lucy. The others had room-service breakfast. I saw the whole group off to the airport at 10:00. I made reservations with the hotel for a "day-room" for Wednesday (10:00 to 5:30 pm), at one-half regular room rate ($80.00).
In the early afternoon I walked into downtown Nairobi and went through the "City Market." This was a building with many stalls, selling beads, bracelets, and wood carvings. I didn't buy anything.
I came back to the Norfolk and went for a swim in the pool. I watched a movie on TV, then went to dinner on the open porch. I had pasta shells with tomato sauce and ice cream. After dinner, I watched TV news and into bed to read. I didn't set the alarm clock.
Wednesday ~ October 28
Up at 7:00. It rained during the night and still raining this morning, too cold to go swimming today. So, I did some reading, wrote a letter, ate lunch, took a shower, and packed everything -- ready to fly to Cairo, Egypt. Check out of hotel and took a taxi to the airport at 5:15, in a very heavy traffic jam. Apparently typical rush (?) hour traffic. Arrival at airport in plenty of time. Exchanged all my Kenya money to U.S. dollars, gave the leftover to the taxi driver. We flew on a Boeing 737, which was not full. I had three seats all for myself. We took off on time, at 7:30 pm.
At about 10:00 pm we had a stop-over in Khartoum in the Sudan for an hour. I tried to get some sleep, but was unable to get any.
Thursday ~ October 29
Arrived in Cairo about 2:00 AM and was met by a tour guide and driven to downtown Cairo at the Ramses Hilton Hotel -- right on the Nile River. We arrived at the hotel about 3:00 AM and checked in for a room. Not much sleep.
Up at 7:30 for a city tour. Went to the Citadel built by Saladin at the time of the Crusades. At some later date, a large mosque was built by Mohamed Ali (not the later-day fighter), built of alabaster.
I went into the mosque (without my shoes on.) Next stop was the Egyptian Museum, home of the treasure from Tutankhamun's tomb (only discovered in 1922), and other ancient Egyptian treasures. Then to lunch at a restaurant with my guide. I had lamb shish kabob.
I had a silver and gold cartouche made, with Egyptian hieroglyphics spelling out "Margaret." My guide ordered it made somewhere and it was ready at the end of the tour (today).
After lunch we drove out to Giza to see the Pyramids and the Sphinx, which guards the middle Pyramid (of the three large ones). I went into the middle one, through a low (four foot) passageway, into the burial chamber. A different guide took mi in there.
We visited a papyrus showroom, where I was shown how papyrus paper is made. This was really a showroom of paintings on papyrus for sale. I didn't buy any. I was taken to a perfume warehouse where perfume was sold. I didn't buy any.
Arrived back at the hotel about 5:00. I took a shower (dirty and dusty from the Pyramids and the sandy desert of Giza) and went to bed. Set alarm for 4:00 AM for early morning flight.
Friday ~ October 30
Up at 4:00, went to hotel restaurant for an early breakfast, packed bags and took them to the lobby. I had the large bag checked to stay at the hotel until I returned. Finally met the other three members of the tour - Feraudo (from Chile/New York) and Don and Betty May for Norfolk, VA. Left the hotel at 5:15 to go to the airport. We had a 6:15 flight to Luxor.
We landed at Luxor and were driven (new guide) to a ferry boat to cross the Nile to the west bank, while a taxi took our bags to Sheraton Luxor Hotel.
On the west bank we were driven to the Valley of the Kings, where the ancient Pharaohs had their tombs dug into mountains.Early morning flight to Luxor where you will embark on a memorable Nile cruise. Morning ferry ride across the Nile to the West Bank, the necropolis of Thebes, or "City of the Dead," to visit the Valley of the Kings, Queens and Nobles. Visit the tomb of Tutankhamen, the Temple of Ramses III at Medinet Habu, the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Deir El Bahari, and the Colossis of Memnon. Afternoon horse carriage ride to the great Temples of Karnak, visit the Avenue of the Sphinxes, the Hypostyle Hall, the statue of Ramses II, the Tutankhamen Temple, the Obelisk of Queen Hatshepsu, the Temple of Thutmoses I and the Sacred Lake. Continue to Luxor Temple, dedicated to Amun Ra.After the afternoon tour we came back to the Sheraton Luxor Hotel for dinner at 6:30. We had no tour manager with us in Egypt, just different guides at each location Some were not very fluent in English. Dinner was a large buffet, with many choices.
The Mayo couple left the hotel to see a light show at the Karnak Temple, but I went to my room, took a shower and went to bed at 9:30. Set the alarm for 8:00 AM.
Saturday ~ October 31
I was awake at 6:30 and so I got up and read USA Today Newspaper form four days ago. After breakfast, I packed everything to be taken to the boat for the Nile cruise. We were taken to the boat -- The Sheraton Nile Cruise Ship "ANNI," at 10:00, but was told the rooms would not be ready for me until 12: 00. The four of us sat in the lounge, discussing the poor management of the tour.
Finally received the cabin key at 12:00 and went to cabin to see if my bags had arrived (They were in the cabin). Ship got underway at 12:30 and we went to lunch (tomato soup and breaded chicken).
After lunch I went upon the top (sun) deck and watched the shore of the Nile go by until 4:15. I then went back to the cabin to rest until dinner at 7:30. Again there was a large buffet to choose from (beef, chicken, lamb). After dinner the four of us went to the top deck to talk We were tied up to the shore line waiting to lock through a river lock at a dam. The ship was raised about 10 feet at about 10:00. The ship then tied up again after going through the lock. I took a shower in a tiny shower stall and went to bed reading until 11:30. Set the alarm for 7: 00.
Sunday ~ November 1
Up at 7:00, breakfast at 8:00. Left the ship at 9:00 to view the temple at Esna.Morning sail to Esna, dedicated to Khnum, the god who created men and animals by molding them from clay form the Nile. Continue to Edfu, visiting the temple of Horus, the multiform God of the Sun and planets. Sail to Kom Ombo for overnight.The guide told us the temples were built under direction of Greeks, who had ruled then in Egypt. The architecture and the hieroglyphics were changed under the Greeks, trying to show that the Greeks originally came from Egypt. Came back to the ship at 10:30 and underway up the Nile to EDFU, docking a 2:30, after lunch (fish). Two more people finally joined our tour. They are both hockey fans from Hamilton, Ontario.
Visited the temple of Horus, very well preserved, and back on ship at 4:30. Underway to Kon Ombo. Took a shower and cleaned up for dinner (again a large buffet). After dinner we had a whole-ship party (170 passengers on the ship). Games were played and some of the passengers dressed up in Arab clothes they had purchased ashore. Party broke up at 12:00 and in bed at 12:15, with the alarm set for 7:40. The ship was tied up overnight at Aswan.
Monday ~ November 2
Up at 7:30, breakfast at 8:00, then off ship to visit temples.Upon awakening we see the Ptolemaic Temple, which is shared between two separate gods, Sobek and Horus. The lengthwise symmetry honors each god equally and shows the inventiveness and flexibility of the Egyptian architects. A unique experience awaits us as we enjoy a ride on board a feluccva the traditional sailboat of the Nile. We sail to the botanical gardens of Kitchener's Island, named after Lord Herbert Kitchener, who served the British in Egypt for many years, and visit Aga Khan's Mausoleum, a building of eternal beauty, standing on hill with an unparalleled view of Aswan.Part of the Horus Temple was damaged from an earthquake only two weeks before we arrived. Mos was in good shape, not defaced by later generations as so many other temples have been. I saw three mummified crocodiles at the temple. Again, the temples had a Greek influence, who were trying to trace their roots back to Egypt.
Back on the ship at 10:00 to sail to Aswan. I had a tour of the ship's pilot house, engine room, and kitchen. The ship has three propellers aft and one bow propeller, all that swivel -- with No rudders.
We had lunch while underway (steak) and docked in Aswan about 1:30. Left the ship about 2:e0 to take a bus ride to Aswan low dam (1905 - British) and then to the Aswan high dam (1960-1970 Russian).
We then took a small boat on a trip to a small island with a temple to Isis. This temple had been moved to high ground, after being flooded for 40 years. Then, another boat ride to Lord Kitchener's botanical gardens, on yet another island.Sightseeing today includes the High Dam, pride of modern Egypt, the Old Dam, Lake Nasser, the granite quarries where you will find the unfinished Obelisk, and the beautiful Philae Temple, dedicated to the gods Isis and Osiris.Back on the ship about 5:40. I walked uptown to the Isis Hotel, where I found an artist to paint a cartouche name on a papyrus picture -- "TARZAN," in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. I got slightly lost trying to find my way back to the ship because all the signs were in Arabic. But made it back O.K. in time for dinner.
After dinner, with the other three members of the tour group, we went to the lounge for the evening entertainment -- Nubian dancers. I joined in with a large group of the tourists to dance also. Back in my cabin at 10:00 took a shower and in bed by 10:45. I read until 11:30 with the alarm set for 6:45.
Tuesday ~ November 3 (ELECTION DAY)
Up at 6: 45, breakfast, packed bags and left the ship at 9:00 to fly to Abu Simbel.A brief flight takes us south of Aswan to the site of the most impressive of all Egyptian monuments, the Great Temples of Ramses II and his wife Nefertit. These remarkable buildings were moved form the path of the threatening waters of the High Dam and reconstructed exactly as they were before. The man-made mountains covering the Temples show us precisely how they looked prior to the move. At the end of the tour we walk up the mountain and see the Temple from above.After the flight back to Aswan from Abu Simbel we stayed at the airport waiting for our bags to be delivered to us from the ship. Our flight to Cairo left at 4:00 pm.
Optional excursion to Abu Simbel where you will visit the temples of Ramses II and his queen Nefertaari, one of the world's most photographed monuments. Afternoon flight to Cairo with transfer to your hotel.
When we arrived back at the Cairo airport we were met by a tour representative who took us by taxi back to the Ramses Hilton Hotel.
I retrieved my bag from storage that I had left there the previous Friday. Back into a hotel room at 8:00 pm. I took a shower and dressed in clean clothes (finally) and then met the other three members of our group for dinner at the hotel. Another buffet of many choices. I got back into my room at 10:00 and watched some very early news of the election (still mid-day in U.S.A.) on CNN International TV. It was too early to talk about winning. I re-packed all my bags to get ready for the flight to Rome. In bed to read until 11:30, with alarm set for 5:30 AM.
Wednesday ~ November 4
up at 5:30, turned on TV to learn that Bill Clinton had won the election (It was late Tuesday evening in USA). Had an early breakfast, finished packing, checked out of hotel and met my driver to airport at 7:00.
We arrived at the airport at 7:20 and checked with Alitalia for a stand-by seat on a flight to Rome. I had no problems about getting a seat -- seat #21H (window) on an Airbus 300. The flight left at 8:45 and arrived in Rome at 10:45 Rome time (one hour earlier than Cairo time).
I had a great surprise at the Rome Airport -- Franco Grillo was there to meet me, which I had not expected. He recognized me wearing my "white hunter's Safari hat."
He drove me to the hotel in downtown Rome and then left me to go back to his work. Although he speaks no English and I speak no Italian (just a few words), we managed to get our thoughts and ideas to each other. The hotel is very old (bath down the hall), but clean. When I arrived no one at the hotel spoke any English but Franco talked to them. I had previously written for a reservation so they knew I would be arriving. Franco had a note written in English by his friend Giuseppe Paziento, who translates my letters to him and his letters back to me. Guiseppe also translates the English text of the Tarzan comic strips into Italian that Franco publishes.
The note that Franco gave me introduced Franco and asked that I telephone Guiseppe that afternoon that afternoon to make arrangements for us to go out to dinner that night.
I went out of the hotel to walk around the neighbourhood. It was very complex, very narrow alleys, going off in every direction , not laid out in a rectangular patter. There are many small shapes along the alleys, wild drivers, many motor scooters, also with wild drivers.
I called Guiseppe at 4:15, who told me Franco would be at the hotel at 7:00 to pick me up to drive to dinner. We drove for several miles to a restaurant and met Guiseppe, his wife, and his daughter Christisano (who spoke fluent English).
I had stuffed pasta for dinner and wine. Got back to the hotel at 12:30, took a shower and in bed by 12:45. I wrote some postcards and set the alarm for 7:15.
Thursday ~ November 5
Up at 7:15 and dressed to go out sight-seeing with Franco. He arrived at 8:00 and we walked for ten miles around the centre of Rome. He showed me many of the old ruins, including the Coliseum, the Circus Maximus, the Mamertine Prison where Saint Peter had been held prisoner, the capitol, and finally, after all the unexpected things that happened to me "On the Way to the Forum," we did get to the ruins of the old Roman Forum.
One spot in the old Forum (the area of twenty-some temples and statues), has a marker as the place where Julius Caesar died. Someone had placed a fresh red rose on the spot. We also the Temple of Vesta, and the "Mouth of Truth." If you place our hand in the mouth it will be cut off if you do not tell the truth. (Mine was not cut off).
Franco wore me out walking I went back to the hotel room and even fell asleep for a couple of hours. In the evening I walked around the area again and ate at a McDonald's (fish sandwich and chicken).
After walking around the streets after dinner, I went back to the hotel, took a shower and went to bed at 8:30 to read. No alarm set.
Friday ~ November 6
up at 7:30 and ate breakfast in the hotel dining room (small only two tables). I left the hotel at 10:00 to try to find the Vatican (on my own by bus). I had to take two buses, but had no trouble getting there. I went through Saint Peter's Basilica, full of paintings and sculptures. I saw Michelangelo's "La Pieta" (now behind glass).
The Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel closed at 1:00, so I was too late to get in. I did see the tomb (a small gold casket) of Saint Peter in the Basilica.
I went back to the hotel and read USA TODAY about the elections. I went again to McDonald's for a cheeseburger, fries and chicken. Went back to the hotel, took a shave and in bed at 10:00 to read. Lights out at 10:45, no alarm set.
Saturday ~ November 7
Up a t 7:00 with breakfast at the hotel. I studied the bus maps to get to the Alitalia office to check on a flight to Frankfurt on Monday. I found the office with no trouble but it was closed on Saturday. I got on another bus and found my way to the Fountain of Treni. I tossed a coin into the Fountain for good luck. Took a bus back to the hotel.
Franco came by and picked me up at 2:00 and drove to his art studio/warehouse where he did some work on daily Tarzan Adventure (newspaper) strips. These had been photo-copied on acetate and he cleaned them up and added blacks to artistically have them better for printing.
We later drove to the top of a high hill (their version of our Mt. Washington) to view the city of Rome from on high. Then we went to the Olympic Stadium where the 1960 Olympics had been held. We walked around the running track, then drove to Giuseppe Pazienti apartment home for dinner. We had lasagna, roast pork, peas and carrots, mashed potatoes, cheese cake and coffee. I gave Mrs. Pazienti a bottle of red wine for the dinner. As with all of their meals, they offered red wine, white wine, whiskey and coffee.
All of them were fascinated with my African Safari hat, and each one, including Mrs. Pazienti, had to wear it.
We stayed until midnight, when Franco drove me back to the hotel and to bed. No alarm.
Sunday ~ November 8
Up at 9:00, with breakfast at the hotel. I came back to my room to read, and then left for a walk around town about 1:00. I found a very large flea market -- a mile long. I saw some old Italian Tarzan comic books (Russ Manning), but didn't buy any. Came back to my room about 3:30 to rest. I went out and found a real Pizza restaurant, that cooked pizza the way it used to be cooked,, on a stone hearth. I had a pizza, with mushroom topping. I then went to an ice cream parlor for a coffee ice cream cone. Went back to my room to pack and to bed.
Monday November 9
Up at 6:15, all packed. I ate breakfast at the hotel and checked out. Franco arrived right on time at 7:30. He drove through very heavy traffic until he got on the Airport Expressway. We arrived at the airport about 8:15 where I checked my large bag.
I had no trouble getting a seat to Frankfurt, Germany. We left the Rome Airport on flight AZ422 at 10:30. We were served lunch on board the flight.
We flew over the Alp Mountains, rising high above the cloud levels from horizon to horizon (left to right), all covered with snow. A beautiful sight, with the sun shining on the snow covered peaks.
The flight arrival in Frankfurt at 12:45, on time. I got a room at the Airport Sheraton Hotel for overnight. I called USAIR, and was told there would be "no problem" getting a seat to Pittsburgh tomorrow morning at 11:45.
I rested in the hotel room and read a magazine until 5:00. I walked over to the airport terminal (on a covered walkway, without the need to go outside). I found another McDonald's restaurant in the terminal for dinner (chicken and a fish sandwich). WEnt back tot he hotel and watched CNN International on TV, read and in bed at 10:30. I set the alarm for 8:00 AM
Tuesday ~ November 10
Up at 7:00 AM (1:00 AM Pittsburgh time). I repacked everything for the flight back to Pittsburgh. My bags were really heavy from all the books Franco had given me in Rome.
I checked in with USAIR at 9:30 for flight number 817 to Pittsburgh! (Scheduled to leave at 11:45 AM (5:45 AM Pittsburgh time).
It is raining really hard here in Frankfurt, but I see planes landing OK. It took more than one hour to get checked in through passport and security. More checks in Germany than anywhere else on the trip. I had to show my passport at 5 different places. I had to remove my hat and have it checked by security (only in Frankfurt). I arrived at the departing gate one-hour before flight time. Last check before boarding!
On my way!
We took off on schedule at 11:45 for a 9 hour flight. We were served a hot meal (chicken, noodles and vegetables) at 9:00 AM
(Pittsburgh time) and a lunch of cold cuts and cheese at 1:30 pm ( Pittsburgh time).
We landed at the new Pittsburgh International Airport on schedule at 3:00 pm.
I called Margaret to pick me up and had to go through customs check to get into USA. This was the most thorough check of anywhere. I had to open all my bags and unwrap my gifts, while they searched all my dirty laundry. But I passed.
Margaret arrived to pick me up at 4:30 and drove to her home before going out to dinner. She took me to dinner at Tiffany Place (on Route 51).
It is great to be back in the USA, and home.
A fantastic trip!
INTRO P.1 | P. 2 | P. 3 | P. 4 | P. 5 | P. 6 | P. 7 | P. 8 | P. 9 | P. 10 | P. 11 | P. 12 | P. 13 |
ERBzine 4002: PAGE 1 - Cover and Contents
ERBzine 4003: PAGE 2 - Bob Hyde Intro ~ Preparations and Health Problems
ERBzine 4004: PAGE 3 - October 5 - 10 Frankfurt
ERBzine 4005: PAGE 4 - October 10 - 14
ERBzine 4006: PAGE 5 - October 15 - 19
ERBzine 4007: PAGE 6 - October 19 - 22
ERBzine 4008: PAGE 7 - October 22 - 25
ERBzine 4009: PAGE 8 - October 25 - 27
ERBzine 4010: PAGE 9 - Oct. 28 - Nov. 1
ERBzine 4011: PAGE 10 - November 1 - 4
ERBzine 4012: PAGE 11 - November 4- 9
ERBzine 4013: PAGE 12 - November 9 - 10
ERBzine 4014: PAGE 13 - Entire Text
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