Tanzania Africa – 1986 (Blast from the Past Series) Week two

Tanzania, Africa – 1986 (climbing Kilimanjaro)

This post will talk about our assent to the top of  mount Kilimanjaro.  This was one of my most challenging adventures of my life.  Not because the climb was difficult, but because I suffered from altitude sickness.  It hit me around 15,000 feet and did not go away until I got below that altitude again.  Audrey did fantastic and did not seem to be affected like I was.  When you climb Kilimanjaro you must get a park permit which is good for only 5 days which does not give you any time to acclimatize.  You also have only one day to reach the top, so if the weather is bad you are out of luck.  We fortunately lucked out.   Attached to this post is the written diary Audrey created on our trip.

July 29, 1986 – Kibo Hotel, (warm and clear here, but the mountain is cloudy)

6:20pm – Very stressful day for several reasons. Patrick picked us up after breakfast and we headed for the Kibo Hotel.  About ½ hour in, we got a flat tire – managed to get it fixed with little problem.  Next we stopped in Moshi – home of Chagga tribe (Shoa’s tribe) to try to get a replacement spare tire.  Patrick went off to do that, so we walked around.  F&D were in a ‘fine mood’ focused on the need to buy flashlights.  We went off our own way to head to the bank.  After returning to meet up with Patrick, we needed to discuss finances.  All was okay by Mike & I, but it got messy especially with D.  She really can have an attitude.  On the rest of the journey to the Kibo Hotel we were scolded for not explaining to them… but if we tried to explain we were resoundedly shhhshed.  The tension level right now is off the chart – I feel badly for Patrick too.  He tries very hard to be straight forward and gets hit with a brick wall.  Anyway, Frank has rented his stuff and lets us know quite clearly and frequently that he is displeased with it. Well, enough complaining for one day.  Tomorrow will have enough challenge on its own.

We had a briefing at 5pm to discuss events.  We will be teaming up with a single girl from the States for the climb.  We will meet her in the morning.  Tomorrow we meet at 8am and leave at 9.  Mr. Lupembe will get us to the gate and then we are off!  We have box lunches so we can take our time getting to Marangu huts.  The next day we will head to Horombo, then hopefully to Kibo the following day.  From there we leave at 2am for the summit (if it is possible).  To reach Gilman’s point it’s about 4 to 5 hours.  Beyond that the summit at Uhuru is another 2 hours or so.

Michael is getting a sore throat – I hope that it does not get any worse.  He doesn’t sound very good.  Well, now off to dinner then early to bed.  Tomorrow we will be on our way!

July 30, 1986 – Mandara Hut (6am – Michael’s pulse 60, Audrey 78 – both normal; 4:30pm @9000 ft. – Mike 80, Audrey 100)

Well we’ve made it this far.  There are 5 of us climbers  – Cheryl is from Manitoba (not American J) and she is a relief worker.  She was evacuated from the war in Uganda – she was right in the centre of it.

The walk up was wet – the morning we woke up to a rain shower, and didn’t see the end of it till about 12:30.  After our lunch there was a BRIEF period of sunshine.  I’ve started to take my preventative inhaler just in case.  The temperature is quite cool – not cold yet, but wait for tonight.

The climb today was not bad apart from the rain.  Lots of nice flowers – including the Kilimanjaro flower – a beautiful red lily like flower.  Most of today was quite steep, but not unbearable.  The mud was the only real drawback.  We saw lots of people descending  – French, Americans and Italian among them.  The climb between Gilman’s and Uhuru is very windy – 60km / hr winds so it is tough.  Hopefully they will die down before we get there.

As I write this, the other 4 have gone to the local crater with our junior guide.  He picks me a flower every time I point one out – so I’ve had to stop pointing!

We passed a stretcher on the way up.  Fully equipped with a wheel and shock absorbers – quite fancy, but I hope we don’t need it.  Just reading the back of the door.  It talks about altitude sickness and that you should drink 4 to 6 litres of water per day.  I find that hard to imagine doing here.  The huts are quite small, but ample.  And there are lots of them.  Each half is for 4 people – although we are sleeping 5 of us.  F&D are sharing a bed.

We have had tea and biscuits already – proper service and all.  There is a group of 8 Japanese, one of 2 Italians and another of 3 Germans – we met them at the falls yesterday with our guide (the local photocopy repair guy).

Well off to do some organizing now.  Tomorrow we proceed to Horombo which is above the clouds – where you begin to feel the altitude.  It should be clearer but colder.  The trek should be 4 to 5 hours, but then today was supposed to take 3 and we took 3 ½ to 4 – so we shall see.


July 31, 1986  between Mandara & Horombo (rested pulse Michael 88, Audrey 104)

We have just climbed up a healthy hill and are having a short rest and chatting with an English fellow.  We are more than half way up now – it’s 12:47, and we left at 8:05am.  We are feeling not too bad, but the sun is hot and the air is cool.

Horombo! We just finished tea and cookies – and they sure hit the spot.  It is now 4:05pm; we arrived about 2:45pm.  There are some clouds above us, but mostly below.  Walk here was dusty – especially early on.  Again lots of small interesting flowers enroute.

Suspect it is another side effect of the altitude, but Mike & I are both quite ‘bound up’ – hoping things let loose soon.  The sun is strong here.  Mike has sun burn on his arms and neck.  The sun hits you mostly on one side, so it’s not even a balanced tan.

This is quite a busy hut – you stop here on both the route up and down – so there is more accommodation than at Mandara.  Starting to feel the altitude here, but only a mild headache apart from the faster pulse.

We spoke with a group of Brit’s who are on their way down.  They did not do so well – sounded like only 5 or 6 people summited on their day.

The landscape here is similar to tundra.  The air is cool but the sun is hot.  Last night the temperate was down to about 12C – but tonight should be much colder with the altitude.

There are some birds here, a couple of butterflies and several other insects but no trees as we have passed the tree line at 10,000 ft.  We are now at 12, 340 ft.  So we have come 6340 and have exactly 7,000 to Uhuru.  Mike is not too optimistic, nor is Frank.  I’m still not sure, but I know my pulse really gets going when I exert myself so I’m not expecting too much.  We’ll know in 2 days time.

Tomorrow is supposed to be hard psychologically.   Once you get into the saddle, it’s almost flat to Kibo Hut.  But it’s a long way away and you can see it most of the day.

I am now wearing a t-shirt, turtle-neck, long sleeve t-shirt and sweat shirt, leotards and 2 pair of sweat pants – very styling J.


August 1, 1986 – Horombo Hut (pulse 7am – Michael 76, Audrey 84)

It was colder last night but still warm enough.  Both of us have sore hip joints and backs.  We are just repacking now and looking to give almost everything over to the porters.  One Italian guy was already sick after dinner last night…fun fun fun!


August 1, 1986  Kibo Hut (pulse on arrival Mike 98, Audrey 124, resting Mike 84, Audrey 98)

We made it here!  It was a long day – we left at 8:30 am and arrived here at 3:30….and our guide said it was a 3 hour day.  It was a beautiful walk up to this point.  We have gone from jungle to tundra in 2 days.  There are mostly just lava rocks now with very little vegetation.  Mike is unsure about trying tomorrow.  I’ll try I think, but can’t say if I’ll make it or not.  All in our group are in pretty good shape, so let’s hope the weather is good and it will make all the difference.

Tea has arrived in our room tonight.  Tonight we’re on our own so no noisy snoring, or constant water drinking wake ups by the Japanese.  After tea I will put on my “proper” gear for tomorrow.  It’s really cooling off up here now.  Mike is very tired.  He took a Tylenol and hope he feels better by morning.

I just went and took a couple of shots with Mike’s camera – I hope they turn out – the pressure is now on me to get a good photo.  Mike’s headache is pretty bad – he’s doubting he’ll try.  I really wanted him to go with me as I don’t especially want to go alone with F&D; but Cheryl should be good company at any rate.  The view of Mawenzi (the other peak of Kilimanjaro) is very nice from here.  We can’t see our points since we are so close – and the clouds are in right now too.  We should be eating soon – it’s 5pm now and we start in 8 hours – and then we should be up top 7 hours after that.  Still 3000 ft to go – that’s an awful lot and it’s very steep.  Coming back down will be very fast though.

Think I’ll use the solar blanket tonight.  D asked to borrow it, but she is really no worse off than me so I don’t feel guilty saying no.  The water outside is frozen, so it’s at least 0C out there, and that’s without the wind chill.  My back hurts the most – tomorrow will only carrying water and the camera.  We leave everything else here except for a few Kleenex J – my nose is running constantly from the cold.  Hopefully the air here is not as dry as it was last night – it was drying out my nose and throat despite breathing through my turtleneck.  We must get a good night’s sleep tonight – we need the energy for tomorrow.

The mountain has cleared!  We can now see where we are headed – this is the first time we’ve been able to see our specific destination for the next day.  Dinner arrives soon and then sleep.


Aug 2, 1986, 3:50am “the cave” ½ way up

We left about 1:15am.  So far we are all here – not sure yet if we’ll all get to the top though.  Today we are counting steps.  I’m now at

100+200+300+400+500+600+700+150 = 2,950 steps!

The remainder of the climb is the hard part.  It was 3am at our last stop – so stopping regularly now.  There is snow in the cave here. All the other groups have passed us, but I’m sure they were not all at Kibo last night.  Very tired… each step is a drain and still 3 hours to go – then it’s all downhill from there.

TOP OF AFRICA – we made it!!   All 5 of us are here – I know that the 4 of us have no desire to continue to Uhuru, but I imagine Cheryl would go if she had company.  Spectacular view –especially  at sunrise.  We actually just missed it.  Mike was sick when we were just about at the top.  He still feels quite queasy – but then again we all do.  There are 5 Brits here also.  The rest either went on to Uhuru or didn’t try to summit.  There is also a Japanese although we are not sure where we came from.  It sure feels good now that you’re here its easy to forget the pain of the morning in the dark once the sun comes out!

3:30pm – back at Horombo.  We arrived here about 2:15pm – it only took 3 hours to come back down – not bad compared to 7 hours up.  Daniella keeps going on about how she was the only one who wanted to continue on to Uhuru and that no one else could make it.  I think Cheryl and I would both have outlasted her, but she can play her game, no point in arguing with her.

We have just had tea and eggs and potatoes and will have dinner in about 1 ½ to 2 hours.  I’m hungry …. But not that much!

Walking down after Kibo was very relaxing and enjoyable.  Mike and I side by side, hand in hand just talking.  Surrounded by beautiful scenery and 2 peaks on either side, all the really hard work completed.  As we got closer, we broke into a friendly race and the end result was that I got lost in the scrub well, but managed to find Mike again! Right now I think we can safely say that we would all be pleased with just going to the beach for a week, but first we have another safari in the plans.  I guess it will be nice to see animals again.

This has been the longest marathon I’ve ever done – and today is one of the longest on record.  Last night we had only 5 hours sleep (if that) – and apart from an extra 2 hour nap we’ve now been up for 16 hours (at 3:30pm).  That may not sound like much, but at least of 10 hours of that were really hard work.

It’s interesting the people you see going up – some look like they were made to climb and others look like they may not make it to Kibo. The German couple who really struggled to make it every day, actually made it up – hard to believe.  Several of today’s climbers made it on to Uhuru – all but us and the German couple I think… not sure about the English group.  I was very impressed with the 63 year old British fellow who made it to ½ way between the cave and the top – too bad he wasn’t with our group or he would have had a better chance as we were slower paced.  He said he had trouble sleeping too though, so who knows.   We signed the book at the top, and Daniella signed the flag for us.  Lekule had the flag raised for us – too bad we had already started our descent.  The next group with a flag take the one on the flagpole down and take it back to Kibo Hotel and it stays in the restaurant there.  There are lots of interesting people here – our guide was good and unfortunately both of our assistant guides got sick and had headaches.  I was surprised by that – I thought the locals were acclimatized and would not suffer.


August 3, 1986 – Kibo Hotel

Back to civilization.  Today’s journey down was enjoyable – good weather and sunny most of the way.  Mike took several pictures and was more talkative than he had been on the whole trip.  Talked with Cheryl about cameras, stereos, music and more.  All of us have had sun on our faces.  My right side is definitely red – my arm from the forearm down only however!

We’ve decided we will pass on the trip to Mikumi and instead see about having our driver take us up and down the coast.  We don’t really have enough time to do the safari, and quite honestly none of us really feels like it.  We could do with some R&R.

The dividing up of the supplies was awkward, and I think unfair.  But I guess the head guide always gets first pick.  Unfortunately we could not give him what we really wanted.  I gave the porter who got altitude sickness the leftover pills we had and told him how to use them – hopefully he follows the directions properly…

We had some appetizers with drinks before dinner.  They were very good, but not sure of the name.  At dinner Mike &  I splurged for the celebration wine – a rather “sweet” and pungent disappointment – every mouthful was a cringe!  We left ½ the bottle – I guess we should have stuck to the red and not ventured into the white.


August 4, 1986 – New Africa Hotel, Dar Es Salam (cool at Kibo, raining and humid in Dar.)

First things first – Mike has reminded me to write about his basketball career here at Kibo before the climb.  On our way to touring the falls, he completely impressed the local school girls with 5 shots at the hoop (all missed!).  there was no backboard, no net and the hoop was much smaller were among the excuses… it was lots of fun actually.

As for today Mike got lots of really nice pictures at Kibo Hotel just before it clouded over and poured rain.  Everyone is suffering from sore muscles – coming down was more work than we thought!

Our flight to Dar was uneventful – we got a chocolate bar at the Kilomanjaro airport and a cute little girl sat next to us on the flight.  We tried to teach her how to relieve the pressure on your ears, but I don’t’ think I got through to her.  We have settled into the New Africa Hotel and sent some more postcards off.  We walked around the shops but they were just closing as we got started.  Wouldn’t mind returning here to do some shopping…   They had Makonde carvings similar to ours, but smaller for 400TS – we paid more than that.  We may do a bit of gift shopping – lots of easy present ideas for birthdays etc.  Have now had 2 seafood meals – prawns at lunch were excellent and the lobster appetizer at dinner was quite large, but was a disappointment unfortunately.  We met our new driver today.  He was a bit upset that we won’t be driving to Mikumi – I think he likes to show off his stuff.  We got the tour of the industrial area – quite interesting with the diversity of the shops.  Most tire stores etc. are all retreads, and other shops did refurbishing of items it seems.

At dinner the selection included imported wines – a surprise as we thought it wasn’t allowed.  The locals here seem a lot more westernized.  There are lots of Indians running the shops and the diet seems better, at least for some.  Time for Mike to put some beef back on his bones too!

Good day today – tomorrow off to Bahari Beach – can’t wait!

Tanzania, Africa – 1986 (Part of the Blast from the Past Series)

Tanzania, Africa – 1986 (on Safari)

Our trip to Africa in the summer of 1986 will be divided up into three parts.  Our 3 week trip included a week on safari, a week climbing to the top of mount Kilimanjaro and a week on the coast.  This post will concentrate on our safari.  I took with me my newly purchased Nikon F3hp with a 60-300mm zoom lens and my Lecia M3 along with 25 rolls of slide film.  A mixture of Kodachome 64 and Fujichrome 400.  You can see in the pictures the grainy results from the 400ASA film.  Attached to this post is the written diary Audrey created on our trip.

July 18, 1986 – Toronto

Departed for London after a severe thunderstorm (note from2014 – I still remember that drive to the airport – lightning and extreme rain fall!).  Dan and Suz saw us off – and we ended up running into the Ruginis’ who were also heading for London – their flight was delayed 3 hours due to the weather.  Met up with Frank & Daniella no problem, although had a bit of fun checking in due the large number of ‘attendees’ for some passengers.

July 19 – London, England

Checked our bags right through to Nairobi – hope they get there!

Sitting on the plane a t 9:37pm waiting to take off – over an hour delayed.  We spent the day in London – saw BigBen finally and walked through Green Park to Buckingham Palace.  Lots of preparation going on for the Royal wedding.  Then on to a pub for lunch with Yorkshire beer.  After a jaunt through Piccadilly we went in for a proper tea and scones.  Incredibly they allowed us in for service (not without second looks however).  Finally we took the tube back to the airport and spent the remainder of the day waiting in a variety of rooms to suit any taste.  I’m feeling a bit of a throat infection coming on – hope nothing comes of it!

July 20 – Nairobi, Kenya

Now in the airport in Nairobi.  The view flying in was very good with mostly clear skies.  Quite cool here although sunny (11C at 7:30am).

We spent our first money today – needlessly… $20US on airport tax.  Turned out we walked out of the terminal and into the departures area.  There was a very scary situation when they decided to pull Mike & I aside for a full security check.  I was rather concerned they would find my hidden cash and it was getting very tense (full search pending), when an emergency call came through and the security guard had to head off to deal with that – so we got off easy with only the $20 payment – it could have been MUCH worse!  Getting tired of travel – especially of sitting around waiting for flights – 2 more to go…

July 21 – Arusha Hotel 7, Tanzania (cool and overcast, sun in the afternoon)

Lots has happened.  Got to Dar es Salam and discovered that Fran’s pack was not there.  It could take a while for it to be traced.  Otherwise Frank (and some stuff for Daniella) from the Kibo hotel for our climb.  We met with Patrick to finalize plans for our trip.  Still not sure about the third week plans.  We spent the day generally recovering and walked into town in the morning and then out the road in the afternoon.  Taking pictures is a bit of a challenge here (they don’t like their soul to be taken in your photos – unless you pay them of course and they love the ‘US’ dollars).  Hope the animals are more co-operative J

Formal dress for dinner is expected – not really equipped for that I’m afraid…. And we thought getting served proper tea was a challenge!  Will have to mend the mosquito net tomorrow – then off to safari at Lake Manyara to capture some wildlife on film – and eat zebra!

Asante et cette tout

July 22 – Lake Manyara, Tanzania (clear and sunny/hazy – hot but not extreme)

FANTASTIC day!!!  We saw ostrich, Thompson gazelles, zebra (distant), wildebeest, giraffe, baboon, elephant (distant), and more.  Several interesting birds and trees (the rubber trees are huge!).  We left the hotel 77 this morning and walked through Arusha again.  Bought some postcards in town and sent them in Arusha.  Our room here has a very nice view out over the Lake from the Rift Valley.  The Masai people still insist on payment for pictures.  If they see you taking photos from any distance they come running and ask for money – if you don’t pay them they throw stones.  Our driver, Shoa is fantastic and very friendly.  He is from Kilimanjaro.  His English is quite good and he is amazing at spotting game.  There are limited hours of hot water and lights are out at 11pm – so off to bed now – tomorrow should be a full day.

July 23 – Serenora Wildlife Lodge (morning cloudy, then clear and hot – cool in the high altitudes)

Another great day.  We saw repeats of yesterday and LOTS more – a total of 50 odd recorded varieties of birds and mammals (I am recording them in the field guide).   Lots of amazing birds in Lake Manyara Park – no lions or leopards though.  We left Manayara around 2pm with a 200km drive to Serenora.  It took us till after 5pm to get to the park gate after a rough and tumble speed drive to make gate before it closed at 6pm.  We did manage to stop for our first view of dik-diks – the y are the smallest of all antelopes at only a foot in height.  Hope to see more of them.  Mike has still had trouble sleeping – mostly the super soft beds he thinks.  Hope he does better tonight.  The air here is very dry and I find my sinuses are dry as a bone – and the dust doesn’t help.  No hot water for showers tonight, not sure if this supposed to be or not?  Lights will go back on a 7am – and off again at 11pm.  Mike is out right now taking more moon photos – can’t wait to see the slides!   I hope they turn out half as well as the experience in person.  This lodge is built on a kopje (a LARGE one) and is well disguised from the animals.  Actually there are lot of rock hyrax here and we saw a waterbuck also.  Shoa is staying nearby tonight.  The drivers have their own lodge – last night he stayed at a guest house in the local town.  Tomorrow we head north into the Serengeti.  We failed to notify the front desk in time to get a boxed lunch for the road, so we need to have a large breakfast I guess.  We had Dodomo red wine with dinner tonight.  Not too bad actually, tastes like home made.  Hope to see lions tomorrow….

July 24 – Serenora (clear sky in morning for first time, a very hot afternoon on the plains)

Today Thompsons gazelles are grazing about 50 yards outside our window.  Yesterday the baboon troop passed by our window no more than 10 feet away.  It is very peaceful.  After another ample breakfast, we headed out around 8am.  Quite early on, Shoa spotted a cheetah.  We watched him for the better part of an hour as he stalked gazelles who were aware of him.  (post note 2014 – this is my favourite memory of the safari).  We saw several lions.  One group of 5 females were quite hungry and Shoa figures they should be ready for a kill tonight.  Again, lots of amazing birds, some very colourful.  We mostly spot them by the water pools which run like green rivers through the brown Serengeti.  We returned around noon, ate and are now about to nap for a half hour or so and then out again around 3pm.  It is too hot to see much before that.  We have yet to spot leopard or rhino and several antelope.  Mike has taken some good pictures this morning, hope they turn out!

This afternoon we drove out to the hippo pool.  We saw lots of animals, only a couple of new ones.  I spotted a white-tailed mongoose and Mike saw a mother jackal with 3 pups.  There were several vervet monkeys and some shy dikdiks.  We also caught a glimpse of bushbuck but they seem very shy.  There were small green parrots, and field mice which weren’t in the field guide.  I am very pleased with how many of the birds are identifiable.  Hope to verify what I have ticked off by the pictures.  I am still hoping to see a rhinoceros – Shoa says at Ngorongoro we should see them.  We had a beer with Shoa after the drive this afternoon.  He has 2 daughters and a small ‘garden’ where he grows (i.e. his wife grows) coffee, bananas, cabbage, maize, onions and more along with several animals.  He is going to see about getting some good coffee for us.  This is the picking season – perfect timing for Daniella’s father who roasts his beans.  Tomorrow to Ngorongoro crater via the Olduvai Gorge – very historic !!

July 25 – Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge (very cold – day was cool in the crater)

The day started with warthog, vervet monkeys, gazelles all grazing outside our window.  Breakfast was followed by a drive to the crater / Olduvai.  On the way we saw a cheetah – very well camouflaged in a rocky kopje and Daniella spotted a lion in another one.  At Olduvai we had a short lecture followed by a tour of the museum.  Our lecturer was actually with Mary Leakey when she discovered the set of 3 footprints.  From our vantage point we could see 4 digging beds – going back to 1.9 Million years ago.  We could be in the very place where the Leakey’s camp was set up, which was where the homo erectus and homo habilis skulls were found.  Our lecturer will be going in August to a dig in Laietoli where the footprints were round in hopes of finding some skulls.  Weill  have to keep our eyes open to hear of anyt finds!

We had an offer to drive to the dig area where Zinjanthropus was found, but time was too tight since Frank wanted to get his camera checked out.  Supposedly you can find a hundred animal fossils in 10 minutes in the gorge – very different from home!   Frank had his main camera jam in the morning drive to the Olduvai and despite borrowing Mikes spare, he was anxious to get his fixed.

In the afternoon we picked up our guide and headed down to the crater bottom. The sides are very steep and dense jungle – it was quite the nerve wracking drive.  It was surprisingly cool at the bottom.  Lots of very nice flowers and plant life on the drive down along with moss covered trees.  At the bottom we saw our first masses of animals – wildebeest.  We also got to see the lake edged with pink flamingos – fantastic colour!  Even in the haze of the crater, they shone out brightly.  We drove around the bottom of the crated not spotting a lot else – our guide was very particular about not disturbing the animals by getting too close.  We did encounter a female lion guarding last night’s kill – a wildebeest.  And then we got to the highlight of the crate – a rhino with her baby Noel.  He was born on Dec 25 last year.  We were fortunate to get quite close – let’s hope the shots turn out (I say once again).  There is just soo much pressure on Mikey to get good pictures).    We left the crater and had dinner at the lodge followed by coffee / tea in the lounge – it was more like a ski resort with everyone huddled around the fire.  Tomorrow on to Tarangire.  And oh yes, Frank’s luck didn’t get any better; his backup camera jammed when we were leaving the crater.  Mike has leant him his Leica and Frank will try to get his fixed in Arusha – I hope his luggage shows up and he manages to get his camera fixed – it would make for much less stress and make life easier all around….

July 26 – Tarangire Tented Camp (very foggy at Ngorongoro, hot here – clear and sunny)

The drive out of the crater was tricky in very dense fog through winding forest roads.  Eventually it broke up once into the open ground.  We stopped outside of Manyara to see the Mankonde art.  We bought a batik.  F&D bought spear.  It is more expensive for carvings here than at Meru – may get one there.  Next we drove a friend of Shoa’s back to the tarmac road, but first we stopped at another market.  Talked to a “sew-er” bit.  His English was very good and he tried to convince me that I should learn Swahili – it does seem quite straight forward and easy to pronounce.  Next we arrived here. The tents are great!  We have a private table out front, a section with our beds and a dressing area within the tent then out back there is a concrete pad area for the toilet / sink and shower.  All is covered with a thatched roof – very British.  The view is out over the park – elephant, zebra and other in full view under the rubber trees and at the watering hole.

Our afternoon drive through the park gave us our first view of masses of running zebras and wildebeest (more photo pressure on Mike).We saw lots of elephants from a distance and a few skulls.  Shoa says that one is likely from a fight with another elephant.  Saw my hornbills today (had been hoping for them) and a new type of eagle – tawny eagle.  We saw a larger group of Eland – they are quite shy so hard to spot.  On the way out we passed 3 elephants and sat watching them for quite some time (Shoa caught some zzz’s).  when they tried to cross the road in front of us, one of them got quite upset with us.  She was getting ready to charge – Shoa pulled Mike in from the roof window as he sped off.  Shoa figures they have likely encountered poachers before and so won’t let you get too close.

It’s very peaceful here.  I could stay for a year or two – I’d like to see the rains and the migrations.  Ah well, off to dinner now (just napped for an hour) – I’m pretty beat today!

July 27 – Mount Meru Hotel, Arusha (warm & sunny – cooler later in the day but a warm evening)

For the 2nd day we awoke to no animals – but today the view was good and there were lots of birds.  At breakfast Mike had liver (!) and even seemed to enjoy it – it tastes very different here not surprisingly.  Our morning drive through Tarangire was uneventful except for a couple of baby elephants (smallest was about 8 months) and a massive herd of elephants (about 100 or so).  I spotted several different hornbills, most which were not in the guidebook.  We turned up at Mt. Meru for lunch and unfortunately they had “lost” our reservation.  We met with Patrick and Abdul for drinks around 5 or so and discovered that Frank’s bag is still lost.  We had dinner at the New Safari Hotel next to Patrick’s office – it was quite good.  Mike had chicken, I had Nile perch.  Afterward we went to the Cave Disco for drinks and dancing.  Mike got to dance with a girl who was a great dancer (Abdul was more worried about that than I was! (note 2014 – turns out that his concern was that the girl had a ‘bad disease’ – and we suspect now that she may have had AIDS).
Abdul and Patrick hope to send us promotional info when we return to Canada for Taurus Tours – in return for our cheaper fare hire.  The slides should give a good promotional presentation.  We returned here around 11:15pm – now to get to sleep since we must get up early.  Tomorrow is the last day we will spend with Shoa – hope it’s a good one at Arusha National Park.

Addendum – on the ride home from the disco we got to discover another Tanzanian experience – we ran out of petrol!

July 28 Mount Meru Hotel, Arusha (rain in the morning, warm and overcast the rest of the day)

Today we finished our safari with Shao.  We went early to get Frank’s camera fixed but with no luck as the repair man did not seem to know what was wrong even though he pretended to.   Then we went back to pick up our box lunches and on the Arusha National Park.  It rained a little on the way there – the first we have seen.  On entry, we saw Colobus monkeys and later on Blue monkeys.  We also added spoonbills to our list of birds along with a couple of obscure ducks and egrets.  Nothing was in the small Ngorduto Crater when we went by – sometimes there are zebras and their typical companions.  Next to Momela Lakes where we saw lots of birds and some aquatic pig-like animals bathing in mud.  There were lots of immature flamingos – they are not as pink or it would have made a magnificent sight.  At lunch we discovered our mysterious lunches were not so great….liver again.  There were some monster beetles flying around where we were eating and lots of magnificent butterflies.   Should also mention that everyone was feeling the effects of too much cola last night.  On returning from the park, Shoa took us in to get some coffee – very fresh – direct from the trees.  I hope we can roast it properly.

Then off to change our flights and talk to Patrick.  Tomorrow at 8amish we head for Kibo – time to start preparing for the climb.  We had a drink with Shoa to say goodbye and gave him an envelope and a pen.  We promised to send him a photo of himself.  Daniella has his address – we hope he receives it “okay” (as the kids say).  Well after a short rest we are off to dinner (Mike is rather hungry having skipped his liver lunch).

Just returned from dinner –  we are quite sure our stuff was moved and a drawer was left open – then we gave ourselves a scare with the sliding cupboard, but all seems in order so guess it’s okay.  Early to bed at 9pm to get ready for tomorrow.

China – 1986 (Blast from the Past Series)

China – 1986 (G&B Automated Grinding Wheel Symposium)

1986 was a big year for me.  That year, I was both on the top of the “great wall” of China and “Kilimanjaro” in Tanzania Africa.  It is probably a short list of people who can say that.  That year I was employed as a “Control Engineer” for G&B Automated and was to speak at the Chinese Grinding Wheel Symposium in ZhengZou China.  The company flew our team over 1st class and allowed us to site see for a week before the event.  Our trip included both ZhengZou  (industrial city at the time) and Beijing.  This was before the Ti-amen square incident so China was still very much under communist rule.  China was also starting a new plan to become more “western”.  This attached shots were made mostly with my newly purchased Nikon F3 with a (60-300mm) zoom and the Lecia M3.  The trip was in very early spring, so the trees were bare and with a major air pollution problem that China suffers from, you can see that many pictures are “gray”.  The weather was sunny for the entire trip, and yet we rarely saw the sun because of the pollution.

The people of China were extremely friendly and our team felt very welcome.  It was one of the safest places I have ever travelled to, (sometime you will have to ask me about the “lost” wallet story).

Two other things I remember about the trip.  One is that the people of China have written records of their own families that date back 1,000 years.  And secondly, the shear man power of the country with over 1 billion people is amazing.

Vancouver – 1987 (Blast from the Past Series)

Vancouver – 1987

I recently started to digitize a number of slide pictures from earlier trips.  Although many of this trips do not have Audrey’s diary comments I will try and list some of the highlights.  The 1987 trip included our good friends Dan and Suzanne Ruginis.  This trip was about a year before Patrick was born and it included the four of us dropping in on my brother Derek and his wife Meg.  Both of Derek’s girls had been born, but not baby Liam.  The trip was mainly spent on Vancouver Island.  We visited Chemainis (famous for the painted buildings), hiked Flower Mountain Ridge in the centre of Vancouver Island, Victoria, and visited the old forests with the giant trees. The highlight of the trip involved us meeting up with Derek, Meg and the girls in Tofino and taking a 1950s De Havilland Beaver seaplane up the coast to Hot Springs Cove.  If you want to see a de Havilland plane taking off check out this youtube video.  The hot springs were amazing; limited number of people were permited – you visited the hot spring at midnight with candles.  The pools of water were on the coastal inlet where the cold ocean tide mixed with the hot spring stream.  We also met up with Audrey’s relatives in Victoria – cousin Lynn & husband George and their son Cole.


a day at Castello Sforzesco in Milan

July 25th – Milan Italy We spent a beautiful sunny and hot day at the museums of Castello Sforzesco.  A 15th century castle built by Francesco Sforza the Duke of Milan.  It includes Michelangelo’s last sculpture (which as you can see was unfinished) and da Vinci painted one of the rooms ceilings.  Da Vinci’s painting was later painted over, but restorers are now working to bring da Vinci work back to life.  I found the museum furniture pieces to be spectacular.

Rappallo – Italian Rivera

July 20/24 – Rappallo, Italy

Well the longer we stay, the more we discover and actually really like this area.  We got off to a poor start, but much has changed since.  Sunday the 20th was spent exploring the immediate area as well as relaxing.  We managed to get to the car by 8am so that we could pay for day parking, (which is a real nightmare in Rappallo). After fixing the parking issue for the day, we checked out the town, before it started to rain.  Therefore we ducked into a cafe for some internet.  After some lunch which we ate at the local park near the castle (which was build at the waterfront) we discovered some old hotels which are run down and closed.  This town much have been quite the place at the turn of the century.  Now the hotels are just good for picture taking.  As it was Sunday lots of stuff was closed and since it was cloudy and raining we passed on the beach cabanas .  We came back and sat on our balcony with the amazing views and did lots of reading in the rain.  Dinner was pizza bread, cheese, salad and blueberry square.  We were able to move the car to a spot outside the apartment.  Monday we returned the car by driving all the way back to France (to save the 650E added to a one way drop fee).  Getting thru Genova was a bit conjested but we made good time after that.  The roads are pretty much all toll and you an see why.  They are constant tunnels which are well maintained.  So the 30E fee is understandable.  The Italians are much more aggressive and poorer drivers than the French.  We returned the car to Menton just over the border, a lovely little town and it was nice to be able to communicate again.  Took the train from Menton to Ventimiglia in Italy (just 13 minutes) and then checked out the local market to pick up food for lunch.  Had lunch in the park before boarding the very slow train back to Rapallo.  The train ride was quite a slog and I had certainly had a better time than the poor woman in the seats across from us.  Her husband was very drunk and kept drinking from his “clinking” backpack.  She seemed a very respectable lady and was visibly embarrassed at his behaviour.  He ended up so drunk that he went and peed between the cars, returned to his seat with his pants don and the conductor had to ask both of them to leave the train at the next stop.  We were also entertained by a young guy (reminded me of Pat) who got on in Genova and spent the whole ride practising his rubrick cube (4 column one).  He was constantly timing his 3 column one which took him on average 8 seconds to solve.  Very impressive.  He seems to be oblivious to the two lovely young girls across from him.

Roman/Celt Sites in Nimes

July 18 – Nimes France

We arranged to meet Paul and Lucy at 10:00 to see the other Roman sites so Monty and I hit the market early, (it is so wonderful).  Bought makings for omelettes, fruit and danish and I cooked.  Paul and Lucy were no shows so we eventually headed into the Temple – Maison Carree which has great history – not only is it a main building but was once part of a larger square.  The Celts built it in honour of Caesar and the gods in 1AD.  After a fine, but slightly cheesy film we headed to the gardens around the holy “spring”.  The original religious center for the Celts who joined the Romans to expand the empire.  The focal point of the gardens (apart from the still productive spring) was the tower.  Now only 2 of the 3 sections remain and the original core was destroyed in search of treasure, (Click for details).  The view from the top was still very impressive, and the gardens were amazing.  Included in the gardens was the monument to Diana (now quite decayed).  In the park we hooked up with Paul and Lucy (Dan is a great spotter!) and arranged to meet for dinner for our last night.  Had a great dinner and then it was adios to PK and Lucy.  Quite sad but we will do it again in two years.