The Safari

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park

From Kigali we flew to Arusha, Tanzania.  While we were extremely impressed with the lack of corruption in Rwanda, in Tanzania that would not be the case.  For U.S. citizens, a Tanzanian tourist visa costs $100, but we’ve been traveling so long that we no longer have any U.S. currency.  Instead, the customs official tried to make us pay 100 Euros (over $133) each, rather than the actual conversion rate.

I refused and after arguing for ten minutes, he eventually let me through to use an ATM and return to pay in U.S. dollars (rather than just pay in Euros like all the European tourists who were arriving).  It was late, we were tired, and it was an annoying first impression, but we could at least smile at having won the battle.  Our experience would only get better from there. Continue reading

Mountain Gorillas

One of the baby gorillas of the Kwitonda troop

One of the baby gorillas of the Kwitonda troop

Earlier, I wrote that in spite of a turbulent past and a lack of resources, there are a lot of things that Rwanda is doing right — management of the critically endangered mountain gorillas included. Continue reading

Arctic Winter

Tromso, Norway

Tromso, Norway

If there was one good thing about not being able to visit Israel and Jordan, it was that there were two good things.  The first was our extended time in Turkey, one of our favorite countries so far.  The second was a chance to head north.  Like, above the Arctic Circle north…Tromso, Norway north.

Mandy and I wanted to experience the Arctic winter.  Due to Tromso’s northern position near the top of the world, the sun doesn’t rise between November 26th and Jan 15th.  This period is known as the Polar Nights (we experienced the opposite phenomenon, the Midnight Sun, in Iceland back in July).  There is something powerful about visiting the world’s extreme locations–places that deviate starkly from what is familiar stoke the senses and invigorate the mind.
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Indiana Jones/Lucky Breaks #3

Termessos-21

A BBC film crew at Termessos the day we visited

It was unfortunate, but inevitable, that we had to leave Kas.  We were headed to Antalya, where we would stay one day before catching an overnight bus to Cappadocia.

Many of the archaeologic sites in Turkey were out of our reach.  Some of the most impressive locations are high in the mountains or inaccessible via public transportation.  Termessos, however, was an exception.  Relatively.  It was thirty kilometers from Antalya, but we were determined to go. Continue reading