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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Into Africa [20100604|11:49]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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[the weather today is |anticipatory]

When I was living in Mortlake, I got to know a few of the bus drivers, who were unexpectedly friendly for Zone 3 London. One wet and windy morning, I arrived unexpectedly early at the bus shelter where the route started. That day's bus driver was probably my favourite, a Ugandan with an enormous grin who let me alight in places that blatantly weren't bus stops. We got to chatting and he discovered how far I'd traveled in my life in order to end up in Britain (Hawai'i to London).

"Seven thousand miles!" he whistled. "You must have been many places."
"Well, really only North America and Europe," I said.
"You haven't been to Africa?"
"No, never. I want to go, though."
He shook his head. "You have to go to Africa, Miss Doctor [his name for me]. You've only seen where the white people live. You have to see where the black people live."
I nodded. "I agree."

Other people began to board the bus, interrupting our conversation.

That exchange took place nearly a year and a half ago, but I haven't forgotten it. In three weeks, I am going to Africa. I will be in Kenya for a good portion of July. Nairobi, the Maasai Mara, Mombasa and Lamu are all on the itinerary. I think this would make my friend happy.



On a more prosaic note, I'm in the process of getting all my vaccinations for the trip. Thus far, I've been dosed for yellow fever, diptheria, tetanus, polio and hepatitis A & B. Several of those vaccinations were today and my arms hurt like billy-o. I have to go back for a malaria pill prescription and boosters for hepatitis next week. I like traveling, but must it involve quite so many needles?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: tylerwetrust
2010-06-04 12:26 (UTC)
Oh, I'm so jealous! What's bringing you to Africa? I had a chance to go to Nigeria this summer, but I've decided to pass it up for a bunch of reasons. But I want to go over there so badly.
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[User Picture]From: anthrokeight
2010-06-04 14:59 (UTC)
ooh! icon adoration!

And nanila, I am jealous. Travel plus fun!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-06-06 10:33 (UTC)
Yes! I'm a little scared, too. Five days in the Maasai Mara in tents with no running water or flushing toilets. I have to admit, in some ways I'm a thoroughly modern girl and that sort of thing kind of squicks me.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-06-06 10:32 (UTC)
It's a holiday! The bloke & I have a couple of friends who are aid workers. They've been transferred to Nairobi indefinitely so we're staying with them. In fact, they've kindly made most of our travel arrangements for us. We told them roughly where we wanted to go and when, and they booked flights/trains/hotels/tents/Land Rover for us because it's easier to do from there. Which was pretty damn generous. I think it's also a sign that they may be a little homesick.

Oh, I'm sorry you had to pass up Nigeria. I would have loved to have seen your photos from the trip.
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[User Picture]From: cosmiccircus
2010-06-04 13:32 (UTC)

You're a human pin cushion!

Oooh, I'm so jealous of your trip! So are you going on some sort of business trip or is it all fun and touring? Are you going in a group, or just you and the bloke? And Masai Mara's supposed to be one of the best for game viewing, with perfect timing after the rainy season for the wildebeest migration!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-06-06 10:35 (UTC)
It's purely for pleasure! The bloke and I are flying over with another couple, and we're going to visit a third couple, who are both aid workers in Nairobi. So looking forward to the Maasai Mara. I think the bloke is going to have a hard time of it, attempting to prise my camera out of my hands long enough for me to eat and possibly pay attention to other people. :-P
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[User Picture]From: alice_mccoy
2010-06-04 16:05 (UTC)
You.
In Africa!

I sincerely look forward to your post trip posts and photos. How wonderful!

May I point you to some reading before you go. Babycatcher is a blogger who does not write often but when she does it is wonderful and evocative of Africa. She is an American woman who decided to become a midwife in Africa. If you go through the archives you will find her wedding to a local man and many other portrayals of the richness and poverty of African life.

It may give you an interesting pre trip perspective.

http://babycatching.blogspot.com/

Safe travelling and enjoy every second.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-06-06 10:40 (UTC)
I'm excited and terrified. This is the most "foreign" place I will have been to in my life.

Thank you for that link - her writing is really absorbing and she seems to have an enormous fund of genuine, quiet compassion.
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[User Picture]From: alice_mccoy
2010-06-06 18:11 (UTC)
I thought you would like her stories. If you go quite a way back when she is in Bottom some of the tales are awe enspiring.

Only advice I can offer re travel to foreign climes is from my Dad who worked in Oman:ALWAYS check your footware for scorpions before you put them on.
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[User Picture]From: danaid_luv
2010-06-04 18:39 (UTC)
I got the chills, as if reading about a Very Big Thing. :)

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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-06-06 10:41 (UTC)
It is! It's so big that I've been avoiding thinking about it too much, as when I do I get very tense with mingled fear and excitement.
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[User Picture]From: saltdawg
2010-06-04 19:08 (UTC)
Oh, Kenya! How I miss Kenya! I wish I had a list of places to see while there, My only list is of places I think you should never see, like club Casablanca or the Florida club (Although club Tembo is halfway decent, though a ways out of mombassa.) Anyway. I never though I'd want to go to Africa, ever, while I was younger. Now, I can't wait to get back. It's not for everyone, but it's definitely for me.

Hopefully, you'll feel the same.
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[User Picture]From: saltdawg
2010-06-04 19:12 (UTC)
Also, if they are trying to make you take Larium (Mefloquine) for malaria, DON'T TAKE IT! It makes you go crazy. For real. I've know guys who have killed themselves because of that stuff. I think you can take doxycycline for the malarial strains in south-east africa.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-06-06 11:56 (UTC)
Yeah, I was warned about that by my work colleagues, too. One of them, who is probably the most sane, level-headed person I know, told me she had dreams about hacking people to pieces with knives when she was taking larium. That scared the hell out of me. I'm going for malarone, since it's the shortest course and seems to have the least side effects, at least for short trips.

Edited at 2010-06-06 11:56 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: becala
2010-06-04 20:42 (UTC)
You just reminded me to call and check on the last of my hep shots, which were started before going to Thailand, but there wasn't enough time to complete it.

So, wow, how exciting! I wish I were going with you!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-06-06 11:57 (UTC)
Oh, me too! Traveling with my doppleganger == BEST. At least I get to see you in Paris. In barely two weeks. *dances*
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[User Picture]From: seismic
2010-06-05 00:58 (UTC)
Huzzah! How wonderful!

I'm going to sit back and quietly bask in the your travels. I cannot wait to hear all about it.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-06-06 11:58 (UTC)
Diaries will be kept. Photos will be taken, and SD cards kept in my money belt.
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[User Picture]From: sanat
2010-06-05 02:54 (UTC)
Ooh, exciting! (And, owie.) I shall point the darling stateofwonder over here, as she's currently good-doing in Nairobi.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-06-06 12:01 (UTC)
I'm thrilled. We won't be spending all that much time in Nairobi and probably most of that will be catching up with our friends, but if she has recommendations for must-see places, I'd be glad to hear them.
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[User Picture]From: painted_dreams
2010-06-05 11:07 (UTC)
That is incredible.. I've always thought about going to Africa. I don't know where I would go though. I definitely want to see South Africa, apparently some of my ancestors came from there. The Cape Verde islands are also on my list.

Kenya and Nigeria are two countries I have extreme interest in. I hope you have fun while you are there.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-06-06 12:02 (UTC)
Thank you. I'm hoping that this is just the beginning of a much wider range of travel options. I still haven't been to southeast Asia and half my family's from there. My dad is a first-gen immigrant and I've never been to the Philippines.
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[User Picture]From: sneakypeteiii
2010-06-06 08:31 (UTC)
Jealousy! I was going to go to South Africa for the World Cup, but quickly rescinded after I found out how much it cost (both in money and in time) just to fly there.

Kenya grows some of the best coffee in the world -- the SL28 and SL34 varieties. Lots of dark fruit and very cabernet-y for a coffee.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-06-06 12:04 (UTC)
I gave up caffeine a couple of months ago but since the coffee is so good there, I'm going to hop back off the wagon for the trip. I'm hoping I'll appreciate it even more after the period of abstinence.
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[User Picture]From: sneakypeteiii
2010-06-06 14:47 (UTC)
If and when you change your mind in the UK, Square Mile Coffee Roasters (owned by former world barista champ James Hoffmann) roasts some great coffee, and another former WBC winner (Gwilym Davies) lurks behind the bar at Prufrock coffee. For a town known for its tea, London's got one of the best coffee one-two punches in the world.
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[User Picture]From: senusert
2010-06-07 20:16 (UTC)
:-o - I am SO jealous! I hope you have a wonderful time!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-06-08 10:26 (UTC)
Thank you. I'm sure you'll go there yourself one day - you are an adventurous sort!
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