Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008

I was a little late putting up Xmas decorations this year since we were away on holidays. We finally put up a few yesterday (Xmas eve). Merry Christmas every one !!

African Adventure

Our Africa trip was planned before we reached Nairobi and I must thank the Pandya parents for showing us an amazing time and organizing a fantastic holiday. You can see below each day was a different experience and one I will remember for years to come.

Dec 5th - Arrived in Nairobi and were welcomed by the both sets of parents (Pandya and Shah's), Tiku and Aarti (Amit's friend from back in the day). After dinner the two of us went out for drinks with Tiku and Aarti and caught up after years of not being in touch.
Dec 6th - The Pandya parents had organized a get together for us to meet all their friends and family. At the end of the night one of their neighbors got hijacked at gun point right outside the Temple gates but fortunately were not harmed. We got a first hand look at the threat the folks in Africa live in. That night we decided to stay in as all of us were a little rattled from the experience.
Dec 7th - Made our social rounds during the day and in the evening we went on a double date with Tiku and Aarti to celebrate their wedding anniversary. We ate dinner at Mediterraneo (really great food) and later went for drinks to Hotel Intercontinental.
Dec 8th - Dec 10th - Left for Tanzania early in the morning. We took a flight out of the domestic Wilson airport to Kilimanjaro and then another flight from there to Seronora. Amit and I were the only two on the 9 passenger plane to Seronora (felt like it was chartered for us). During our time in Tanzania we stayed at the Sopa lodges in Serengeti and Ngorongoro. We enjoyed the game drives at both the parks and got see atleast 24 different types of animals and birds. Per our driver we were lucky to see a Leopard up close and personal as it decided to walk under our jeep towards a tree that it later climbed.
Dec 11th - The Pandya's and Shah's went to the Limuru golf club early in the morning and Amit and I played our first 9 holes of golf ever. After golf we ate breakfast at the Java house and headed to the Giraffe center where I got to feed some giraffes. From there we headed to Kazuri and got a short tour around their beads factory. Later that day we went to Village market Bowling hall to celebrate Krish's 5th birthday with Tiku and Aarti. This was the last nite with my Dad as he was leaving for Bahrain the next morning.
Dec 12th - Dec 15th - Started out trip to Mombassa were we met up with Amin. We spent our time in Mombassa catching up on old times and also tried Deep Sea fishing. I got to ride a camel on the beach a first for me (surprising since I lived in the middle east for 17 years). We spent most of our time by the pools enjoying the sun and scenery. Anyone interested in going to Mombassa should definitely check out the Voyager Beach resort - simply amazing..

Dec 16th- Spent a lazy day in Nairobi (which was much needed) and taught the family how to play Texas Holdem. Later that evening we met up with Amit's old friends Ravi and his sister Geeta.
Dec 17th - Dec 19th - We were on the road again, this time to Lake Nakuru and Naivasha - but this the family joined us (including Rakhee - who was so sweet to be around the entire time we were there to show us around). In Nakuru we stayed at the Flamingo Hill camp - my first tent experience it was simply amazing. The next morning we went on a game drive and continued to Lake Naivasha. There we stayed at the Sopa Lodge and enjoyed some quality family time.
Dec 20th - Dec 21st - The final stretch. We spent the last two days in Nairobi preparing for our trip back home to Dallas. We played another round of golf (this time 18 holes) and made our last social visits. I finally got to shop for some gifts at the Masai market and Banana box.

My first trip to Africa was in 1993 - I dont remember much from that trip but somehow remembered that it was a beautiful place. After travelling to Africa recently I can say its an amazing place - green and untouched in many places by mankind. It should definitely be on everyone's list to visit once in their lifetime. Most of us always hear of the violence, hunger, poverty and corruption in Africa but trust me there is a lot more - the local people are very friendly and warm, the cities are beautiful and green and ofcourse the wildlife is abundant.

We took over a 1000 pictures during our trip - FOR MORE PICTURES CLICK HERE.

Thank you PANDYA PARENTS, NANA, TIKU, AARTI and RAKHEE for a wonderful time !