A Travellerspoint blog

the week

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Last week i went to Tideswell which is a tiny tiny village near sheffield, to visit my other cousins and family. I havent seen them in about 6 years so i was quite excited! had a fanstastic week!!

i went to chatwood gorge with becca and her friends. chatswood was a pretty little park with a river running through. everyone said it was super hot, and it was warm but nothing near the 40 degrees we get! it was a nice day out though. we also went shopping on two of the days and i got a boost!! craving satisfied haha. but really, in the first one (yes, i had 2), a banana buz, the ice was not fully blended and there were large lumps left in the bottom :/ that would be a fail! but the gym junkie was really really nice! we got 'yo! sushi' for lunch as well where we sat and at off the merry go round thing. really really nice!! except the cost definitley added up, wont be doing that again soon haha

after dinner one day penny made pancakes and we had it with at least a centimetre thick of nutella, took me back to being at home, where id finish half the jar on a piece of toast (sorry mum!). the next night she made a really nice chocolate cake with... nutella! so basically i ate nutella the whole time :)

On the last night, becca got a group of her friends together and we went out into sheffield! you can drink on the trains out of bottles of wine and the ticket inspectors dont mind, AND you can drink out in the open without the police stopping you! amazing!! and drinks are super cheap too which is fantastic, not so much of my bugit need to go to this anymore :D but really, for $1.50 you can get vodka and lemonade in some places! loved it :) went to 3 different places, all were fun and in the last one there was sumo-wrestling!! lets just say i wasnt in the most concious of states so i fell down when she just walked towards me! i lost :( it was a really great night, not without drama, but i wasnt part of it so that was good too! left fairly early (due to the drama), but i was so grateful the next day when i had a 5 hour bus ride through the windy english countryside!

other than that, nothing much has happened. making parmas for tonight and going to scotland tomorrow!!! super excited. just got to remember not to drink the night beofre our 14 hour bus ride... haha

p.s, some nice weather has appeared, yay!!!

Posted by alexD 03:50 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

a new post at last, lamu, mombasa, saikeri and england!

overcast 20 °C

Sorry that its been almost a month!! super busy and at the same time, nothing really to write about...

so to recap


we took the cattle truck in from saikeri in the morning and managed to waste HEAPS of time before meeting kate (a girl olivia met on her orientation)at java junction. got into nairobi and wasted more time, looking around the maasai market and in the hilton arcade. on the way to the bus place in nairobi, olivia got the most massive thwack in the head by the man carrying a wooden tray on his head who was practically running through the crowded street! we took the night bus to mombasa on the coast, got the cheapest ticket possible (and honestly, the 'better' bus didnt sound that much better!) and had an okay night, some sleep which was good. Kate was sitting next to me, and apparently in the night there was a man sitting on the floor of the bus and was adjusting her leg so that he could sleep on it! she told uss the next day and we laughed so hard (she didnt). we arrived at 5 in the morning and took a tuk tuk (hello india!) to the other bus street where buses to lamu leave from. managed to get 3 out of the 4 last seats so that was super lucky. unfortunately our bus driver was nuts, or had a death wish. we were sitting right up the back of the bus which is notorious for being the most bumpy place to sit. we had the most awful ride i think ive ever had (makes the cattle/pick up trucks look fit for the queen!). for the first 2 hours it was okay, nothing to complain about, got to malindi (famous as the 'italian' area of kenya with good pizza) and people sold us samosas from outside the bus. at first i was wary, but there were 2 dutch people sitting next to us who said they were good so i had one. they were delicious and great after only 2 mandazi for breakfast!! the sellers tried to muzungu price us and succeeded with kate and the dutch people, but i told them i wanted 2 and only had 20 bob (i had a suspicion they were NOT 20 bob each) and they gave in (victory to the MUZUNGU, finally... but im not sure if they should have been 10 eac or 5, 5 bob i wont argue over though). ANYWAY after this, the hell began. no words can describe it. every 10 minutes or so there would be a HUGE bump where we would lift off our seats (i swear i went at least a foot once) and thump back down again, with absolutley no suspension in the bus to cushion us. i think my back got put out slightly. seriously, no one understands except kate, olivia and the dutch people who were in the back too how bad this ride was. it felt as tthough some was was shoving a kniting needle into all the spaces in my spine. kate said if someone wanted information out of her, put her on that bus ride and she would crack. to make matters worse, there was cardboard on her seat as it was wet. not much of a barrier really. and we found out why the seat was wet when it started raining and the closed window leaked. and by leaked i mean poured a bit. (it was actually AWFUL) 5 hours of torture later we arrived, battered and bruised and exhausted. got on the ferry to lamu island which was a nice change in pace and arrived in the dock to shouts of 'muzungu muzungu! i will show you a hotel. very cheap! i know you are a student!'. i wanted and tried to ignore them, but they literally followed us through the alleyways. i had to give in when i realised lamu is like an island maze and we were never actually going to find anything that wasnt on the waterfront. they showed us this AMAZING hotel called Wildebeest that could have fit 10 people. the only thing was, it was incredibly open, like, no enclosing walls, the only place private was the bathroom, otherwise you'd be able to see EVERYTHING. managed to get the price down to 600 each a night, which was a bargain, but decided no, on the basis it was too open, a bed looked like it had been slept in, there was a dummy on the table and bugs in the fridge... (if it was only the openess, it would have actually been amazing). went to another place called casaurina, which was nice enough, it had a rooftop that we could sit on which was awesome, but we didnt really end up using it. over the next few days we went to the beach and went on a fishing/snorkelling dhow (boat) trip, where i caught a fish! (did get a photo, but i dont know the name of the lady who took it!) the snokelling was average though, spoilt in australia! the kenayns cooked the fish and rice, cabbage and potatoes and we had a great lunch! we also just went swimming by the beach while we waited for the tide to be right and the current was RIDICULOUS! you jumped off the boat and came back up 2 metres away. trying to get back on the boat was impossible too, you were basically pushed sideways in the water.

one night in lamu we needed a ride back from shella beach to lamu main island and we hitched with people going on a sunset dhow trip. and then we got invited along! so we went on this trip with the promise of food and a bonfire included. we had a very nice sail, then found out we were going back to lamu for food and we had to pay. and that there was no bonfire. we went to one of the kenyan guys houses which was an 'ecolodge' and very nice, but would be absolutley impossible to find on your own, and they got high and we drank. it wasnt what we expected for the night, but it was good fun.

lamu itself was beautiful, its an old swahili town where there are no cars except for 2 motorbikes, an ambulance and a donkey ambulance. and there are donkeys everywhere, it was quite a site!! the island was a maze of alleyways that were stunning and so interesting to walk through. we all got henna in an old house a man took us to and that showed us the back streets. another guy accosted me and olivia one day and insisted he show us to his shop (at this point, everyone in lamu had been friendly and only wanted to make business. its the low season, so most were stuggling a bit). we walked for like 20 minutes throught the alleyways and eventually got to his shop which was boiling! no ventilation, olivia and i walked in and i wanted to walk straight out again. i saw a really nice batik sort of canvas thing (good description, i know), that was in black and white and (sorry to mention money, but im quite proud of this) he wanted 1500 shillings for it. i said 300, he said 1200, me 400, him 1000, me 500, him 1000, then i said i didnt really want it, looked around a bit more and asked liv if she was ready to leave. we were walking out the door and he thrust it in my hands and said 500. in other words, i got it down to a third of the original price, WINNER! (rereading this to edit it, this doesnt really describe lamu well enough. it was warm and the atmosphere was really nice everywhere. most women wore burka's, but no one seemed to mind if we wore shorts and a tee-shirt. everyone was kind and helpful and it really was paradise, so interesting in its culture and so beautiful to look at)

we left after 4ish days and took a bus back. it was such a better ride, i thought we took a different route! olivia said it was the same and said the bus driver on the first trip was just crazy. we arrived in mombasa, took a bus down to diani beach, then the ferry and stayed in diani beach guest house for one night (we had GREAT italian just down the road) because stilts wasnt available. luckily the next night it was and it was a TREE HOUSE! it was so cool. i loved it, very relaxing, with great weather and trees and monkeys all around us (there were signs on the doors of each house saying hide your food because monkeys can break in... heard a story of people who didnt hide it well enough and the monkeys got in, trashed the room and spilt tomato juice all over one girl's iphone). the place had a 'resturant' as well, in the lounge bit, which was very good as it meant we didnt have to go out :) we set up our stuff and relaxed for a while and we met some people who were going to Forty Thieves (a world famous club attached to a hotel called Forty Thieves) that night. so we went with them! it was SUCH a good night. being a friday, the shooters bar was open and they were so good and cheap, i think i had about 6! you could buy 5, get one free, so everyone ended up getting a free one eventually. we just danced and drank and met people and it was heaps of fun.

the next day, olivia and kate woke up early to meet the people from their orientation who had rented a house in diani and who we would be joining. i slept in and got breakfast and then walked there. (it was SO hot and muggy, and it was a longer walk than i expected. with a heavy bag = not good! although for once i didnt have a hangover:]) again, in diani we spent a lot of time on the beach, although where the house was, was very rocky with a lot of seaweed (seriously, as you were wading in, it was like a seaweed slushie) so we walked to 'forties' (20 minutes away...) where the beach was much nicer.

i shared a couple of coconuts (sweet and the 'normal' ones) with jerome, callen, simon, clare and diana which was very exciting for them, because they hadnt tried it before. (understandable for the sweet, because you cant get them easily. but for the harder normal one, i thought it was a bit weird!).

went out on sunday night (had fantastic pres at the house, great drinking games, that didnt get boring!) but nothing was really busy :(. forties was pretty empty so we went to 'shakattack' and that was even emptier. got some food that took so long to come out and was so tiny it wasnt really worth it. in fact clare and jerome ordered a burger between them, then left after half an hour and we had to pretend that they had just got the order wrong. awks! went back to forties at 3ish and it was closed, so went home. managed to pick up some british soldiers on the way (one of whom was going to afghanistan to find bombs and told me that 1/2 the soldiers lose a limb and 1/3 die and his sargeant recently lost his legs. cheery topic. and then he asked me why i didnt look happy! well, im tired, sleepy and you just told me your probably going to die or be seriously injured! really!). dumped the men along the way, not sure where as i was focused on getting home, and then had a very welcome sleep.

olivia and i left on the night bus, taking the ferry at 9pm, (didnt come for a while, and i honestly thought we were going to miss the bus) we decided taking a matatu just wasnt worth it so took a tuk tuk to the bus station. got on the bus and had a very nice trip back to nairobi. again we had to waste masses of time before we took the cattle truck back to saikeri.


nothing happened in these days, and i mean nothing. we had said goodbye to diana and sam in diani (they came up with olivia's friend's group). we met 2 americans, mother and daughter, who had come to volunteer only for a week and made sure i had enough clean underwear to last me until england, and that was about it. on our last night, we said goodbye to our host family and alice gave olivia and i maasai necklaces which were beautiful. we gave them some small gifts as well. left on a pick up truck the next morning. the one day we needed a bigger vehicle for our bags, we get the smallest and for some reason there was HEAPS of people going into town. our bags ended up on the roof to make room for people in the tray. suprise suprise, we wasted time in gong when we got there. had 'lunch' (chips and a milkshake) at java and daniella came said good bye (it is SO weird to think, people who i was there with are still there and will be there for a long time more!). got into nairobi, had one last look at the hilton and took the bus to the airport. it all went pretty much smoothly from there!


arrived bright and early at 7 15 to Aunty Karens smiling face :) customs and immigration was super easy, yay for a british passport! arrived in woolavington, had some time to dump our stuff then went to the church abseiling thing. olivia and i lasted about half an hour before we wanted to go to bed (the flight was literally overnight, so although we werent jetlagged with time difference, we were still tired). but grandad abseiled down the church! (a 79 (i think haha) year old!) olivia and i went to joes gig that night, he was good, but it was SO COLD and we looked so stupid in our only clean clothes that didnt match and were only suitable for kenya. so we sat in the car and just listened to the music (it was an outside gig). but it was literally 15 degrees and there were (stupid) girls in short shorts and singlets! they would have been so cold, i felt like saying, 'really, you had NOTHING warm to wear that looked good?' we went to bristol to buy some more clothes, we underestimated how cold england actually is, it's awful! and had a nice day where i shopped for a good 8 hours. for those who know me, they know this was a feat that probably wont be repeated again (went into a shop the next day and i couldnt stand it, SO OVER CLOTHES!) we saw anna (my cous) perform in billy elliot which was good and have also been into london, where we planned to do madam tussauds and the shakespeare globe but ran out of time and did neither (haha). olivia left to join her aunty in gretton and i went back to wooly.

went to bournemouth on saturday to see susie (godmother) and after a 3 hour trip, arrived. met isabelle, susie's daughter and martin, isabelles father. we went for a walk along the beach in the afternoon which was nice. bournemouth is very pretty and the beach would be great if it was hot enough ahah. the next day we went to a park. it was 27ish degrees, perfect if you ask me, but all i could hear was english people complaining it was too hot! i thought 'they'd never survive in australia'! isabelle didnt manage either, she got very flushed and tired and probably had a mild case of heat stroke. after 2 hours we left, as it was too hot for everyone. it was the first nice weather day i had in england, it was perfect for me! left on monday afternoon and arrived at grandmas. had a great supper, watched the tennis, then went to bed. tuesday, got up at 7 and grandad picked me up at 7 30 to take me on a bikeride with 'the old gits cycling group', and it was about 8 old men in varying tightness of lyrca. it was an interesting site! the bike i was riding was a bit high for me so i would have looked like a right douche getting on and off, legs flying everywhere (mind you, im not that flexible, so it was a MAJOR effort!). got it lowered when we met up with someone who had a bunch of allen keys, and was able to ride comfortably. did quite well i think except for one hill that killed me, i got halfway up, to a flat bit, then saw it kept going! i think only one person actually rode all the way to the top, most of us walked. it was funny because every couple of miles or so we'd stop to let everyone catch up, and we had 2 cafe breaks as well where everyone got tea or hot chocolate and a cake. it was a very social affair!! the men we were cycling with were nice and had interesting things to say, so all in all it was quite a good day out!, got back to grandmas and stretched every couple of hours, then had a bath to avoid stiffness on wednesday. and i wasnt stiff! thank god! felt absolutley no evidence of the bike ride the next day, which probably meant i didnt work hard enough, but it was nice to not be in pain. grandma and i took the bus to town where we looked in a few op shops and went on the grand pier. it used to be this old wooden thing with arcade games inside. it was so old and had so much history, but it burnt down a few years ago and a new 'grand pier' was built. this one was plastic and had no charm or character although it had similar arcade games, i was so sad the other one had gone! (we'd been here every time id been to england). left after 20 minutes or so, as it was very windy (a nice day. but the wind was freezing) and had fish and chips (australia wins again) then took the bus home, stopping to get raspberries (which we had every night for dessert, yum!). watched the tennis and played scrabble and that was about it. left western super mare (where grandma lives) the next day after another game of scrabble (haha) and got back to wooly where everyone is quite busy and im now home alone writing this. just made some anzac biscuits and am watching How I Met Your Mother :)

Posted by alexD 10:31 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Florida, Safari and other random things

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A couple of weeks ago, it was this guy, ben,'s last weekend so 13 of us went out into nairobi. i wasnt planning on going out so i ended up going in my pink india top and blue india pants and thongs. needless to say, at the door they took a minute to let us in... before this we pre drank at Naomi's and since we were not allowed to drink in the house we went to the roof! it was a lot of fun, just the roof part! we got kicked of for making to much noise and getting back down was a bit of an issue, slightly intoxicated and having to side step over this 2 metre wide precipice... but we made it, tried mira (look it up) at the local pub then took a taxi to Florida 2000. lets just say, we drank a lot, a creepy sri lankan danced with us and an old man felt up one of the girls (this was NOT good, but ben bought her a drink for it haha). then there was a tribal dance thing at 2ish that was pretty amazing and we left at 3, very gald we all came out. got back to naomis and crashed on the mattress in the living room with olivia. woke up the next morning feeling less than average to find hot water instead of tea and 1 slice of bread each for breakfast that was slightly stale and brown anyway. tried to down it, but went out and got an egg to fry, which was a life saver. egg and bread is actually really yummy!

and then

I WENT ON SAFARI!!! it was so freaking amazing. we caught the cattle truck on thursday morning and spent the day shopping at the various markets around nairobi (hello presents!). So glad luis made friends with one of the shop people in karen, he gives me non-mzungu prices :) stayed at Pastor Regina's on Thursday night and woke up bright and early to get breakfast at junction, a fruit salad (FRUIT!!) and an egg sandwich. 'Big Mike' arrived late and then we fluffed around, going to and from the office and nakumatt before we finally left. there were 9 of us in total, Mike, Olivia, me, Kate, Ashley, Simon and Adam (we knew each other already), Naomi and Denise. It was a good bunch! anyway, we drove for ages, stopped for lunch and then drove some more before we finally arrived at the Masai Mara camp site. this was the most amazing campsite ive ever seen! there were about 10 tents, massive canvas rooms on concrete floors and 'out the back' there was a concrete semicircle covered thing which had.... HOT SHOWERS and a FLUSHING FREAKING TOILET! i had a 20 minute HOT shower (from the top and everything, i have never been so happy haha). We went for our first game drive in the Masai Mara National Park and we saw a lion and her cubs, heaps of zebra, gazelle, antelope, tobi, and a few giraffes. next day we went for a full day, literally 8-6, and saw everything! Mufasa, hippos, crocodiles, elephants so many giraffes, hyenas (the made a kill and we watch about a metre away as they ate a baby buffalo alive :S it was mooing as they pulled out its guts. ew.) we had lunch in the park and an safari with chinese people came up to us and they started taking pictures of us like we were more interesting than the animals, it was hilarious! we got back to the camp and then went to see a 'masai' village. i only went cause they said there would be dancing and so far i havent seen any, but all they did was jump and swing there arms and i know for a fact its more interesting than that normally! but some people got the chance to drink cows blood. i didnt but it was interesting to watch. on the last day, sunday, we went out again but at 6 20, to see the sunrise and try and find the rhino, the only animal we didnt see, but we didnt find it :( we took the LONG drive back and liv and i stayed a Pastor Regina's again. On the Monday, before we took the cattle truck back, we bought our tickets for mombasa! so very excited.

other than that, life in saikeri is fairly average. we wake up in the morning. have 2 butter sandwiches and a cup of chai, leave to go to maggies at 930-10ish, sometimes i go to the clinic when its busy and christine isnt there (its quite hard to work there, i can get out off the medication for people, i know what most things mean now, but i cant actually give them out to the patients because i dont speak kimaasai and they dont really know what to do with them... so sometimes i dont go), then olivia goes to her class, we sit around some more, go back for lunch, come back to maggies (its where the other volunteers are and we are left more alone there, in Julius's its like a bus stop!). sometimes we sit on an amazing rock, or we just sit and talk. since last night was olivia and mines last night with everyone we made chappati! (Rose, the cook said she was too tried so we did most of it). it was SO GOOD. and everyone went slightly crazy. the boys locked liv and diana in jacks room but they climbed out the window, hid their radio, put gravel in the pillow, wrote on the wall, in a book and on a photo. oh and they trapped the cat in the room. crazy times haha

Posted by alexD 00:18 Archived in Kenya Comments (0)

this week

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This week Olivia arrived! She got here on Saturday and after some worried phone calls from her dad, a call from fadhili to me to tell her to call her dad, searching though a dirty market and an hour wait because i missed them by 5 minutes, we met up! I went back to Saikeri that night and she stayed for orientation.

Knowing there was no room at Mamma Maggi's i asked fadhili where she was going to be placed and they said olmalaroi, 2 hours walk from Saikeri, so with some awkwardly pushy text messages i managed to get fadhili to place us in saikeri together with a different host family, the man is a teacher from the school so i knew him already, its really lovely there, the daughter was home from school and it felt so much like a family! Now, Olivia is working at the school and i am working at the medical clinic giving out medication, apparently ill get to help with immunisation this week though! exciting stuff, but i know ill never be a doctor now, i couldnt give people, especially kids, needles! it is too horrible!! When Olivia arrived from orientation i had asked her to bring me a 'big dairy milk'. she bought cows milk, it was very funny!!

Other than those exciting few days, we havent done too much. there is something called Saikeri laziness and it has affected us all! It is very relaxing though.

Funny story, Jack, Sam and Diana made a 'Kenyan Monopoly' because we were bored of cards with all our in jokes in it. despite the fact monopoly is the most frustrating never-ending game ever, its actually quite fun!

safari next weekend and then mombasa/lamu in 2 weeks!! could i be more excited?!

Posted by alexD 02:55 Archived in Kenya Comments (0)

good jack

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got back to saikeri on sunday on the back of a motorbike. definitely nearly fell off in the hour it took, interesting but very beautiful scenery.

but on sunday there was a bomb blast in ol'madaroi that killed 5 kids, it was an unexploded bomb the army left and they found and played with. the whole community is devastated. school was interesting for this week, teachers werent to keen to teach, but i still came for my lessons. i teach standard 4 and 6 science which means kids between 8 and 16 becasue they group kids by ability not by age in school. we also went for a walk behind the house which was really nice.

on one day this week, i worked in the medical clinic labelling medication. and 2 morans showed up. these people are traditional maasai warriors who kill people. so i was freaked. one was sick and had to get an injection in the room i was in. all i could think of was that he could kill me at any second! but while they looked incredibly scary it was SO COOL seeing them, in traditional maasai attire. couldnt take a photo though...

other than that, have played cards, dranks tea, cards, walked, card and more cards! its been a slow week! also, i have read a lot which is good. ran out of credit half way through the week, worst timing! i need to talk to so many people because OLIVIA IS COMING TODAY!!!

anyway, as not much has happened, i have nothing much to write. dreamt/thought i was at home when i was in the waking up bit of sleep the other day, it was very weird. missing family and friends a lot, but going on safari in 2 weeks so i cant be too sad!!

also, i met good jack!

Posted by alexD 23:24 Archived in Kenya Comments (0)

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