Sunday, May 3, 2009

Our Last Post to the Blog

Hi,

          We are home!!!!!! We had the most amazing vacation possible.  We were blessed with unbelievable weather and terrific adventures.  We posted the last photos (unless you want more… there are about 2,000 of them).  So here goes the info:

          After getting off the ship we flew to Livingston (Dr. Livingston… I presume country) to see Victoria Falls.  It is the most impressive sight you have ever seen, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  It is a mile long with a mist that shoots up in the air creating a rainfall that is pelting when you walk near the falls.  The rainbows are so beautiful and huge!  The Royal Livingston Hotel made you feel like you were back in Colonial England times.  The hotel was so “Old World”… High Tea in the afternoon, Doorman in a storytellers uniform, Bellman with a fez cap waiting on the pathway (just in case you need anything), piano player in tuxedo at dinner, your robe and slippers set out on your bed with rose petals scattered on it and… monkeys playing in the trees outside your balcony.  We took a helicopter trip above the falls (you can’t possibly see it all from the ground due to the mist.  The water level is the highest it has been in sixty years… so the falls were unbelievable!  It was a terrific relaxing way to spend a few days before Cape Town.

          We loved Cape Town.  The people were friendly and it is a terrific city to see.  We were fortunate to be able to go up to Table Mountain at sunset.  The mountain is covered in fog a lot of the time and we thought we might not get up there at all, as whenever we were nearby it was covered in mist.  The mountain suddenly cleared about 5:00 PM on our final day and we made the last cable car up to the top of the mountain and caught the most terrific sunset.  We went to Cape Point, the most southern tip of Africa for spectacular views.  Cape Town is a beautiful city with gorgeous beaches (water temperature was too cold to go in), beautiful botanical gardens, terrific waterfront and great prices.  The ratio of “Rand” to $ was 10 to 1 so everything was amazingly inexpensive… a fabulous (NYC quality) dinner for less than $50 per couple.  We stayed in a lovely Bed and Breakfast and met some really fun people from England, Mauritius, Canary Islands, and Malta (talk about international).  One evening we were together in the lounge at the B&B till 1:00 AM drinking and telling dirty jokes.  There is nothing like a “Brit” telling a dirty joke about a man’s “Willy”.  I think I will leave it at that, and wait till I see you to tell the jokes.

          Hopefully, we haven’t bored you with our adventure… it was wonderful sharing with you.  Thanks for all your comments and emails.  It really added to our trip being able to share it with our friends.  Special thanks to Phyllis A. for setting up the Blog… we would have never done it without her.

          Love,

                      Pat & Mike

         

 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hi Blogsters

Hi Blogsters (?),

     Well, we finally docked in Cape Town after much delay.  The winds were gale force and they would not let the ship into port for 12 hours.  The water was calm as we were just outside the harbor, so it was another day at leisure on board the ship.  We were very fortunate that our plans in Cape Town did not start till the next day. 

     The cruise was terrific! Our portion of the cruise was a segment on a Grand World Voyage on the Holland American Rotterdam.  Holland America really knows hospitality and pampering, especially catering to the “Grand Voyage” group (average age seemed like 102 years old… we were the kids on board).  Food was superb and it was a terrific way to discover the east coast of Africa.  The cruising was calm most of the time except for two days that we really rocked and rolled.  We are very good sailors, so it did not bother us at all.  Actually, we love sleeping on those rocky nights… reminiscent of our being rocked in a cradle as babies.  And of course nothing bothers us when it comes to eating… thank goodness we never found a scale to weigh ourselves on board!!!

     Let me tell you about the cruise.  We left out of Dubai after spending three days at the Marriott there (thank goodness for Marriott points).  Dubai was interesting… beautiful buildings, clean, but it really had no soul.  It just appeared to us that all they want to do is make it bigger and better than anyone else (especially America).  We never felt a connection to the people, there was no eye contact, polite courtesy but cold.   It was worth seeing, especially since the cruise departed from there, but would definitely not make it a destination.

     The Seychelles… BEAUTIFUL.  It really is a paradise.  We had a day touring the island and spent some time on the beautiful beach pinching ourselves saying, “Are we really here?”.  Cruising to the Seychelles was interesting as we spent much of the time around the Bay Of Aden… yes, PIRATE AREA.  There were armed security men on our decks with the fire hoses mounted ready to blast any small ship that might approach us.  The captain gave us daily pirate updates and we changed our course to avoid the areas where they are the most active.  While we were in the area the saga of the Maersk Alabama pirate attack happened so it was an action packed adventurous few days.

     The African culture is rich and varied.  We spent time in a Zulu Village in Richards Bay watching terrific dances and enjoying the local people.  Oman was a port where we did a city tour… small country but a very large Sultan’s residence.  Mombasa was a bit of a disappointment… very old, lots of poverty and dirty.  We really planned on heading to the beaches there as we have heard they were lovely, but they were having a major problem with seaweed and the beach was pretty ugly filled with rotting seaweed.  So we did the next best thing and went shopping in “Old Town”… very old world and interesting.

     Durban, South Africa is a lovely city with beautiful botanical gardens, aquarium with fish we have never seen the likes of, and THE ULTIMATE GIRAFFE to bring home for my collection.  It is in route on the Rotterdam with a crew member to be picked up by us when the ship docks in NYC in May (obviously too big to fit in our luggage).  Just wait till you see it!!!!!!!

     We have been amazed by the incredible welcoming by the African people.  Everywhere we went we were treated with caring, respect, helpfulness, kindness, and enthusiasm.  We have been blessed with this incredible trip.

     Next blog will be about Victoria Falls and Cape Town… then HOME!!!

     Thanks for sharing our trip,

              Pat & Mike

 

 

Us on the beach in the Seychelles

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The dining room at the Manor

 

Dreams come true... Giraffe Manor

I am so behind in posting to the Blog as we have been having so much fun.  The newest pictures are all from Giraffe Manor.  As most of you know I sort of like giraffes and it has been a dream of mine to stay at Giraffe Manor.  I cannot adequately express what a thrill and joy it was to stay there.  The Manor itself is beautiful and the service is “WHITE GLOVE”.  Really, there is a staff of 26 people for the total of six rooms at the Manor, including a house steward, butler, cooks, laundry lady and so on and so on.  The host and hostess of the Manor are an amazing couple who just love the giraffes and know each one by name (they all have different personalities).  We met four lovely people staying there also; the last evening it was just the hosts and the two of us for the candle light dinner. Breakfast and Lunch are served in the sun room with the large windows opened so the giraffes can stop by and poke their heads in to have a meal with you.  They are gentle and sweet and love their special treats.  We had giraffe kisses, hugs and licks (yeah, I know, me who wouldn’t even let my dog lick me… sorry Taffy and Pookie).  The giraffe center is part of the Manor property and that is open to the public for viewing and learning about the giraffes.  There are nine giraffes on the property including two youngsters.  Daisy giraffe is pregnant and we were hoping for a baby to be born while we were there. Nairobi is very dry and she is holding off delivering waiting for better weather for feeding.  She has the ability to hold her pregnancy for an additional two months if conditions are not good to sustain the baby’s life (all mothers stop gasping).  Barney was a bit of a character who liked to stay on the patio even after treats were gone; a very sociable guy.  Lynn was the gentlest enjoying pets and letting you hug her.  MaryAnn wasn’t too fond of others getting treats when she thought she should get all of them.  I know they are giraffes but they were WONDERFUL!!!!!!!

Well I think the pictures tell so much of the story.  I cried when I got there and cried when I left… it was such a thrill.  I am totally blessed!!!!!!!!

Pat (& Mike)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Africa

 Greetings from Dubai,

     We are behind schedule in posting to the blog as internet access was limited; so of course I didn’t start anything going.  We leave Dubai later today to start our cruise.

     Today’s info and pictures are from the Masai Mara.  The Mara Safari Club was amazing… so beautiful and serene.  The staff there was the best I have ever encountered.  Every wish or whim you had was taken care of.  There is a picture of us with our Masai guides and guard (the one with the gun - I made sure he had bullets) was taken on our Walking Safari (wasn’t even planning on doing one-adventurous and a bit scary).  The evening before, while we slept, it poured rain so it was wet and muddy in the morning.  We would not have been able to go if our room steward had not shown up with his boots (very attractive) and socks for us to walk in the mud.  We saw lots of animals and plant life close up without being in the safari vehicle.  There are two pictures of our tent.  It was luxurious and beautiful with hot and cold running water (had to let the hot water run for about 7 minutes before it got hot, but it did).  You could hear the hippos “talking”, monkey’s calling, birds singing and other assorted sounds that I am still not sure what they were.

     The Giraffes were terrific, of course, but I also fell in love with the Hippos, their noises made me laugh all the time.  We saw an incredible herd of Elephants… they were on the other side of a hill.  All of a sudden we saw one and then another and then another, etc. etc. until there were at least 15 Elephants of all sizes.  There was a small baby about a few months old and several a year or two old.  The bull was rather sexually excited and exhibited his manhood (walking on his 5th leg as our guide told us).  He started to flap his ears and our guide decided that he might not be too happy with us there so we took off for our next adventure.  I will tell you about the Giraffes in my next posting.

     Blog or email and let us know if you are signing in and enjoying this or should I stop.

              Love to all,

              Pat & Mike

 

Part of a 15 Elephant Herd

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009