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Thursday, October 28, 2010

NGORONGORO TO THE SERENGETI VIA OLDUVAI GORGE

In case you are considering an African safari, particularly to Kenya and Tanzania, here are some thoughts:

1.  Make sure you get your Yellow Fever vaccination.  You don't want to face the sanitation at the airport.

2.  Visas can be obtained at the airport when you arrive, but sometimes the airline itself might not allow you to board their plane to these countries.  Thus, get your visa before you leave home.

3.  Take all the malaria precautions you can, but the Tauck tour guide indicated that in all the years she has been doing this, none of her clients contracted this ailment.  For the record, I saw one mosquito in a restroom and another that flew into the vehicle.  Also, while the tse-tse fly does indeed cause sleeping sickness, the specie in these two countries doesn't.

Botswana (not on this stop) is special for at least two reasons.  First, it is the antipode of Hawaii, more specifically, the Kalahari Desert, and second, it is the most stable country in Africa.  Tanzania, where I am now, is the second best.  Botswana is a benevolent dictatorship family and Tanzania is a democracy, with national elections on Sunday.  People here are really nice and they all speak English.

My personal problem was that I contracted severe diarrhea at 1:30 this morning, went to the bathroom half a dozen times, and was looking to just sleep today.  Unfortunately, this was not possible, as we were moving hotels from the Ngorongoro Serena to the Serengeti Serena.  Worse, this was to be the bumpiest, dustiest and longest day.  So I asked my body to perform a miracle.  My frontal lobe took total control, and I made it through without incident.  As this is the second miracle, I will think about nominating my brain for sainthood, for during Pearl's illness, how many times did I think I was coming down with a cold or flu, but my body kept resisting, and helped me make it through the period, and in the process engineered a loss of 11 pounds.  Of course, I have a weird idea about the concept of miracles.

The Oldupai (this once was spelled and pronounced Olduvai) Gorge stop was both disappointing and exciting.  I had a good chat with Curator Sambeta Ikayo.  The negatives were that the exhibit itself was a pale shadow of what it should and could be.  I can think of a dozen ways to make it much better.  All they need is a rich person to provide the funds.  Read about the story of the Leakeys.  Lucy was found in Ethiopia by Donald Johanson, an American, and three others.

Human life started here twice.  First, the transition from some type of champanzee 5 million years ago, then, around 70,000 BC, Mount Toba in Indonesia erupted, throwing so much ash into the atmosphere that the world got very cold, and only 10,000 or so people survived, purportedly in East Africa, and possible the Oldupai Gorge.  Thus, this is where Homo Sapiens re-began and expanded.  A similar theory is that pockets of life made it through, giving us the diversity we have today.

This is Sambeta Ikayo, curator of the Oldupai Gorge Museum and what the gorge looks like. (I'll enter the photos later, as the system here at the Serengeti Serena is very slow.)

Anyway, a thousand photos, but here are mostly animal ones. (Same.)

This is day five, and I have yet to see Mount Kilimanjaro, which, amazingly enough, is two miles south of the equator.  Tomorrow is the final day in this general area, for we leave for Kenya.

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The Dow Jones Industrials and price of crude oil are on the right.

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There are three storms in the Atlantic and a disturbance in the Indian Ocean, but the only serious one is Typhoon Chaba, a Category 4 storm at 130 MPH, but predicted to weaken and make landfall in the general metropolitan area of Tokyo.



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My 156th country just entered my blog:


GHANA POPULATION: 23,887,812



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 Background
Formed from the merger of the British colony of the Gold Coast and the Togoland trust territory, Ghana in 1957 became the first sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to gain its independence. Ghana endured a long series of coups before Lt. Jerry RAWLINGS took power in 1981 and banned political parties. After approving a new constitution and restoring multiparty politics in 1992, RAWLINGS won presidential elections in 1992 and 1996, but was constitutionally prevented from running for a third term in 2000. John KUFUOR succeeded him and was reelected in 2004. John Atta MILLS took over as head of state in early 2009.




Ghana is located on the western side of the African continent.


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