Getting There is Half the Battle: The Tanzania Chronicles #5

Last updated on September 30th, 2013 at 12:22 am

First off, thanks to everyone for the warm welcome back to the land of the digitally-able! The trip to Tanzania was quite the adventure; coming home with 3400+ pictures, an inexplicable stomachache and too many stories to count, the trip marked a very interesting chapter in my life.

As we previously discussed, getting to Tanzania is no small feat! It would take over 24 hours to get there and near 36 to get back, but like any good story, it starts at the beginning—that is:

HOW DID I END UP GOING ON THIS CRAZY TRIP?!

It all started 20 years ago…


This is the story of four friends: Sarah, Casey, Trevor and Sakshi.

Trevor is the adventurous, outdoorsy type
Sarah has often gone camping with her family
Sakshi and Casey are city-dwellers, loving running water, air conditioning and convenient restaurants
Sakshi and Trevor are a married couple that’re dear friends of Casey and Sarah (also married).

They’ve all lived together, travelled together and had adventures together—they work great together as a set of married couples.
Now ever since he was 8 and visiting Kenya, Trevor had seen Mt. Kilimanjaro from afar and decided “one day, I’m going to climb that!”

Fast-forward twenty years or so, and a few things have happened:

Sakshi, Trevor, Casey and Sarah all end up working for the same government organization
Sakshi marries TrevorSarah marries Casey

Not long thereafter, Sakshi and Trevor decide to embark on a GRAND ADVENTURE
One of the stops on this trip include Tanzania
Trevor considers climbing Kilimanjaro while there, but thinks better of it
However, in a supportive yet ironic fashion (her being a city girl and all), Sakshi reminds Trevor that it has been a lifelong dream of his to climb this mountain and convinces him to do it

So, Sakshi and Trevor tell Sarah and Casey of their grand plan
Sarah thinks: “This is the experience of a lifetime!” and convinces (a very reluctant) Casey that they should go
So while Sakshi and Trevor globetrot, Sarah and Casey train with walks in Toronto (well, for a little while anyway)

Eventually, Sarah and Casey are OFF to Tanzania, and this, my friends, is that story….


And thus, we found ourselves travelling upward of 24 hours to get to Tanzania, on the east coast of Africa.

The flight to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania wasn’t too bad—in summary, here’re the thoughts that come from a day spent without a fixed location:

  • Getting a mere 2 hours of sleep prior to travelling (due to last-minute work and packing) is never recommended, but definitely helps one pass out during flights
  • Having a broken seat for 7 hours is a situation you should really bring up with your flight attendant as soon as possible—”Sir, please put your seat in the upright position.” “I CAN’T!!!
  • Swiss Air is a wonderful airline. I’d fly with them again anytime.
  • Movie reviews:
    • Tower Heist: I remember wanting to see this in theatres, and I’m extremely glad I never got around to it. Gabourey Sidibe makes the least convincing island gyal EVER.
    • I ♥ Huckabees: People actually like this movie?
    • Mark Zuckerberg: Inside Facebook: A slick BBC documentary on how Zuckerberg built the Facebook empire that he has today. It’s a great companion if you’ve seen The Social Network. (And who hasn’t?!)
    • In Time: Solid proof that Justin Timberlake needs to stop acting and get another album out.
  • The farther away you get from North America, the less deodorant seems to be of a concern. This can’t be a good precedent.
  • Never mix any creamy substance (such as milky pudding) with wine. You will need the bathroom. Very badly.
  • Sitting next to a flight attendant for the airline you’re flying with who’s returning from vacation is a very good way to get extras without meaning to.

We got there in one piece, and upon exiting into the Dar es Salaam airport, we were hit by a wave of humidity. We were really in Africa. The next hour or so saw a whirlwind of going through customs (where you better be ready to have your photo and fingerprints taken), navigating through a sea of would-be taxi drivers (both legit and not-so) and the exhilaration of finally being able to sleep horizontally—this was only the prelude for some very interesting weeks that would be ahead. Tanzania would have much in store for us.

–case p.

I’m BACK, y’all!!!

Last updated on March 1st, 2014 at 05:40 pm

After three weeks spent in the African wilderness (and I don’t think you fully appreciate how literally I mean that statement), I am back where I belong! (And we didn’t get robbed while we were gone, so that’s always good!)

2012 Africa Trip—Coming Home—Unshaven Case
Our hero after a few weeks abroad, where different voltages can make using electric clippers a BAD IDEA.

It’ll take some time to get all my stories out about our trip to Tanzania, but to give you a quick synopsis of what went down, I:

  • managed to painstakingly summit Mt. Kilimanjaro
  • got some great wildlife shots while on safari in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater
  • experienced not-quite-so-subtle racism from some of the locals
  • got a little taste of Tanzanian culture; some great… some not as much
  • have a wealth of bags and clothes that smell like I’ve spent the last couple of weeks without any decent shower facilities (some might argue it makes me smell like a man, but I’d just say it smells like I have some serious laundry to do!)

For now, though, it’s all about unpacking, going through mail (of both the snail and electronic varieties) and getting back into the swing of things!

Viva la Toronto—it’s great to be back!

–case p.

Back to the Motherland

Last updated on March 8th, 2021 at 03:52 pm

Well, someone’s motherland, anyway. I think my family’s about 5 or more generations removed from having set foot on the continent of Africa.

But it’s here! We’re finally on our way out to climb Kilimanjaro, traverse dusty trails to see sights of rare animals (yeah, thanks a lot, humanity…) and get some much-needed R&R.

Unlike previous vacations, for most of the trip the Internet won’t even be an option available to me—for 2-3 weeks, I’ll vanish from the ‘Net entirely.

If work hadn’t been so hectic the last little while, I might’ve scheduled some new content for y’all, but life often has its own designs for us far removed from our control.

So as I prepare for more than a day’s worth of travel, I’ll take a page from Damien’s book and detox from the media I’m always consuming.

Have a good time one and all—I’ll be back before you know it! (That’s the way vacations usually work, don’t they?)

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad

Packing to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

Last updated on March 8th, 2021 at 03:49 pm

As you can see, I wasn’t kidding when I said that the amount of gear we’d gotten for this trip is utterly ridiculous.

But it’s like I was telling a friend while enjoying a walk in the sunshine on Tuesday—you can’t put a price on safety or survival. Being a mountain climbing novice, if an expert tells me that I need something, I am not about to argue!

But part of packing for a trip like this is finding balance. Having a few weeks off from one’s regular life is an opportunity to do things they’ve always wanted to do—relax; write stories; catch up on some reading… you’ll have more free time than you might be used to!

But you’ll also only have so much of your stuff! Especially on a trip like this, I need to make more room for essentials and keep the luxuries to a minimum. (However, please believe that Sakshi and Trevor are going to get their butt handed to them in board games if I have anything to say about it!) It’s good that they already supplied us with packing lists; otherwise, I wouldn’t know what the heck I was doing and you’d hear stories of me on the top of Kilimanjaro suffering from hypothermia or something! Usually, I pack like this:

…but this time there’s been no time for fun cartoons or lengthy lists. No… this time, it’s all about seeing how much I can fit in that bag (making sure that it ends up being under 15 kg) and learning to live with less (one could also learn a thing or two from the process that my friends Trevor and Sakshi used to pack for a six-month trip.

I’m sure there’s a life lesson in here somewhere…

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad

Gearing Up: The Tanzania Chronicles #2

Last updated on July 15th, 2019 at 03:22 pm

One thing I didn’t anticipate when planning to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro is that the gear would cost nearly as much as the trip itself!

Usually, Sarah and I try to be a bit frugal with our decisions, checking whether we need to get top-of-the-line items in all circumstances. (Hint: When it comes to clothing and tech, the answer is almost always yes.) But with this trip, I sense that the difference between getting passable and great gear is a little closer to the difference between life or death, so I told Sarah that I was willing to pay whatever I had to to make sure that I’d be back in one piece.

I just didn’t realize how much that cost would be.

Take a look at this checklist. It’s the guide we’re using to make sure we have everything we need for the climb. At first, it might not look like a lot, until you go into a store—in our case, Mountain Equipment Co-op—and start asking questions.

When moisture-wicking socks cost $23 a pair, I’ll leave it to your imaginations just how much it’d cost to buy anything made up of more fabric than a pair of socks (i.e. most everything else on the list!)

$23.50 for two socks. Something about this just seems so WRONG.

Some people have asked—why didn’t we just rent? But we thought about that too, and because of how moisture-wicking fabric is made, the coating that keeps you from getting soaked in sweat (something you don’t want to happen when you’re exposed to the elements in tents at sub-zero weather) does erode over time, so the only way to be certain of getting good-quality gear is to buy it new.

Alas.

The small comfort I can get from all of this is that it’s a purchase I don’t see us making again anytime soon (if ever). Jackets for every seasons and reason, clothes that’re lightweight yet warm—it’s moments like these where it’s good to live in Canada, where I’m sure I’ll find a use for all of these.

–case p.

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