Have Stapler, Will Travel

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Jan 17th, 2009, 12:41 PM
  #1
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Have Stapler, Will Travel

HAVE STAPLER, WILL TRAVEL

WIRE LYNDA, VANCOUVER, BC

(remember that show?)

It was a bright, sunny, and unusually warm day in May in the Yukon on our son’s birthday this year. “Hey”, I said to hubby Jim as we were enjoying BBQ chicken and coleslaw in an outside area of a restaurant in a small little town called Carcross, “this is the first time in three years we have not only been on the same continent as Jamie (our son) on his birthday, but actually in the same country!”

As he was living in Hamilton, Ontario, at the time, it wasn’t close, but the closest we had been in years. We called him to wish him a Happy Birthday, and while talking to him a plan suddenly popped into my head – we would give him a gift of a safari to East Africa with us for his birthday next year, and this way he could not refuse! (as we had taught him to always accept gifts graciously). Excitedly I told him that next year the three of us would celebrate his birthday together in Nairobi at the Carnivore, and there was no way he could say no! He graciously accepted the gift.

Over the summer, and the winter, I started forming plans to go, and even decided to take a chance and book the airfare (another whole story in itself!). I didn’t want to post though until I knew for sure – this has been an up and down, yes, no, maybe so trip as the North American “Economic Troubles” gave us a straight downward ride on the roller coaster in the fall and winter, and continues to do so. As the New Year dawned we decided we must take a stand & decide once & for all, so taking a chance, we have just booked it.

Hey, we’ll share our cat’s food when we retire. I want to go back to Africa & watch the lions roll over in their sleep, the cubs play, the elephants take a mud bath, yada, yada, yada… And most of all, I want Jamie to meet all our wonderful friends, and see the wonder of the animal kingdom in East Africa. I really want him to see first hand why we are bent on spending his future inheritance

I’m also secretly hoping that Jamie will fall in love with Africa, and move there to work as a pilot so we can visit him each year…..

And, as if it was meant to be, I recently heard that our old friend Daniel, 24 x 7 safari director from both of our 2006 and 2007 safaris, had moved up to the next level and was starting his own company – DK Grand Safaris www.dkgrandsafaris.com . I have been working with Daniel on the pricing, everything is booked, and we are under deposit – I’m packing that tiny stapler and OFF WE GO on May 19th!!!!!.

Here’s the itinerary:

Day 1 – arrive Nairobi via London on evening flight, met by DK Grand Safaris – overnight Norfolk Hotel
Day 2 – day in Nairobi with Kennedy of Waymark Safaris – KWS visit, Langata Giraffe Center and Kiambethu Tea Farm for lunch – overnight Norfolk Hotel
Day 3 – Family day in Nairobi with Kennedy & family (I’m off to church with Val & Kennedy) – Jamie’s birthday supper at the Carnivore with Kennedy & family and Daniel and family – overnight Norfolk Hotel
Day 4 – fly to Samburu – Larsen’s Camp
Day 5 – Samburu – Larsen’s Camp, includes bush breakfast
Day 6 – Drive to Mt Kenya Safari Club, visit to Iris Hunt’s animal orphanage in afternoon – Riverside Suites
Day 7 – visit Sweetwaters, Nanyuki Spinners & Weavers AM and relax in afternoon – overnight MKSC Riverside Suites
Day 8 – Drive to Nanyuki, fly to Maasai Mara, bush cocktails/sundowners – Mara Safari Club
Day 9 – Balloon ride AM – Mara Safari Club
Day 10 – fly to Wilson, KIA and then to Serengeti – Serena Lodge
Day 11 – Serengeti – Serena Lodge
Day 12 – drive to Ngorongoro, stop at Oldupai Gorge, - Sopa Lodge
Day 13 – Early morning crater with picnic breakfast, lunch at Ngorongoro Farm House, drive to Lake Manyara, enjoy afternoon in infinity pool (my request!), bush dinner on escarpment & night game drive – Lake Manyara Serena
Day 14 – fly from lake Manyara to Arusha to Zanzibar, met by Mussa of Zanzibar Exclusive Tours, drive to Matemwe Retreat
Day 15 – Matemwe Retreat – Do Nothing.
Day 16 – Mussa to pick us up, drive us to Stonetown, - Serena Inn where we shall relax on the balcony, do nothing except watch the ocean & eat lobster
Day 17 – AM Stonetown walking tour with Mussa – Serena Inn
Day 18 – in afternoon fly from Zanzibar to Nairobi, met by Daniel of DK Safaris, late evening flight home via London

Daniel will be with us every step of the way on the safari portion, from Samburu to Lake Manyara.

All is booked and set, the only possible change that we may think about is changing the Ngorongoro Sopa to Lemala Camp. Daniel is looking into the price, but if it is WAY out there in price compared to the Sopa, we are more than happy with the Sopa. I just thought at the last minute after reading a few reports, that it might be fun to try a small intimate camp, but price will dictate the answer. And I think I know the answer from the difference in what I see in the rack rates.

I tried to include lots of first-timer ‘must sees’ for Jamie, as well as some of our favorites (Larsen’s, MKSC, Lake Manyara). And, I tried not to make it too busy, but I am really – unabashedly - a tourist at heart and could not help it!!! I know we have a few busy days, but then we have some nice relaxing days in there too.

Matemwe Retreat was my dream/splurge in there – I could see myself relaxing there in every trip report I read on it – it sounds wonderful. I’m not usually a plunge pool/private butler kind of person but it just sounded SO relaxing I couldn’t help myself! It almost didn’t make it on the itinerary because of the price during our planning, but sometimes you just have to say what the heck.

The air is BA Vancouver to London to Nairobi return – all business class for the three of us – and as mentioned previously, WASN”T easy & even though I used points to upgrade to business – WASN’T cheap. I swear I almost ended up in the Looney Bin while booking it. Jamie’s flight is out of Toronto, as goodness knows where he will be living at the time. We will get him to Toronto for the flight on local airlines – I have a feeling he will be living here in Vancouver, which would be too funny!

I have purchased three different coloured Mountain Equipment Co-op ‘large’ (not extra large) duffle bags that weigh 2 lb each & should hold all we need, they do not have wheels as I am DETERMINED to pack within 33 lbs this year. I gave Jamie one of them for Christmas that had a packing list and a Banana Republic Gift Certificate in it (thinking they would sell safari clothes if they have Andy Biggs pictures on the wall!). Well, actually I purchased four bags in hopes that one of Jamie’s friends will come too, but it doesn’t look as though that will be. If not, I will fill it to the brim with lots of stuff to leave at Daniel’s school that he, along with two of our 2006 safari mates, is building in a village outside of Nairobi. Flying business class with BA we can bring three bags each.

And that’s my story!!! And, Economic Troubles and Taxes be darned, I’m sticking to it!
LyndaS is offline  
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Jan 17th, 2009, 01:55 PM
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Glad to read and know that your son will be joining you on this busy safari. Not much left out. All of which I'm sure he'll enjoy though would be nice if his friend could join.

I wish Daniel all successes, especially a start-up in these difficult times. But tell him to hold in there as "this too shall pass."

And, do you mean to tell that those Micato green duffles didn't hold up, that you had to buy new bags?

If it helps to make the decision Lemala/Sopa or Sopa/Lemala - the price would be higher, but know that Lemala is closed in May!

The "Retreat" will be a nice bonus, so lay back, cold drink in hand and tell the world again "I'm in Afree-kah!"

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Jan 17th, 2009, 02:07 PM
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Lynda S, Lynda S,
Where do you roam?
Far away, far away,
Far, far from home.
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Jan 17th, 2009, 02:17 PM
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Color me jealous. You have made the right decision. We all might be eating cat food soon, so please travel where your heart takes you.

Looking forward to a revised packing list.
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Jan 17th, 2009, 02:25 PM
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Congratulations to all of you, but especially to Daniel on starting his own company DK Grand Safaris. What a nice name. Like Sandi says, it's a risky business right now during the recession. I bet you are his very first customers! I wish him well.
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Jan 17th, 2009, 03:21 PM
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Safari njema!
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Jan 17th, 2009, 07:35 PM
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Thanks everyone, I appreciate the good wishes! It was a relly tough decision all around with the Cdn dollar having dropped so much against the USD and the economy in general. But I just feel I can't miss this opportunity!

Sandi, the Micato bags did indeed survive, not a tear or a scratch on them. But, I figured it might not be a good thing to travel independently in Africa with Micato on the bag in case there are other Micato travellers on the intra-Africa flights with us. I could just see our bags being taken off with the Micato group! And, as the ones I bought have no wheels, I get to pack 6 more pounds....

Good point on Lemala, but back to the decision making because we will be in Nogorongoro on June 2nd!
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Jan 17th, 2009, 09:22 PM
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It sounds wonderful, Lynda! Tell Kennedy "Hi" for me and my sister Linda. He was so kind to us when we returned to Nairobi on our way out of Africa in 2007 and Linda was sick (Malarone.) Because of a convention in town, he wasn't having much luck finding us a day room and even offered to take us to his home, but eventually found us a place. He's "gold" as they say.
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Jan 18th, 2009, 02:19 AM
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Sounds marvellous, Lynda!
Will you be going through London on the way out or home?
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Jan 18th, 2009, 06:05 AM
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June 2 at Ngorongoro, then Lemala should be good if the price is right.

Micato Bags - ha! ha! yeh, could just see those going off with another group. Though you could consider what I did with a bag I had with some tour operators name on it and that I wished to use... I just used a waterproof ink marker to cover the name/design. One always finds a way. However, with so many more bags at lesser weight, good prices, w/o wheels that work better and allow for extra "stuff."
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Jan 18th, 2009, 06:24 AM
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I visited the Mt Kenya Safari Club toward the end of 08. It is a metamorphasised property, although there was quite a bit of construction still evident around the main hotel buildings and gardens. None-the-less a serious contender as Africa's most luxurious property.
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Jan 18th, 2009, 10:12 AM
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I knew it would be you!

How wonderful for you, for your son, and for Daniel and his new company. Tough times to be launching a new venture.

What a great itinerary for you to be starring in your own show.



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Jan 18th, 2009, 10:18 AM
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Congratulations Lynda!
Can I be your son's friend?
Will you let him borrow your stapler and highlighter, or does he have to bring his own?
Have a great time!
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Jan 18th, 2009, 10:18 AM
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Lynda, my Micato duffel has now been on 3 trips to Africa without Micato. We actually had 5 Micato bags on safari this summer and 3 this past November. I promise you don't need to worry about them being taken off the plane without you!! We had no problems. You do have a point with the extra pounds though. Have a blast, I am jealous!

Ann
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Jan 18th, 2009, 10:33 AM
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Am I really the only one who remembers that show?

Richard Boone? Puts to shame anything you would see in, say, 2009?
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Jan 18th, 2009, 04:32 PM
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Rizzuto, I am SURE we can't be the only two who remember that great show! Mind you I have to say that although I knew the prose you wrote had something to do with the show, I wasn't sure exactly what - was it part of Johny Western's themesong?

I heard once they were going to revive it as a movie, but can't recall seeing it advertised - they should, it was a good show. Sometimes on Sunday nights Jim and I listen to old re-broadcast radio shows, I haven't heard Have Gun, Will Travel come on yet, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

Kavey, YES, we will be stopping in London on the way over - can we meet for dinner? I'll email with the particular day that we will be there, but I think it would be May 21st - sound good to you? I'd love for you to meet Jamie - I think we will do a hop-on hop-off tour that day to show Jamie some of the highlites of London - he's been at the airport before, but never the city. So at the end we could meet anywhere you would like! We could even do that same restaurant that we were supposed to meet at last year that we couldn't make it to due to the plane being late.

Mkhonzo, I really am looking forward to seeing the new MKSC, I really loved the atmosphere when we were there 3 years ago, I can't wait to see what it's like now!

No Dennis, Jamie must pack his own tiny tape and stapler - mine, all mine!!! I will mention to him though that if he lets you come along, you will bring the tiny tape & stapler

Ann, thanks for the info on the bags, it's good to hear, they are really great bags! But yes, you are right, this way I get to pack 6 more lbs!

Thanks Leely, safarimama, ShayTay, Lynn & Nyamera & everyone else for the well-wishes, I am SO excited! Can you just see how long my trip report will be? Reminds me, I better get caught up.
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Jan 18th, 2009, 04:56 PM
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Lynda,

My earlier bit was a spin-off of Have Gun, Will Travel's theme song:

Have Gun, Will Travel
Reads the card of a man;
A knight without armor
In a savage land.

Paladin, Paladin,
Where do you roam?
Far away, far away,
Far, far from home.
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Jan 18th, 2009, 06:58 PM
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I'm not trying to hijack Lynda's thread ... but .... next July 13 at 14:00 (local time), I arrive from Seattle to London Heathrow with my husband Tom. It's a 20 hours misconnect to Nairobi, so we have to spend the night ... at the Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel .... We would love to meet Kavey and/or Julian for dinner. It’s a mileage ticket or I would fly NWA/KLM via Amsterdam. BA and AF connections are awful from Seattle to Africa, both ways. My email is [email protected]
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Jan 18th, 2009, 07:22 PM
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Lynda,

You must be so excited about this trip. I can just hear it in your post. I hope you have a great trip. And your trip report can be as long as you need to tell all of your great stories, we'll still read every word.

Julie
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Jan 19th, 2009, 10:33 AM
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Congrats, Lynda! Hope the 3 of you have a fabulous time!
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