Safari: South Africa & Victoria Falls

It’s taken me a few months (OK, seven) to get this post written. I still haven’t really gone through my thousands of photos.  The problem I keep facing as I sit down to finalize this  – there is no way to do the trip justice. I’ve been fortunate to go many interesting places, but there is nothing comparable to seeing a parade of elephants, including infants, so close they could turn on you in seconds – or seeing a lioness devour her kill as her babies perch nearby waiting to get their turn. We saw the Big 5, the largest waterfall in the world, went rafting on some terrifying Class 5 rapids, and came face to face with great whites.

So I’ll keep this post factual and full of links to help you plan your African safari. (I’ve also posted my top photos here.)

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Back to the homeland: A weekend of old and new in Anchorage

As the t-shirts say, I was “Alaska Grown.” When I moved south to Gig Harbor at age 12, I constantly threatened my family I’d return to UAA for college and there was nothing they could do to stop me. (I apparently got over it by the time I was 18.)

But I haven’t been back much, and with the convenient excuse of The Shins playing a set in the parking lot of a pizzeria, Jerry was not only onboard – he was the instigator.

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Moroccan Adventure

I was getting restless during my second stay at the W Santiago. Using the blissful high speed internet – the first halfway decent internet access in two months – I decided to plan out the rest of the trip. This was early September, and I needed to be in Rome by September 21.

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Easter Island/Isla de Pascua/Rapa Nui

For the most remote island on earth* Rapa Nui certainly doesn’t feel isolated when you step off a shiny new 787. At first, it feels like a less developed Hawaiian island. But just as you start to get comfortable, you stare out to sea and everywhere you see nothing. It is a harsh reminder that you are five hours away, by air, to the nearest airport in Santiago and more than 1000 miles away from the nearest island. Read more

Off to the Salt Flats

Despite the guidebooks uniformity listing Salar de Uyuni as a top highlight of South America, I was initially planning on skipping it. That would have been a big mistake. But after the Jungle trip, three more days in a car sounded miserable. To top it off, the interwebs is awash with stories of drunk drivers, sub-standard accommodations, and warnings to bring your own provisions. Hmm, this didn’t sound so fun.  Read more