Friday, February 18, 2011

Discovering Central East Africa (Volume1)

As you all may know, my brother was living in Rwanda for 2 years aprox, just left it a few days ago. I was excited about visiting him because I loved the idea of seeing his life there, know the people that surrounded him and of course, not least important, discovering a new piece of the world I hadn't seen before.
First stop: Nairobi, Kenya

In Nairobi they speak very good English because of their british influence. They got their independance from UK in 1963.
But they also speak swahili, which is the local language. Why am I saying this? Because it surprised me a lot when I went to inmigration, the great pronounciation they had when asking the typical questions of: how long are you staying, put your fingers here for fingerprint scanning...

The first interesting moment was having my first dinner: we went to an ethiopian restaurant and ate "tef" with various "wat" and meat from an unknown animal. All hand eaten. Great.. my first reaction was to ask my brother if in Africa they always eat with the hands.. Yes, Im not used to that, but he told me that there is no other way to eat the ethiopian flatbread, as if I couldn't notice - I have moments of ignorance, they don't come very often, but they come =) -.



The morning after, we were up to the Masai Mara. I believe a 5 hour trip (aprox), going from Nairobi. The experience of being in touch with nature at a different level to what one is accustomed, felt great. An open savanna with the most amazing animals you could see, all in their natural environment. The opportunity of having a picnic in the middle of nowhere, reminds one of the impact of enjoying simple things.
Below a taste of our first contact with this incredible National Reserve:

After this, I was both curious and anxious to see where we were going to sleep. Of course, my great brother was making me doubt on whether we were going to sleep in a camping or not, because the Masai Mara is full of them. To my surprise, the truth was that we were going to sleep in a camping, not the typical one but a hotel camping or I would say a luxury camping.

It was a hotel that had the most amazing view. A pool with the savanna as background. Just perfect. Wild boars around, small monkeys.. Vamos! Eso que vemos todos los dias!



So far a 10 to my first Central East Africa encounter. More in the chapters to come.

Sidenote: The Masai Mara National Reserve (also spelled "Maasai Mara" and known by the locals as 'the Mara') is a large game reserve in south-western Kenya, which is effectively the northern continuation of the Serengeti National Park game reserve in Tanzania.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hong Kong



The one that said that Paris was the city of lights, had never gone to Hong Kong before.

Different than our first chinese approach in Shanghai, Hong Kong welcomed myself (the only one of the group who had not a european passport) with a 30 day tourist visa and the friendly face of an inmigration police officer. Totally unexpected!

The hotel room where we stayed was small but fancy enough at a "decent" price for Hong Kong. And WOW!!!! We left the hotel and started to see all those lights!! Lights for hotels, lights for advertising, lights for food, lights for stores.... lights lights lights... neon lights!!! just as the ones you see in movies, just as the ones I was dying to see for once in my life!



After walking around through the closest street to the hotel - always "looking right" to ensure there was no car coming and that we were not the stupid pedestrians crossing when it was not allowed (Thank you British to pass on the culture to the asiatics)-, we decided to head off to one of the markets that had fame of opening until very late at night.. so we went there and did some shopping. (paintings, tea cups, chopsticks, jewelry...) We had dinner there (at one of those chinese outdoor places that while living in a "civilized" country you will never plan to go to), options may vary depending on your taste.. but you could find chicken, noodles, beef, rice, seafood... It was very nice despite of the appearance.







After having dinner, we were in the mood for clubbing.. so we started looking for a place to go. After walking for a WHILE, we ended up in a "chinese" karaoke!!! Cant you imagine? Unknown and unreadable language.
But as you may have already figured out, going abroad with spanish people can be great enough, that we all ended up singing to the tune of the "Asereje", english version... =)







Second day in Hong Kong showed me another side of Asia. A sophisticated and elegant Asia. Including the bay, and the short trip to "The Peak". If you ever decide to go to Hong Kong, you must not miss the peak at night. Because its not only the view of the city, but the incredible perspective of amazing architecture and lighting all together seen from the top. To me, Hong Kong must be in your must-go-before-I-die list.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Enero


Como arena en colador se fue Enero. Mi mes favorito.

El mes de familia, de comida, de amigas y amigos, de planes, de ponerme mas vieja.

Mis vacaciones en casa fueron increibles desde todos los puntos de vista. Fui con Mimi, mi amiga francesa que no habia cruzado nunca el "charco". Nos paseamos por Santiago, Puerto Plata, Bayahibe, La Romana, Samana, San Pedro de Macoris, Juan Dolio, Boca Chica... en Santo Domingo recorrimos de extremo a extremo la ciudad. Un poco de cultura y de recordar lugares que habia visitado cuando tenia menos edad.

Vi a mis adorables amigas, A.S. y D.L. cada una de ellas con sus respectivos preciosos diablitos (2x2). Recarga de vitalidad y energia - siempre que lo miro desde fuera, por supuesto -.

Vi a F.C., mi gran amigo. Cada vez que nos vemos es como si no hubiera pasado ni un segundo. Siempre hay algo que contar y siempre me la paso muy bien. En este viaje nos llevo a lugares desconocidos para Mimi y para mi, pero que guardan un encanto especial, todos en la zona colonial. Es como si nos guardaramos en una burbuja para vernos exactamente igual, cada diciembre.

Me dio tiempo a cerrar un capitulo que quedaba medio-abierto y estoy muy feliz de que todo haya salido perfecto.

Me dio tiempo a estar en casa, con la viejita. Sacarla a pasear y a llevarla a donde su amiga.

Me dio tiempo a estar con los padres. Siempre preocupados y organizando todo durante la mayor parte de las visitas que hicimos.

Aire fresco, buena compania y carino. Enero, mi mes favorito.