A Travellerspoint blog

November 2017

Back in Tanzania

Camping and hiking

overcast 18 °C

Just thought I would check in to update everyone. I arrived back in Arusha on November 13th and will be here until December 4th before leaving for Paris. Since my phone is still messed up I have no pictures to add to this post. In Sri Lanka the Samsung store added a memory card to my phone for pictures but without removing it and inserting into a laptop or computer I can't access them. I stayed at the foot of Kilimanjaro for the first two nights in a very beautiful location. Hiking to the Weru Weru river from the lodge was a nice adventure. After staying in Arusha for a couple of nights and reconnecting with friends made last time, I went camping for a few nights near two waterfalls. A very peaceful and beautiful setting. Yesterday I took some supplies into the Joshua daycare that I had purchased in the Delhi airport. The children immediately started singing, "if you're happy and you know it" when they saw me! I will likely visit them again while I am here. So that's all for now. Probably the shortest post so far! I will update more when I can. Missing Kellie who is busy back in Nanaimo working and readjusting to life at home. For me, the pending end to this adventure is bittersweet as I am missing everyone and beginning to wonder how I also will readjust, find work, etc. Many mixed feelings right now.

Posted by kelshell 08:57 Archived in Tanzania Comments (3)

Snorkeling, surf, sand

Lots of each

sunny 37 °C

The promised video cannot be delivered - yet. Finally excellent, uninterrupted WiFi and now device issues. I must have overtaxed my poor android phone the other night. After each video was loaded to my phone I would upload to YouTube and delete from my phone. That is what is time consuming. But two nights ago when I tried to load snorkeling footage, I got error messages - no go. And the tablet will download the video but won't upload to YouTube. Yesterday morning my phone started sending up all these messages like - what's app, email, messenger, Facebook shutting down. I have continually deleleted photos, videos, cached data to no avail. Storage is full, systems may not operate. So since this has been happening often I took my brother's advice, "Shell you're in tech central over there, surely someone can help you with your phone", and went to an actual Samsung phone shop down the street. Ha, one hour later and several attempts gained me a bit of storage and a new SD card which I probably didn't need. Now I can take photos but I can't find them. My settings keep shutting down. So I am afraid any more pictures and videos will have to wait.

I have seen parrotfish the size of large koi in colors ranging from turquoise through red and lavender. Hundreds of Picasso trigger fish, some aggressive and some not. Angel fish, damsel fish, wrasses and eels. Even an octopus! The soft and stony corals are making a comeback here after a bleaching event some years ago. Murphy's law - should have taken the footage day one as that was the clearest and calmest of my days here. The second night a huge thunderstorm tore through for hours and behind it followed winds that have churned up the surf. Good snorkeling still but need both hands to swim so gopro difficult to use. The wind has also hampered my ability to get out with a local on his catamaran for snorkeling further out. Should have taken him up day one. We will see if we can get out tomorrow morning.

The people here are very friendly and the food is scrumptious. I have recovered from my Nepal belly enough to have had three good meals. I found Kellie's son Quinn some tea he was after and sure hope it's not a disappointment! My kind hostess is taking me out to visit a fort soon so I will continue writing after. Well I am back from seeing Galle and a nice dinner out with Ganga. Galle is far more touristy and beautiful in its own right. At various times in history Sri Lanka has been occupied by the Dutch and Portuguese. And the fortification wall along the ocean is all that is left of a larger settlement built in the late 1500s by the Portuguese. It was added to in the 1700s by the Dutch. The Dutch even returned to Sri Lanka in the 1950s after the British finally left. Now Ganga, lovely as she is, seems to be a nervous driver. She dropped me off at the beach on day one and that's kind of why I forgot my waterproof case - I wasn't expecting a ride but she was heading to work so I quickly got my bag together and left. I noticed that she seemed unsure and nervous that morning. Well today a half hour drive and an inability to parallel park really had me curious. Ganga confessed that she only learned to drive four months ago, with one week of lessons from the driver who picked me up Monday. And no she doesn't have a license, nor do many here! And she has this brand new hybrid car with all the bells and whistles including a back up camera! When we got home after dinner, her daughter, niece and I tried to help her back into the driveway and we all just about peed ourselves, including Ganga, as she tried over and over to back in straight. Needless to say, I am glad the driver is taking me back to the airport Sunday!

Sri Lanka is well worth a visit. Although Kellie and I had planned on two weeks, both here and other areas, someone would do well to spend three weeks here at least to see as much as possible. Prices are cheap for quality lodging, food and products. I cut a week off to go back to Tanzania and must say that more time would have been nice. As with Africa and India, distances are great and often the infrastructure just isn't there to support quick travel. But of the three places, Sri Lanka is far and away the winner with more modern highways, superior housing, etc. Except that the gas stations are only open certain days and hours because they rely on the petrol ship to bring petrol from the middle East. Always a shortage there. But otherwise, it's a great island.

Posted by kelshell 18:49 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

Superb Sri Lanka

Hikkaduwa reef

sunny 37 °C

Well made it to Hikkaduwa on Sri Lanka last night after a three and a half hour plane ride and a two and a half hour transfer from the airport in Colombo. All this with the dreaded traveler's diarrhea which I suspected was starting on the way to Kathmandu. I really knew I had it when I arrived in Delhi the other night. Wow, can't blame this on India (Delhi belly)! Must have been Nepal. One night there I started brushing my teeth with bottled water but for some reason finished with tap. But really it could have been anything there. Anyway I started the antibiotics and have only one more pill tonight on this course and it's still not resolved. But I feel better than I did. You really notice the line up on the plane for the bathroom when you have this. Even though I was at the back, after the meal was finished every one of the 85 Sri Lankans with a tour group returning from India got up en masse to line up. Then when yours truly needed to go we hit turbulence and had to stay seated. But if I really needed to go I sure would have....

Hikkaduwa is a marine protected coral reef on the southeast side of the island. We had picked this area for a week of snorkeling. The hosts at Residence Chanty are lovely and I have the whole place to myself. It's by far the nicest place we picked (I just adjusted the dates). This morning I spent hours at the beach before coming back to download from the gopro because it also has excellent WiFi. I am not supposed to say how the snorkeling is so I won't but you can see new footage once I take some tomorrow. Forgot the waterproof case in my stupor this morning.

In the meantime enjoy these random videos I have managed to upload. I am not putting them in their respective blogs because I am now tired of doing them. And I accidentally deleted the only one I had on the raft!

Leaving Nepalganj for Kathmandu

Leaving Nepalganj for Kathmandu

https://youtu.be/9fcFTinLnLM
https://youtu.be/hMdOddkoqo4
https://youtu.be/Ccj90llAB8A
https://youtu.be/cMq3Qd_P-O8
https://youtu.be/iLbIG3Of-Tk
https://youtu.be/ZLDCPKltQXw
https://youtu.be/asqYLpCKVAM
https://youtu.be/781BQB3h0oM
https://youtu.be/_96iX80usy0

Posted by kelshell 13:44 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

Stuck in Nepalganj

ATM ate my card!

sunny 36 °C

Okay I got it back but missed my flight! Mr. B drove me the 3 hours to Nepalganj to catch my flight to Kathmandu in plenty of time - or so we thought! We had to find an ATM that accepted my bank card so I could pay him the balance of the safari. On the way through last week we had done the same with great difficulty - only managing to get some of the balance. The machines here have limits even if your bank doesn't. And having the Visa, Cirrus and Plus symbols on the ATM door really doesn't mean anything! So today we tried 12 machines including the one that worked for me last time. No luck but still time. Then my card got eaten as the machine I was using shut down completely. When it went back online, still no card. Even though it is Saturday and the banks are closed, there are security guards available. Thank goodness for that. Mr. B got the guard to call a bank employee to come with a key for the machine. In an hour. So we got on the phone to call Yeti airlines who graciously switched my flight to tomorrow morning which will allow me to connect with my Delhi flight. Once I retrieved my card (and two others!) I tried 6 more machines. No luck. I did have enough Indian rupees to pay Mr. B the balance and have enough left for a hotel for the night and taxi in the morning. With Nepalganj being a border crossing they accept Indian rupees or I would be sleeping at the airport I guess. Another disaster avoided. I love these countries where everything can usually be solved with a few phone calls.

So barring any issues tomorrow, I should be back in Delhi tomorrow night. Where I will ask immigration if I can reenter for the third time on a double entry visa after visiting Sri Lanka from Monday to Sunday. We shall see. My flight to Tanzania leaves from Delhi on the 13th so technically I am transiting.... And VisaHQ in Canada has assured me I can - haha! I will let you know in the next episode of Travels with Shelley! Think positive!

Posted by kelshell 17:02 Archived in Nepal Comments (1)

Tiger tracking in Bardia national park

Trekking and waiting. And waiting....

sunny 37 °C

So last year a good friend told me I needed to find peace. I found peace yesterday while rafting down the Karnali River. On day one after a full day trekking through the jungle I arrived at the campsite for the night. The sun was setting the most beautiful shade of pink as I was sitting on a ledge above the riverbank. It reminded me so much of a similar view in Revelstoke with my great friend Nancy on a road trip two years ago. Only this was Nepal, in the jungle! Lots of tiger prints all day (rhino and elephant too) but despite my guide's best efforts, no animals. This is very different from our African safari where you are driving around in a jeep and you see animals everywhere. This is part jeep safari but mostly walking. And sitting quietly, for hours and waiting. There are 55 tigers in this national park. They are scattered throughout an area of almost 1000 square kilometers. The 55 rhinos and fewer wild elephants are also spread out. So you have to follow the river on foot and turn inland to find watering holes. I had two guides and a cook night one. It was so peaceful watching the river flow. On day two we got up early to trek for an hour before breaking up camp to get on the raft. Now we were four guides and me. I can't remember a day where I felt so at peace. Silent guides, a beautiful river and grassland and forest on either side. We would pull onto shore periodically to trek and wait for sightings. Those of you who know me know I don't sit still well. The past year has taught me patience and it has paid off in abundance. I have sat for between 45 minutes to 2 hours in a single spot many times over 3 days and just appreciated the sights and sounds around me. Nancy you would be so proud!

On day 3 we crossed the river to trek again. In the afternoon we were met by another guide Sushila who was with a guest from Mr. B's. We waited for tigers in a new area but seeing none we drove to a spot where a rhino was spotted eating algae in the river. This rhino was bigger than the one we saw in Africa and the Asian rhino has only a single horn. We returned to Mr. B's place for the night. A hot shower was a welcome relief! Although my itinerary for day 4 was to visit the village, elephant sanctuary and crocodile breeding centre, Mr. B sent me back into the park for a walking safari. This time I sat for 6 hours in a tiger blind! It was not as difficult as it sounds because of the surrounding sounds of birds and the sunlight shining down through the leaves. It was so peaceful that my 2 guides and I actually napped on the ground after lunch! There were other spotters who would wake us if a tiger was sighted. Just before lunch I found 2 leeches on my leg that I had missed during leech check. They were happily bloated. After removing them, when one spot wouldn't stop bleeding, one guide found a plant for me to crush and apply. The wound closed within moments. In Nepal as in India, botanical remedies are used daily.

The lantana that grows here is called jungle killer by the local people as it chokes out other plants. We had seen lantana in Africa and India as well. At home we grow it as an annual for use mostly in hanging baskets. Here it is a weed. I saw 8 species of colorful butterflies, 2 types of moths and a variety of insects all feeding on this plant. I also heard a familiar sound on the evening of day 3 and found myself surrounded in the trees above me by rose ring parrots (Indian ring necked parakeets). I thought they were only in Northern India but they are here as well. Since I have had one as a pet for seven years, I know the cry very well. A little bit of home in the jungle! The staff at Mr. B's are all like family to them. Mr. and Mrs. B and their two sons are so lovely. I have been lucky to trek with Mr. B, Bibek and Bibash as well as the other guides, spotters and their cook. On the first night of camping my dinner was quite western after smelling the delicious smells coming from the cooking tent. So on night 2 I talked with the cook about eating their meal and was rewarded with a delicious Nepali meal eaten Nepali style (right hand, good and messy!). The staff here are proud to show off their park and are very knowledgeable about all aspects of nature. They are equally curious about the rest of the world and are as eager to learn as they are to share. Mrs. B is an avid gardener and grandmother so we have enjoyed our time together discussing our shared common interests as well as learning about each other's cultures. Mrs. B has had a difficult life and is content now as their hard work has paid off. The caste system is alive and well here so people are still categorized by class and cultural group. Arranged marriages are becoming less the norm but women still go to live with their husband's family following marriage. As we have had many excellent hosts during our travels this place is definitely included as one of them.

When I returned on the evening of day 4 I was met by Mr. B who is determined that I see a tiger. So although I have assured him over and over that I am thoroughly enjoying my stay, he has insisted on an extra jeep safari on day 6. No charge! Finally a financial break! And on this evening a young man from Vancouver arrived so it was nice to visit someone from home. On day 5 I did laundry and visited with Sushila who went through the birds and butterflies of the area with me. Mrs. B and I walked around her garden so I could write down the English names of her plants (Bryan stop laughing) my memory is not what it used to be. I walked into the village where the very friendly locals were working and gathering. Later I planned to bicycle to the elephant stable 3 km away but Mr. B was worried about my return near dusk so we went by jeep. The elephant stable is run by the government to provide work for local people. The domesticated elephants here are used for patrolling in the park and during monsoon season for monitoring water levels. All elephants are out in the park each day and return with their riders to be fed each night. They are chained which is hard to see.

Last day jeep safari and the elusive tiger was spotted by Bibek but it retreated into the grass before the rest of us could see it. Lucas from Vancouver thought he saw the hind end disappearing. It was a beautiful day nonetheless with a sighting of a majestic stag in the creek. There are 5 types of deer in Bardia and we saw three types with this stag belonging to the largest genus. Again on the last day Sushila and I concentrated on the bird and butterfly varieties and we identified four birds I hadn't yet seen. I have seen turqoise and brown kingfishers, orioles, peacocks, hornbills, indian ringnecked parakeets, bulbels and countless other native and migratory birds. This has been a beautiful adventure with amazing people. A more caring and dedicated crew could likely not be found. I will miss my "family" here. Kellie, Mrs. B wants me to come back and bring you for sure next time. I am leaving this afternoon for Kathmandu then back to Delhi tomorrow. Monday I fly to Sri Lanka. Stay tuned.

PS Bryan as I was packing this morning I discovered that my resident mouse ate into Chris' Tanzanian coffee beans so I have left them here! Sorry Chris.

Karnali river sunset

Karnali river sunset

Camping on the Karnali

Camping on the Karnali

Karnali sunset

Karnali sunset

Karnali sunset

Karnali sunset

Rafting crew

Rafting crew

A splendid tent

A splendid tent

Dedicated crew

Dedicated crew

Our raft

Our raft

Pink sunrise

Pink sunrise

Rhino in the river

Rhino in the river

Lunch in the tiger blind - for my brother who wants food pictures

Lunch in the tiger blind - for my brother who wants food pictures


Deadly scorpion with babies on back - snuck up in the tiger blind

Deadly scorpion with babies on back - snuck up in the tiger blind


Elephant stable

Elephant stable

4 year old male

4 year old male


Kingfisher at the end of the log

Kingfisher at the end of the log

Red dragonfly

Red dragonfly


Mrs. B and Sushila

Mrs. B and Sushila

https://youtu.be/O-aw4nRYx9A

Posted by kelshell 06:36 Archived in Nepal Comments (1)

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