Fes is the cultural and spiritual center of Morocco – known for its leather tanneries. The tanneries in Morocco still follow the ancient method of treating leather whereby hides are soaked in diluted pigeon excrement and water for a few days to be softened.
A visit to a tannery is quite an experience. We walked down twisted and narrow paths in the Medina to one of the leather shops where we could get the best views of the tanneries. We stood on the rooftops and watched the tanners using nothing but their bare hands and feet to dye the leather. The local merchants offered us a few sprigs of mint to ward off the strong odors.
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When traveling to a foreign country, there are a lot of unknowns that can cause anxiety. This was especially true when we planned our African safari trip. We didn’t know what to expect from clothing consideration to the money we’ll need. After doing some research and having had gone through the experience, we put together a short list of tips for traveling to Tanzania. Continue reading
If you want to get away from the stress of every day life and relax, head to Zanzibar – one of the most picturesque places on the planet. The island located off the east coast of Tanzania was once a major center of trade, that has turned into a vacationer’s dream paradise. Imagine soft white sand beaches that stretch on for miles and turquoise blue water so clear that you can see all the way to the bottom. The air is warm and rich with local spices grown here in abundance. The island invites people to its shores and keeps them longing to return again.
Tanzania is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world with over 120 different cultural tribes inhabiting the country. Each of the tribes have their own distinct customs, traditions, and languages; but together they unite to form the country of Tanzania. After its independence, the government recognized that all the diverse spoken languages could cause a communication problem, and therefore made Swahili the official language. Even though most people can speak Swahili, in each tribe people still speak in their own mother tongue. On our trip to Tanzania, we got to visit two of these tribes: the graceful Maasai, and the Hadza bushmen and learn a little bit about their way of life. Continue reading
Tanzania is the birthplace of the human race. It’s where they found the first human skull. If you believe in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, this is where our ancestors evolved and the first humans walked across the Serengeti plains; hunted, gathered, survived, and evolved millions of years ago. “There is something about safari life that makes you forget all your sorrows, and feel as if you had drunk half a bottle of champagne – bubbling allover with heartfelt gratitude for being alive .” (Karen Blixen – Out of Africa) Continue reading
I’ve been dragging my feet on this article because of the holiday season, and also because I was too busy stuffing my face. I am making up for it with a very long post! Without further ado, here are the photos from our second and third day in Africa, where we headed into the endless plain of the Serengeti, a massive wildlife park that spans across 12,000 square feet extending from northern Tanzania into Southern Kenya (that’s about the size of Maryland or Belgium if you’re interested). In the Serengeti we got to experience the migration of the wildebeest, witness the feast of the lions, and appreciate nature in it’s rawest form – where predators and prey fight for daily survival.
We are finally back after a whirlwind two and a half week trip around Myanmar, with stopovers in Hong Kong and Bangkok. Now it’s back to the daily grind, and of course catching up with my blogging. For the next few posts, I’ve decided to forgo the usual format and share our experience and pictures from Tanzania in a photo essay – because that’s the only way to do it justice. Continue reading
This was a special trip because it was the first one I’ve taken with my baby sister. Even with our age difference, we always seem to be on the same page about everything, including our favorite show – Gilmore Girls. One of the things I remembered from watching the show was the backpacking trip they took through Europe and how much fun they had. That’s what I wanted to do with Kim, and this summer we finally got our chance. Since we were only going to be there for nine days, we had to narrow it down and pick a few cities that we both wanted to visit. Being on the same wavelength, we quickly decided on Prague and Berlin. The artsy, vibrant energy of Berlin, and the beautiful architecture of Prague really appealed to both of us. Below is the breakdown of our trip to Eastern Europe: Continue reading
Our last day on the road, we stopped in Stone town, a once sleepy beach town turned into a major port city for East Africa. Goods flow through here from Asia and the Middle East before traveling off to other cities. This port city also has a sordid history. Hundreds of years ago, this was hub of the slave market where traders came from all over the world to trade in human flesh.
All of that is long gone, and now as you walk around the city, all you’ll notice is the intricate wood carved doors. Zanzibar is known for their beautifully elaborate woodwork designs.