Gearing up for Africa

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I’ve been planning this trip to Africa for almost 2 years. I’m scheduled to leave in late November, so I’m just about 4 weeks away from my trip. We’re going to Kenya for a convention and then a week-long safari. There are several things I need to do in order to make it to Africa:

1) Get vaccinations and lots of them. Apparently, there are a lot of things in Kenya that can either kill you or make you violently ill. My doctor recommended a total of 7 vaccinations. Thankfully, I had already taken the Hepatitis B series (a series of 3 vaccinations) for my work, so I only needed the remaining 6. Still, that was plenty. I got the tetanus last week, and then the other five today. A student nurse got to practice shooting me up today. It hurt every time. I also loaded up on malaria pills, two kinds of diarrhea medicine and insect repellant with DEET. One of my friends accompanying us on the trip has never gotten vaccinations or taken medications with her to Africa. More power to her; I’m not afraid to be a little Woody Allen about my fear of malaria and yellow fever.

2) Get a visa to visit Kenya. For this, I need to trek down to Los Angeles to the Kenya Consulate to apply for a visa. I hope to visit one of my favorite restaurants while I’m in LA.

3) Learn a few words and phrases in Swahili. Come November 1st, I’m going to start popping in those learn Swahili CDs into my car. I always try and learn a few phrases and words every time I visit a country I’ve never been to. It really helped in Italy where my insistence on visiting the back roads meant that everyone I would encounter only spoke Italian. Also, thanks to my understanding of Italian numbers, I managed to order up olives and deli items at the grocery store in Rome.  I’m sure a bunch of Venetians also remember me as the girl who made the unusual request “Vorrei mangare de riccio di mare,” which means “I would like to eat some sea urchin.”

4) Practice using the new camera I bought for my safari. I’ve actually been using this camera quite a bit since I got it a month ago. I just have to read up on the self-timer and the more technical aspects. The brochure is surprisingly brief.

5) Start counting down the days. Work has been so crazy and my mind has been so focused on the cabinet installation for my kitchen — I haven’t had time to really read the books on Kenya or safari animals that I bought a year ago to prepare for this trip. I hope that a week or two from now, I’ll have more time to concentrate on learning about Kenya as my trip gets nearer.

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4 responses to “Gearing up for Africa

  1. Philippes has missed you.

  2. don’t forget your pith helmet and binoculars

  3. I thought about buying binoculars, but then I wondered when I’ll use them again. I’m not into birdwatching and spying on my neighbors is no fun.

  4. You’re doing better than I am…at least you have a book on Kenya!

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