A cardboard pizza and Africa in a box

So, about that dinner last night. My brother is good at many things (what things they are, I have a hard time telling you, but I’m trying to be nice here). But perhaps he is a little out of practice when it comes to cooking. He definitely heated the frozen pizza with the cardboard still under the pizza. To be fair, the product was edible. But it was just one of those moments where I couldn’t help but shake my head. And I think he has a long way to go before he should attempt to cook Indian food.

Now, for the more interesting part of my post, my recent adventures and misadventures in Africa (also, a virtual cookie for the first person to know what song my title references, or at least the second part of my title). So as many of you may know (I’m assuming everyone reading this right now is a friend of mine), I went to Tanzania last week with my family. The best part about it, besides actually going, was the fact that it was through a Living Social deal. Yep, so one of us got the whole shebang for free. Crazy, right? Well, relatively free anyway. Over the course of the week or so, along with the associated travel, a few things stuck out to me:

1) The flight over to Addis Ababa was one of the emptiest flights I had ever been on. So many empty seats that people had entire rows to themselves, in economy class. However, 70-80% of the passengers on that trip appeared to be of African descent. The flight from Addis Ababa to Mount Kilimanjaro Airport on the other hand had only white people on it (my family being the only exception to that rule). I can’t decide if that was because of a coincidence, that air travel between those two locations was prohibitively expensive, that land travel was that much cheaper/more desirable, or that there really was no demand for Africans to travel to Arusha, the safari capital of Tanzania. But it was striking and jarring.

The photographer captured

2) Rural areas in developing countries all look the same. Granted, I have a sample size of 3 (India, Ecuador, and Tanzania), but the similarities of all three was striking. The same types of markets and market buildings, 1 story concrete slabs, with advertisements plastered everywhere. The one thing that was surprising was that the country as a whole was much cleaner as a whole than either India or Ecuador. So good for them.

Street View
Photo Cred to C. Williamson

3) I’ve had some fantastic experiences with the weather recently. Especially in the tropics. I honestly think the weather has been better in Tanzania and Ecuador over my times there than it would have been had I been in Alabama or North Carolina. Go figure. But I’ll take it. Also, in both cases, I was there during the rainy season. I had very little rain while I was there. #winning

Morning in Ngorngoro Crater

4) No matter how many times you  see something on tv or in movies, seeing it in person is a whole different ball game. And I think I am even more convinced that when I travel, I appreciate nature far more than I appreciate culture. Coming from a self-proclaimed history buff, that is an odd thing to say. But I guess that means my inner science geek trumps my history buff.

After you, sir

5) I could definitely get used to this free time/frolicking business. A more detailed account of the trip might show up at another point and time.

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