This time next year - January 1

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

The farther into the future these TTNY posts project, the more theoretical it all becomes. And as I become more committed to this trip, I'm actually getting less concerned about having a set schedule, so don't be surprised if the "This Time Next Year" schedule starts getting kind of... loose. Having said all that, let's forge ahead with today's TTNY destination: KENYA!

Lions... elephants... giraffes... now we're really getting into Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom territory. Kenya has some of the world's best game reserves, and I certainly plan to seek out some kind of safari experience, probably as part of one of those package tours I've mentioned before. I can't imagine going to East Africa without getting out there with a pith helmet and multi-pocketed vest to see the Big Five (lion, elephant, water buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros) and whatever else there is to see. And what a cool way to ring in the New Year - toasting the first sunrise of 2010 over the Rift Valley, where some scientists believe the human species originated.

Throughout 2008 Kenya was in the news due to political turmoil about the disputed presidential election held in December of 2007, but Wikitravel reports "Things have now quieted down and the country is considered safe for travelers, but the situation remains somewhat on edge, so follow local news carefully". In addition, like many African nations, the HIV/AIDS infection rate in Kenya is high - about 6% of adults are infected. And of course there's the ever-present danger of malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever from infected mosquitoes. Not surprisingly, Wikitravel also notes that "It is advisable to have traveler's and accident insurance." No kidding.

However, rather than focusing on that, let's talk about Kenya's history of producing magnificent world-class runners, including (among many many others) the four-time women's Boston Marathon winner and two-time world champion Catherine Ndereba, four-time men's Boston Marathon winner Robert Cheruiyot, former marathon world record-holder Paul Tergat, and most recently the first ever winner of the Olympic marathon for Kenya, 21-year-old Sammy Wanjiru, who set a new Olympic record in Beijing this summer. In fact, Kenyans have dominated long-distance running so much that it's a bit of a cliche.

Kenya is also enticingly close to Zanzibar (the Spice Islands!) which looks like a great place for a relaxing getaway from dusty safari life, tents, and shaking out your boots in the morning to get out the scorpions.

1 Comment:

Mitch said...

A very happy new year to you!!! here's to a very exciting 2009! Keep those posts coming!

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