Page 2 of Kate in Africa Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Japan » Tokyo September 9th 2010

I had known Ellie was going to be in Tokyo for months, and I desperately wanted to meet up with her. I put off booking the tickets for months because I was concerned I'd get a job and then be unable to go. Well, I got a job (yay!) but they're taking forever with the paperwork, etc, and I won't start working until October (even though I was hired in August!). So I booked my tickets a couple days before leaving, packed up my trusty Lulu Castagnette carry-on, bought some Reese's cups for Ellie, and set off to the airport. Since my flight was on a Tuesday afternoon and Chris was at work (what kind of boyfriend doesn't take a half day to drive his girlfriend to the airport?! geez!) I took the super retro bus ... read more
super crowded Tokyo metro
me and Ellie on a rainy Tokyo day

Asia » Japan » Okinawa » Nago September 4th 2010

Konnichiwa! Greetings from Japan! So, quick update on my life. 1. I am no longer a resident of the European Union. I have cut all ties with Douai, and my visa has expired. le sigh. 2. My mother and I survived Africa. It was tough, hot, and sweaty, but we made it through alive (and no parasites this time!) 3. I spent a brief three weeks in the US, running around Pittsburgh and getting dragged to the gym twice a day in Ohio by my mother. I unpacked all my black, French clothes and packed up my shorts, bathing suits, and tank tops. 4. I moved to Japan! Now I live in Chatan on the tropical island of Okinawa with my wonderful boyfriend, Chris. And I got a job! But I have to wait several weeks ... read more
fishing off the sea wall
beautiful Okinawa

Africa » Senegal » Cape Verde Peninsula » Gorée Island July 22nd 2010

Well, we survived our last few days in Koungheul, a few horribly long days in Kaolack with no electricity, no water, nowhere to go and nothing to do , and we're now back in lovely Dakar. Things that once seemed so run-down, strange, and dirty to Mom now seem clean, in great condition, and highly advanced after two weeks out in smaller towns. It's all about perspective. We drove back to Dakar in a taxi in the middle of a ridiculous downpour. I was worried our taxi driver just wouldn't show up to drive us due to the awful weather, but he was just late because the guy who gives out authorization to leave the city overslept. Oh, Senegal. Driving between Kaolack and Dakar is a bit like a video game. You need to dodge the ... read more
Mom and me on N'Gor Island
view from the top of Gorée
artwork in Gorée

Africa » Senegal » Kaffrine Region » Koungheul July 13th 2010

Salaam aleekum! Greetings from Koungheul! Where is Koungheul? you ask. Well, take the one road out of Dakar and drive to Kaolack. From here, take the one road to Tambacounda and drive for about two and a half hours. Tada! Welcome to Koungheul. We are essentially in the Middle of Nowhere. Koungheul is a bustling town of nearly 20,000 (according to Wikipedia) but that seems awfully large. There is a market, a handful of mosques, some small butiks (kind of like general stores where you can buy everything from liquid soap to powdered milk to Fanta to lengths of rope), and a lot of goats. Karin says: If you've ever seen the movie, 'Groundhog's Day,' then you can get an idea of what life is like in Koungheul. Everyday is the same from food to daily ... read more
Mom and Bernadette
Sophie, me, and Véro before church
Mom, Sophie, and Véro eating ceebu jen

Africa » Senegal » Cape Verde Peninsula » Dakar July 4th 2010

Editor's note: I decided not to write this entry since it's not my first time experiencing the often overwhelming welcome to the continent. I have apparently forgotten that things that happen here are not normal. It all seems so familiar and ordinary to me (yes, I'm aware that this means that there is probably something very wrong with me). Instead, I offer up my mom's account of our first few days of Africa. If you want to read about my first week in Africa and see how far I've come since then, you can read it here. After finally arriving at the Dakar Airport, we had to maneuver our way though the throngs of other travels. We waited in an endless line to get our passports checked when a parade of mothers and babies cut in ... read more
an ndeup (exorcism) taking place near Ouakam
Mom with the Mamelles lighthouse at sunset
me with the Mamelles lighthouse

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa July 1st 2010

The first stop of our trip went off without a hitch. I stepped off the plane in Lisbon after getting up very early, catching the first metro to the airport, and waiting ages in the longest line ever (thanks, EasyJet). Mom was there at the baggage claim in Lisbon waiting for me. Bags, euros, problem, and we were at the hostel before lunch time. Our hostel was right in the center of the city doesn't get much more convenient than that! Well, it would have been more convenient if there had been an elevator...but dragging three massive bags plus carry-ons up four flights of stairs is all part of the fun, right? We had a room to ourselves with a very nice shared bathroom and a balcony overlooking Rua dos Correeiros. After determining that ... read more
Lisboa - Praça do Comercio
at Quinta da Regaleira
Mom and me at Castelo dos Mouros

North America » United States » Ohio » Mentor June 29th 2010

Time for my second guest-blogger! May I present to you: Karin Henschel (aka my mom). Starting July 1 (June 30 for her), we will be taking on Lisbon and various cities/town/villages in Senegal. Crazy, you say? You might be right. But this isn't our first trip together. When I was just 17, we set off to Europe together. She trusted me and my three years of high school French to plan the entire trip, reserve all the hotels, and get us around. We've both come a long way since then, so Africa should be shaking in its boots, not us. Right? Well, we'll see, I suppose. Most people, when I tell them I am going back to Senegal, are hardly surprised. When I add that my mother is coming along, they all look a bit shocked. ... read more
donations for 10,000 Girls
donations for 10,000 Girls
donations for 10,000 Girls

Europe » Belgium » Brussels-Capital Region » Brussels June 12th 2010

Peter and I decided to take a weekend trip to Brussels since it was (sort of) a halfway point between us. Besides, Belgium sounded infinitely more exciting than Douai or Luxembourg. We booked a night at a strange little B&B in an immigrant neighborhood slightly outside the city center. It was a very eclectic place, decorated with things brought back from the owner's many travels. Our room had a sort of African feel, and the room next to us was decorated with a mirror and lighting fixtures from India. It was how I imagined a boarding house would be...very much a communal life. As a group, we decided what time we wanted to eat breakfast in the morning, and then we all sat around a massive wooden table eating Moroccan pancakes. We discussed culture, languages, politics, ... read more
Manneken-Pis in one of his many outfits
waffle #1
Grand Place

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam May 28th 2010

After four days in England, a last-minute four-day trip to Rome immediately following my return from England, and just a few short days in Douai, I was rather dreading my trip to the Netherlands. I had two bags open on my floor with clothing, books, and bottles of shampoo strewn everywhere, and I tried to repack a third bag. In addition to the stress of trying to pack yet again, still being sleep-deprived, there was also a national strike on Thursday, the day I was set to leave. Only my train to Brussels was cancelled, and fortunately the earlier train to Brussels was delayed just long enough for me to jump on. After a delay in my train from Brussels to Amsterdam, and a two hour train ride with some of the most obnoxious Americans I've ... read more
typical tourist shot
Amsterdam architecture
random temple nestled in the streets of A'dam

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Berkshire » Newbury May 17th 2010

I've known since October that I was going to England with one of my schools to visit their penpals. I was really excited about it at first, but as we got closer and closer to the departure date, I got more and more anxious. Honestly, who thought taking 23 ten-year-olds to another country was a good idea?! In typical French fashion, I had almost no information or even an up-to-date itinerary. I remember going on school trips in junior high, and there were tons of parent meetings, permission slips, information sessions, etc. Not so much for this trip. I was told about two weeks before we left to make sure to pack my sleeping bag and pillow and show up at 11am. Sleeping bag and pillow? Great... We managed to get all twenty-seven of us (23 ... read more
all 27 of us before departure
on the ferry to Dover
Dover: not that attractive

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