Dhruv Sharma


Dhruv Sharma

A wannabe world-traveler, sharing his experiences with friends and family

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjav√≠k » Kopavogur January 25th 2012

To book my flights and hotels a week before departure, to get travel-books 24 hour before my flight, and to read them for the first time during my flight has become the hallmark of my travel. This was no different. Manan and I decided on this trip a week before. I had always wanted to visit Iceland in winter. We flew Iceland Air from JFK airport in NY. I started on time in the morning, but after an hour, I realized that I had forgotten my passport back home. So I had to turn back, and that put us about 2 hours behind schedule. In the end, we managed to reach aiport on time, only to be told that the filght was delayed by 2 hours because of weather in Reykjavik. Bummer .. I thought, because ... read more

Africa January 3rd 2010

1. It's not a good idea to start packing on sunday night, when the flight leaves on monday morning. I forgot a few things - although I managed well without them. 2. Most accounts about the Kili climb are scary. The climb is not that bad .. really! Its a bit demanding physically, but its more of a mental thing. I just had 2.5 weeks to prepare for it. Lonely Planet and other books are overtly conservative iassesment, and if you follow them, you'll end up over-preparing and over-packing. 3. No need to get typhoid/Hepatitis/yellow fever vaccination and malaria pills. They are overkill. Just be sensible about what you eat (no uncooked food except bananas/thick skinned fruits), and protect yourself from mosquitoes by wearing full sleve shirts/pants, sleeping under mosqitoe net 4. Pranayama and Ginko Biloba ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » North » Arusha January 3rd 2010

I had time till lunch to see more of Arusha. So after breakfast, I went to local bazaar - it was very crowded. I took some pics of people in farmer's market ... reminded me of "sabzi-mandis" in India. Like I said before, there are lot of similarities between india in 1980s and today's tanzania. John, my tourguide took me to his home. He had a beautiful house., but it had no street address. Infact, there was no street - it was just a maze of alleys. We walked through banana fields to reach his house/office. It was quite unusual to me. Most houses do not have street address, and mail is not delivered to home. Instead, everyone has post boxes. Soon, it was lunch-time, and I headed to airport right after that ... what a ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » North » Arusha January 2nd 2010

Because I climbed Kili one day early, I had an extra day to spend. I tried hard to move my return a day early, but Ethiopian was fully booked. So 2nd was my day to rest and enjoy Arusha I went to cyber-cafe, walked around the city, met a couple of interesting swedes at a cafe and talked about liberal politics. This person I met was more militant than green peace demonstrators, and was denied entry in US because she belonged to a socialist group in sweden. All through the trip, I met most interesting people with such diverse background! She was in her late 20s, worked for DHL in sweden, and had taken 3 months off to tour Africa from Cape Town to Khartoum (sudan). Before that, she had traveled more countries in Asia, Europe, ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » North » Ngorongoro Conservation Area January 1st 2010

I had a bad start for the year. My car had starter problem and I had to join a group of dutch to go down into the crater. I was quite pissed .... Instead of starting at 6:30, we started at 8:30 am! My fellow land-roverites were friendly. A mom with 2 teenaged kids - everyone was very well traveled and very well spoken. Ngrongoro Cater is the place where most of the Discovery/National Geographic safari game videos are shot. Its a small flat caldera (part of volcano) surrounded by tall mountains from all four sides. It has a very large density of animals, and one can find all major animals there. They are easy to spot, because the topography is flat, and there are hardly any trees to give animals ay cover. There is a ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » North » Serengeti National Park December 31st 2009

This was my last day in Serengeti, and I hadnt seen lions from close proximity. I woke up early yet again, to beat everyone to toilet, and also to start the game-drive really early. I even skipped breakfast because I wanted to spend as much time as possible watching animals. I asked Omar to take me to those lion dens (Kopjes). We were rewarded at the first Kopje itself - 3 lions (1 male and 2 females) walked right past our car. They were so close that I could almost touch them. And then we saw a whole pride of lionesses basking in sun with cubs. In my next life, I want to be a lion. Perfect life they have - lay in sun and relax, have a pride of lionesses .. and make the lionesses ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » North » Serengeti National Park December 30th 2009

We got up early to go for morning game drive. As usual, I went straight to the toilet, before other campers could make it un-usable... and gee .. being the first one for the day, I found everything in pristine condition :) It had rained all night, so there was slush/water everywhere. Even though rain had stopped a few hours back, rivulets/channels were all flooded. Thats because encatchment area is all flat and it took time for all that water to collect. The scene reminded me of National Geographic/Discovery shows and how they talked about Flash Floods. Morning wasnt very productive as most animals didnt have to come out to drink water. We saw lots of hippos, and the best sight of the day was seeing a leopard walk across the grassland and jump onto a ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » North » Serengeti National Park December 29th 2009

In my excitement, I woke up early on 29th. I didnt need a wakeup call from front-desk because the mosque and church did that job dutifully (precisely at 5 am). I met Ameer - my safari guide/driver after breakfast. He was a Bantu (majority tribe in Tanzania), very friendly, wise and knowledgeable person. I liked him from the start. Our vehicle was Range Rover whose top could come off .. and I got myself the front seat. We went to pickup other 5 of our group. The group I met was predominatly Aussie. There were 11 of them, and 12 of us (including me) were divided in 2 groups to go in different land rovers. Of the 5 in my car, 2 were aussies (Ben and Terry), 2 were kiwis (Rich and his wife) and one ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » North » Mount Kilimanjaro December 28th 2009

I woke up feeling good, thanks to the painkillers last night. The first thing I did was call up my parents in India to tell them that I managed to get my ass on the top. My mom sounded very excited. Cellular coverage was very impressive during my entire climb. I saw Ambrose texting at Uhuru Peak. If only mobile companies in US would visit developing countries and see for themselves how good the coverage is. Then it was time to have a group photograph with my crew, pay the tip and listen to Jambo song/dance routine that other climbers were doing. My crew was really good - they seemed quite happy with the tip. I've heard hrror stories about how people have tipped more than 30% to guide/porters/cook and they were still dis-satisfied. Uhuru peak ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » North » Mount Kilimanjaro December 27th 2009

So I was forced out of bed by noise-making room-mates by 11. Tea and biscuits (much like glucose biscuits in India) were served. I could only take 4 of them. At 00:10, Ambrose and I started. We were the last ones to leave from our hall. It was a clear night - moon was bright, even though it wasnt a full-moon. Suky was beautiful with so many stars... I have never seen such a beautiful, starry night. Too bad I couldnt take any pics. For this climb, I just had my guide with me. Porters and cooks stayed back. Plan was to reach the crater rim around sunrise, reach the Uhuru peak around 7:30 and then come back for late breakfast at Kibo Hut and then late lunch at Horombo. First 15-20 minutes of ascent were ... read more

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