Alexis M Spencer


Alexis M Spencer

I was an engineer on a long term assignment, first in Dubai and then in Qatar. During this time, I took advantage of my nice paycheck and proximity to other places to start seeing the world. After three years, I decided to take a much earned break and traveled for a year. After working about two years in New York State, I am on my way back to Dubai.

Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Ahungalla May 16th 2021

The last place we stayed was another Heritance hotel, located south of Colombo in Ahungalla, after another beautiful drive through the mountains and jungle. This was intended to be more of a beach location and the least expensive hotel of our trip. It showed, but it was still nice! It seems mostly like it is probably a party place in normal times. They were trying to get us to join beach volleyball or water aerobics or water polo... But I think there were less than 20 people total staying the whole time we were there (4 nights). I felt a bit bad - the staff were super nice! The first day we just went to the pool bar for some nice fruity drinks and watched a few interesting guests: a couple learning to swim apparently and ... read more
Ahungalla - hotel from beach
Ahungalla - fruity drinks
Where to next?

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Dambulla May 10th 2021

While quarantining in Sri Lanka, we had hoped to do a few tourist activities. However, those activities were limited and adhered to strict requirements. One requirement was to have a certified driver at all times - you were by no means allowed to leave the car. The second was scheduling an approved appointment for said tourist activity. There was a list of about 13 activities we could do in the whole country and maybe 5 were in the region we were staying. I was disappointed not to see or stay at the tea plantations, but maybe next time. So, we opted for Sigiriya Rock and Polonnuwara, both located a couple hours' drive north-northeast of Dambulla. They did not disappoint! Sigiriya Sigiriya is a UNESCO World Heritage site located near Dambulla, which itself looks to be an ... read more
Sigiriya - Lion's Gate
Sigiriya moat

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Dambulla May 9th 2021

I think I will divide the second part of our trip into two parts because we did a lot in 4 days. Well, comparatively. The tourist spots we were allowed to visit were limited and spread out, so we had to choose wisely. We both wanted to see SIgiriya Rock and Polonnuwara, so I started looking for hotels in those areas. Luke had previously found Jim's Farm Villas before we left Dubai, but my request on the website went unanswered. However, when I was trying to find a spot and having no real luck, I decided to use their WhatsApp number and I got an immediate response and booked four nights there right away. The protocols in Sri Lanka were pretty strict - we had to stay only in Tier 1 hotels, which meant we could ... read more
View from our balcony
Our room at the Mango Villa
Rice and Egg Hoppers, with coconut sambol and daal

Asia » Sri Lanka » Western Province » Negombo May 6th 2021

We had to return to Saudi Arabia for additional work. However, at this time, people were barred from flying directly from UAE to Saudi, so we had to do a 14 day quarantine. Most people were going to Bahrain as it was a shorter route. However, we decided to try somewhere a little different - if we are going to be stuck in a hotel for 14 days, why not try to make the most of it?? Maldives was on the table.... but work probably would not go for that! However, it was suggested Sri Lanka was open and after looking, the hotels were actually cheaper though the flights were a bit more - it would even out and we would be happy. Initially, it was supposed to be 4 of us, but then the client ... read more
Morning fiserman
Dinner at sunset

Africa » Namibia » Windhoek December 5th 2020

We left around 9 the next morning to head back towards Windhoek. I was a bit relieved to go home and sad to leave this beautiful place. The scenery was nice, though noticeably less nice than the previous days... Day 9 Our first order of business was to take the Covid test. Again, I was nervous. Was like the 5th in line in our group at the local clinic - ready to get it over but afraid to go first. It was a long process. We had to sit on little chairs in a line, fill out lots of paperwork, pay our bill, and wait our turn. There were two guys performing the tests outside, so you could see the people in front of you. The girl in front of me... I know she had been ... read more
Freedom Memorial at the Old Fort

Africa » Namibia » Sossusvlei December 2nd 2020

We woke up nice and early to head out to the last big adventure and the one I was most looking forward to: Sossusvlei! We had a good breakfast on the terrace overlooking the desert with the owners feeding the local squirrels and birds and other such lucky wildlife. Our guides got us in the car to leave by 6:30 and we were off. A 45-minute drive to Sossusvlei. Along the way, of course, we saw some animals, such as a family of springbok before we entered the park. Sossusvlei Once we entered, we saw a bunch of oryx and even kudu hanging out in the dunes. We continued our drive to the literal end of the road where there was a picnic area set up. Here was our last chance to use the toilets and ... read more
Sossusvlei - Dune 45? (by Thomas)
Sossusvlei (by Thomas)

Africa » Namibia » Walvis Bay December 1st 2020

My typical car mates were back together at this point, with the.... quieter driver. We were heading from Swakopmund to Walvis Bay (another town recommended by friends). Most of us opted at lunch the day before to skip the kayaking with the seals after having spent enough time with them at Cape Cross. Instead, we decided to take a tour of the dunes in Sandwich Harbor, you know the iconic photo of Namibia with the giant golden dunes meeting the clear blue water of the Atlantic. It was even better than expected! Sandwich Harbor We arrived on time to the pier / boardwalk area, which was super nice! I believe it was 9 of us who joined the dune bashing and we got to ride with two guides, Eckhard and Rene, (I got to ride in ... read more
Sandwich Harbor - sparkling breakfast
Sandwich Harbor
Namib-Naukluft National Park

Africa » Namibia » Swakopmund November 30th 2020

After leaving Palmwag, we continued our journey. We saw a couple of mama and baby giraffes early on, but after that, the roadside wildlife was non-existent until much later in the day. The new car had more trouble as the battery then died too! very exciting for their driver, but we fixed it and moved on. We arrived at the Skeleton Coast National Park pretty much on time, used the facilities, and took some photos at the entrance. We saw a few other tourists hanging around too. Our first stop inside was a short hike up a small hill to see Namibia's national plant: Welwitschia mirabilis. Generally the plant can be 1,000 to 2,000 years old and only has two leaves. There are male and female plants. It is considered a "living fossil". We also saw ... read more
Cape Cross Seal Colony
Roadtrip to Skeleton Coast

Africa » Namibia November 29th 2020

We left Epupa Falls at a decent hour, first riding four to our vehicles before we picked up the new rental (an SUV). That meant that we had to switch some of our usual riding groups around, and I wound up driving with Shapa again, as well as V and N. There is not too much to report on this adventure except for the scenery. Almost all of the driving was on gravel roads, except when we arrived in Opuwo for another 2+ hour lunch. I got another toasted ham and cheese sandwich, but knew to expect the sit and wait this time, so the beer helped. I think my favorite part of this whole trip was seeing the wildlife on the sides of the roads. And today we saw so much! Especially giraffes, which were ... read more
Chasing Zebras
This giraffe was definitely posing
Palmwag lodge

Africa » Namibia » Epupa November 28th 2020

We left Melissa's guesthouse after a good breakfast. My travel mates and I were in Shapa's car today, whose name basically means that he was a 'vaccine marker' - essentially, he branded their cattle. He had another name, that I cannot spell, which means "what kind of weapon" which dates back to the German occupation and how their fighters had to use weapons that were non-traditional but available. When he first started out as a guide, he faced a lot of discrimination, including from other guides, for wearing his traditional dress. Little did many realize that he speaks English, Afrikaans, as well as his native Herero language. Along the way, we were passing the western border of Etosha National Park, though not going in for a visit. Etosha is approximately 22,000 square kilometers and it's name ... read more
Epupa Falls Lodge
Epupa Falls
Epupa Falls

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