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 » Georgia » Tbilisi District July 28th 2019

On my last day, I woke up fairly early, though breakfast here does not start until 9. My friend had told me that things don't start until later here, and it was funny to note the truth of that. So, I took a shower, packed and right at 9 I walked down for breakfast, eating my favorite dish of chicken with cream sauce (I asked what the name of this was, and the girl looked at me like I was crazy. Chicken with cream sauce) and soaking it with bread. Then I went upstairs to finish packing and decided to check out. I brought my luggage downstairs, then started to walk to the Ikalto Monastery close by just before 11am. Soso said he would pick me up at 1pm to take me to Tbilisi, basically for ... read more
Ikalto Monastery
Water spout - perfect after a hot hike uphill
Water springs

Asia » Georgia » Eastern Georgia » Telavi July 27th 2019

My hotel set me up with a driver for the day, Soso, and he was perfect! He had worked in Ireland for a few years, so his English was pretty good. (Otherwise, the only people who spoke English in this area appeared to be young women). Soso took me to three nice wineries in the Khaketi area and we stopped at a few other places along the way. Our first stop of the day was the Alaverdi Monastery, a Georgian Eastern Orthodox community. It is currently undergoing restoration with the help of the local Badagoni Wine Company. It is free to visit, though if you are visiting the church itself, you should probably leave a donation (and women cover their heads). The monks also make their own wine and you can see the vines within the ... read more
Babaneuris Marani Winery
Babaneuris Marani Winery - Qvevri being cleaned
Gremi Monastery

Asia » Georgia » Eastern Georgia » Telavi July 26th 2019

I desperately needed a three day weekend away and after looking at various options, I decided on Georgia. While researching, however, I thought I would need at least a week to explore everything. Initially, I wanted to visit the caves, either Vardzia or David Gareja Cave Monastery. But, so many people recommended the Georgian wines, that I figured a wine-cation was what I really needed. So I decided that I would stay in wine country two days and the last day in Tbilisi. The country does not look that big, and on the map, I was hoping to stop off at a few places, but the ride to Ikalto was over a rugged mountain pass on two lane roads. It took almost two hours to get there from the airport. I think I may need a ... read more
Savaneti restaurant deck
View from my hotel balcony
Minced walnuts wrapped with roasted eggplant, served cold

Africa » Zimbabwe » Victoria Falls June 8th 2019

Our last morning in Africa, we packed up our stuff, had breakfast, put together a tip for our guides and I went in search of souvenirs, but I really could not find any. Partly because it was so early, so many of the shops were closed. We all boarded our van bus for the last spot of the day, which is the Big Tree, a baobab tree approximately up to 1,500 years old. It was pretty impressive and we stayed for a few. The best part was actually when we left seeing multiple elephants on the side of the road, our last goodbye. We made our way to the airport and said good bye to our fantastic guides at Wanderlust Travels who I thought were great the whole time- I think they put up with a ... read more
A great group to experience Africa with

Africa » Zambia » Livingstone June 7th 2019

This turned out to be one of the busiest days of our trip, with so much to do from beginning to end. Zambia - Victoria Falls Today was the day to cross the border into Zambia and see Victoria Falls from the other side. We took our shuttle bus to Victoria Falls and then started our walk to Livingstone, Zambia via the Victoria Falls Bridge. We quickly got our exit stamp from the Zim side and walked along the bridge, each taking a photo at the border sign in the middle as well as some photos of the falls themselves, though the angle of the sun was not great. At the border office at the Zambia side was a huge line and we had to wait a good half hour to get our passports stamped. Unfortunately, ... read more
Entering Zambia
Victoria Falls - Knife Edge bridge
Sunset cruise

Africa » Zimbabwe » Bulawayo June 6th 2019

So about half of us got up to head to breakfast before our day's Rhino Trek at Matobo National Park. The service was quite slow (though food still good), so we had to rush back to the hostel to wait for our ride. And who turned out to be our guide? Jordan!!! He was back to fill our heads with more information and give us a good time. So, we piled into the truck, this time I sat in the middle since I had claimed an edge on the last time, but I sat in back (I liked being able to stand, better views and more comfortable and adventurous!). Jordan said it was a half hour ride, but at around half an hour I wondered if that was "African time" - it was not too far ... read more
Matobo National Park
Matobo National Park
Matobo National Park

Africa » Zimbabwe » Victoria Falls June 5th 2019

Our 4th day of the trip was a morning of "optional activities", those we chose earlier that week. Then we would have a 5 hour drive to Bulawayo for our Rhino trek the following day, something none of us were looking forward to. Optional Activities As mentioned, another girl and I had planned to go skydiving, having pumped ourselves up for it the first dinner and following through with the sign up and then scheduling it, only to be told the second evening that it was no longer an option. Bummer. We were only allowed to choose 2 activities, though if you were smart, you could probably have fit in more. However, they were not cheap and I was glad for the limitations. Instead, I signed up for the helicopter ride over the falls and the ... read more
Helicopter ride over Victoria Falls
Helicopter ride over Victoria Falls
Helicopter ride over Victoria Falls

Africa » Zimbabwe » Hwange June 4th 2019

Day 3 was all about the wildlife. It started early with the baboons around camp attacking one particular tent across from us. I don't think they necessarily wanted anything inside, just to cause trouble. We thought whoever was using the tent was on safari because we had not seen anyone there and it was full of stuff. I think it initially started accidentally with the baboons chasing each other and one jumped on the awning and it tore, then it just seemed to become a game to them to jump on the tent and rip it to shreds. Amusing and scary. The smaller velvet monkeys were also watching the show. The guide said the monkeys are fine, but the baboons are "troublemakers" - my word, but he agreed. Painted Dog Conservation We left camp around 8 ... read more
Lecture at Painted Dog Conservation
Hwange Safari Lodge
Hwange National Park

Africa » Zimbabwe » Victoria Falls June 3rd 2019

My initial Eid planned trip to Scotland fell through, so instead my friend suggested an African group tour with a local touring group he uses. The trip was to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia, with stops in multiple national parks and the waterfalls. I had been wanting to take a trip to Africa for a while now, but did not want to go solo for my first time, so this was perfect. Victoria Falls Rest Camp We left from Dubai airport at 4:30 in the morning on Ethiopian Airlines, stopping in Addis Ababa (crazy airport), and landing in Victoria Falls. I met everyone at the coffee shop after checking in and it seemed to be a good, but diverse group of people, a few of whom had quite a few to drink on the way. We ... read more
Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
Mama and baby elephants on drive back

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Abu Dhabi April 21st 2019

It's been a long few months, and I'll go into some of my Saudi Arabia travels in a future blog, but for the moment, I will go into a much needed weekend of fun, rest and friends. Fortunately, at the last minute, our company gave us Sunday off for Easter, so I could justify spending two nights in a nice hotel in Abu Dhabi without having to go to work the next day. This was instigated by a former coworker of mine from Ventura who was coming to put on a workshop this week and I told her I would show her around over the weekend. So, I booked a room at a hotel near to hers that was super nice and resort-y. I was so looking forward to the weekend and even booked a massage ... read more
the Louvre Abu Dhabi
Emirates Palace
Grand Mosque

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