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.

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Ras Al Khaimah November 16th 2020

The weather has finally started to turn nice, so that means lots of outdoor activities. Lately, that means hiking. Usually, I'm not a huge fan - it's just not my thing - but it has been nice to see all these different areas of the UAE from this perspective. It is so quiet and peaceful, with a little bit of history thrown in. Not to mention, it is pretty much automatically social distanced, especially since we tend to take the less popular hikes. And yes, we have mountains here in the UAE. A pretty large Hajar Mountain range actually, highest point being around 6,000 ft. So, here are three of my most recent hikes and a camping trip. Wadi Shawka I was asked if I wanted to go for a hike on a Friday, Joevet set ... read more
Wadi Shawka
Jebel Jais area
Jebel Jais area

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai November 8th 2020

What have I been doing during Covid? A lot!!! So, this may be a long one and I'll try to update more frequently in the future.... Work I have been working from home since March 22nd. Not much happened from March through July, at least, not much that would interest anyone outside my company. However, work was extremely busy. We are based in Dubai, but many of our projects require us to travel around the region. As such, when the borders and airports were shut down, I had geologists scattered across Mozambique, Maldives, and Saudi Arabia for work, while one was stuck just before he was planned to return from leave in Pakistan. Maldives project went on and despite only being able to get half our team into the country before lockdown, we were able to ... read more
Walking along Jumeirah Beach
Biking in Al Qudra
Hiking Wadi Shawka

I have not left the country since January; actually, I have not even left the city of Dubai since mid-March except for once to go to a store. I was getting antsy, depressed and angry at work. Initially, I planned a trip to Greece for two weeks, but it just seemed like the hassle of getting there would be more than it was worth and Covid cases were on the rise there. Instead, I thought I would get a luxury hotel on the Palm and my friend mentioned that maybe I should take a roadtrip. It helped that local hotels were also giving discounts to UAE residents. And thus the idea of my Luxury Roadtrip was born! Ras al Khaimah - Ritz Carlton Al Wadi This is one of the more luxurious and expensive resorts in ... read more
Ritz Carlton Al Wadi - private pool
Ritz Carlton al Wadi - amazing bathroom
Ritz Carlton al Wadi - private villa

Africa » Djibouti » East » Tadjoura January 28th 2020

Our last day is what I was greatly looking forward to. After we had left the interior and returned to Djibouti City again, with another stop at the Casino supermarket, we went to a hotel for our last night. Finally - a shower!!! S and I shared a room - she got the big bed, so I got to shower first. I washed my hair three times; it was still crusted in salt from the day before. Everyone else went out for dinner that night in town, but I just decided to stay in - I was not feeling well and was exhausted. I did not want to be stuck in town having to wait on a ride if I wanted to come back early, so I had a dinner of granola bar. We had all ... read more
The only whale shark we got to see....
No whale sharks?  Need a beer
New snorkel selfie

Africa » Djibouti » East » Tadjoura January 27th 2020

We woke up on the shores of Lac Assal, wind beaten but ready for our next adventure. While we waited for another breakfast of bread and coffee (I grabbed one of my granola bars), some of our group talked to the local people who had set up our camp and made our dinner. One of them was a young girl, 8, and her father lamented that she was getting old and needed to be married off by the time she was 9 before she was too old. It breaks my heart that there is still child marriage - her childhood would soon be over forever. The city seems to be a bit more advanced, but the rural areas still practice these old customs, and many have little if any access to formal education. After taking some ... read more
Djibouti hike day 3 tree
Djibouti hike day 3
Steaming crack from active volcanic area

Africa » Djibouti » North January 26th 2020

So, after our lunch stop during our road trip to Lac Assal, my friends and I really enjoyed our time on the road. So, I don't remember a whole bunch about the ride. We made a couple of stops, including me apparently purchasing some obsidian and geodes on a roadside stand from some kids (who I do remember). We ended up in a wide wadi area where we were to stay for the night. While our guides unpacked and set up for dinner with some local guides, we stretched our legs and explored a bit. We sat at the dinner table and waited a long, long time for dinner. By then, I really was not hungry and it was a fish stew which was not very appetizing to me, so I had a granola bar. But ... read more
Hiking to Lac Assal
Floating in salty Lac Assal
Lake Assal

Africa » Djibouti » South » Dikhil January 24th 2020

The local adventure travel group I typically use was offering a 5-day trip to Djibouti: Moonscapes and Whale Sharks. Of course I was on board when my co-worker said I should go. We had an early morning flight on Ethiopian Airlines, meeting up before boarding. We had a tight layover, but made it to the gate in time (unlike the Madagascar trip). The flight to Djibouti was a little over an hour and lots of military type guys on the plane as there are a few bases in Djibouti. Immigration was not too bad, we got our bags, and met our guide, Abdullah. We had two old land cruisers for the next few days and I rode with my two friends, B and S as well as an Italian guy, M. Our first stop was, Casino, ... read more
Ostrich sighting!
Thermal springs

Africa » Madagascar » Antananarivo January 6th 2020

After Baobab Avenue, we drove about an hour toward Morondava, a coastal town where we would stay the night. We made a stop at the local pharmacy in town - most of us had gotten sick at some point by the end of the trip. The town was bustling, and we turned on a beach front road where dozens of small hotels were located. We finally pulled into the Hotel Sun Beach and determined which rooms were which. I got the nice end room - and we had A/C!! For the first time all week! I almost did not want to leave my cool room, but I made my way to the hotel bar where I met up with Nolavy, ordered spaghetti Bolognese and a beer before heading off to bed. The next morning, I woke ... read more
Hotel Sun Beach
Morondava airport
Hotel Sun Beach breakfast

Africa » Madagascar » Belo sur Tsiribihina December 5th 2019

This was one of our busier and most fun days as we planned to visit Kirindy Park and Baobab Avenue at sunset, before finishing the night at the coastal town of Morondava. Kirindy National Park We arrived at the Kirindy Reserve Field Station late at night (around 7:30) for our night hike. We drove past the main entrance down a road to where we were able to access the trails a little easier. Our guide met us there, where it was actually a bit crowded, and we put our headlamps on before walking into the woods. He said there were 3 or 4 species of lemur that we expected to see. And we saw our first one pretty quickly and actually found 4 of them in the first 15 minutes: Madame Berthe's mouse lemur, pale fork-marked ... read more
Red fronted brown lemur
Mouse lemurs

After the river cruise, we were on our way to the place that brought me here: Tsingy National Park. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and (most importantly) made up of uniquely eroded limestone formations, much of which is so sharp, you cannot walk on it except for on guided paths! Before we could get there however, we picked up a military escort in our two SUV's. Me and two other guys were teamed up with Dada, our driver, who was awesome for the next few days. The other three, our guide, their driver and the military escort were placed in the larger SUV. I did not know initially, but while we carried all the luggage in ours, we also had A/C while the other car did not. We had to get a military escort ... read more
Tsingy - Deken's sifaka lemur

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