Alexis M Spencer

lexispence10

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.



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!
Camping
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
Fossa
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
Tsingy
Tsingy

Africa » Madagascar » Belo sur Tsiribihina December 2nd 2019

So, we finally made the flight and arrived in Antananarivo (Tana for short), where our guide Nolavy was waiting for us once we left the ridiculously time-consuming immigration formalities. Nolavy recommended we change our money there, about $150 - $250 USD. So, I had $160 to change. We were taken out to a pretty nice red bus that was quite comfortable, much better than our transport in Zimbabwe. We loaded up on snacks at a nearby gas station, the nicest one by far we saw the entire trip. Since we had missed a day due to our missed connection, we had had to condense our schedule, which meant a 9 hour drive to our destination. 9 hours. It started out well enough, we were chatting and getting to know each other, listening to music, enjoying the ... read more
Chameleon - first sighting
Local village
Fisherman with fresh caught prawns

Africa » Ethiopia » Addis Ababa Region November 30th 2019

Yes, you read that right. Addis Ababa. Our tour group with just six people (5 guys and me) had an early morning flight from Dubai to Madagascar via Addis Ababa. However, our connection was very tight and with a mechanical issue that took over an hour to fix, we knew that we would miss the one daily flight to Madagascar. We ran to our gate anyway, where the adjacent gate agent confirmed that our flight had left on time more than 20 minutes before. Thankfully, Dagi was a complete angel and she took great care of us, starting with rebooking us on the next day's flight (after confirming with us that we did NOT want to fly to Kenya late that night and take yet another flight that arrived at 3am), and allowed us to pick ... read more
Holy Trinity Cathedral - Museum
National Museum of Ethiopia
Lucy Cafe

Middle East » Oman » Musandam Peninsula November 9th 2019

I made a few friends on my trip to Africa this past summer and we have kept in touch, including going to Kyrgyzstan together. AC organized a short trip with some of her friends and invited me along. It was an overnight stay on a dhow, the traditional boats of the Middle East. I said I was interested a few weeks ago, but the trip was not confirmed until the week before, which was perfect since my work schedule was so up in the air at this point. Friday morning, we met at her house and took two cars, including mine, to the northern tip of Oman, about a 2.5 - 3 hour drive. I rode with two girls I never met before, M (American) and R (English), both of whom had just run in the ... read more
paddle boarding
swim up bar
snorkeling




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