Last Day in Buenos Aires

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It was time for us to view the more traditional tourist destinations in Buenos Aires so, despite the disgusting heat, we headed over to the square the holds the (Casa Rosada) and other major governmental buildings. Again, it was so hot that my face ended up burning even though I had smeared my face liberally with sunblock.

Buenos Aires Day 3

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We were determined to finally try some of the famous Argentinian beef we have heard so much about. In Buenos Aires it is served at restaurants called "parillas". We booked a parilla tour, which was basically a walk around to the parillas frequented mostly by locals to get an authentic taste (like everything famous in Argentina there are a lot of places that cater only to tourists).

Buenos Aires Day 2 (Rich)

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After sleeping in a little we finally got motivated to leave the hotel around 11AM. Of course this also was the beginning of the hottest part of the day on a day that would reach 107 degrees.

Buenos Aires - Finally! (Melissa)

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Today we flew from Dulles to Buenos Aires by way of Houston. We were very excited a few weeks ago to enroll in the Global Entry system, which allows you to go through customs on your return trips to the United States without having to stand in interminable lines full of irritated, not-so-fresh passengers from your flight back. An unexpected perk of the Global Entry program is that it automatically enrolls you in TSA Precheck, a program that lets you skip the regular security line at airports in the USA to go through a special line where you don't have to remove your plastic bag of liquids from your carry-on luggage and you don't have to take off your shoes. I for one was very excited about the TSA Precheck line, until we got to Dulles and realized that most people in the DC area are enrolled in TSA Precheck due to security clearances. The line for TSA Precheck was likely longer than the regular security line.

Nairobi

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We arrived in Nairobi exhausted after two weeks of rain, camping, and overland truck driving. We checked into our hotel for the night which was a little slice of heaven after camping in the bush for the past couple of days. We had a nice bed, our own bathroom and hot shower, and high speed wireless Internet - Melissa and I were both ecstatic.

Ngorogoro Crater

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Melissa: We dragged ourselves awake the next morning before dawn and groggily ate a light breakfast of cereal and nothing. The cook for our trip had miscalculated the amount of food we would need and had run out of just about everything. No peanut butter, no yoghurt, no bananas, no eggs, nothing. The bread he had bought was moldy. This was especially unfortunate, as we were expected to pack sandwiches for lunch, to be eaten on our jeeps. The cook suggested that we pack the sandwich fixings in bowls and have salads for lunch, despite the fact that there was no dressing. My salad consisted of slices of cucumber, slices of tomato, and some onion.

Serengeti

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Melissa: No such luck on the clothes. They stayed damp, but we packed them up anyway and jumped into the jeeps that arrived to bring us to the Serengeti. The first zebra we spotted was a huge event--it was fairly far away, but healthy and plump and its stripes stood out vividly against the plains. Our fellow jeep mates, the nineteen year old couple from England, told us that these zebras were much more attractive than the ones that they had seen in other parts of Africa. Then we saw wildebeest and giraffe, both fairly far away, and I was intensely happy.

Arusha

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Melissa: We had a rare treat on the way to Arusha--a western-style shopping complex with a supermarket. This shopping complex was basically a strip mall similar to any you would find anywhere around America, but it was paradise to us. There was a coffee shop, a bakery, and a giant Shoprite where we picked up snacks and necessities like packets of tissues (used as toilet paper) and wet antiseptic towellettes, more and more valuable to us as three more passengers on the truck (the Australian chef, the Englishman, and the male half of the Australian newlywed couple) came down with the same symptoms as we had.

Karatu

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Our next stop was more of a layover on our way to Arusha to split up the driving. To make it a little more interesting and keep with our culturally sensitive theme of the trip we had a two hour village hike planned over lunch. Melissa was not feeling well so she decided to opt out of the hike and hang out in the truck for a couple of hours.

Marangu

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That night we stayed in Marangu, on the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. It was so overcast that we couldn't see the mountain itself, and it rained fairly hard when we stopped the truck a ways away from the campsite and carried all our stuff over some slick dirt roads to where we would camp. The site made an incredible dinner for us (rice, beef stew, banana stew, some sort of beans) and we filled up before stumbling back to the cold tent for another night's fitful rest. The next morning, bleary and exhausted, we had cold showers in some stalls, toast for breakfast, and headed out for the planned activity, a village walk that would bring us to the sponsored project, an educational and vocational center. Our walk also brought us to a pretty waterfall, but we were too cold to strip down and jump in. Lunch was prepared by some villagers, and was quite a spread of local foods (again, beef stew, rice, beans, lentils, oranges, bananas). We packed up again, and headed out to Karatu, where we would spend the night.