Welcome to our Adventure!

Al and I are thrilled that you have found your way to our blog. We hope you enjoy reading our journal and viewing our photographs of the natural wonder of our United States of America. Let's hit the road together!
Homer, Alaska

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Cougar is Depressed

2 snowstorms, one Friday night, one Saturday night, and a "possible major event" happening Tuesday night as a nor'easter traveling up the coast slams into a cold storm front coming from the west, possibly directly over Long Island; enough said about that!

Work continued in the house this weekend closets and cabinets are slowly emptying. Good show!

Anyway, I've had a nice positive reaction to my posts about our safari, and how that trip has directly influenced the course and lifestyle we are now choosing. I'd especially like to thank the good people of Thomson Safaris for noting and commenting, and hope that as they follow my account of our trip that they realize what a fabulous group of guides and employees they have...our greatest kudos!!

As I said in the last blog, once we made the decision and commitment to do this trip, we threw ourselves completely into research. Thank goodness for the internet and google :-). I found several journals online, and I devoured these for information. Clothing for the trip was selected, purchased and put away. Once I found out that there was a limit of 30lbs of baggage per person, I was really nervous. I found lightweight, nylon pants and shirts at L.L.Bean, and tried those out. I'm still wearing them today! Well, not today, it's only in the teen's here, but you know what I mean :-). The shorts and campshirts are so comfy, wash great, dry instantly just about, and are just all around great. I highly recommend the Tropic Wear clothes.

Another thing I got really nervous about was medical needs while we were over there. Being especially concerned with Al's atrial fib issues, we did invest in a one-time overseas travel medical insurance policy ( thankfully, it was not needed!). I read about all the medicine kits, and supplies that were recommended for travel to remote, third-world areas, which only made me MORE nervous :-). I mean, it wasn't like you could run down to 7-11 if you had a stomache-ache! So, I had all the over the counter medicines that I could think of to bring along. And even some prescription ones, a broad based antibiotic and some Lomotil. Both were recommended by our doctor, Suzanne, whom we consulted about what we needed. And boy, did we get vaccinated from here to kingdom-come for this trip. Everything updated, the MMR, polio, tetanus. I needed hepatitis A and B ( Al already has this through the ambulance). Typhoid preventive. And yellow fever vaccination. This one wasn't necessary, but highly recommended. Because if an outbreak occurred while we were there, we would not be permitted to leave Tanzania until we were vaccinated, and over there, that means sharing of needles with dozens of other people. Uh, no thanks! Last was malaria pills, taken for a week before the trip, during the trip, and a week after.

With all that said, no, we didn't have anything happen, did not have any illness, only needed a couple of pepto-Bismol one night...and I handed out my Sudafed to some who did catch a cold :-). But my most popular item that I was being offered trades for was my Hershey Bars :-).

The most important item, though, that came out of our research, came from talking again with Suzanne, our doctor. She was quite excited about us going, as she had gone a couple years earlier. She gave us what turned out to be the best advise I could have gotten: she told us to buy a good camera, and learn how to use it well before we went. I had always enjoyed taking pictures, but only really used point-and-shoot cameras. And the cost of film and developing became too high for me to really explore my creativity with it, and I stopped doing it. But now, now we have DIGITAL! Woohoo! I can take dozens of pictures of the same thing, from all angles and different light, to get that perfect shot, without spending a fortune on film and developing. Life is good :-).

Al did most of the research, quickly settling on either Canon or Nikon. Ultimately, feeling that Nikon held a slight edge in lens quality, we selected the Nikon D50 as our camera. There were several other models to choose from, but he felt this was "professional enough" to get me the creativity I craved, but not so complicated that I would be frustrated trying to figure it out. We also hear that a new lens was on the way, an 18-200mm zoom AF VR. This was going to be a great all-around lens to use, so we waited for that to come on the market while we started learning how to use it. I spent 2 years doing that, reading online, buying a couple of books by Scott Kelby, and an awesome one on exposure, Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. I learned so much from this book! I also had learned to use Photoshop Elements to help correct mistakes in my photos, although to tell you the truth, this camera is so good that very few adjustments are ever needed. I am so enthusiastic about this camera, unfortunately they don't make this model any more, but I'm sure any Nikon would be great! Hopefully, as I progress through the daily adventures of trip and post my pictures, you will agree, both that the camera takes great photos, and that Africa, especially Tanzania, is a wonderful, photogenic location. It was really hard to take a bad photo there :-).

Until the next post...take care and stay warm!!

1 comment:

  1. Many years ago I had to travel to parts of Africa for work, and I always worried about health issues. Given the large amount of deceases and less than adequate facilities, it can be a great concern. The one time I became ill in the Ivory Coast, I just got on a plane and went to northern Europe for treatment.