Paris: The Last Part

Hello again everyone! Today I am wrapping up my trip posts with a final post about Paris. If you missed the South Africa Safari posts, go here:

If you missed the previous Paris posts, go here:

Before getting to the final day, I just want to quickly say I forgot to mention in my last post that during our “shopping day” Dad and I stopped to eat lunch at Les Philosophes, a cafe in Le Marais and one of only 2 restaurants (the other being Le Petit Fer a Cheval) to serve literally the best Tarte Tatin in all of Paris (possibly all of France). It is, I think, a local secret that every day these 2 restaurants receive only one Tarte Tatin apiece (who makes them is a mystery) and they usually sell out by early afternoon. So, if you want to have the best Tarte Tatin in Paris (I had it and I can tell you all that OMG it was AMAZING) I recommend planning to eat lunch at one of those two restaurants.

On our last full day in Paris, Dad and I went to the Catacombs! I think, besides eating at as many cafes as possible and going to the Shakespeare and Company bookstore, going to the Catacombs was number one on my list of things I wanted to do in Paris, so I am super excited that we went and they did not disappoint.

So the Catacombs were originally a dumping ground for old skeletons that at one time were buried in cemeteries, but the cemeteries got too full, and so the skeletons were dug up and thrown down shafts into old quarries. There are a bunch of famous folk’s skeletons down there, but they all got jumbled up when they were thrown down there so now no one knows which skeleton belongs to whom. Then, in the 1810s, a quarry inspector Hericart de Thury decided to have the bones artfully arranged to make a sort of museum. They even added an inscribed stone over one of the entrances to the ossuary (where the bones are kept) that reads “Arrête, c’est ici l’empire de la mort” or, “Stop, this is the empire of the dead.”

Macabre you say? I suppose, but the results (which are kept up to this day by periodic dismantling and reassembly) are stunning:

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For our last evening in Paris, Dad and I walked from our hotel to St. Germaine des Pres, an area well known for it’s cafe culture (I cannot stress enough how awesome the hotel was were Dad and I stayed….it was within easy walking distance of so. much. food!). We ended up eating at Cafe de Paris where, I kid you not, we had the best food I had eaten so far in Paris (not including the aforementioned Tarte Tatin). It was rather lively there too, since a large group was celebrating someone’s birthday, and the street it is on has a lot of cafes where people like to go and get a drink, so the atmosphere was great! OMG the food though, the beef bourguignon and crème brûlée were to die for!!

Cafe de Paris is across the street from this cafe:

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So, it should be easy to find if you decide to go and try it out.

The next day we flew back to America. Dad had a heck of a time with security at the Philadelphia airport (we had to go through customs and immigration there, and then re-check our bags since we had connecting flights)….but I have heard horror stories about that airport so I wasn’t particularly surprised.

I am so thankful to my dad for taking me on this incredible trip! It was amazing, and I am so glad I got to spend so much one on one time with him. I enjoy our family trips, but these father-daughter trips are special to me. Love you Dad!

Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed hearing about my trip and looking at the pictures, and maybe even have some new ideas for your next trip? Bon voyage, everyone!

Paris: The Second Part

Bonjour! Today I am continuing on with my recollection of the Paris portion of my trip I took with my dad in late May/early June.

If you missed the South Africa Safari posts, go here:

If you missed yesterday’s first Paris post, go here:

Day 3 in Paris was exploring shopping areas day! There was a high chance of rain and Dad and I wanted to stay dry, if possible, so we looked up what to do and discovered the covered shopping streets of Paris. So, Dad and I walked all over the Right Bank of Paris going from one covered street to another. They date from the early 1800’s and where the popular places to shop before big malls happened. They are beautiful (and gave me major Japan vibes). Take a look:

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For it being “shopping day”, Dad and I hardly bought anything at all. We actually ended up buying more gifts and souvenirs on our last day in Paris. However, I did find a wonderful stationary store down one of these covered passages, and picked up some neat gifts for my friend Sarah @WindsorWrites.

Dad and I eventually ended up at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann, a famous shopping mall (was in fact one of the big malls that phased out the covered passageways as “the place to shop”) that has a gorgeous stained glass dome. They even have an observation deck you can go out on to get a closer look. Here is the dome:

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The next day, Dad and I walked around a bunch and then went to the Louvre museum in the afternoon. Saw this neat thing on the way there:

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We made reservations for the Louvre, but there wasn’t much of a line anyway so we breezed right in.

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Their special exhibition was all about the art and culture during the Hittite Empire (1600 BC) which is actually something I have been interested in ever since I read the manga Red River by Chie Shinohara which takes place in that empire so I definitely had to check it out. They had really neat statuary and imagery of animals and humans melded together.

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We also managed to see the Mona Lisa, though it was a bit nuts trying to get close.

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I eventually got close enough to get a decent shot then noped out of that crowd.

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The best thing about the Louvre, though, was the ceilings.

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And Napoleon’s apartments were pretty intense:

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Anyway, that’s it for this post. I will wrap up Paris in my next post, which I will (hopefully) post tomorrow.  Au revior!

Paris: The First Part

Hi again everyone! I was planning to do Paris all in one post but when I was about 1/4 of the way done with this post I realized I had more to say than I thought. I didn’t end up taking that many pictures, since the majority of the time in Paris was spent eating and walking, but I do have a few good ones to share, along with some stories.  If you have no idea what the heck I am talking about, well, my Dad took me on a 2 part trip, one week in South Africa on safari and one week in Paris, at the end of May/beginning of June. If you missed all the safari posts, go here:

Anyway, I left off my story with Dad and I arriving at the Durban airport. Well, Dad got us tickets from Durban to Paris, however since it was Turkish Air, we had to go via Istanbul (yes, I know that is out of the way). So we ended up on 3 different planes in order to get to Paris. The first plane was from Durban to Johannesburg (1 hour flight), though we ended up staying on that plane as it was going to continue on to Istanbul. 12 or so hours later, we arrived in Istanbul where we had a 3 hour layover before continuing onto Paris (3 hour flight). So, what could have been a short 1 hour flight to Johannesburg followed by a 12 hour flight to Paris, ended up actually taking us 6 hours out of the way. Sigh. Still Turkish Air is a really nice airline, and the Istanbul airport was really swanky, so it wasn’t all bad.  Plus now I can say I have been to Istanbul (not really). I did end up getting a book from the airport there too (I just can’t help myself…this is normally a book blog after all), The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak. I feel kinda sad that the only place I didn’t buy a book on my trip was in South Africa. Alas. As I have said before though, I will just have to go back again.

Dad and I arrived in Paris fairly sleep deprived and were greeted by 90 degree weather. Ugh. Fortunately that was the only day we had death weather. We stayed in a hotel in the 6th Arrondissement (the Latin Quarter) very near the Luxembourg Gardens called Résidence & Spa Le Prince Régent.  I cannot even begin to tell you how ideally placed this hotel was. It was AMAZING. Within walking distance of almost everything you would want to see in Paris and all the food you could ever want to eat. And even though it was very near to big busy streets, the place was super quiet. It was also huge! More of an apartment than a hotel room, since we had a living room and a kitchenette. I would stay there again in a heartbeat and I think every American thinking of going to Paris should stay there. (I specify Americans, though really everyone should think of staying there, because most Americans I know have a thing about space…they need lots of it and can’t abide small hotel rooms.) They even managed to get us sleep and shower deprived world travelers into our hotel room earlier than they should have. That was one of the best showers of my life.

Anywho, once Dad and I were (mostly) human again, we decided to get off our butts, leave the glorious air conditioning, and ventured outside to the Luxembourg Gardens. I had been told by friends that Sunday in the Gardens was  treat and I wanted to see for myself. So we wandered back toward the Gardens (oh! forgot to mention, Dad and I had managed to get from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Paris by train, then managed to navigate without GPS or map from the stop we got off at near the Gardens to our hotel. I swear my dad has navigation super powers.) and low and behold my friends spoke truth! Apparently every Sunday (at least, during the summer) kids can rent little boats and float them out on the giant fountain in the Gardens:

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So adorable! Instantly made me want to bring my nephews here.

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Anyway, I think that was all we managed on that first day besides finding someplace to eat for dinner. I am very retroactively going back and doing this post and events have kind of started to run together. We must have walked down to Notre Dame though, since I have pictures dated from that first day:

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Breaks my heart what happened to it with the fire. I am glad they are going to try and restore it though.

I think this might have also been the day that I went to 2 amazing bookshops, San Francisco Book Company which sells second hand and antique books, and Shakespeare and Company which sells a combination of new and antique. I got a leather bound copy of Saiki Koi and Other Stories by Mori Ogai from San Francisco Book Company (they will ship all over the world btw, so you should check out their website) and I got Rosewater by Tade Thompson and the Penguin Classic edition of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas at Shakespeare and Company. OMG I was so awesome, when you buy a book at Shakespeare and Company, they stamp it to show it was bought there!

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I absolutely adore that I own a copy of The Count of Monte Cristo, that I bought in Paris, at Shakespeare and Company, arguably the most famous book store in Paris, and it has the stamp to prove it!

Ahem, moving on. Our second day in Paris was spent on the hop on, hop off bus. So I ended up taking a bunch of pictures of the city. Here are a few of my favorites:

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Graffiti Art

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Scooter Parking

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This one made me laugh since I had literally just come from seeing the real life versions.

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Fancy Old Building

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Arc de Triomphe

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Eiffel Tower

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Moulin Rouge

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Freaking Cool Art Deco Subway Entrance

Dad and I actually ended up hopping off the bus around the Moulin Rogue and walked toward (and then up) Sacré-Cœur. We popped into a chocolatier and saw this masterpiece (sorry for the shoddy quality):

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Notre Dame Made Entirely from Chocolate

Here are a few pics of Sacré-Cœur:

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I think I will end here for now. Keep an eye out for another post about Paris (hopefully) tomorrow.

 

South Africa Safari Part 6 (Final)

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So sorry! Ended up taking a bit of a hiatus once I got back from my trip. First I was too busy to post in Paris (oh, FYI, went to Paris for 5 days on the way back from South Africa, more on that in my next post), then I was trying to get back into the swing of things when I got home, and then I got Final Fantasy X & X2 remaster for my Nintendo Switch and that basically sucked up all my time. I am finally feeling like I wanna start posting again (I have a lot to talk about), starting with wrapping up my trip posts.

If you missed the previous parts, please click on the following links:

On our second to last day in South Africa Dad and I went on 2 game drives. We were really close both times to seeing the one elusive Leopard which made his way onto the reserve the previous day but sadly missed him both times. We also missed the Cheetah making a kill on the previous day since we went to St. Lucia instead. But it’s ok, because we still ended up seeing some really great animals, and it just means I will have to go back to Africa again someday (hopefully Botswana, I think it would be neat to do an off road safari) to see more kitties right? Anyway, here are some of the animals we saw on our morning drive:

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Bataleur Eagle

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Vervet Monkey

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This one was a surprise! A White Pelican! Even our guide was surprised and baffled as to why he would be at the reserve. Apparently Zulu Nyala reserve is not known to have pelicans. Michaela kept shaking her head and saying under her breath, “What are you doing here?” So, it was a treat to see.

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Also the fact that he was sitting in the top of a tree was particularly baffling to Michaela. Personally I think he just wanted to hang out with the Yellow Billed Storks even if he had the wrong kind of feet for perching in a tree.

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Spoonbill – Their beaks really are kinda shaped like spoons

Here is what we saw on our afternoon game drive:

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Female Kudu – The white stripes on her body make her harder to see for predators (they only see in black and white) as they break up her body

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Female Giraffe nursing her baby

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This super duper tall boy lost one horn fighting. (You can see another giraffe in front of tall boy with their face in the tree for scale.) It will never grow back, so he will be a unicorn for life.

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Impalas among the Vervet Monkeys

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Btw, Vervet Monkeys have BRIGHT BLUE BALLS

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Vervet Monkey sittin’ in a tree

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White Pelican got tired of hanging out in the tree I guess

I call the following, “Time to Catch Some Sun: A Story in 3 Parts”.

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Dunno when or how that bird shows up in that last picture. Your guess is as good as mine.

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African Starling

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This Warthog was massive.

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Mama chonk and her 4 month old baby!! Michaela had been looking for them the entire time we were there, and finally we got to see them on our second to last day!!! Woohoo!

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Mama had an abscessed uterus that looked very painful and used a tree to scratch it. I hope the vet was able to fix it.

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So small and cute!!

On our final day in South Africa, Dad and I had enough time to go on a morning safari before we had to head to the airport and begin our journey to Paris. I am really glad we made the effort to pack the night before so we could get up early and do the last morning safari because it was totally worth it and we ended up seeing some really good things. Here are a few:

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One last pod of hungry, hungry hippos

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Helmeted Guineafowl

The most exciting thing though was that the elephants finally decided to give us some money shots! Here they are:

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The teenager is still being a brat, leading to some family discussions.

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DSCN3165.JPG And finally, some wildebeest that were fighting until we came along:

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That’s it for South Africa! After this drive Dad and I got into a van with a couple other people and drove 3 hours back to the Durban airport. Safari was amazing, and I can’t wait to do it again someday. Thank you so much Dad for taking me on this wonderful trip! I am so glad I got to experience the animals of Africa with you.

Anyway, my next post will be about Paris, though it might end up being more than one post since I realized I took rather a lot of pictures in Paris as well so I might break them up into smaller posts. Keep an eye out tomorrow!

South Africa Safari Part 5

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Hi again! If you missed the previous parts, please click on the following links:

Yesterday, Dad and I went on an excursion to St. Lucia. It is an island-ish place (it can only be accessed by one bridge in and out) that is in a large lake that used to be an estuary. Due to a decade of drought, the (former) estuary no longer reaches the Indian Ocean.  Still, there are a ton of hippos in this lake, and a huge number of crocodiles too. We ended up taking a 2 hour boat ride up and down the lake, then had lunch in St. Lucia and shopped a little bit. Then we went to the beach there. It is a Unesco World Heritage site, and it was gorgeous (and massive).  The sand was soft and silky, and there are tiny molecules of titanium mixed in so when you stand in the ocean and your feet sink down, it created these beautiful black and tan patterns.  I was enjoying myself too much to bother with a picture, sorry folks.

Anyway, here are a couple of the critters we saw on the boat ride:

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We didn’t end up seeing very many crocs, but oh my goodness the hippos.

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Baby croc sticking its head above the water

The hippos like to congregate in pods. The adults rest in the water with their tummies touching the bottom of the river, and the babies rest their heads on the adults.

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We also saw a large number of hippos out of the water up along the shoreline.

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As we were watching, a big male named Pumba (see below) pushed two female hippos (in the foreground above) out of the water because a younger male came close by that Pumba had previously kicked out of the herd.

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Pumba is the dominant male in his pod, but the young male wanted to challenge Pumba for control of the herd. As we watched, the young male used his tail to fling his poo around nearby, basically throwing down the gauntlet to Pumba. We didn’t see them fight, but to be honest, my money is on Pumba.

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The Interloper

Also, some of the hippos out of the water looked pinker than other hippos. The pink color means they are sunburned. Hippos will get in the water to prevent/mitigate sunburn.

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Lastly, we saw an African Fish Eagle, which looks a lot like the American Bald Eagle, but much smaller.

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Dad and I are now half-way through our last safari day. We leave South Africa tomorrow to head toward Paris. While I am sad to say goodbye to the animals, I am super excited for Paris. I might not be able to post tomorrow since I will be travelling all day and internet is so limited here. I might be able to post tomorrow morning before we leave or once we get to Durban and wait for our flight (or possibly during our layover in Johannesburg). Don’t count on it though, because it might not happen, in which case my next post won’t be until 6/2.


Note from my Dad: We saw plus or minus 20 hippos laying on a mud bed. They ranged in size from babies at 3 tons (6,000 pounds) to adults weighing 5 tons (10,000 pounds). Katy and I walked along the beach, putting our toes in the Indian Ocean.

South Africa Safari Part 4

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(Pic above is of the Phinda reserve, where the lions are. The reserve is privately owned by one dude who has a giant house on the reserve and flies in on his plane, landing on his private air strip.)

Hi again everyone! Please select the appropriate following links for:

just in case you missed them. Anywho, as promised, today I have pictures of kitties! Let’s start off with the morning game drive in our usual park.

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This is the only cheetah on the reserve. He is also basically the only predator. There is one leopard as well, but we pretty much have no chance of seeing him. The cheetah used to have a female mate, but she was killed by a venomous snake awhile back, and as he is 12 years old and near the end of his lifetime, they reserve has no plans to transplant another cheetah in. Every morning he goes to the fence at the far end of the property to meet and greet with 2 cheetahs who live on the adjoining reserve.

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Alas they did not come to say hello this particular morning. The cheetahs apparently have a love/hate relationship. They like to greet each other at the fence, but if the other two cheetahs ever got onto this reserve, they wouldn’t hesitate to kill the cheetah here since he is old and they would want to take over his territory.  Law of the jungle I guess.

We also saw some water buffalo fighting. It was neat because you could hear their horns and head plates clacking together.

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It started out as play but became serious, and their horns got locked together a couple of times but they always managed to separate. Our guide, Michaela, said that she once saw two buffalo die of starvation because they couldn’t get their horns to unlock.

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Also, have a wildebeest:

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And a trio of giraffes:

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Granted, the middle large male in the above pic was being a total asshole to the baby giraffe (only 2 months old) and was kicking it to assert dominance…I think because he was feeling insecure and maybe losing his dominance fight with the other large male in the pic. Total dick move though.

Oh, and here is a kudu:

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They look similar to nyala, but they have that hump on their backs and are related to camels.

In the afternoon, a bunch of people, Dad and me included, in our group headed to the Phinda reserve to (hopefully) see lions. They have a 95% success rate for finding lions. We started off a little rocky. Apparently the guide at that reserve, Walter, forgot he would be taking us out and showed up at the gate 20 mins late. But his game truck was really nice and he got us all blankets so we started off cheerful enough. Then it got later, and later, and later, and suddenly the sun was almost set even though we had yet to see a lion. I was all prepared to accept that I was going to be part of the 5% not to see a lion, when suddenly Walter’s radio got a transmission, lions spotted! We hightailed it to the location and lo and behold, 2 female lions! Woo!

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It got dark while we were watching, so I had to resort to using flash. The lionesses didn’t seem to mind though.

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OMG, such cat. My friend Sarah always says that she is pretty sure the only difference between big cats and house cats is size. I agree.


Tomorrow is our last day here on safari (sadness!) and then Dad and I are off to Paris. Tomorrow I will also be posting about today’s excursion to St. Lucia. Get ready for hungry hungry hippos.

South Africa Safari Part 3

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Hi again all! The above pic is the sunrise over the Zulu Nyala park. Click on the links for Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them. I am posting a bit later today than usual because Dad and I moved to the other lodge so I didn’t have time to post in the middle of the day. So, I have actually been on three game drives since my last post, though I will only be posting pictures from one game drive (the afternoon drive of 5/28/19 since so much happened on it).

Up until today Dad and I had been staying at the Game Lodge, which is on the actual reserve. However, they are getting prepared to shut down for renovations (they are building a spa and gym) so we moved to the Heritage Lodge. It is much bigger at the Heritage Lodge, way more people are staying here, and we have a suite which is about 3 times the size of our old room.

Anyway, a lot happened on the afternoon game drive on 5/28. Dad and I actually went with a different guide (our usual one, Michaela, took the rest of the people in our group to a half day tour at the national park that Dad and I opted out of because we hadn’t heard great reviews…plus it cost extra money, and why spend money on something you are not really excited about?) Anyway, we ended up going out with a guide named Musa, who is a more senior guide, and really knew where to take us to see the good stuff:

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Great success!

We stumbled upon the black variety of “r” completely unexpectedly, and he was even willing to pose for us! (Again, not saying the species name because poachers.) I was so bummed two days ago when my camera died and I missed out getting a good picture of this species. This game drive more than made up for it!

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Hippo mostly out of water!!

I was super excited to see this guy, though I was kinda bummed that he wasn’t facing the camera for the above shot.

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He is a young male who is outcast (he has been moving from watering hole to watering hole) and desperately wants to make friends with the mama white “r” (see below pic).

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We spent a lot of time at this watering hole since a lot of drama was going down. While the mama “r” was giving herself a mud bath, her 4 year old baby girl was making worried noises because 2 other “r” came to the pond.

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The 2 are sisters, and there was a sweet meeting between the baby “r” and the sisters. (The “baby” is on the left, and one sister is on the right and the second sister is in the background.)

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The mother is (most likely) pregnant, and when the new baby is born, she will drive her 4 year old away (well, maybe 5 year old at that point….”r”s are preggers for 16 months) and the hope is that the 4 year old will be able to join the sisters.

A couple of new critter sightings include:

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Bateleur Eagle

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Ibis

We also saw a very brave male nyala who strolled right by our game viewing vehicle, and we briefly saw the elephants again.

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These three ladies ended up chasing some of the other game trucks while we watched. The drivers had to back up real quick and some of the guests were a little emotionally rattled after the ordeal, but from our perspective it was kinda funny. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

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That’s it for today! Tomorrow Dad and I are going on a day trip to St. Lucia. Provided I find some time tomorrow, I will post my pictures I took today of the big kitties.

South Africa Safari Part 2

Hello all! I am back again with more pictures. Go here if you missed Part 1. Yesterday evening’s game drive was awesome. We finally saw elephants!! The small one in the pictures below is a teenager and, typical teenager, was being sassy so the older ladies were having “words” with her. (Apparently elephants speak through physical contact and tummy rumbles.)

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Apparently, elephants also like to chase other animals for fun (they are bored).

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Dirt bath to keep cool

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Chasing the zebras

Also, got a picture of a warthog family.  The male has large protuberances (warts) on his face by his eyes to protect the eyes from tusks during battle with other males.

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I managed to get a couple shots of hippos surfacing…though nothing beyond the top of their head and back (thank goodness).  Hippos are the most dangerous animal in Africa (besides mosquitoes) and kill more humans per year than all of the other most dangerous species combined (again, except mosquitoes).

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Baby hippo resting on his mama’s back

Every game ride we come across tons of impala. As you can see in the following pic, they have what looks like an “M” on their bums (as our guide says, M for McDonald’s….since they are a main source of food for predators).

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Lastly, on my good camera, I got a shot of a crocodile, apparently the largest one they have on the reserve. Then, my good camera died from battery loss (I forgot to charge it in the middle of the day when we had down time) and ended up taking the rest of the photos on my phone (so, quality isn’t nearly as good).

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Again, sorry for the rubbish quality on the remaining pictures. My cell phone just doesn’t have nearly the zooming range or picture quality that my good camera has.

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Zebra (giraffe for scale)

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The zebras in this reserve are kinda yellowish because they like to roll in the dirt, which on this reserve is very colorful. The species of zebra on this reserve also have an extra stripe (the light colored grey-ish stripe in between the black stripes).

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It gutted me that I couldn’t get a decent picture of this guy, an “r” of the black variety (again don’t wanna say the animal name because poachers). Apparently he likes to hide in the thicket, so to see him out in the open is very rare. My good camera had died by the time we came upon him tough, so I was stuck trying to use my cell phone to get pics.

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This cheeky fellow is a nyala, and his species can only be found in a tiny pocket of South Africa. It is where the reserve I am at gets its name. Dad and I found him at our lodge, determined to eat all the shrubbery.  They are known for their orange socks which you can see in the picture above.

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That’s all for today. I will try to post more tomorrow if time allows.

South Africa Safari Part 1

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Hi everyone! Sorry I haven’t posted lately, I was super busy preparing for my big trip. As you may have guessed from the title, today’s post is not about books (well, not for the most part anyway). On May 24th, my dad and I left America for Durban, South Africa to start our safari adventure!

First, lemme tell ya, it is no easy feat getting to South Africa. It is really freaking far away from America. My dad had to go from Arizona to Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania to London, and then London to South Africa. I only had to go from Pennsylvania to London, London to South Africa. (He and I met up in London.) Dad’s first flight was about 4 hours, then he had a 5 hour layover in PA (different city than the one I flew out of), the second flight was 7.5 hours for both of us, and we both had a 6 hour layover in London. I checked out the book store to see if I could find any books ninja signed by Neil Gaiman, but no dice. I just missed him, since he and his wife are going to England on Tuesday (I think?) for the Good Omens premier. Even so, I did pick up a copy of Good Omens. I want to read it before I watch Good Omens after I get back from my trip. Alas I will not be able to see it when it drops on Amazon Prime on the 31st (there is internet only in one common area of the Lodge we are staying in) but I definitely intend to watch it when I get home. I also saw there was a Harry Potter store at Heathrow airport, because I ended up walking by it, but since I was searching for my dad in the airport at the time, I never ended up sticking my head in. Alas. Even so, I eventually managed to find my dad at the British Airways South Lounge where we rested up for our really long upcoming flight.

The last flight was 12 hours. Dad got a business class ticket for himself for the 12 hour flight, but I was stuck back in coach. Neither of us got much sleep though. Plus when we arrived in South Africa, we had a 3 hour wait in the airport for our shuttle to arrive, then a 3 hour drive out to the Zulu Nyala Reserve. We arrived severely sleep deprived, but rather than go to bed and throw ourselves off schedule, we ended up having lunch then went for our first game drive! Here are a few of my favorite pictures from that first drive:

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Impala (I call him Chevy)

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Baby Giraffe

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Dead or dormant tree (giraffe for scale)

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Water buffalo with bird on its face

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Mother and son of the white variety (don’t want to say the “r” word because poachers)

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Warthog at the watering hole

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Jackal

Alas there aren’t any predators at this reserve, apart from one Cheetah that I have yet to see. Dad and I are going to take an excursion to another park (hopefully) to see lions. The reserve we are on also only has 3 elephants (again, which I have yet to see), so we are going to do an excursion to another nearby larger park that has herds of elephants.

Anyway, once we finished our game drive, we had a couple of hours to kill before dinner, so Dad and I each had a shower, which was heavenly after all that travelling, and both of us ended up falling asleep waiting for the other to finish their shower. We were ready to pass out. However, we made it to dinner, which was a pretty good buffet (there was “venison” which we think was probably Impala meat. It was yummy!). There was also so traditional dancers and drummers/singers that performed for all of us at dinner.

After all that we finally went to bed at 8:30 and passed out until 5:30am…which is when we had to get up for our 6am morning game drive. The drive this morning was similar to the one yesterday, though we saw much fewer animals overall. Here are a few of my favorite pics from this morning:

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Secretary Bird

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Mother and son, reprised

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Reflecting on the Yellow Billed Stork

After the morning drive we returned to the lodge and had a yummy breakfast. Now I have a chunk of time until lunch and the afternoon drive.


I am going to try and post every day about the trip, but with the lack of internet in the guest rooms and potential excursions, it might not be possible.