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Finally got everything settled from my trip to Kenya and London. It was pretty awesome. Spent about two weeks on safari, two game drives a day, and then another five days in London on the way back. Met some interesting people. I think the worst part was that there's no decent internet out in the bush.

Spent a couple of days in Nairobi. Caught up with Elliott, which was fun. Wandered around the city for a good long time. Saw some baby elephants and got to feed a giraffe.

Amboseli was the first park we flew to. It's close to Mt. Kilimanjaro so that was neat. The cinder cones on Kilimanjaro reminded me of the ones on Mauna Kea. I miss the big island. Apparently Amboseli got hit pretty bad during the drought, so there were bones all over the place. I felt a little bit like AlternaAgron because I'd always want to stop and snap a pic. Saw tons of different types of birds, elephants upon elephants, hyenas, lions (with a bitty 4-6 week cub), zebra, wildebeest, ostrich (though I guess you could count them among the birds), cape buffalo, and hippo.

Went to Maasai Mara after that. Holy crap the Mara is huge, probably bigger than the island of Oahu. The flies were a lot worse in the Mara than Amboseli, and they were ridiculously aggressive. Fuck. Stayed in a permanent tent camp for about five nights. If camping were always like that I totally wouldn't mind. The cats in the Mara were amazing. Got to sit on a lion kill for two days and watch the progression of that. Saw a leopard up in a tree with a kill. Watched cheetahs laze around. Tons more hippos, they make the best noise.

Crossed over to Tanzania for five minutes on our way to the other lodge in the Mara that we stayed at. They had a bunch of giraffes in the area and some crocs. Was a little more difficult to see stuff because the grass was higher, but we managed to round out the big 5 (lion, elephant, leopard, rhino, buffalo) with a rhino sighting late one morning.

Food was surprisingly better than expected. Big Indian influence, which rocked. Got tired of the boxed breakfast pretty quick, but I've never been a big breakfast person. Speaking of, the hotel in Nairobi had the best breakfast buffet I've encountered. Holy crap.

London was a complete change from Kenya in many, many ways. Cold and rainy after two weeks of the nice warm sun, in a word, BLEW. Oh well, it helped me adjust to coming back to SF I guess. Hit up St. Paul's, Harrods (ZOMG they have tea and chocolate in the same section, HEAVEN!), Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Van Gogh exhibit (as amazing as his paintings are, I kind of really loved the drawing/sketches he did more, and seeing them side by side was really neat).

Sadly, the food wasn't as good as we had hoped. Okay, no rephrase, the dinners weren't as good as we'd hoped. Ate at Racine, Le Gavroche, Chutney Mary, and Bibendum. Racine was okay, lots of butter, maybe too much. My meal at Le Gavroche was good, but the main that my parents got was salty. The potatoes were so salty they were inedible, and for a restaurant of the caliber that's just EPIC FAIL. Chutney Mary's appetizers were pretty amazing. Finally got to try chaat, and I'm sure the version I got isn't the street food version, but I still loved it. The mains were much less impressive. Bibendum was okay. Had an ahi dish that was kind of flavorless and bleh. Plus the fish my mom got tasted like it was previously frozen (like my ahi) and that's kind of unacceptable given that it was cod and this is England. I'll let them get away with ahi, but cod, really guys?

The lunches were spectacular. Had some amazing fish and chips from Bunch of Grapes. One order was enough to feed the three of us. Ate some of the best dim sum I've ever had at Hakkasan. Holy crap the atmosphere of that place was awesome. Bitch to find because there isn't much of a sign. Definitely want to hit that place up the next time I'm in town.
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January 2011

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