Adam's World, a Blog
Welcome to Adam's World, a Blog. These are my personal ramblings, and I make no guarantee to their cohesiveness. Enjoy reading my ramblings and if the mood strikes you feel free to leave a comment or two.
Ok so I’m sure everyone knows by now that my mother and I have been planning an African Safari for over a year now. This past Thursday was the start of our incredible journey. After almost 18 hours of flights, we made it to Kilimanjaro a little after 8pm local time. (That would be 1pm EST for you keeping score at home). Needless to say we were exhausted after all that flying and went straight to the first hotel, the Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania.
There we met with out awesome tour managers, Terri and Moses and met out guide for the next week, Nixon. The hotel was amazing, except for the odd fact that the bathroom had a huge glass window overlooking the beds. There was no shower curtain either, which means if you were anywhere in the hotel room you could see into the bathroom at all times. Very awkward when traveling with your mother. My solution was to make a fort-like wall over the window with pillows. Creeper Bathroom-0, Adam-1.
After a much needed nights rest, we took a jeep to our first safari spot, the Tarangire National Park. It was a few hours drive there and when we checked in, there were monkeys greeting us everywhere!
After checking in we went around to find some wildlife. Almost immediately we saw herds of gazelle and zebra. We also spotted a few giraffes walking around the campground.
Later we came upon a lion (which is rare in this park). There wasn’t much going on with him tho, as we only noticed him if he put his head up. A few mins later and he went back to sleep, making himself invisible in the brush.
A short time after that we came across a huge group of elephants. They surrounded our jeep and just kind of watched us for a bit. The bull elephant walked out from behind some trees with the tiniest little baby elephant! He was SO DAMN CUTE! I have photos and video on my SLR which I’ll upload at a later time. He wasn’t the mini giraffe I was looking for, but it came pretty close.
A few hours of pictures on the plains and we drove to our lodging for the night, the Tarangire Sopa Lodge. The hot water only runs for a few short hours a day so better get it while it’s….you know.
Tomorrow is another day driving through the park, except this time it starts at 6:30am. Eiek! I better get some rest and hopefully I’ll have Internet access to bring you some more blog entries of our trip!
So day 2 of Copenhagen was a bit better then the first. Thanks to TripAdvisor, I found this awesome tour of Copenhagen done on a Segway! It was ranked as the #1 “activity” in Copenhagen. I booked a 10am tour, but before the tour came breakfast.
Breakfast in Copenhagen, or more specifically, my hotel was much more reasonable at around 50DKK, which was around $10 US. Not too bad, and since I figured I would pay double anywhere else I made it happen. When I did, I learned something about breakfast in Denmark. Breakfast is really lunch. And by that I mean that Denmark breakfast consisted of 10 different types of cheeses, processed lunch meats (ham, turkey, salami, etc) along with several different types of bread. In other words- LUNCH. Sure there was a tiny section of bran flakes and milk in a corner, but come on. After lunch breakfast, I was off to the Segways!
Prior to today I had only rode a Segway once, and it was at Disney World where they let you ride it for 30 seconds and only just to say you’ve ridden one. This, however, was SO MUCH BETTER! I arrived to find I’d be sharing my tour with 2 other gentlemen, both from London. Our tour guide/owner of the company was Seamus, and he was awesome.
Here’s a pic of me when we first started the tour. Notice the river is frozen. Also notice the the creepy statue in the water. What the hell is that?!
We drove all around Copenhagen pointing out different areas and buildings. He even took a video of me being goofy on my Segway! For obvious reasons, I won’t be posting the goofy video of me but here’s another photo as a consolation. (I love the California license plate, by the way)
We stopped at a coffee shop along the way to warm up since it was below freezing. After our little break, Seamus took us to see the changing of the guard at the Amalienborg Palace, which is the winter home of the Denmark royal family. It was pretty neat to see something like that, as I’d never really seen anything related to royalty before.
Here’s a video I shot:
After that, we headed on over to Copenhagen’s “New Harbor” or as they call it “Nyhavn”. The buildings are colorfully painted and is supposedly the most photographed spot in Copenhagen. I find it funny that it’s called the ‘New’ harbor, but it was dug by Swedish prisoners in 1660. I guess the word “New” is up for interpretation.
Finally, we rounded out the tour at Copenhagen’s most famous landmark – The Little Mermaid. It’s small and boring and gives you that “this is it?” feeling. The statue was unveiled in 1913 and has sat in it’s very spot until the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China. It returned 6 months later, looking depressing as ever.
After the tour, I wandered around the city for a bit as I really had nowhere else to go. I checked out of the hotel, and my flight to London wasn’t for another few hours so I decided to take in some local food. The Danish aren’t known for their delicatessen, but one of the things I had to try was a “Danish sausage”. This is essentially a hot dog wrapped in bacon and shoved in a bun. It’s not a typical hot dog bun mind you, but a hoagie roll with a round hole cut in it. They squeeze some ketchup and shove the sausage in and voila!
After a while I headed back to the Copenhagen airport for my flight to London. Since I was arriving to the UK pretty late and the airport was an hour outside of the city, I decided to stay at a little Bed and Breakfast not far from the airport. Good thing too, since the flight was running late and the UK customs line was an hour wait. It was almost 1am when I got to the little town of Stansted. Just a few minutes walk from the train station was the B&B called Chimneys Guest House.
I’ve spent the night at a lot of hotels, and this was, by far, the most welcoming place I’ve ever been to. I felt like I was spending the night at a family member’s house, right down to the stuffed animal on the bed! They even had tea and fresh cold milk ready for my arrival. It was a welcome change from the other hotels I’ve been to.
Tomorrow morning, to London!
So if anyone wants to know where special text characters like Æ, å, é and ø hang out, well they hang out in Denmark, in case you wanted to know. (I’m sure you did).
Anywho, I made it to Copenhagen! I’m not quite sure what to think of the city just yet, but my stupidity has transcended nations as I left the battery to my camera sitting in the charger back home, so all of my photos here on out will come form my phone. They’re not bad, but could be much better. You’ve been warned.
I arrived at the Copenhagen airport and went through the easiest customs I’ve ever gone through. He literally looked at my photos for a second, and stamped it. No questions, no stories, nothing. When I landed I wasn’t really sure what to do. All I knew was that I booked a hotel in the middle of town, and that’s it. Luckily, most people speak English so I was able to hop a train bound for Copenhagen’s Central Station.
As luck would have it, my hotel was directly across the street from the trail station, so that worked out well. I was early, but hoped they had a room ready because I was exhausted from the flight and just wanted to nap for a few hours. Sure enough, they did! I was a little surprised at how small it was though…
Oh well, it’s just for one night. The facilities were shared by the entire floor, so in a way I felt like I was at sleep away camp. Now I understand why the hotel was so cheap! Looking back, however, everything was perfectly clean and I never saw another person using the facilities so it was money well saved.
After sleeping for a few hours, I went out to explore the city of Copenhagen, but after just a few minutes roaming around the city I came to a major realization:
EVERYTHING IS SO DAMN EXPENSIVE!
It’s true! A bottle of Coke was almost $4 USD. As a matter of fact, the Big Mac Index rates Denmark’s currency at almost double what the US is. The Big Mac Index is an annual report published by The Economist that takes an average price of a Big Mac in a certain country and compares it to other countries to get a fairly accurate picture of how strong/weak different economies are. For more info about that, read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Mac_Index
After the initial expense shock wore off, I started browsing the local shops, like this one:
I didn’t really have many plans for the night so after walking around for a few hours, I came back to the hotel to change and go to dinner. The hotel recommended a great Vietnamese place right around the corner called Kiva. Check out this awesome beef salad I had for dinner:
The final tally for my meal was close to $45 USD just for that and an appetizer. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious but just a bit pricey. I guess it’s a good thing tipping isn’t customary in Denmark. After dinner, I did find one thing that’s priced normally: beer. I stepped into a local pub and has a glass of their local brew. Cost: $5. That’s more like it! If only I can just drink beer the entire time I’m here…
I digress. The beer was good and cheap, but I forgot one thing about bar culture: the smoking. I was in the pub for less then 15 minutes before I left, and still walked out smelling like an ash tray. Even my hair smelled gross, but I guess them’s the ropes.
Since I was still pretty exhausted from traveling, I decided to make it an early night for tomorrow I have panned something super cool: A Segway Tour of Copenhagen!
You read that correctly! I’m off to Europe for a few days. Now that the Oscars is over, it’s time for me to take my post-Oscars vacation. Usually I go somewhere familiar like Florida or Connecticut, but this time I decided to go to Europe.
“But Adam, why Europe?” I can hear you asking. Good question! It all came down to price. See, a few weeks ago Delta had a glitch on their website that priced certain Europe flights way below what they should be. Because of that, I was able to book a round trip flight to Copenhagen, Denmark for $277, cheaper then flying to Florida or Connecticut. I’ve never been to Europe, so I thought this would be a good chance to explore, if only for a few days.
But after looking in to accommodations in Copenhagen, I realized that Denmark was quite an expensive place to stay, so I booked a round trip flight from Copenhagen to London for only $65. I’ve always wanted to go to London! My return flight to Los Angeles includes a 1 night stay in beautiful Amsterdam.
So now my bags are packed and I’m ready for a solo trip to Europe. Like before, I plan to make periodic blog posts about my travels, starting with my first post of Copenhagen tomorrow morning.
Time to get some rest! Europe is a lot further away then I thought it was…
P.S. For those wondering how I found the cheap fare, I subscribe to a Twitter feed called AirfareWatchdog. They post when they find an unusually low airfare. Check them out: http://twitter.com/airfarewatchdog