Monthly Archives: January 2012

Nairobi to Mwanza

My mom is back from her weekend trip to Nairobi, so now I can post again since she took her computer and the internet with her.  Her journey home from Nairobi was so much easier than mine!

We arrived in Nairobi from Amsterdam at 9:30pm on New Year’s Eve.  Mom needed to be in Mwanza, Tanzania by January 3rd, but we still hadn’t figured out how to get there.  Unfortunately Precision Air is the only airline that regularly flies from Nairobi to Mwanza and they hate little dogs like me, so flying wasn’t an option.  Luckily we met a great taxi driver named Michael in Nairobi and he agreed to drive us from Nairobi to the Kenya/Tanzania border where we would meet my namesake and godfather, Tito the taxi driver.

Me in Tito the taxi driver's car

We set out from Nairobi on the morning of January 3rd.  We drove through the Great Rift Valley and saw Masai herders.  It was the biggest yard I’ve ever seen!

The Great Rift Valley

Masai herders with the biggest animals I've ever seen!

It took us almost 5 hours to drive from Nairobi to the border town of Isebania.  In some sections communities built speed bumps so high that the car would get stuck on top.  During the day, they helped to push us over, but during the night, it’s much more dangerous.  Mom said they even steal things from people this way.  Good thing we were driving during the day!

Using dad's neck pillow on the long car ride

Once we got to the border we easily crossed into Tanzania and the town of Sirari.  No one even asked to see my paperwork!  We met my godfather Tito at the border and transferred everything into his vehicle to finish the rest of our drive to Mwanza.

We got a mini-Safari as we drove from the Kenyan border to Mwanza since we were on the edge of the Serengeti.  I thought the cows from the Great Rift Valley were cool until I saw zebras in the Serengeti.  These giant striped creatures just blew my mind!  Mom says that elephants are even bigger and I can’t imagine what I’ll do when I see one.

Zebras in the Serengeti

After driving for 4 hours and spotting zebras, wildebeest, and baboons along the way, we made it to Mwanza!  That first night we stayed in a wonderful hotel on Lake Victoria called Ryan’s Bay Hotel.  After a 10 hour journey, I was beat and super happy to relax in my new home.

Me relaxing at Ryan's Bay Hotel

Our route from Nairobi to Mwanza

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The Journey

My mom is going to Nairobi today and it’ll be the first time I’ve ever spent a night without her. Good thing I have Aunt Amanda to take care of me! Speaking of Nairobi, that’s where my African adventure began. Here’s the beginning of the story of my 5 day trip from Stanley, NY to Mwanza, Tanzania:

On December 30th, 2011, my grandparents drove me and mom to the Syracuse airport. Mom had 180 lbs of luggage, including lots of food, toys, and goodies for me! Luckily, mom’s doctor had written her a note certifying that I am an emotional support animal, because let’s face it, my mom is a little crazy! Because I’m considered a service animal, I was able to ride in the cabin with my mom all the way to Nairobi, thanks Delta and KLM!!

The first leg of our trip was easy, we got to sit in the first row and I chewed my bone on mom’s lap all the way from Syracuse to Detroit.

Mom and I at the Syracuse airport

We had a few hours to kill once we landed in Detroit, while we waited for dad to arrive from St. Louis. I was on my best behavior, I peed in the handicapped bathroom and did my best loose-leash walking. I was SUPER excited when my dad arrived!

Hanging out in the Detroit airport

My first transatlantic flight was from Detroit to Amsterdam. I had no idea I would be on an airplane for so long! My mom gave me some medicine so that I could sleep and boy did it make me feel silly. I slept for most of the flight and all the flight attendants came to see what a good puppy I was. In my opinion, I was much better behaved than all those babies and toddlers!

My first international destination was Amsterdam, although I never got to leave the airport. KLM was nice enough to give us Economy Extra, so mom, dad, and I all got our own seats! At first, the flight attendants didn’t think I was allowed to go to Kenya, but mom promptly showed them my import permit and health documents and everything was fine.

I got another sleeping pill for the 8 hour flight from Amsterdam to Nairobi. I don’t like to drink water from a bowl in moving vehicles, so I ended up getting really dehydrated. My body temperature went up and mom got super worried about me. Luckily dad came up with a solution. They fed me water from a syringe and I bounced back as soon as I got rehydrated.

When we landed in Nairobi, mom was worried that the customs officials might give us problems, but they only glanced at my paperwork and sent us on our way. We were officially in Africa!

As soon as I got outside and found some grass, I had a much-needed potty break and then we were on our way to the Hilton Hotel. The weather was awesome and I couldn’t be happier spending New Year’s Eve anywhere else.

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Tito’s Story

My Story:

It all began on August 29th when I was born in Marion, NY.

My First Voyage

My adoptive parents found me on craigslist.org and came to get me when I was 7 weeks old.  My maiden voyage was from Marion, NY to Ithaca, NY.  I lived in chilly Ithaca from mid-October until December 30th while my adoptive parents studied at Cornell University.

Me and my frog toy at 7 weeks

Me and my frog toy at 8 weeks

During those first few months in Ithaca, I hiked Taughannock Falls and graduated from puppy school at Petsmart.

Me, mom, and dad at Taughannock Falls

Puppy School Graduation

While I enjoyed my new life, and 2 kitty siblings, the cold  weather and snow was just not for me.

Me and my siblings, Michi and Fupa

First Snow, in my snowsuit

My mom decided that she would take me with her to Tanzania while she collected data for her PhD thesis.  Much time and preparation went into planning my international adventure.  My mom applied for, and received, an import permit for Kenya and for Tanzania so that she could bring me into Africa. I received all my shots and had check-ups and documents prepared by veterinarians at Cornell University and Eastview Veterinary clinic.  In theory, everything was in place for my first big trip!

My mom is packed and we're ready to go!

This blog tells the story of my year-long African adventure…

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