Posts Tagged With: Dar es Salaam

Going Home: Mwanza to Dar es Salaam

I was just kidding about never seeing Agatha again because sure enough, I saw her the very next day.  Let me explain:

After my (un)happy Mother’s Day, mom and I set off for the Mwanza airport with my namesake Tito, the taxi driver.  We packed all this stuff into the car:

That's a lot of stuff!

That’s a lot of stuff!

and then I said goodbye to our Maasai warrior guard.

Goodbye Akwi

Goodbye Akwi

When we got to the airport, mom put me in my cage (which I totally hate, it’s so demeaning) because all the Tanzanians were afraid of me.  We went through security and got to the check-in counter with more than enough time to spare.  But, unsurprisingly, no one knew quite what to do with me.  They said it was impossible for me to fly even though mom had already made arrangements for me with the manager.

So I waited patiently (or not so patiently, I’ll admit I cried a bit) while mom fought for my right to board the airplane.

Waiting...

Waiting…

Everyone ignored her because they just didn’t want to deal with a situation that made them think outside the box.  Eventually, it got too late and the plane simply left without us so we were forced (well, mom was forced, I was happy) to go back to our house for the night.

I was ecstatic when we got home and did leaps of joy around the house.

You know what was the icing on the cake?  When I woke up the next morning, Agatha was there!  Hooray!  Unfortunately, we really needed to leave on Monday since our flight to Amsterdam was leaving that evening from Dar es Salaam.  So, around noon, I said my goodbyes to everyone again.

Saying goodbye to Agatha (again) and Eddie (our gardener)

Saying goodbye to Agatha (again) and Eddie (our gardener)

Once more, we arrived at the Mwanza airport and into my cage I went.

I hate that dumb thing

I hate that dumb thing

This time, the people at the airport were prepared for me and things went much more smoothly.  Mom handed me off to the Tanzanian baggage handlers to be loaded into the luggage part of the plane.  I was not super excited about this, but since I was in my cage there really wasn’t much to be done about the situation.

Eyeing me with skepticism

Eyeing me with skepticism

I was driven out to the airplane on a tractor (without my mom) and loaded onto the little ATR airplane, since all of Precision Air’s Boeings are not working.

I'm in there somewhere!

I’m in there somewhere!

You know where they put me?  In the baggage section like I was nothing special.  Below me there was a bucket of dead fish that I had to smell for the entire flight and above me was one of mom’s massive bags.  I’m lucky that I even survived!

Piled in with all the luggage (if you can even call a bucket of dead fish luggage)

Piled in with all the luggage (if you can even call a bucket of dead fish luggage)

Finally, after an agonizing two hours, we arrived in Dar and reunited with mom’s taxi driver friend Sham.  Since no hotels would allow us to enter, Sham took us to a place called Coco Beach to pass the time until our next flight.

Enjoying the ocean breeze with Sham

Enjoying the ocean breeze with Sham

Here’s where I spent my very last hours in Tanzania, not too shabby if you ask me!

Coco Beach

Coco Beach

But, as I’ve learned in my short life, all good things much come to an end.  So, after the sun had set, mom and I headed back to the airport to continue our marathon journey back to America.

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Guest Blog: Twiga “Coming to America”

"What games do ya'll play in Africa? Chase the monkey?"  Well, actually, yes, we do.

“What games do ya’ll play in Africa? Chase the monkey?” Well, actually, yes, we do.

Hi, I’m Twiga, the Cat (I’m sure you all remember me) and that’s me on the left.  I look like one cool, average American guy, right?  And you know why?  I just came to America – just like Eddie Murphy in “Coming to America“!

Like Eddie, I’m an African prince (all cats are princes, in case you didn’t know) who left my home to see what this America place is all about.  (On the right is my servant Colin, naturally portrayed by Arsenio Hall).

But you’re probably curious how a little ol’ Tanzanian street cat like me made it all the way to the US.  Well, sit right down and let me tell you my tail.  It all started in one of these:

In the cat carrier in my Tanzanian home

In the cat carrier in my Tanzanian home

STILL in the cat carrier at the Mwanza Airport

STILL in the cat carrier at the Mwanza Airport

Yup, you guessed it, still in the cat carrier at the Dar es Salaam Airport

Yup, you guessed it, STILL in the cat carrier at the Dar es Salaam Airport

My temporary home from Mwanza to Dar es Salaam.  As you can see, I tried to make the best of it:

Cat Nap!

Cat Nap!

The best part was no one made me go through security, so I could have smuggled out all the catnip and street mice I wanted.  If only I’d known!

I was kind of enjoying myself, but in Dar I had to say goodbye to my Sarah (who calls herself my mom now).  She made kind of a big deal about it, but I was pretty cool, because I’m one cool cat, remember?

On my next flight, I had my servant Colin stow me under his seat.

Stowed

Stowed (in a tiny black bag)

By the time we got to the Ethiopian airport, I really needed to get out, so servant Colin let me wander around this phone booth for a few minutes.  I wanted to call and let my dogs in America know I was coming, but servant Colin was having none of it (Plus, he said that the charges from Addis Ababa to America would be exorbitant even though I’m a prince).

Chillin' Addis Ababa Phone Booth Style

Chillin’ Addis Ababa Phone Booth Style

Next we had this really, really, really, long flight to Washington, D.C.  Every 5 hours or so, servant Colin took me to the airplane bathroom so I could keep trying to get in the airplane toilet.  I just don’t see why this is such a bad idea.  I needed a bath, plain and simple.

But finally, after 17 hours on the same plane (that’s 119 cat hours, mind you), we arrived in Washington, D.C.  Servant Colin was a little nervous about Customs, but they didn’t even look at my papers.  The joke’s on them!  There’s no telling what I brought with me!  You’ll be reading about it in the papers soon enough, just you wait and see.  I’m looking good now, because I clean up well, but just months ago, I wasn’t looking nearly so fly.

After

After

Before

Before

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And just like that, I became an American citizen and a hero too – like George Washington or Shaquille O’Neal or the American flag!

My first impression of the US was this place called Starbucks.  It must be a new thing because I’ve never heard of it.

Still in that darn tiny black carrier

Still in that darn tiny black carrier

My first experience walking around the US was this family airport bathroom.  Naturally, I tried to climb in the toilet again (one wants to be clean to make a good first impression), but servant Colin advised me not to.  Not cool, servant boy.  Not cool.

Stare-down with servant Colin

Stare-down with servant Colin

And after one more short flight, I arrived at my new temporary home – Charlotte, North Carolina.  Though maybe now, it’s a bit more North Catolina!

Now that I’m an American, I’m going to take up some new hobbies.  First of all – I want to call this Miss Cleo lady – she seems really smart.  I need to start eating a lot more fast food and I’ll have to ramp up my gun collection pretty fast.

Of course, some things never change:

Charlotte

Charlotte

Mwanza

Mwanza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, I’m sure someone will be interested in this Kenyan birth certificate I have for some guy named Obama.

Screen Shot 2013-03-15 at 6.20.14 PM

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my emigration tail.  Now I must begin my endless pursuit of the American dream – starting right here:

IMG_0864

 

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Charlotte, NC to Mwanza, TZ in 79 Hours

It’s been a week now since mom and I arrived back in Mwanza and it’s taken me that long to get over the stress and anxiety of our trip from, for lack of a better word, HELL.  And before I go any further, I’d just like to say that I seriously considered titling this post, “Turkish Airlines Sucks”, but decided to be a bit more eloquent and explain the situation…so here goes!

Slide1

I’d also like to say that Turkish Air has now supplanted Precision Air for the number one spot on my travel “potty” list.  FYI Turkish Air, you are not a REAL European airline if you are more afraid of a 7 kg dog than an 80 kg drunk, belligerent man, just saying.  But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Goodbye Charlotte (Mom informs me this is also the name of a whiny rock band)

Goodbye Charlotte! (Mom informs me this is also the name of a whiny rock band)

We left Charlotte, North Carolina on a Wednesday and flew on US Airways to Washington, DC (an airport I may have pooped in, oops).  For the record, US Airways is awesome for doggies.  The flight attendant was super nice and showed me and mom photos of her own little dachshund, who I must say was quite the cutie.  Based on our excellent treatment by all the US Airways people, mom and I had no idea the personal hell we were in for once we transferred to Turkish Air in Washington, DC.

Enjoying US Airways

Enjoying US Airways

Once in DC, the problems began.  It’s too painful to relive all the terror the Turkish Air people put mom and me through, so I’ll be brief in my description.  More or less, the flight attendants told mom that it was “impossible” (sounds like a Tanzanian talking to me, once again these phrases would not be uttered on a REAL European airline) to bring me on board even though I’m a service dog and have all the appropriate paperwork and even though mom had called and arranged everything with Turkish Air months in advance.

Rejecting a service animal? You should be ashamed of yourself, Turkish Air

Rejecting a service animal? You should be ashamed of yourself, Turkish Air

In the end, I was obviously allowed to fly because here I am writing from Tanzania, but it wasn’t before both me and mom were made to feel incredibly unwelcome on the 10-hour flight to Istanbul.  Luckily our seat mate was great and mom and him complained together about the rudeness of the Turkish Air flight attendants.

Once in Istanbul, me and mom figured everything would be smooth sailing because the people in DC assured us that they had put a special note on our file so we wouldn’t be treated so poorly on the next flight to Dar es Salaam.  But NO, of course this message did nothing to stop the idiocy of this pseudo-European airline.  We were treated even worse on the next flight and were almost kicked off to be stranded in Istanbul.

We finally arrived in Dar es Salaam, tired and nervous at 4:30 in the morning.  We were too late to try to fly to Mwanza so mom took a chance on a taxi driver who turned out to be our savior in this whole bad dream of an experience.  His name was Sham (even I get the irony of this) and he was truly amazing!  He drove us around Dar es Salaam for over an hour looking for a hotel that would accept us because I’m not exactly welcome in Tanzania.  Finally after trying at least 15 different hotels, we were welcomed into the Peacock Hotel and immediately fell onto the bed for an amazing sleep.

Beds are awesome

Beds are awesome

It took mom 2 full days in Dar es Salaam to arrange a way to get to Mwanza.  Because Precision Air is afraid of little dogs like me, I was forced to ride in cargo.  Luckily, I had no idea what this meant until it was actually happening, otherwise I never would have gotten myself into such a situation.

While we were waiting for what I thought was just another routine short flight, mom gave me a little treat, a bitter tasting pill, but I think anything mom gives me is a treat!  Before I knew it I was being shoved into a crate, in a bit of a haze, and was having a hard time keeping my eyes open.

Seriously guys, what's going on?

Seriously guys, what’s going on?

Next thing I know, a Tanzanian man is carrying me away from my teary-eyed mom and then she is gone and I’m alone in my tiny cage.  WHY?  After a while, I’m driven out to the airplane, still in my cage and placed in the bottom of the plane.  What the heck did I do to deserve this?  Luckily, mom came to check on me in the bottom of the plane.  Unfortunately she was just there to say hi and then they closed the hatch and I was all alone.

In cargo, on Precision Air, all alone

In cargo, on Precision Air, all alone

By this point, my eyes were heavy and all I could do was close them and pretend I was with mom in our bed back in Mwanza.  And you know what, it worked!  Next thing I knew, I was reunited with mom and Taxi Tito and we were on our way to our bed in Mwanza!  Hooray!  Best day in a LONG, LONG time!  And then it got better because I was reunited with our awesome house and my best friend Twiga and my girlfriend Miss Piggy.

Reunited with my awesome yard!

Reunited with my awesome yard!

Reunited with Twiga!

Reunited with Twiga!

Reunited with Miss Piggy!

Reunited with Miss Piggy!

Was it worth it?  Sure it was, but it could have been a lot easier.  Mom and I will have to figure out another way back when we head home in May…

An Addendum: Apparently mom and me are not the only travelers to suffer at the hands of Turkish Air.  See the blog post here and all the comments that follow.  Boycott Turkish Air!

http://blog.myletsadopt.com/2010/10/26/turkish-airlines-worlds-worst-airline-for-pets/

Boycott Turkish Air!

Boycott Turkish Air!

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Shipping Cats

I don’t think I ever properly introduced you to my friends and (former) housemates: BlackCat and WhiteCat.  BlackCat and WhiteCat belong to mom and Aunt Amanda’s friend Jilli.  When Jilli moved from Mwanza to Dar es Salaam she needed some animal lovers to watch her cats and everyone knows that Mwanza’s animal sanctuary is located right here at my house! BlackCat and WhiteCat quickly integrated into our household and we all became good friends.

BlackCat, WhiteCat, and me

BlackCat, WhiteCat, and me

Well, I knew there was trouble brewing when Jilli showed up on Friday night with a big cage.  Mom used to put me in a cage when she left for work, but I hated that darn thing and I can’t stand the site of these animal torture boxes.  The cage sat around the house for the whole weekend so I kind of forgot about it, but a few hours ago everything changed.

Jilli put a Maasai blanket in the cage and then mom put me inside to see how I liked it.  Even though this cage is WAY bigger than the one I used to have, I still didn’t like it.  I believe it’s for unmannered dogs and therefore I clearly do not need to be in one ever again.

Nope! Not for me

Nope! Not for me

First Jilli captured BlackCat and put him inside and LOCKED THE DOOR.  This is when I realized that this was no joke.  Jilli was actually preparing to take her cats somewhere.

Stuck inside

Stuck inside

Poor BlackCat

Poor BlackCat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WhiteCat was smart and hid in a suitcase in Aunt Amanda’s room, but eventually he was found and then placed in the cage with BlackCat too.

At least they have each other

At least they have each other

WhiteCat goes in

WhiteCat goes in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As soon as my kitty friends were in the cage, Jilli and the Maasai carried the cage up the driveway, out through the gate, and then into the back of a waiting car.  Where the heck were they taking BlackCat and WhiteCat?

Stop! Bring them back!

Stop! Bring them back!

Where are you taking my friends?

Where are you taking my friends?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I started freaking out so mom explained that Jilli was taking the cats in an airplane to Dar es Salaam.  I bet it must be scary for a kitty to be in a cage in an airplane without his mom.  But I suppose BlackCat and WhiteCat will be ok because they have each other for comfort.  BlackCat and WhiteCat will stay in Dar es Salaam for a week with Jilli and then they will do the long flight like I did a year ago.  Mom says that I shouldn’t worry because BlackCat and WhiteCat are very lucky that they are moving to America, especially since WhiteCat was just a Tanzanian street cat that never could have dreamed of such a good life.  Apparently they even get to go to a special kitty hotel in the Amsterdam airport between their flights.

I wish mom had let me know a little sooner that BlackCat and WhiteCate would be making the trip to America.  I could have given them some pointers and told them what it’s like to go on an airplane for many, many hours.  Except that when I went I got to sit with my mom (lucky me)!

Saying goodbye

Saying goodbye

I’ll miss my kitty friends, but in the end I’m happy for them and excited for their adventure.  Jilli better let them e-mail me from time to time and perhaps I can even visit when I’m back in America too!

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Dog-Friendly Hotels in East Africa

In general, people in Tanzania and Kenya seem not to like me, which is weird because in the US everyone loved me.  I’m discriminated by Precision Air, and many other places because I’m a dog, but there have been a few gems in my travels.  I want other doggies to have an easier time than me while traveling Africa so I’m going to keep a running list here of the places where I’ve been welcomed.

The Places I've Stayed

The Places I’ve Stayed

1. Hilton Hotel, Nairobi

All the people that worked at the Hilton were excited to see me and quickly learned my name.  Everyday at breakfast they would greet me by name and also they gave me my first meal of goat, yummy!  When my mom went back to the Hilton a month after our stay without me, everyone remembered me and asked where I was, they missed me!

The bed was super comfortable at the Hilton

The Pool at the Hilton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Ryan’s Bay Hotel, Mwanza

  • Website: http://www.ryansbay.com/
  • Telephone number: +255-28-254-2347
  • Location: On the shore of Lake Victoria just next to downtown Mwanza
  • Price: $120/night for a double room

The people at Ryan’s Bay were super welcoming to me after a long drive from Nairobi.  Even though I only stayed there for one night, I kept going back for dinner because the people were so nice to me.  The room was huge and I had a great view of Lake Victoria every night at dinner.

View of Capri Point from Ryan’s Bay

The view from dinner at Ryan’s Bay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Speke Bay, Lake Victoria

  • Website: http://www.spekebay.com/C01/UK/welcome.htm
  • Telephone number: +255-28-262-1236
  • Location: On the shores of Lake Victoria, about a 2 hour drive from Mwanza and 15 minute drive from the Western Corridor Gate of the Serengeti
  • Price: $300/night for a triple room, includes dinner and breakfast

This was my first real beach and it was beautiful!  There’s only 8 bungalows at the hotel so we basically had the whole beach to ourselves and I got to run up and down, digging and swimming!  They even let me come in the restaurant and when we left they asked me to bring back 3 more dogs just like me 🙂

Post Lake Victoria-swimming at Speke Bay

The view of Lake Victoria from our bungalow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Setavin Hotel, Musoma, Tanzania

  • Telephone number: +255 282 622 282
  • Location: The center of Musoma town, which is located on Lake Victoria, 1 1/2 hours from the border of Kenya and 2 1/2 hours from Mwanza
  • Price: $50/night for a double room, includes breakfast

Mom and I weren’t expecting much from the hotel selection in Musoma because Marcel had warned that the town was similar to Butare in Rwanda, however I was pleasantly surprised with Setavin Hotel.  The people who worked there accepted me right away and all learned my name and also helped me practice the ‘sit’ command.  The room was super clean and I had fun playing on the balcony while mom had dinner and breakfast.  Before I left, all the staff made sure to say goodbye and one of them even fed me by hand!

Me on the bed at Setavin Hotel

The outside of Setavin Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Snowcrest Hotel, Arusha, Tanzania

  • Website: http://www.snowcresthotel.com/
  • Telephone number: +255 272 543 100
  • Location: Just outside the center of Arusha near the Arusha International Conference Center
  • Price: $230/night for a triple room, includes breakfast

We arrived here late at night and the guards and the reception were so nice and welcoming to us.  They smiled at me and quickly checked us in and showed us to our wonderful room.  The beds were comfy and had nice fluffy duvets.  We were really hungry so we ordered room service at 12:30am and it came quickly.  In the morning, the humans had a yummy breakfast buffet and I got to play in the huge gardens surrounding the hotel.  Five paws for the Snowcrest!

Me and mom at the Snowcrest

Me and the guard at Snowcrest Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Sarova Lion Hill Lodge, Nakuru, Kenya

  • Website: http://www.sarovahotels.com/lionhill/
  • Telephone number: +254 020 231 5139
  • Location: On a hill overlooking Lake Nakuru inside Lake Nakuru National Park just outside of Nakuru town
  • Price: $180/night for a double room, includes breakfast

Even though it was difficult to enter Lake Nakuru National Park as a dog, once I arrived at the Sarova Lion Hill Lodge, I was treated like a star!  The individual bungalows are spaced far enough apart for lots of privacy and the view of the Lake in the morning is delightful!  Also, the beds are super comfy and have a hot water compress inside for a warm, snuggly, night’s sleep 🙂

Just outside our bungalow, overlooking Lake Nakuru

Me on the bed at the Sarova Lion Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Peacock Hotel, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

  • Website: http://www.peacock-hotel.com/
  • Telephone number: +255 22 2120334
  • Location: The city center of Dar es Salaam
  • Price: $95/night, includes breakfast

This may be the only hotel that will allow dogs like me in all of Dar es Salaam, even though it’s a big city and the capital of Tanzania at that.  Mom, Sham (our awesome taxi driver), and I drove and drove and drove around the city looking for a place we could stay for almost an hour in the very early morning and the Peacock Hotel finally welcomed us with open arms.  They allowed us to check in at 7:00 am so that we could sleep after two long days of flying.  The rooms are clean with big, comfy beds, a tv, free wi-fi, and air conditioning.  We truly loved everything about our stay here!

In the bathroom on a pile of Peacock towels

In the bathroom on a pile of Peacock towels

Me on the comfy bed with LOTS of pillows

Me on the comfy bed with LOTS of pillows

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My Mom Went to Dar es Salaam and…

all she got me was this squeaky ball toy.

My new toy

However, I soon discovered that this is a pretty awesome toy.  Not only is it my first soccer ball, but it also makes the loudest squeaking noises.  I play with it constantly, you can watch me play here: http://youtu.be/XbrontsARyg

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