Saturday, June 30, 2018

Memories of My Stay at Maasai Mara, Kenya

It has already been quite some time since I took a safari in Kenya. It was rather pricey but I thought it was important to go on safari at least once and in particular on my first visit to the country. Am I ever glad I did.

I went to the famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve (sometimes spelled Masai Mara) , one of the most popular destinations in Kenya.  I was fortunate to be there during the annual wildebeest migration, an awesome spectacle in which there are over a million wildebeest crossing the Savannah. Perhaps I will share those photos in another post once I lay hands on my older photo files.

In the few photos I'm sharing today you can see the beautiful elephants, including a baby elephant, a lone giraffe and several zebras.  I have so many more photos of the beautiful wildlife in Kenya some of which I've shared on this blog over the years.

In addition to the fantastic wildlife, some of which is sadly in danger of extinction, there is a wonderful variety of lodges to choose from when on safari.  I stayed at the beautiful Keekoruk Lodge which I thoroughly enjoyed. Not only was the lodge beautiful and decorated in an elegant rustic style which I so enjoy, but the grounds were meticulously cared for while the food offerings 3 times a day was simply stupendous. On safari you generally go out looking for game at 3 separate points during the day. After enjoying game watching and when dinner was over I would take a walk on the boardwalk behind the hotel. There I could watch and listen to even more wild animals that came to drink at the pond.

In an earlier version of this post I shared a video made by a couple of tourists who also stayed at the Keekoruk. They stayed in the main lodge but I stayed in a stand alone chalet that had a private deck in front. I've seen deleted that rather long video in favour of this shorter one. It gives a much better (and shorter) view of the entire lodge and the wild animals on the mara. I hope you enjoy it.

My room in the chalet looked a lot like the one below. This photo was taken off the internet as I don't recall where I've placed my photos of the lodge and my stay there. I recall my room as looking somewhat more luxurious than the one in the photo and also somewhat larger so perhaps this particular room is not in a chalet. I hope you do notice the rods protruding from the ceiling. This hotel has mosquito netting which encompasses all 4 sides of the bed and provides excellent protection from any mosquitoes which may find the way into your room. I don't recall seeing any at this establishment but the hotel is located near a body of water so I'm sure there are some mosquitoes around.  The mosquito netting will give you peace of mind and protection if needed.

I hope you enjoyed this post. 

I'm joining in with Eileen at

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A Peek Into My Week

An out of town friend from Calgary, Alberta was here and she took me out to Aphrodite's Organic Pie shop for a treat.  She had just finished lunch and I hadn't had any lunch so I was game.

Outside waiting for our pies because inside was jam packed.

There was a very boisterous crowd inside making it difficult to hear one another at times.

I grabbed a seat indoors as soon as I could as it was threatening to rain.

My friend, Raenelle wanted to take me to the sister restaurant of the same name, across the street. But there was a notice on the door stating that the restaurant was keeping limited hours due to lack of staff.  The notice referenced the high cost of living in Vancouver making it difficult to retain staff. I peeked in through windows and it looks like a lovely restaurant and an equally lovely patio outside.

I had strawberry-rhubarb pie a la mode. My friend had cherry pie with whipped cream.  The pie was okay but the crust was very oily. I prefer a deep dish pie and these  pies were rather flat, greasy and overcooked. I don't want to sound like I'm complaining because my friend was very generous and kind.  But when a piece of pie is almost $10  plus extra for ice cream and coffee, it better be good. To be fair this pie shop gets rave reviews and I've seen  many photos of deep dish and delicious looking pies that look nothing like what I had on Sunday. So I should return another day or better yet, learn to make my own organic pie, lol.

After pie,  I suggested a movie with a bite to eat first since I hadn't really eaten a proper meal all day.  We had very limited time to nosh so I suggested we go to some place close to the movie.  We went to the Cheshire Cheese Inn on Dunbar and had a quick bite of fish and chips.  The restaurant was advertising for more wait staff with a posted notice on the window but we were served cheerfully and efficiently.  I wish I could give the food a thumbs up too but the fish batter was hard and over done.  Wow, I was mostly out of luck on Sunday with food quality. This is highly unusual. Normally I am totally satisfied with my food as served.

With a few minutes to spare we dashed down the street to the movie "The Incredibles 2".  I had a groupon (coupon) for the Dunbar Theatre and it was getting close to expiring. My friend was game to see the children's family movie and we both thought it was a fairly good movie.  The theatre was almost sold out and most of the crowd was made up of grownups and very few children were in attendance. 

After the movie it started to rain and my friend ended up driving into a new to her area though she grew up in the city.  She landed in front of the St. George's School, a private school in the city.  She fell in love with the building.  Seeing an open gate I suggested we park and walk into the grounds to get a better look because she was so enamoured of the place.  The building and the grounds are very beautiful but it was dark (and we were trespassing) so we could only see so much.

I looked up the school on line and learned that the school houses both day students and boarding students. The boarding tuition for Canadian students is approximately $50,000. Canadian dollars for 2018/2019. If you are an international student the tuition is closer to $70,000. Canadian day students pay approximately $25,000 while their international counterparts pay just under $40,000. That is a lot of money but I'm sure very affordable for the elites of the world.  While I don't know what the tuition fees are like elsewhere, my sense is the rates are very competitive.

On Monday another friend named Pat, and I took in a concert which was part of the Vancouver Jazz Festival on now and until July 1st.  The songstress was Leora Cashe and the venue was the beautiful St. Andrews Wesley located at Burrard and Nelson Streets in downtown Vancouver.  I really enjoyed the performance.  I  just managed to snap a few photos and partially record a song before my camera battery died.

Even though the concert was free the crowd was small.
I've uploaded a short video of a negro spiritual called "Steal Away" sung by the gifted Leora Cashe. I hope you enjoy it. I'm new to posting videos so you may want to click and watch on YouTube if you need to adjust the volume.

My friend had also invited me to a belated birthday luncheon and the venue was the beautiful waterfront restaurant called the Dockside located in the Granville Island Hotel (on Granville Island).  I couldn't get photos but managed to get a nice one from the internet.  The restaurant has a very large and beautiful patio deck but we opted to sit indoors by the window to avoid the direct sunlight.

I'm ending my long post with a beautiful sunrise which I snapped from my patio deck on Wednesday morning just after 5 a.m.
and a photo of my garden.


On Friday I have an appointment downtown. 
In the evening I've invited a friend to join me in listening to the marvellous Watoto Children's Choir from Uganda. If it's permitted I'll take photos to share with you in a future post.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Joining in with 


Monday, June 25, 2018

First Swahili Community Day in Vancouver

This photo is of the Vancouver Lookout located on Hastings Street and Seymour in downtown Vancouver. It is the place I went to with my friend a few weeks ago after our Harbour Cruise but I didn't take any photos from the top .

Vancouver's Mayor, Gregor Robertson, proclaimed the week of June 22, 2018 as Swahili Community Day.  The inaugural celebration of this event took place on Friday evening at the Jambo Grill, an African Indian Restaurant on Kingsway Street in Vancouver.

It was a fabulous and fun celebration with music and live entertainment provided by the terrific Kurai blessing Mubaiwa, cultural ambassador from Zimbabwe (now living in Vancouver).

Raffle tickets were sold for various prizes such as food gift certificates from Kenya Food and Spices and meals from Jambo Grill. Topping it off was the big prize for a return trip to Africa through the generosity of Kenyan Airways. Sadly I was not the winner of the trip to Africa but I'm sure the winner will enjoy it very much.

Kurai Blessing Mubaiwa is also the lead vocalist in the group, Zimbamoto which will be playing at this year's African Descent Festival. Check out the schedule African Descent Festival 2018. It looks likes many fabulous entertainers will be there.

I had fun attending this event with some of my Tanzanian friends. The event is meant to bring together all Swahili speaking peoples in the Lower Mainland ensure a sense of cultural and linguistic continuity from the motherland to Canada. At this event there were a lot of Burundians and some Tanzanians. In future I hope to see more people from Kenya join in the event.

Joining in with

Monday, June 18, 2018

Harbour Cruise Continued

Hello friends,

A few weeks ago I posted part one of the Vancouver Harbour Cruise which my friend invited me to join her on. If you missed it you can find it here. Today's post is the conclusion of the Harbour Tour Cruise. 

 The cruise is just one hour long and so it's easy to fit into a busy touring schedule. The departure point is conveniently located between the downtown Vancouver core and Stanley Park just past the Westin Hotel.

Vancouver Yacht Club located a few steps from the Harbour Cruise office.

The old fashioned boat named the Constitution is the boat that takes us on our journey.
I rode this boat many years ago when I took my youngest sibling on a journey up to Indian Arm.
I was surprised to see the boat is still in operation.
That's how long ago I took the last tour!

My friend poses before we board the boat.

I was looking for a map of the cruising route but couldn't find one so I am sharing a map here that gives a good idea of where we were in relation to the City of Vancouver.

If you look on the map below our departure point was from Coal Harbour near Denman Street.
The cruising route was roughly in a circle across the harbour to around Lonsdale Ave in North Vancouver and back.
In case you might be interested in one of the cruises offered by this company you can see what other visitors here have had to say about it at Trip Advisor.
By and large people seem to enjoy their experience.

We're off!
You can see it is quite cloudy and it looks like we are going to get a deluge of rain.
However the rain held off and it became a bit clearer later in the afternoon.

We are heading eastward.

On the right we get a great view of the Vancouver City skyline and the two different buildings which make up the Vancouver Convention Centre.

This next photo captures a mountain view to the north.

The tower with the round observation deck on top is called Vancouver Lookout.
Once we finished our Harbour Cruise we went to the top of the lookout.
I've been there many times over the years.

Another view to the northern mountains and the city of North Vancouver.

I learned that these barges contain salt from Mexico.
The salt is what is used in our winter on icy sidewalks, parking lots, etc.

You might be able to make out the round sign (white and red) in the photo below.  That is the sight of the public market area called Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver.

The next few photos are of seals who are lying on the logs.

Below is a longer view of the seals and the City of North Vancouver in the background.

 Below is a close up of the boat mooring area in North Vancouver which is very close to where the seals are enjoying their leisure.

We are making our way back to Vancouver and this view is toward the northern mountains and North Vancouver. There is the circular Lonsdale Quay sign on the right and the sea bus on the left making it's way back to Vancouver's Waterfront Station.

These barges contain sulphur (yellow mounds). To be honest I'm not sure what sulfur is used for even though the tour guide did tell us.

After a brief google search I discovered that the sulphur seems to be owned by the only Canadian manufacturer and supplier of sulphur, Petrosul which has it's head office in Vancouver. Petrosul markets sulphur to North American and offshore markets.

Sulphur is also used in many other industries including non-ferrous metals, pigments, fibers, hydrofluoric acid, carbon disulphide, pharmaceuticals, agricultural pesticides, personal care products, cosmetics, synthetic rubber vulcanization, water treatment, and steel pickling. (Source: Sulfur Institute).

Today, it's most common use is in the manufacture of sulfuric acid, which in turn goes into fertilizers, batteries and cleaners. It's also used to refine oil and in processing ores. Pure sulfur has no smell. ... Rotten eggs and stink bombs get their distinctive aroma because of hydrogen sulfide. (Source: Live Science).
( Sulphur is spelled a few different ways as noted from the above quotations taken from different sources).

Who knew sulphur was so useful? 

I like this photo of the Vancouver City skyline.

This seagull seemed to follow our journey for awhile.

Above and below is a great view of the "sails". This building is the home of the original Vancouver Convention Centre and the Pan Pacific Hotel. Both of these sites remain but the convention centre is now referred to as Convention Centre East.  The low lying building to the right is the new addition and called Convention Centre West. 

Convention Centre East

Convention Centre West
Sadly the tour has come to an end.
I hope you enjoyed it.

I'll be linking up this week (once the linkys open)


Neighbourhood Street Scenes

Hello friends and fellow bloggers, I hope you are well today. These are photos I took on a recent walk in the neighbourhood. You can see the...