Monday, April 20, 2015

Packing for East Africa (Part 1 of several)

1Here's my list of things you should bring with you on your trip to Africa, in no particular order:

  Frye Artisan Fold Over Cross Body Bag:

Without a doubt, the best decision I ever made when packing for Africa.  Okay so maybe there is some order to this list.  This is very, very good if you will be spending any time in a large city.  The style is understated and the leather is luxurious and durable.  My Jenny cross body will make many more trips around Africa and the globe with me.  Worth.Every.Penny.

Available at: or The Frye Company

L’Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil & L'Occitane Shea Butter Ultra Rich Body Lotion

Fabulous for the skin.  Smells soft and sweet, but not "loud".  In a pinch I have also used this light lubricant on a few sticky locks since I can't find a can of WD-40. Expensive, yes, but multipurpose.  Works well with Shea Butter Ultra Rich Body Lotion.

Available from:

Simply the best after bath lotion that stands up to African dry heat.  I've tried cheaper, but none works better than this at keeping dry skin away.  L'Occitane also makes very good hand and foot creams as well.  Again, expensive, but darned well worth it.

Available from:

  Austrailian Sun Block


During my time in Uganda, my friends Carolyn and Phillip from Sydney visited.  At that time, I was burned to a crisp by the sun, so I asked her to bring me sunblock.  This sunblock is the best I have ever used.  I know, I know -- I'm saying that about everything in this post, but, hey, when the stuff works like it advertises, you can't help bug brag about it.

Available from:  Carolyn and Phillip, Sydney, Austrailia

   LL Bean backpack


   A truly wonderful backpack at a good price.  Rugged as hell.  Ergonomic too.

     Available from:  L.L. Bean

     More posts later about great stuff to pack for your trip to Africa.



Monday, April 13, 2015

Eye Candy for Readers

This is George building a house.

Shower to clean off the mud:  $0.10
Shirt to keep your friends from drooling a river: $50
Trip to Africa to meet him:  $4,000

Waking up next to George every day for the rest of your life: Priceless.

Ladies, he's looking for a 2nd wife.  Applications with photos are accepted.  Contact author for details.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Night Blues

So I've made it to another Sunday night.  And this one is after the dullest weekend of my time in Nairobi, so I guess the Sunday Night Blues are inevitable.

The Sunday Night Blues have been an affliction in the Grose household since graduation from college.  Ah, those heady days of no responsibilities and no work on Monday, just 3 hours of class and then the bliss of putting off reading or studying while spending time goofing off with friends.  I wouldn't say the Sunday Night Blues are depression, just more a sort of vague despondency and a resignation that the inevitable Monday is only a few hours away.

In an attempt to rescue myself from boredom, I haul my laptop into my backpack and head for the Starbucks of Nairobi (Nairobi Java House) near where I live in Greenspan Mall.  I determine that I will spend the evening watching videos and surfing the net getting caught up on the world's news and just goofing off over the evening.

After I plug in my computer and start writing this post, I am joined by a complete stranger at my table which disturbs me greatly.  I am sitting in a 4-top booth that I had intended to keep entirely to myself. I had planned a perfectly funny evening of John Oliver from YouTube and now I can't enjoy laughing out loud with someone, a stranger, sitting at my table.  Hopefully this will not last all night.

The Stranger has pulled out his Bible and is reading intently.  This does not look good for having a quiet (but funny) evening on my own.  I am mortally afraid of being witnessed to against my will.  Momentarily, I think I would prefer Guantanamo Bay, but then I think better of that one.  He closes his Bible now and is looking around the café as if he is waiting on someone, perhaps someone unknown to him, that will engage him in the conversation that I will not.

Julius, my regular waiter here, brings me great service and superb light conversation.  He has also just brought me my Chicken Tandoori Wrap.  But wait, a light from my cell phone tells me that I have a text message waiting.  The evening could be saved, I hope.

An exchange of texts ensues, but nothing is really determined.  You come here.  No, you come here; I just got my dinner.  No, you come here.  You know the drill.  Looks like John Oliver and YouTube are back on again.

And so it goes, I have about 6 weeks left in Nairobi and one seriously dull evening was bound to happen.  On the bright side, I realize that spending an evening in an internet café is going to be a great way to transition back into my life at home.  Home.  Such a comforting word right now.

But wait, another text from my friend.  It is possible this evening could be interesting after all.  We work out a time and place to meet.  But I still miss home and right now I can think of nothing I would rather do than have the Sunday Night Blues with Charles.