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Countries and State We’ve Visited

It’s always cool to get a visual of where you’ve been. Here’s an up-til-today map of the United States and the world of all the states and countries we’ve visited [as opposed to just drove through]. Not all of them we’ve both been to, but if one of us has been there, it’s on the map.


27 states (54%)


14 countries (6.22%)

I’ll update them as new states and countries are added; or when Nduku let’s me know I forgot one.

Taking a Detour on the Way Back Home

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The worst part of traveling is having to say goodbye. When you first get a on a plane to go to wherever you’re going, there’s an excitement, anticipation that grips you as you embark. When you’re facing the same route in reverse, it’s meloncholy. The trip home isn’t the same.

This time, though, we did something a little different.

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Heading Back to Kenya on Turkish Airlines

So the journey to Kenya begins again. And like most trips, there’s a lot of hurry up and waiting.

Najwa at the airport

Najwa was upgraded to having her own luggage.

Najwa Walking

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Must See While In Kitui, Kenya: Nzambani Stone

Nzambani Stone in Kitui, Kenya

Last visit to Kambaland visiting the lady’s family in Kitui, we saw it but didn’t go visit it. This time around, though, I’m looking forward to visiting the famous Nzambani Stone — the rock that turns men into girls.

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Itinerary: Hagia Sophia

I mentioned we were going to visit the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. My friend, not well traveled, was surprised to hear I had a friend in Turkey — named Hagia Sophia. I get it. I didn’t know about it until I read books about the Ottomans’ centuries of rule and other books covering that historic time period in which the Hagia Sophia essentially served as a backdrop.

So I shared this video with her:

 

Kenyan Destination Number One: Temple Point Resort in Watamu

As soon as we land in Kenya, we’ll have a day to adjust from jet lag before heading out to our first destination. Tucked away between the more famous Mombasa and also well-known Malindi is a small town called Watamu.

Though I was down for any lodgings in walking distance to the beach, the lady selected Temple Point Resort, a paradise on the Indian Ocean.

Temple Point, Watamu Kenya

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Itinerary: Free Guided Tour of Istanbul Courtesy of Turkish Airlines

Many thanks to my colleague Nitin for mentioning TourIstanbul by Turkish Airlines. Our landing time and take off time will make this a challenge, not to mention you can’t leave the tour when you want, but we’re considering it.

Turkish AirlinesTurkish Airlines International passengers have a unique opportunity to use their transit time visiting Istanbul instead of simply waiting at the airport. The tours, with English speaking guides, are designed especially for this purpose by TourIstanbul, and provide three timing options every day for seeing the city while in transit.

By offering this opportunity to travelers with extended connecting times, Turkish Airlines once again distinguishes itself from other airlines by transforming a long wait into a delightful discovery of Istanbul, one of the world’s premier destinations.


By providing this service, TourIstanbul also contributes to the global promotion of Istanbul with the support of a number of government and touristic departments. The tours are offered three times daily and are designed to give transit passengers a quick, but interesting overview of Turkish Airlines’ home base. Depending on each passenger’s schedule, tours are offered with the following timings 09:00-15:00, 09:00-18:00 and 12:00-18:00.

Begun in 2009, the program continues to attract more participants each year, with approximately 16,000 taking advantage of the offer in 2013. The growing popularity of the tours is a confirmation that Turkish Airlines brings added value for its customers at no additional cost.

How to participate

Passengers wishing to join need to present themselves at the hotel desk in the arrivals hall of Ataturk International Airport at least 30 minutes prior to the departure of the tour. No advance reservation or booking is required and the tours are free to all eligible passengers.

To participate, passengers must have adequate transfer time to complete the tour. Passengers may not join for only a portion of any of the offerings.

More information on the specifics of each tour can be found at the following website: www.istanbulinhours.com.

Passengers may also consult the competent personnel via the following e-mail address: touristanbul@thy.com if there are additional questions.

Turkish Airlines, Inc.
Media Relations

 

Elanaz Hotel Will Be Home for the Day We’re in Istanbul

Elanaz HotelThe ladies and I are headed back to Kenya for the holidays, but on the way back, Nduku worked it out so that we have a 24-hour layover in Istanbul, Turkey. Of course, the best part about it is breaking up how long Najwa has to be on her best behavior, which hopefully lasts until we hit cruising altitude.

But, of course, we’ve always wanted to do Istanbul. Nduku is looking forward to the Grand Bazaar; I’m all about the Hagia Sofia. And then my co-worker mentioned a program that Turkish Airlines has for travelers with a layover for more than 6 hours but no more than 24 hours. It’s a free guided tour of the city with a clever name — Touristanbul.

First step, though, is finding a place to lay our heads, though I’m tempted to wing it until we get back on the plane. After reviewing many hotels and many options and many photos, Nduku chose the Elanaz Hotel. It wasn’t her first choice, but if we weren’t in walking distance to everything, she knows she wouldn’t have heard the end of it.

Elanaz Hotel is a family hotel in the heart of the old town İstanbul. It offers a very warm atmosphere with a boutique touch. You can enjoy your stay with a beautiful view of the old city and Bosphorus. You may drink your coffee with homemade pastries. Elanaz is different because it is built and designed with elegant taste for your precious time spent in Istanbul. It is different because its only concern is to make you to look forward to your next visit. With our tourquise hospitality, we are here to welcome you in our hotel. We are family.

We want you to be a part of it.

Why Elanaz?
You may wonder about the name of our hotel. It is the combination of the names of our two princesses, our daughters.

 

It’s in walking distance to all the important tourist attractions, in the heart of Old Town, 10 minutes walking distance to Sultanahmet. It’s right around the corner from the water. There’s free wifi and their website says free product, whatever that means. And a free breakfast bar that reviewers seem to give high ratings.

And just in case we got caught up in the hype of going to Istanbul, Elanaz Hotel was TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice 2013 and 2014 Winner, ranking #4 out of 825 B&B and Inns in Istanbul.

So now the trick is to wear Najwa out during our day stay in Istanbul so she’ll sleep the entire last leg of our flight back home.

Where to Stay in Istanbul for a 24-hour Layover

For the one day we’re staying in Istanbul, a 24-hour layover on the way back home from Kenya, location is going to be everything. So I reached out to the Twitterverse to figure out where to stay.

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Just a Matter of Time Before Ebola Question Was Asked

It was a matter of time before someone asked if I was concerned about Ebola during our upcoming trip to Kenya. To think America has had more Ebola cases than not only Kenya, but nearly 50 other countries in Africa!


Kenya is more than 3,000 miles away from Liberia where the worst of Ebola has struck. For the record, Washington, DC is only 542 miles from Atlanta, GA, where Ebola patient Dr. Kent Brantly was being treated, yet no one in our nation’s capital seemed concerned about catching a case.

I get it though. Some people still have a hard time understanding that Africa is a continent and not all 1+ billion people live in the same city. It’s ignorance, yes, but I’ve been asked by many Africans from many different African countries why black people in America wear their pants around their knees. As if all 50 million of us wear our clothes all the same.

I’m just hoping that in the next few weeks before leaving for Kenya, I figure out a tactful answer to give to those who ask me about worrying about Ebola, while still making it clear that he/she just asked a question that reeks of ignorance.

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