Tingatinga Art Cooperative in Dar Es Salaam

The famous Tingatinga Art Cooperative is located in the Oyster Bay area of Dar es Salaam. There, you will find artists painting and displaying their beautiful works of art. Some artists also offer painting lessons or photography sessions.

I recently visited the Tingatinga Art Cooperative. I managed to get some video footage and photos before my phone went kapoot. See my YouTube video below.

For more information about Tingatinga Art, check out their website.

Tanzania During The Pandemic: My Flight Experience

 

I’m putting it out there: I’ve been lazy. I should have gotten this post out weeks ago. I started right after arrival but kept putting it off for one reason or another. I’ve made my end-of-year resolution to get this out before 2020 closes. As of November 17th, I’ve been chilling in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. You probably know that already if you’ve read my other post. I’ve been asked several times to describe my airport-to-destination experience. Well, here’s a detailed description of what it was like traveling to Tanzania during the pandemic.

Am I crazy for Traveling To Tanzania During the Pandemic?

Why would you to Tanzania during the pandemic? Are you crazy?” I’ve gotten this question several times. I can’t say for sure. There’s always the possibility. Crazy people don’t know they’re crazy. Right?

What was it like at the airports?

My five airport experiences weren’t bad at all.

Raleigh-Durham International Airport

My flight was at 3:45 PM, Monday afternoon. So, that gave me ample time to print out my ticket to Tanzania and the return flight that I bought just in case it was needed for visa purposes. My flight consisted of 4 stops: Atlanta, Amsterdam, Kilimanjaro, and Dar es Salaam.

My mom dropped me off at RDU International Airport at around 1 PM. Check-in was pretty easy. One of my bags was overweight by a couple of pounds, but since I had 4 bags, I just moved a few things to another bag and all was well. In normal times, RDU would be teeming with eager travelers. However, this time, it was pretty dead. There were two people at the Delta Airlines kiosks– myself and an older gentleman. Eventually, three more people showed up and waited behind me (like 10 feet away from me). Check-in took no more than 5 minutes (including the overweight bag issue).

The security check was quick. I was shocked when no one asked to check further into my carry-on filled with teaching equipment. That has never happened before. From there, I went on to my gate, sat down, and waited to board the plane.

On the plane, all middle seats were left empty in order to create distance between passengers. I had a window seat and enjoyed not having anyone all up in my personal space.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

The stop was only 41 minutes. By the time I got to my gate, it was time to start boarding the plane. The airport was somewhat busy, but nowhere near as busy as usual. On the way to the international terminal, there were less than 10 people on the Plane Train. I got to my gate. There were actually a lot of people waiting to board. I’m not sure how many. I guess, maybe 50? Aboard the plane, I once again had a window seat and no one next to me. Since the flight was long, I welcomed the opportunity to pull out my blanket and pillow, prop my head against the window and stretch my legs across the empty seat. I slept pretty well.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

My stop was short. After disembarking, I made a beeline towards my gate, being cautious not to get too close to anyone. Since there were few travelers, distancing was no issue. Most people were masked. One guy was wearing a full hazmat suit. I used the restroom near my gate, which was so clean I had to take photos. I was quite impressed. Once at the gate, I sat down for about 20 minutes, snapped a couple of pictures, and then came the boarding call.

The KLM plane was huge. My seat was in the middle section. I had 3 seats all to myself. Shortly into the flight, I got tired. I pulled out my trusty pillow and blanket and stretched out across all three seats. Now, that was some great sleep!

Kilimanjaro

I was excited about arriving at Kilimanjaro Airport because that meant I had finally made it to what many refer to as Alkebulan, and I was in Tanzania, specifically. There was only one more short segment left. Any passengers headed to Dar es Salaam were not allowed to disembark at Kilimanjaro airport.

Julius Nyerere International Airports

As the announcement came that we were 20 minutes from landing in Dar es Salaam, I was all giddy. It was about 10:30 PM. After disembarking, we were asked to form a line. We passed through one by one. I handed over the health declaration forms we were asked to fill out on the plane and had my temperature taken. No fever. After accepting the small squirt of hand sanitizer, I went to the visa queue. I answered a few questions, received the visa stamp, and headed to another line to pay for the visa. I exchanged some money. After that, I was sent over to an immigration agent who checked my receipt and made sure my passport and visa were good to go. I was released.

I found my bags at the baggage claim, went through the security check, and was finally free to begin my adventure in Tanzania. There was a small group of people waiting to greet their arriving friends and family. My friend Raphael and my driver were waiting for me. We greeted one another and headed off to my hostel so I could get some rest before heading to my nonexistent hotel the next morning (a subject for another post).

Masks and Eating

Rewind: I arrived at RDU sporting a stylish white cloth mask with a valve. At the Delta check-in desk, I was told that that type of mask (valved) wasn’t allowed on the plane. I had to replace it with a surgical mask. I had another mask, but it was too much of a hassle getting it out of my carry-on, so I just wore the surgical one. Holding my breath, and using my special mask application strategy, slipped it on. It was too loose, so I tweaked it to get it to fit. At my gate, I rummaged through my carry-on, pulled out my cute starry night cloth mask, and slipped it under my surgical mask. I wore that for the first couple of flights, but eventually got rid of the surgical mask when it felt like breathing was becoming more of a task than an involuntary bodily function.

Fast forward: Passengers were only allowed to remove the masks when actively eating or drinking. When meals were served, I used a super special technique I developed. I simply picked up a spoonful, lifted the bottom portion of my mask just enough to unveil my mouth, halted my breathing for a split second, and shoveled the food into my mouth. I probably looked funny, but I didn’t care.

Final Thoughts On Traveling To Tanzania During the Pandemic

Overall, I had a pleasant experience traveling to Tanzania during the pandemic. It was different. Different isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I really enjoyed having the extra space for stretching out and getting the best sleep I’ve ever had in main cabin seating.

Have you traveled during the pandemic? How would you describe your experience?

I Moved To Africa During The Pandemic

So, after months of researching a select few countries, I finally made my choice. I moved to Africa. Specifically, Tanzania. Yup. I’m currently in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

It has been a month already. I can’t believe it! The time has passed too quickly. I’m still not settled in, so I hadn’t realized it has been that long already.

I’ve been apartment searching ever since I arrived. That, along with teaching online lessons has taken up quite a bit of my time. At the moment, I’m staying in an Airbnb. I didn’t expect to have such a difficult time finding housing. I visited some nice apartments yesterday and will be headed off to view some more right after I publish this post. Maybe, I’ll make a decision from among these most recent apartments.

I have lots of pictures and photos that I’ll be sharing soon.

Well, I’m off to see what this next property manager has for me.

Until next time!

Where Have I Been Lately?

Hey, y’all! I know. It has been a while since my last post. I’ve been patiently waiting for more international borders to open to US citizens so I can pick up where I left off in my travel plans.

While waiting for those borders to pen, I definitely haven’t been idle. I’ve spent a lot of time with my family– doing yard-work, cooking out, hiking nature trails, etc. Being a teacher and having my 3-year-old niece around regularly, I’ve been putting in some serious teaching hours. I love the fact that she loves to learn. She has a photographic memory and can carry on a highly intellectual conversation. When I walk in with my laptop, she reaches for it and asks me to give her a test. Ha! I love that! She’s really interested in astronomy, medical biology, cooking, and reading. She’s pretty much a mini-me. She’s within the formative years of her life, so this extra time has given me the opportunity to make a positive impact in her life and help prepare her for a bright future.

I’ve taken on a couple more online TEFL companies. I’ll be writing about them later. I actually teach for, or have taught for, each company I write about. So, if you have questions, ask away! I purchased a second laptop with a high CPU so I can effectively use ManyCam’s virtual effects in the classroom. My GoGoKid students and I had a blast taking a virtual trip to the museum and playing football this morning.

I’ve also begun looking into teaching abroad part-time. I enjoy online teaching, but I miss having classes in a brick and mortar classroom. Sometimes, I just want to high-five my students in-person and host my infamous dance breaks.

Last week, I finally visited Southern Supreme. It’s out in the cut, but worth the drive. My mom has been going there for years to get fresh fruitcakes. We hopped in her car with my brother and niece, and headed to Bear Creek, NC to browse the showroom and choose some savory treats. My niece went wild at the sight of so many desserts and candies! I handed her a basket and she went for EVERYTHING she could reach. We limited her to three items, but she gets an A for effort. I ate all of my peanut clusters and butterscotch clusters (I think that’s what they’re called- I demolished them and threw out the wrappers). I still have a half-pound of fruitcake left– that’ll be history by the end of today. We’ll probably head out that way, again, sometime next week.

So, yeah. There you have it. I’m just chillin’ and enjoying all this extra time. I hope all’s well with all of you!

Until next time!!

8 Must-See Sites In Mexico City

México City is filled with amazing sites. Don’t know where to start? Here’s help!

If you’re looking for interesting tourist spots in México City, you’ll find this list helpful. I provided maps to make finding them easy.

1. Basílica de Guadalupe (The National Shrine of México)

The second most important Catholic Shrine after the Vatican, the Basílica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is located in northern México City. There are two structures, the Modern Basilica and the Old Basilica (El Templo Exiatorio a Cristo Rey). According to Catholic tradition, the site is where the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego, the first American indigenous Roman Catholic saint, and requested that a shrine be built in her honor. You’ll be astonished by the beautiful old-style Spanish architecture of the old Basilica. The Modern Basilica, too, is an astounding structure. The decor inside the Basilicas is absolutely beautiful. At this site, there is so much to see! Nearby, you’ll also find the Baptistry and the Basilica Museum. There is a lovely garden with scriptures inscribed in stone slabs and a large statue of Jesus. You’ll also find the Pocito Chapel Capilla de Cerrito, Antigua Parroquia de Indios, and Parroquia de Santa Maria de Guadalupe Nasturtiums. A visit here can take several hours, so wear comfortable clothes and shoes, bring snacks or money for snacks, and arrive early to beat the crowds.

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at Tripadvisor

2. La Plaza De La Constitución

Another hot spot in Mexico City is the grand square La Plaza De La Constitución, also known as Zócalo . It’s México’s main public square and is surrounded by important sites such as the Catedtral Metropolitana, Palacio Nacional, federal government buildings, and shops and restaurants. It’s not unusual to witness some sort of gathering such a protest or celebration, so have your camera ready! Be aware that there will be lots of street recruiters for restaurants and shops, so be careful to not get scammed.

3. Palacio Nacional

Palacio Nacional is located at Zócalo. This grand building is the federal seat of the Mexican President. Inside, you’ll find walls covered with beautiful murals by the famous painter, Diego Rivera. Admission into the palace is free, but be sure to bring a photo ID and be prepared to go through a security check.

4. Catedral Metropolitana

Also within the Zócalo is the oldest Latin American cathedral, Catedral Metropolitana. Built using stones from the ruins of Aztec temples, it boasts a combination of Spanish baroque, Gothic, neoclassical and churrigueresque architecture. Admission is free, but if you want to visit the bell tower and rooftop, you’ll need to purchase a ticket.

Book a sightseeing tour including Zocalo, Catedral Metropolitana, Polacio Nacional, Bosque de Chapultapec, the Xochimilco Canals, and more!

5. Bosque de Chapultapec

Bosque de Chapultapec (Chapultapec Park) is huge! I’ve been several times and I still haven’t seen the whole of it. There’s a roller coaster, a lake with paddle boats, a huge garden, museums, a beautiful castle, and so much more. There’s no shortage of vendors and you can enjoy live entertainment out by the lake.

6. Museo Franz Mayer

Browse German collector, Franz Mayer’s, private collection of antique furniture and artwork. Enjoy interactive exhibits. Stop by the cafe for some tea or coffee and relax in the courtyard. General admission starts at about $70 pesos per person and entry for children under 12 years is free.

7. Palacio de Bellas Artes

Across the street from Museo Franz Mayer is the Palacio de Bellas Artes. It’s a large marble building that serves as a museum and center for the performing arts. The palace is closed on Mondays. Daily admission starts at about $70 pesos, but Sunday’s admission is free.

8. Arena México

You can’t visit México and not take in a lucha libre! Stop by the Arena México and watch as masked musclemen and musclewomen battle it out in the ring. The drama and wild and crazy acrobatics are sure to delight! Tickets start at $50 pesos and can be purchased on the same day.

Get amazing flight deals and mistake fares sent right to your email! Here’s a discount for 10% off a Premium membership. The average savings is $550 per ticket, so you’ll make the fee back (x 12).

My Top 5 Post-Pandemic Destinations

I was fiending for my next trip, literally, the moment I stepped on the plane to depart sunny Zihuatanejo. I knew I’d get my fix in a few days, however. I was only going back home for about a week and, afterwards, I’d be meeting up with my friend, Jacque, in Cartageña, Colombia…. But…things happen and plans change. Thanks to the ‘Rona, Colombia closed its border and so did most other places I’d planned to visit. Once the time is ripe, I’m hopping on a plane and yeeeeeerrrrr… I’m outta here!

The top 5 places I have to visit:

  1. Cartageña, Colombia – Naturally, this would be my first pick since it is where I was initially supposed to be hanging out. I’m looking forward to the vibrant colors, relaxing on the beach, eating some hearty seafood and vegetarian meals, dancing, meeting wonderful local folks, and making new discoveries. I’ve heard so many great things about Cartageña and am ready to experience it for myself, and maybe Jacque and I can still meet up there.
Photo by Camila Melo on Pexels.com
  1. Montego Bay, Jamaica – I’ve been to Montego once before, but it was for a wedding, I was with a group, and I didn’t have the freedom to roam about on my own to explore the area. I enjoyed the laid back, carefree atmosphere and fresh, straight from the tree fruits. Most of the folks I came in contact with were friendly and welcoming. I loved the food! I wasn’t pescatarian back then. This go ’round, I’ll be passing on the fantabulous goat stew, jerk chicken, and other meat filled dishes I fell in love with. The conch salad, ackee and saltfish, ital dishes, boiled breadfruit and other similar deliciousness are fair game. I’m sure I’ll find some vegetarian and vegan versions of the meat dishes.
Photo by Jose Espinal on Pexels.com

Dolphin Cove Ocho Rios Activities

  1. Peru- Lima and Machu Picchu– While CouchSurfing in Mexico City, I met Yulesi. She’s a young Peruvian solo adventurer. She was finishing up her 6 month solo journey around the Americas, and I was just starting mine. We couchsurfed with the same host and hung out for most of the one day she had left in Mexico. We got along so well, almost like we’d known one another for years. She invited me to visit her hometown of Lima and to take a trip to the famous Machu Picchu. How could I pass that up?
Photo by Chelsea Cook on Pexels.com
  1. Mexico City– What?! Again?? Yeah, I really have to go back. I met some great people while there and promised to return later this year to try my new friend, Theresa’s, La Xaymaca Jamaican restaurant. Plus, I can’t wait to hang out with Theresa and Roxanne, again. They’re amazing people.
Photo by me, Angela C 🙂
  1. Lagos, Nigeria – It’s time I made my way over to the Mother Land. In case you haven’t figured it out, already, I really love food, y’all. I can’t wait to dig into some pescatarian-friendly Nigerian dishes and explore the area. There are a couple of people I’m looking forward to catching up with, too.
Photo by McBarth™ Obeya on Pexels.com

I can’t wait to get my travel back on in the next few weeks or so…hopefully.

Have you visited any of these places? How was your experience? What are your post-Corona travel plans? I’m all ears…er…eyes.

Until next time,

Happy and Safe Travels (if you can)!