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Honeymooning In Kenya, Part I: Samburu
After a whirlwind 10 months of planning culminating in a whirlwind week and an even whirlwindier wedding (recaps forthcoming — gotta wait for the quality pics), Brian and I skipped town for our honeymoon.
I never dreamed about what my wedding would look like or envisioned my “dream gown” or my favorite flowers (which made making all those decisions along the way exceptionally more difficult), but I did dream about a honeymoon.
I’ve always wanted to go on an African safari. Brian, never one to say no to a little adventure (and a few malaria pills), was into it. So while I planned our wedding, he (with the help of a travel agent, because Google overwhelmed us) planned our honeymoon.
We went on safaris in Samburu and Masai Mara, and then spent five nights on the coast chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all sunburned on the equator. We were blissfully unplugged for the duration of the trip, without phones, internet, or hashtags.
We fully immersed ourselves (wow that sounds cheesy and kind of gross) in the experience and learned as much as we could about everything we saw. But, as I always do when I travel, I kept very detailed notes about our trip because I wanted to remember absolutely everything.
And now, because I consider internet strangers to essentially be family (which will come in handy should I ever need a spare organ), I will share with you my Africa Diary Notes. Buckle up: It’s gonna be a long ride.
Spoiler: Yes, I got to see giraffes. This is how I very calmly and casually reacted during our first giraffe sighting…
Brian and I are officially on our honeymoon! We are wearing matching Bride and Groom hats so you know we’re legit.
We left NYC on Wednesday, September 30, on a 6 PM flight to Amsterdam. They wouldn’t upgrade us to First Class because marriage doesn’t mean shit to airlines. My Bride hat didn’t impress them. Neither did my onesie which, BTW, is awesome except that I keep dropping it on the bathroom floor every time I go pee.
My stomach sure is killing me.
The first flight was around seven hours, which sounds long but it went by fast. I watched the Entourage movie, which is the worst thing I’ve ever seen, and I ate some sad tortellini for lunch. Then I took an Ambien. Bye bye, Ali.
I passed out watching Pitch Perfect 2 (for the fifth time), and the next thing I knew, I was waking up in Amsterdam. I don’t remember deplaning or anything after that. I remember life feeling difficult, and walking was hard, and Brian had to do everything for me.
Ambien, man. Why does it make me sleepy while also making me half-dead and semi-drunk?
We got breakfast at the airport apparently, and I slothed my way around and somehow got my sloppy onesie ass onto the next plane.
I was sound asleep before we took off, and I woke up several hours later somewhere over Moscow. No, I made that Moscow part up. But wouldn’t that be cool if I were right? I guess we’ll never know. (Edited to add: We do know. It definitely wasn’t Moscow at all.)
I watched Pitch Perfect 2 (yes, again), and now here I am, going on hour 28 in my onesie. I’m eager to brush my teeth and see some giraffes. I’m gonna watch 50 Shades of Grey. I heard it was good!
Is this movie for real? What is “laters baby?” No. Terrible. Still 3+ hours to go. Time to kick this flight up a notch. Magic Mike XXL!
GET ME OFF THIS PLANE. I got on a plane Wednesday night and now it’s Thursday night. My stomach hurts. We have 45 minutes to go. That’s one SoulCycle class. I’m going to invent a plane with spin bikes and yoga mats instead of seats. PATENTED! It will be called Namaste Air.
FINALLY LANDED IN NAIROBI AND OMG we saw a bunny rabbit on the runway!!! Africa is ripe with wildlife!
After an hour waiting to get our bags (mine was the very last one off the thingy!), we were transported to the Eka Hotel. Then we got four hours of sleep!
I appear to be constipated. My stomach hurts but I simply cannot make. Off to the airport!
We are flying to Samburu today on a tiny little 11-passenger plane to our camp.
I SAW AN ELEPHANT FROM THE PLANE!!! However it may have been a tree or possibly a large bush.
Joseph, our guide from Saruni Samburu, picked us up from the airstrip and the drive to the camp was insane. We saw warthogs (like Pumba from The Lion King), dik-diks, which are so cute, a gazelle, lots of birds, goats, and then guess what?
We pull up to the camp and BAM, there is an elephant waiting for us, I shit you not. It was the most incredible thing I have ever seen. We also saw giraffe tracks — not an actual giraffe, just footprints — on the drive and I almost cried.
We had lunch with the camp manager and a couple from the UK. They told us it’s OK if you have to pop a squat behind the vehicle while you’re out on a game drive.
Then we met Joseph for our first afternoon drive!
- Baboons and baby baboons
- Tons of guineafowl, which are pretty blue birds
- Monkeys in trees
- Oryx and impalas hangin’ out
- A lion family!
- Elephants! Two babies!
- Baby impalas!
- A leopard! This is rare.
The drive home was long and dark and bumpy. I fell asleep. Then we had drinks under the stars by the fire and I proclaimed this the best day of my life. But thanks to everyone who came to the wedding. That was a decent day, too.
What a weird night of “sleeping!” We slept in a bug net and my stomach hurt all night and I woke up to a gnarly calf cramp. Still constipated.
We started our day with a 6 AM drive. On my way to pee I saw two dik-diks!
The sunrise was incredible and we could see Mount Kenya in the distance. Joseph says this is rare!
The morning drive consisted of…
- Lots of dik-diks everywhere
- Lots of elephant poops, which I did not like because they seem spiteful while I am still constipated
- A male and female ostrich! They remind me of Kimmie Gibler!
- Elephants! A one-month-old baby ellie!
- A “Lesser Kudu,” which is sad because he was really cool and shouldn’t have to be named “Lesser”
- Lots of warthogs!
- A BABY GIRAFFE! Two months old according to Joseph!
- Baby zebras!
- Another leopard!
We ate breakfast overlooking the dried-up river while baboons and zebra and impala walked around and a raven stared at me like an evil demon.
Then came the best moment of the entire trip: We stumbled upon an entire landscape of giraffes.
There were at least 18 of them! That’s more than the entire cast of Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood video!!! We followed them for a long time and I cried because it was just so beautiful and overwhelming.
And then even more ellies!
After our drive, we ate lunch and went in the pool, and then I got a massage (I slept the whole time, oops). Then I showered and napped some more. Life is hard in the bush.
Next, Joseph took us for a walk! He was like, “This guy is coming along just in case,” and NBD it was a guard with a rifle. Just in case. I spent the duration of the exploratory walk thinking we were going to get eaten by lions. But we didn’t. We just learned a lot about the trees and plants and caves and Masai traditions, and we saw some baboons sleeping on a cliff.
Then we walked back to the camp and had drinks at sunset by the fire before dinner.
I am still not successfully pooping, but off we go into the bush.
Brian really wants to see a cheetah today. I mostly just keep spotting dinosaurs. Half an Ambien last night and some malaria pills and I am officially off the rails.
Today’s highlights included being surrounded in a cul-de-sac of elephants (“ellies”) and seeing some day-old warthogs. So tiny!!! Joseph said no, I could not go “scoop one up and put him in my bag for safe-keeping.”
We spent the afternoon visiting a Masai village. It was undoubtedly the most humbling experience of my life.
The people in the villages essentially have nothing. Their homes are made of sticks and cow manure, and they have no electricity and very little food — but they were so kind and gracious, and everyone waved and smiled and welcomed us.
They taught us their traditional dances and showed us how to make fire, and they loved taking pictures with us and showing us the crafts they had made. It was all very moving.
Meanwhile, back at the camp, our room has been infested by termites thanks to last night’s rain. I already have two gnarly bug bites on each wrist plus an especially cute one on my face. Hopefully not malaria. YOLO!
I have no concept of time or day or month, but today we leave Saruni Samburu to head to Masai Mara. Sad! But exciting!
Also exciting: I am no longer constipated!!! Hooray! ZEBB-rahs for everyone!
We had our last breakfast at the camp and then Joseph drove us to the air strip. No security lines here! You don’t even need to show ID!
I was very sad to leave Joseph, but I impressed him by spotting a hard-to-see baboon on the drive. He was like, “Ali, wow, great spot, you can have my job,” and I was like, “Yes, yay, cool, let me drive the jeep then,” and he was like, “No.”
Off to the Mara!