Uganda on the not so cheap

Ok, so this trip wasn’t as cheap as when we went to Tanzania a few months ago, but, to be fair, we really outdid ourselves this time. We did the usual street food taste tests and shady boda boda rides, but we also added a few new things…

Rafting the Nile

The highlight of this trip was whitewater rafting down the Nile in Jinja; I’m not entirely sure how we came up with this hairbrain scheme, but Raymond and I decided that it would be the perfect adventure for the four-day-weekend we were given for Kenya’s Jamhuri (Independence) day on December 12-15.

After looking around at a few Nile rafting websites we settled on River Explorers due to their one free night of hostel accomodation. We went for a full day of rafting, which included several class 3, 4, and 5 rapids. In one word, it was epic!

It’s amazing how the rapids can humble you; we went in very confident and with lots of (fake) bravado and laughs, but that all stopped after falling out of the raft and getting tossed in the waves again and again… and again. By the end we were glad to be done. ;)

Now that it’s been a few weeks since we survived, I can say I’d do it again in a heartbeat!
Continue reading

Beautiful California

It’s winter and it’s still beautiful here in San Diego, California. I wouldn’t get in the water, but sitting on the bluff eating a California burrito (carne asada with french fries) is definitely something I can do. ;)

Also, it was a beautiful day in Laguna Beach today. This is from my grandma’s house on the cliff in Laguna… I spent a lot of summers on this beach!

Tanzania on a shoe string

A few weeks ago we had a three-day weekend due to Mashujaa Day (Heroes’ Day), so my buddy and I decided to go to Tanzania for a bit of fun, food and sightseeing. I’ve been to Tanzania a handful of times before, and I like it more and more every time I go back.

Culturally, Tanzania is very similar to Kenya; food, language, dress, transportation etc will all be very familiar for anyone who has spent time in Kenya (and East Africa in general). For the backpacker, Tanzania is more interesting than Kenya because it’s cheaper, but part of that might just be because I’m used to Nairobi prices!


Tanzania’s cheap and easy to get around. I jotted down some notes about what my buddy and I spent over the three-day weekend as we wandered around Arusha and Moshi. Part of that was because I bet him that we could do it for less than 5,000 Kenyan shillings (~$58), but it’s also nice for future travelers to be able to see how we did it, so they can plan their routes and wallets ;).

Prices in Tanzanian shillings unless noted KES:

  • NBO to Namanga 500 KES
  • Namanga to Arusha 7000
  • Arusha hostel 7500
  • Chipsi mayai 2000
  • Khan’s 8500
  • Chai and vitumbura 1000
  • Arusha to Moshi 2500
  • Hostel 12500
  • Chipsi mayai and Coke 2500
  • Moshi to Marangu 2000 (overpaid) Marangu to park gate in shared taxi 1000
  • Back down in taxi 1000
  • Chai 400
  • Marangu to Moshi 1500
  • Chipsi mayai and Swahili pizza and Pineapple soda 3000
  • Coffee Shop house coffee 2000
  • Moshi to Arusha 3000
  • Chipsi mayai and Mirinda mweusi 2500
  • Arusha to Namanga 7000
  • Namanga to NBO 500 KES

As you can see Tanzania’s very cheap, and you don’t have to skimp too much. For a seasoned backpacker, wandering around Tanzania on the cheap is very easy! The most costly items are for transportation…

Getting to Kilimanjaro

It’s super easy to get to Mount Kilimanjaro, but its not entirely obvious. While the town of Moshi is sitting right at the base of the mountain, the national park entrance is on the other side, just up the hill from a town called Marangu. A matatu from the Moshi bus stage takes ~1.5 hours to get to Marangu, and will cost you 1,500 shillings.

Once you’re in Marangu, you can get a shared taxi to the park gates for 1,000 shillings, or around 10,000 if you don’t want to share/wait. After that you’re free to wander around the village, talk to people, and even enter the park gates to look at signs and stuff.

Beautiful view from Marangu

From Marangu village, just below the park gates. Nice and green!

Time lapse of Kilimanjaro from Moshi

From the roof of our hotel in Moshi, a ~3 minute time lapse in the evening. I wish I had a tripod and could have stayed for several hours to watch the clouds come and go and expose the two peaks of Kilimanjaro.

Random pictures

Baking Bread Like a BOSS

A year or two ago I learned that making bread is really easy. Contrary to popular belief (if my friends are any indication of “popular belief”), you don’t have to do any messy kneading or rolling etc. Making your own bread isn’t just for hipsters anymore. In fact, you don’t need to look far for rationale…

For hippies, when you make your own bread you can control what goes into it. For cheapskates, making your own bread is way cheaper than buying it. For fancy people, home made bread tastes better than store bought loaf (ok, not the really fancy stuff).

It’s easy! Try it!


The ingredients are simple and wholesome!

  • 1 tablespoon of yeast
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar (optional)
  • 1 cup (to the brim) of warm water
  • 1 cup (to the brim) of white flour
  • 1 cup (to the brim) of brown flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon of oil (or so) to grease the baking tin

Activate the yeast

Put the yeast and sugar into a mixing bowl along with the warm water. The yeast will activate and dissolve…

After five minutes or so your water will look cloudy.

Add the flour

Now you can add the flour and the salt, and mix.

Let it rise

Let the dough sit and rise for 30-60 minutes.

I used to wait an hour, but I’m less patient now and generally only wait 45 minutes or so. :)

Prepare baking tin

Put about 1 teaspoon of oil in your baking tin and spread it around all four sides using a paper towel.


Bake on 230 °C for 35 minutes, and voila!

You’re welcome. :)