Saturday, February 5, 2011

Salt, Camels, and Makin' It Rain

Thanks for being so patient! I feel much better, and probably slept way more than I should have! But, it was wonderful, and I'm not going to apologize! Haha. Anyways, my day yesterday.

It started with an early morning, because I had department pt. But this week was the run, so I was happy. It was only 2.25 miles, which wasn't as long as I really wanted my long runs to be.... Haha. But my calves hurt so bad, I wouldn't have been able to much more, even if I was on my own. I have no idea how fast I was going since it was outside on the running trail, and I didn't time myself. Not very quickly, that's for sure! Haha. I think I'm going to shoot for the running trail from now on for my long runs, just to get myself used to running outside away from a treadmill again. :) 

Then, afterwards, we all left to go shower, and met back up again at the galley to collect food, and stock up for our trip. You can trade water bottles and chips and stuff to the local Djiboutians for souvenirs. Then we were ready to go! We left base at around 9:00.

Ready to go on our adventure!!

It's about a 2-3 hour drive to Lake Assal from base, and we stopped along the way for some photo ops... haha. But Fami (the guy on my left) drive like a bat out of hell, so we made awesome time! Haha. I was super impressed with his speed, even taking a picture of the speedometer. Until I learned it was kilometers per hour. Not mph. Then I felt kind of stupid... Haha.

He got up to 120, but alas... it was only kmph.

We saw a lot of animals along the way, goats, camels, a hyena!, even some monkeys. Here are some pictures of the various animals.

These little fellas ran alongside the truck with us! :)

Camels, and guy herding camels!

Right up next to the truck!

Skin and bones. :(

First "tourist" stop we made was the Djiboutian "grand canyon". It was super beautiful, but you were quickly reminded this was not America. There were no barriers, and you could literally walk right up to the cliff. We tried not to get close... Haha.

The group of us.

Just me! :)

Don't Fall!

There were Djiboutians trying to sell us rocks at this stop, but we politely declined. They are very aggressive in their marketing techniques, and it can freak me out sometimes. I'm sure they are harmless, but they do kind of swarm you and I'm so bad at haggling. Haha. I did buy some souvenirs later at the market, but even I wasn't going to get duped into buying a rock. :)

The next stop we made was another cliffside, but this one overlooked the ocean. It was so beautiful. You could see and island called Devil's Island, and once again... No barricades. Haha.

Devil's Island

The ocean.

Haha. More pictures of me! 

Don't worry. There are lots more pictures of myself to come! 

We saw some cool things along the drive, as well. Please forgive the quality of the pictures... We were in a truck, and it was moving very fast!

The Djiboutian Hollywood sign! Actually it says Allah al Akbar which translates into Allah is the greatest. Yeah. I took Arabic for two years.

Mountainside. And co-workers hand.... 

The next stop we made was the hot springs. Now. These hot springs are not the kind you want to get into. Unless you want your skin to blister off. Think the beginning of the movie Dante's Peak.... That hot. Apparently the Earth's crust is so thin right there it heats up the water to boiling. But I'm no expert. That was told to me, so it could all be hogwash. :)

Really neat look cliffs at the hot springs.

Hot springs! 

Me at the hot spring, though it kinda just looks gross... Haha.

Then, finally! Lake Assal. Now, Lake Assal, as I said earlier, it the saltiest body of water on the planet. It was so cool! You could float (whether you wanted to or not...) in 6 inches of water, and when you got out of the water and dried off, you have salt all over your body which is surreal. Though, thankfully it washes off super easy, since all we had were water bottles to clean off with. No showers, here folks. It was super neat, though I wouldn't go for hours, and certainly not a day long trip. You can't swim, really, and there is no sand. All that beautiful white in the pictures? Very sharp crystalized salt.  It would cut your feet up so fast, and then you are in the saltiest body of water on Earth... ouch.  So you can't really lay out either... Haha. The good news? No sharks. After all, nothing can live in this water. Here are some photos!

Lake Assal!

I could almost pretend I was in Hawaii again! :)

Crystalized salt! And ugly, pale feet....


Salt at the water's edge. It looked like regular ocean foam, until you step on it! Ouch!

Co-worker floating in the 6 inch deep water. :)

Camels walking along the beach.

One of my co-workers traded some water for some salt souvenirs (the locals soak various things -even animal skulls!- in the water and the salt crystalizes on the object. It's pretty cool!) but I didn't get any, since it would have to stay here. Customs doesn't allow you to bring it home. I'm sure there are ways of getting it back to the States, but it wasn't worth it for me. And since I only have 6 weeks left... Haha. But it was cool.

Then we came back to Djibouti City to go to the French Beach. None of of us have ever been there before, and we got wicked lost. I kept getting nervous, because our base in Djibouti City is nine miles from the Somalia border..... and let's just say, we don't want to get too lost around here. But we eventually got directions by calling someone on base (though that was an adventure since they didn't speak English very well, and Djibouti doesn't have any sort of street signs. Haha. 

To get to French Beach you have to go off-roading, and it was quite an adventure. You wouldn't be able to make it in a vehicle without 4-wheel drive. At least, I wouldn't ever attempt it... Haha. I didn't take any pictures (sorry!) since I was too busy reading my Kindle and relaxing.... and eating cookies... Haha! But it was very pretty, and had real sand. The boys played football, while I read. It was very relaxing.

Then we made our way into town for the market, and that is such an experience. You have to haggle (well, you don't have to- but you'll get super ripped off!) and I'm still not very good at it. Though, I did pretty well, and I managed to get some wooden carved bookends, and a sandstone puzzle box. They're pretty nifty!

Then we made our way to a sushi restaurant. I love sushi. It's something I could eat every single day of my life and be totally fulfilled. 

I had a yummy delicious rainbow roll.

Om Nom Nom. My co-worker totally photo-bombed me...

My co-worker Will with his Dragon roll. That thing was epic

In the interest of full-disclosure... I did have a fried banana with banana ice cream. And I don't regret a second of it. Though I am back to my normal eating habits today. Too much sugar for me yesterday....

Then we hit up the casino. I have been to a casino twice in my life, and I am not a big fan of gambling. But, it is fun every so often, and I always have the exact amount I am willing to spend, and I won't go a dime over. I just so happened to have gotten lucky both times. I play roulette. This is a game of pure luck and I play it as such. Last night I won 135 dollars, though I tipped the table guy 10 bucks. (Hey, it was free money!) Well, actually I won 95 dollars, since I started with 40. It was super fun, and I loved watching the looks I got as I would squeal and jump when I won. You could tell the serious gamblers were annoyed by it, as they kept changing over 100 dollar bills every few hands. (I am so glad I do not have a gambling problem. It was very humbling to watch all of that money get lost.) 

I then proceeded to take "I make it rain" photos with my winnings. Once we were back on base of course. No need flaunting a hundred dollar bill in a poverty stricken area.... 

Big pimpin'

I never win anything (other than best hubs award, and now at roulette...) 

Anyways, that was my awesome day yesterday. Yes, I got sunburned (back of my neck from sitting in the backseat of the truck all day), and my feet feel bruised on the bottom. So today will be a rest day, and I'm back in the gym tomorrow. :) Cross training, since hills (UGH!) are on Monday. Now I need to brush my teeth, and clean my room, and go to dinner. This girl is HUNGRAY. 

Yeah. Dinner. I really did sleep all day. :) It's steak night at the galley! It's the little things, guys. The little things! Anyways, you guys are awesome for sitting through all of this! I hope you enjoyed my little peek of Africa. I have more pictures, but I've already been working on this for two hours, and I think you've probably been ready to move on with your lives for some time now! Have a WONDERFUL SATURDAY. I'm off to fill my belly. :)



  1. That's awesome! You look like you had such a good time and don't worry about running 2.5 miles, its the quality of the run not the quality of time! You have to listen to what your body needs lol... All those pics are gorgeous! I'm jealous you can be wearing shorts and i'm stuck in snowy Chicago!. P.s. cute under armor shirt!

  2. All your pictures are great!! I love all the animals one. It must be so weird to see camels and monkeys not in a zoo. Congrats on winning the money too. Gambling can definitely be a ton of fun. The salt lake looked pretty awesome too! Can't believe that ppl. float in it at all times. Crazy! Have a great Saturday!

  3. Girl, you are just so cute! Love pictures of you! :) Looks like you have had so much fun. :) And sushi? Yes please! YUM!

  4. I love this post! I'm so glad you shared the pics and story. Now I have a better "picture" of you too---and an idea of what it's like there.
    Hope you have a fab weekend :)

  5. WOW!! Seriously, wow. The pics are all so amazing. It's awesome that you get time to explore and sight-see while you are out there. The animals, the canyon, the lake, it all seems so awesome! and Congrats on winning at the casino!! I also never win. I won a dollar in vegas and was stoked lol.

  6. Love the pics! Especially the beach. That is BEE-U-TEE-FUL! A lot of people don't get to see that part of the world, so that is awesome. I'm sure you'll be telling the story of your trip for a long time. :-) Very cool.

  7. awesome pics! This looks so cool!

  8. i loved looking through your adventures. i miss you so much!