Pat Johnson is a career arts administrator. Prior to uniting with Regina to create Grannies on Safari®, she served as the founding director of the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco.
Regina Fraser is a marketing, media and communications strategist. Prior to uniting with Pat to create Grannies on Safari®, she held management positions in corporate communications, video, advertising and marketing for 31 years with a major airline.
Buenos Aires: European Charm with a Latin Beat
The Grannies fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Here the charm of European culture is mixed with the soul and beat of Latin America. "BA," as the local's call their city, is sizzling with energy - new architectural landscapes framed by cranes everywhere, wide boulevards (some say the widest in the world), and gorgeous municipal parks still flourish around the city. The country is the home of the famed Gaucho, the sultry and seductive Tango and one of the best places to eat beef in the world. You can bet the Grannies experienced it all -a visit with a noted silversmith who makes authentic Gaucho artifacts, a stroll in the famous rose gardens in one of the most beautiful parks in the city, and forays into local markets where they encounter fans of the Grannies series from US who are visiting Argentina! Then journey with the Grannies on a Busquebus (a fast boat/ferry), to Colonia, Uruguay and take a stroll through its history. The town remains the same since its formation in the 1400's. It was coveted by the Portuguese, English and the Spanish. Walk with the Grannies on the "Street of Sighs" where former African slaves were quarantined before being sent to Brazil and other parts of South America.
Montevideo - Uruguay's City of the Drums
After visiting Colonia, the Grannies travel to Montevideo, Uruguay's capital city. Home of one of the oldest opera houses in Latin America, this city and its people proved to be a big surprise. The country has more than three million people and half live in Montevideo! A very literate population for one thing - almost 100% -- Montevideo is a colonial city that is making a concerted effort to restore and renovate thousands of structures that date back over 100 years and are succeeding! The Old Town is lively and the pulsating rhythms of drums and chatter can be heard during the evenings and well into the night. The Grannies meet with the active Afro-Uruguayan community and learn how their art of drum making and culture has shaped the country's dedication to this art form and adopted it as its own. The Grannies visit the home of an influential Uruguayan art curator and writer who acts as their host while they are in the country. Highlights - the Carnival Museum, a visit to a premier winery, drummers at night beating their drums in front of an open fire, and a private tour of the magnificent opera house.
India - The Golden Triangle
The Grannies venture into this fascinating subcontinent to visit one of the world's most interesting countries - India. They explore part of what is called the Golden Triangle, beginning in the city of New Delhi and then on to Agra, home of the iconic Taj Mahal, and Jaipur, a cultural hub and glistening outpost of Indian arts, architecture and culture.
Peru - Its Coastal Cultural Heritage
Watch the Grannies as they move about Peru's Atlantic coast and explore cosmopolitan Lima - its culture and history. Experience the Afro-Peruvian community in El Carmen and visit with well-known musical, visual and performance artists. Regina reconnects with an old friend who creates marionettes that tell stories of old. Join them as they experience world cuisine - fused from Chinese, African and Incan traditions.
Western Cape, South Africa & Botswana
They begin their adventure in glorious Cape Town with excursions to the Cape of Good Hope and the wine lands. The Grannies board "The Pride of Africa" on Rovos Rail - accommodated in a restored vintage car - for a two-day trip to Pretoria that includes a stop at the famous Kimberly Gold Mines. While in Botswana, the ladies visit the set of the popular television series "The Ladies #1 Detective Agency" and meet with the Oodi Weavers. They are accompanied by the cosmetic icon Marilyn Miglin, who is on her first trip to South Africa seeking flowers for a new perfume.
Varanasi - India's Spiritual Capital and Bangalore - A Commercial Star
The Grannies make a pilgrimage on bicycle rickshaws to the "Ganga Ma" or Mother Ganges, a place of life and death revered in the Hindu religion. They observe day and evening celebrations, rituals and even participate. They visit a factory famous for Varanasi silk and of course shop! A quick flight to Southern India and to the city of Bangalore, a known major tech metropolis, brought new experiences. The Grannies explore glamorous shopping centers and look for bargains at quaint neighborhood crafts fairs. They try their hand at Indian cooking and select elegant saris and have them fitted by master Sari makers. The ladies are welcomed by distinguished citizens who invite them to a traditional Indian wedding bachelorette party and dine at a country club that looks straight out of an Ivory Merchant film.
Peru - Cusco and Machu Picchu
Travel with the Grannies to Cusco, a world heritage site, and the former capital of the Inca civilization. At 11,900 feet high, this ancient city was not only considered sacred by the Incas but was a jewel of the Spanish colonial world. The city is considered the arts and crafts capital of Peru. Machu Picchu, at 9,600 feet, was a marvel and the trek to see this ancient city was a challenge when the Grannies climbed it. The city is located in the Andes in an area called the "cloud forest." Surrounded by steep mountains, entire neighborhoods were created. One of the new Seven Wonders of the World - the exploration of this hidden city in the Andes Mountains was an unforgettable and magical experience.
Exotic Zanzibar, Tanzania
The Grannies travel to this truly exotic island that is known for its spice trade, trade winds, historic Arab architecture and romantic resorts. StoneTown, the capital, is a captivating rustic city filled with veiled women, thriving markets and aromatic neighborhoods. The ladies experience an exotic dance performance on the beach, ruins and a meal fit for kings. A highlight of the trip was a stay at the world-famous Baraza Resort - individual cabanas, private beaches and buildings shaped like a sultan's palace. Accompanied by Marilyn Miglin, their special travel partner, they explore the mangrove swamps, hidden plantations and all the while looking for herbs and spices for her fragrances.