A Week in Africa with Obama

…I’m not there, of course!

But Ari Shapiro, NPR’s White House correspondent, is. And he’s documenting the trip on his fabulous Tumblr, “Ari in Africa.” It’s a fascinating (and often funny) behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to travel in the presidential press corps. As Shapiro puts it:

Traveling in the presidential bubble is not exactly tourism. Exotic cities whiz by on streets that have been cleared of traffic. Hours that a tourist might spend wandering museum halls instead tick by in “press filing centers,” which tend to be windowless hotel ballrooms.

Days are booked from early in the morning until late at night. But if they’re lucky, reporters manage to break away from all that and get a “15-minute vacation”—a real taste of local culture via a meal in a neighborhood joint that hasn’t been prearranged for them, a quick walk on the beach, etc. (As someone who’s been on numerous press tours, I can certainly attest to how precious those moments are—they really make the whole trip worth it!)

Shapiro’s Tumblr has funny insights about reporting from the corps, interesting factoids about Africa, great snapshots of Obama and gorgeous photos from when he can find those “15-minute vacations”—like the one below.

senegal sunset

Definitely check it out, while he—and Obama—are still there.

(Photo by Ari Shapiro via Ari in Africa)

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