Wednesday, December 24, 2008

santa's workshop

my work table


no, i didn't tamper with my timestamp. i'm pulling a semi-all nighter to finish wrapping presents. if you didn't already know, i have a huge family.

don't we all have that person that's hard to buy for? it's so much easier to make something pretty for them. here are a few of the decoupaged ornaments that i made. didn't they come out cute? and really, it took no time, just a little bit of patience and creativity.


my family celebrates christmas on on christmas eve, so i better get to bed. tomorrow's agenda? baking. if i have time, pictures later. merry christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

barack wins again.


who says being a big office nerd doesn't pay off?

our holiday office door decoration contest had a secret prize which ended up being a $100 gift card.

yay for me! woohoo!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

j'aime capucine

who wants to teach me french?

i spent a few hours on this week helping with a client related spanish translation. although the document was on whistleblower's rights - not quite a beautiful literary piece - it was nice to remember that i have the ability to understand and write another language.

last week, cousin cher introduced me to a juliette binoche and olivier martinez french film. it was a perfect rainy evening to get my subtitles on last night. it was beautiful movie -- olivier wasn't bad to look at either. (though i'm slightly afraid of ever getting cholera).

and randomly, i have been coming across this little girl everywhere in the blog world. she's makes me want to speak french!


kisses and giggles. so sweet.

Love(ly) words from Capucha on Vimeo.

do you remember your stories?



it's ok capucine, i hate carrots also.

Eat your carrots ! from Capucha on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

about: my heroes

The most important men in my life happen to be veterans.

Last year, I posted that my grandfather was accepted into the WWII memorial here in DC.

Here’s the memorial and his entry at the memorial. Neat huh?

After working out this morning, I read the eulogy that I wrote for him and remember him today as one of most inspirational people in my life and as an important part of this country’s history.

I could sing praises and praises of my Papa, but today, I think I’ll share with you my unsung hero.


This one of my favorite pictures of my family except that my sister isn’t in it (sorry sis).

My dad is one of the bravest men I know. Not only did he survive living in a house with four very strong, opinionated women (my mom, myself, my sister and his mother), but he left the Philippines to join the U.S. Navy back in the 1970s.

Did I mention that he didn’t really speak English?

After persevering through all the enlistedNavy stuff, he set a foundation for his life here in America, learned English and adapted. Always the gregarious social butterfly, he met my mother at the bowling alley and they decided to get married. My mother was lucky enough to have her whole immediate family and a lot of her extended family here during her wedding. My father? He got married alone with no family as everyone was still in the Philippines.

Eventually they had me and my sister. They decided early on that it would be easier to raise me and my sis if we didn’t have to live the military lifestyle. They set down roots and bought at house just right out of DC, near my mom’s family, and settled down. Dad did all the traveling he was assigned and came home when he could; mom worked full time, was the breadwinner and was home to raise us. This was one of the sacrifices they were willing to make to make sure we grew up easier. It was really hard on my mom to not have my dad there for long spurts of time. My mom relied heavily on her siblings; and my sis and I had to adjust every time he came home.

When I was around 10, my dad was stationed in VA beach. Besides being stationed in the Navy Yard, this was the ‘easiest’ for my parents. He would live on the ship from M-F and commute the 3 hours back every weekend to stay in our home. One day after Christmas, as I played my newly received Tetris game, my father was packing up to leave. This wasn’t unlike any other Sunday night, and I thought nothing of it. As I played, I was beckoned to say goodbye to my father, to which I responded with a casual yell “bye daddy!” controller still in hand. I was on level 5, after all. Not two minutes later, I was beckoned again to give him a hug. I don’t remember much from that moment but after being forced to hug my dad, I could feel that something was different. Something was off.

It was a few weeks later that the Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm were all over the news. As I flipped through a Time magazine article detailing the war efforts, I noticed that my dad’s ship, USS America was in the Suez Canal. My dad was in a war zone. I was in the 5th grade.

I was too young to understand it all, but I knew this was big. We wrote letters to the soldier in Miss Miller’s class and got my best friends at the time to write letters to my dad. (He later brought them Toblerones from Germany; it was a big hit.) Obviously, the war ended and they sent the troops home. My dad got a treat and the ship did a tour of duty throughout Europe, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Finally, we got word that there would be a formal homecoming and we were all invited to Norfolk for the ship’s docking. He would have been gone, I think, 2 or 3 years at that point.

When a Navy ship docks, the families are invited to stand on the dock and look up at the sea men in their dress whites lined up on the deck and hanging from every opening on the aircraft carrier. USS America was the size of a small city and was big enough to carry almost 80 war planes. When the boat docked, there was literally a sea of white on the boat. I remember my mom and uncle joking around that it was pretty much near impossible to be able to see our dad on the ship. But I searched anyway. And there he was, hanging from one of the lower level ports, waving right at me. It’s something that I’ll never forget.

When I was little, everyone told me I was just like my dad. I looked like him, I talked like him, I was loud like him. I always thought this was meant that I looked like a boy and hated it. Now I’m proud to be like my father: gregarious, loud, opinionated, and even carry the Mercado features. But most of all, I strive to be strong, generous and honorable like him -- my daddy, my hero.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

they said it...


i realize this is late, but it's taken a while to take it all in.

the last two days in dc have been surreal and amazing. realizing that my vote helped turn my battleground state make what i think is the right decision was a humbling and proud moment for me as an american. while i realize that maybe the impact of this election might be more apparent since i live in dc, after reading and watching various blogs, papers, and news reports, i know that this election is not just affecting me but the world. and while i'd rather not taint this entry with negativity, but i can't help to share another reason why i know i made the right choice. i won't say that obama or the democratic party is perfect but the following video proves that the rest of the country saw what i saw: a desperate attempt to win an election by all means necessary regardless of its potential consequences. i'm sorry, i don't want the woman next door to be running my country. i want someone who knows what s/he is doing.

this is from fox news. not exactly the most liberal of the media outlets.





if you're too lazy to watch, the basic gist is that some insiders on the mccain team have admittted that sarah palin was a "hail mary" (aka last resort decision) and that people on the team were concerned about her knowledge of current events, civics, and other general knowledge. case in point: sarah palin didn't know that africa was a continent. may i remind you that she was running for vice president. vice president. seriously.


thanks america for using your brain.

Monday, September 29, 2008

an apple a day

golden delicious | stribling orchard in markham, VA | september 2008

a couple of weekends ago, we went on our annual family apple picking trip. mostly we go for the kids but with a hidden agenda since all us adults love to cook, myself included. one cousin made a pie, another apple turnovers. me, i settled on an apple tart to bring to a girls weekend (more on that later). i thought it would a great accompaniment to a lazy morning coffee.

a new addition to my repertoire: apple tart

instead of following all the recipes i found online, i got the idea and created my own dough. while it's not quite perfect (yet), it's another thing that i can kinda claim as my own. for all you cousins out there, this is what i'm bringing for thanksgiving -- if we can ever decide who's hosting.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

about: st. elmo's

there's something to say about a local coffee shop where cell phones aren't allowed, where free wi-fi is abundant, local artist's work is displayed on every wall, and is quaint enough that a barely year old child can waddle laps around the coffee shop's mish-mosh of unmatched chairs and distressed vintage tables without disturbing the korean war vet on the couch, the family soothing their newest edition, and the blogger on her computer. the coffee and fresh baked goods while motown pours through the surround sound aren't so bad either.

if you can't tell, i'm enjoying this calm morning.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

care packages

it's been a long time since i've posted anything creative on here - probably because i haven't any time to pretend martha.

this week, i was fortunate to see my friend, stacy - with no 'e', on her way to her new residence in the sunshine state from the garden state. and while our visit was limited to just one hour, i was able to send her on her way with a care package for the long drive ahead. in it were her favorites: reese's pieces, sour patch kids, some organic snacks aptly named 'pirates booty' and of course, her favorite pita chips aptly spelled with no 'e'. all of it was packed in a beach bucket for her to use upon going to the beach of course -- which by the way is ten minutes from her new house.


as i was saving this photo away into my goodies file, i remembered that i never posted these pictures of other care packages that i've left for visitors to casa leah.

while i was away in africa, m&g stayed at my condo for a weekend to celebrate the cherry blossoms.

a weekend package consisting of all kinds of salty and sweets... along with my keys.


towels and l'occitane bath stuffs set on the bed for the visitors.


by the way, i found a friend of a friend who is a photographer who will teach me how to use my new camera. oh, and apparently, according to her, i received a GREAT camera. better pictures to come for sure!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

sunday funday

A few weeks ago, when I was arranging the photographs for my little nook at my parents house (trying to mooch of their color printer), my aunt happened to be within earshot of my lament that the photos I took would have come out much better with an SLR instead of my point and shoot. She mentioned had one laying around and that I could have it if I wanted. While I did get a little excited, I didn't think much of it. Until today.

Tita B totally pulled through and gave me her NikonD40 to try out and see if it's to my liking. So even on this humid day, after the baptism chaos with the family and being tired after a druken stupor that a good friend induced after my sad state yesterday, I promptly headed to Meridian Hill Park to test out my new toy.





Not bad considering I haven't figured out all the buttons. Once I can figure out the settings, I think I'll love it even more and maybe get some better shots. I can't wait to find a photography class!

Monday, August 11, 2008

I'm a little obsessed...

... with the olympics.

I've always been (like looking up official rules, checking medal standings during the day, reading athlete profiles) but this time around, I wish I was in Beijing.

There's always Vancouver - yay for curling!


Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Sunday, August 03, 2008

my little corner of paradise


For those of you that have graced my abode, you've noticed (and probably bugged me about) the hot pink notes taped to the unfilled frames over my couch.

Yes, I moved in here over a year ago. Yes, I just fixed the frames yesterday. Yes, they are a little crooked. Most of the frames are made for table tops and I have yet to pull off the leg in the back. Hey, something is better than nothing! I'll fix the crookedness when I can move the couch out of the way without risk of hurting myself.

The frames took me a year to fill only because I wasn't sure what types of photos (or artwork) that I would put in them. Finally, I decided to fill them with images that I've taken on my travels. I had a set plan with a plethora of images around the nation and Europe. Then I booked a trip to Ireland and decided to wait. I was ready to print and finish this, and then Africa happened. Before my surgery, I finally ordered some prints and hung them up after the hailstorm from yesterday woke me up from my percocet induced nap.

I plan on going to South America next spring so these photos will most likely change (or not) but these are my favorites (most have been featured on this site already).



clockwise from the top:

  • hornbill in the early morning | livingstone, zambia - april 2008
  • st. basil's cathedral | moscow, russia - may 2006
  • poet on arbat street | moscow, russia - may 2006
  • liwa & her baby ele | livingstone, zambia - april 2008
  • the zambezi river at sunset | livingstone, zambia - april 2008
  • belle triste - jewel on barbed wire | louisville, kentucky - june 2008
  • wheels in bunratty village | county clare, ireland - september 2007
  • the rynek - iron mask | krakow, poland - may 2006
  • victoria falls | livingstone, zambia - april 2008
  • carrick-a-rede bridge | north antrim, ireland - september 2007
center:
  • girl with her mother | kigali, rwanda - march 2008
  • pots in a corner | louisville, kentucky - may 2006
  • blarney castle | blarney, ireland - september 2007

Friday, August 01, 2008

take out your sunday shoes!

found on the printer: a printout of a unknown coworker's playlist (no, it is not mine)

  • puttin' on the ritz - taco
  • shake for the sheik - escape club
  • jump - van halen
  • i wanna rock - twisted sister
  • touch me - samantha fox
  • eye of the tiger - survivor
  • you give love a bad name - bon jovi
  • what i like about you - the romantics
  • nikita - elton john

now playing? footloose


AWESOME. only because there is only a handful of people of my floor and the majority of them are hardcore retired military guys.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

baby steps

I can walk without crutches.

Not for very long. But it's a start.

Range of Motion = still less than 50 degrees (my left leg is at 130)



The stitches still hurt.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

observations

imagine:
I'm sitting outside on a beautiful, custom built, scalloped, patio overlooking a large, two-tiered expanse of grass surrounded by overgrown trees, lavender bell flowers, orange blossomed bushes, and a burgeoning vegetable garden of tomatoes, summer squash, and zucchini. A tray with coffee and two perfectly toasted pan de sal with butter lands next to the laptop where I sit typing (and listening to Pearl Jam unplugged).


I don't think I'm in Fairlington anymore, Toto!


As much as I have been pushing to go back to my own condo during this ordeal, I've not-so-secretly enjoyed staying at the parentals. I mean, I'm getting spoiled at this point (see above). They are great at making their "pasyente" feel better even though they are still doing their own thing (going out shopping, laying another patio under the deck, hanging out with my aunts, etc). I get to choose what's for dinner, get continuous ice for me knee, and don't really have to do much of anything but lay around a take drugs and play my mom's Wii. And there's the cable! (btw, I've officially know that I'm not missing much. I really am not getting cable anytime soon. I just need to make time to watch Project Runway online. Sidenote: the Season 5 cast = BO-ring. I miss the likes of Austin Scarlet, and of course, Santos + Andre! Tanning, tyed dyed Blane = annoying and contrived).

Anyway, I really must get on with my own life, get some cell phone reception, leave the parentals alone, stop complaining about the pain, and be able to sleep in my own bed. Nonetheless, I'm not afraid to admit it: I'm going to miss being spoiled. My parents are the best.




... who wants to keep me company?! hint. hint.

Friday, July 18, 2008

overheard in philly...

kitas: I'm listening to my coworker conduct an interview on colorectal surgery
leah: hahahah. that just made my day
kitas: "rectal procedures" -- please stop!


did i mention that kitas works as an editor at some surgery magazine?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

the honeymoon is over

It's 4:30am and I'm pretty proud of myself. I just lifted my leg by myself and didn't whimper!

Last night, I was finally allowed to take a shower, a full 48 hours after surgery. Trust me, I was not happy after I heard the news that I had to wait even that long. I was also given directions that my dressings would have to come off, so as to heal and not infect my incisions. I was more than excited about this -- partly because I was curious as to what my knee looked like -- but mostly because I really wanted to be clean.

What I didn't realize is the amount of stabilization that the dressings gave me. Not only did I have two ace bandages helping support my knee but there was a semi-hard (because of dried up fluid - gross) 6x6 piece of gauze/cast that helped the top of my knee stay motionless.

Needless to say, all my showing off to my mom while the dressings were on -- me doing leg lifts onto the bed without breaking a sweat, hobbling around the house, not needing her in the middle of the night to get me ice -- to prove that I could go home and take care of myself -- went down the tubes after I fell into at fit of pure frustration of not being able to lift/move my leg at one point late, last night (there were actual tears involved).

Besides the usual lifts in and out of bed, I guess the added trauma of standing in the shower was too much for my knee in one day. There is nothing more frustrating to me that not being able to do what I know I can do; I was literally willing my knee/leg to move, only to feel shooting pain. The only good thing I learned from that (now that my mom is convinced that I cannot go back to my condo) is that it gave me a glimpse of what PT is going to be like.

So, the honeymoon of the surgery is over. I'm currently sitting here with an ice pack on my knee, trying to assess if I really need that percocet, and really proud that I learned how to use my good leg to lift the other into bed.

PT starts on Monday and I know I have a long way to go. But I'm ready for the pain, because I refuse to taking this all sitting down (literally).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

things i've learned while on percocet

  • playing mariokart with a seven year old while on percocet will ultimately result in a loss. as in, 12th place. as in quote: "umm, a. leah, you're swerving a lot."
  • waking up in the middle of the night while on meds and realizing that you really have to go to the bathroom and trying to use crutches quickly while groggy = lots of clumsy and lots of whimpering in pain
  • percocet+ a girl that can hardly handle a tall latte = a very sleepy, rambling leah (that accidentally IM's the wrong people. whoops!)
  • trying to update a budget that should take maybe an hour, takes much longer when you fall asleep for 4 hours in the middle of doing it. (i have a laptop desk in bed with me.)
  • taking off the dressings on your wound should be done while on percocet. it was much funnier that way. otherwise, it's downright gross. my leg = not so cute when it's swollen, covered in blood and bruised.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Post Bungee Series: Day 1

beignets & iced chicory at cafe du monde | new orleans, may 2008

I'm supposed to be in New Orleans again today, enjoying beignets.

In hindsight, I'm not really missing the "cool and crisp 93 degree swampland." Thanks for the update, DK. Sorry you're there, but then again, it could be worse.

Long story short: My bungee jumping in Africa resorted in a torn ACL. And yes, I walked around for a month without getting it checked out. Apparently, I have a high threshold of pain. Not to mention that I was really busy. Like dealing with the Secret Service busy... for two separate events. Both within in one month. Masochistic, table for one...

Needless to say, I have been too busy to think about the blog. And out of frustration on all these things happening at once, the months of May and June have been not quite so fun. I had a turning point in the last two weeks and have been slowly returning to myself. It's a good thing.

My surgery was today. It was quick outpatient thing. You know, like a drive thru. At least that's how it felt. Fortunately enough for me, they were quick to give me happy juice and within 10 minutes, I was in la-la land and out like a light. It was fun, I think... at least what I can remember of it. I woke up to a gaggle of nurses putting my shoes on and getting me ready to hear about las drogas. Si, las drogas!

Luckily, I did not react to the anesthetic the way that I did when I was got my wisdom teeth pulled. It was bad. As in, the way one acts after crossing that threshold of having too much to drink and just ends up being dead weight --slumping over until something breaks your fall. Like the wall. Or the floor. Yup, that was a fun day.

Anyway, within an hour of getting out of surgery, I went grocery shopping and to Target with my dad. As in, not sitting in the car waiting, but crutching my way through both stores. It really was nothing. Yay for percoset and really high thresholds of pain!

After getting back to the parent's abode -- they are graciously taking me in for a few days to make sure I don't end up on the floor of my condo like Mrs. Fletcher - LOL - I discovered that I need not be on crutches 100% of the time. I thought I was hearing things (was still in lala) when they moved me to my wheelchair at the surgery center because they were not at all concerned that I put weight on my leg. Hm?

In fact, my doctor told me I can be off crutches when I'm comfortable, as in within a few days or so AND he will not let me use a leg brace because he wants me to start using my leg to help heal me faster (He's an athlete and noted as a top of the top knee doctors/surgeons in DC. He also was named Top Doctor of 2008 award by Washingtonian Magazine).

I'm liking that I don't "need" the crutches and have already started hobbling around without them (no worries, I'm not going long distances). Here's hoping that I'm not in for a rude awakening tomorrow morning when the drugs wear off tonight.

OK, back to sitting around and watching cable. Oh, what a life!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

out of shittyness, you can still find pretty.

seared lamb with a rosemary, garlic, butter reduction
on a bed of arugala, dates, walnuts, goat cheese & balsamic viniagrette


do you ever have one of those weeks that ends up totally different than you expected it? yeah, welcome to my week. while at a dinner party with coworkers a couple of months ago, i admitted that when i'm having a day, i usually end up creating something really yummy when i get home. they think i'm crazy and say those are the days that equate dinners out or take out.

cooking calms me down. the whole process of thinking something up in my head, then taking pieces of things, manipulating them to create something satisfying not to mention complete, is fulfilling. there's a feeling of accomplishment that despite things didn't go as planned today, this week, this month, this year, that i started something, finished it and all without one sign of a bump.

life has been life lately. and while i my first inclination today (who am i kidding, this last two weeks) was to put together a happy hour in which i could drown my sorrows away, i found myself thinking about how not-so-bad it all was and remembering that life could be much worse.

i mean, despites it's up and downs, i've been able to tons in the last three years including:
visit medieval castles
wawel castel in krakow, poland | 2006

cross old, scary bridges
carrick-a-rede bridge in northern ireland | 2007

have cocktails a hundred feet away from the drop-off of victoria falls (see the mist behind my head? those aren't clouds)
livingstone, zambia | 2008


while i'm afraid my life won't be so interesting in the next few months - i have no trips planned in a long while, i'll try to revive this used-to-be fun blog soon even if that means reviving some old stories and adventures.



Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The good, the bad, and the ugly/funny

Good: Dr. told me to walk without a brace or crutches.

Bad: still might have a torn acl or mostly likely a torn miniscus. MRI next week.

Ugly/funny: my left pinky toe is broken.

awesome.


Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday, May 31, 2008

heart on my sleeve, i guess.

it's been a crazy week. after my stint in the emergency room, i had a pretty pathetic memorial day resting up and packing for a dreaded trip to the airport with crutches. my knee was killing then. luckily, after stabilizing for a couple of days, i was able to hobble along while at my event sans crutches to keep everything running smoothly so not to piss the USSS off. crazy, i tell you. i'm home now, thankful for the thunderstorm so i can sit at home and catch up on my netflix and rest my knee without feeling guilty. there's a possibility that i walked up and down bourbon street one too many times last night.

one night this week, i went out with a few people for dinner. two people who joined me, i've known for just over a year and the other, i've known for five or so. the person i've known longer had commented on my injury as the waiter ran into it resulting in a a little yelp.

him: "you are right, YOU are THAT person."
me: "yup."
other two: "huh"
him: "she's that one person, who always has something happen to her"
me: "i'm just waiting to catch malaria"
other one: "well, actually, things probably happen to everyone, leah just happens to tell people her stories"
him and me: "yeah i guess"

but i still contend that there is a high probability that if something is going to go wrong, i'm somehow involved in it. luckily, it's nothing terrible. just unfortunate or funny enough to make a story out of it.

for instance:


this is winter 2004. and yes, my tires (not just hubcaps) were stolen from my car by some neighborhood thieves. when i was in new jersey. oh, and it was 4pm on a sunday when we discovered it. yes, i had work the next day and was planning to leave. and, of course, mine was the only car that got hit.



my name is leah, things happen to me.





Monday, May 26, 2008

Young @ Heart

I really want to watch this documentary.



Sunday, May 25, 2008

Reason # 347 on why not to jump off a bridge

Did you know that your ligaments are strong enough to pull off pieces of bone when stretched enough?

Yeah. Looks like my ACL tore off a piece of something or rather during those bounces. Hence, pain.

Awesome.

At least I get vicodin out of this.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

chauffer needed. apply within.



Reasons why I need - er, would prefer having - a boyfriend, right now:

5) it would be fun.
4) he could have changed that lightbulb that i replaced yesterday - which by the way, i can certainly do and DID, but it would have been ten times easier if there were no ladders involved. hey, i'm short!
3) he would travel with me to new orleans this week (related to possible outcome of #1).
2) sundays. coffee. reading the paper.
1) as his boyfriendly duty, he would drive me to the emergency room... today.

it would probably be bad to drive myself to the hospital when i can hardly stand on my right leg, huh?

Monday, May 12, 2008

i want one JUST LIKE THIS.



one word: TURKMENISTAN (did i even spell that right?!)


as opposed to:


my favorite: "the Iraq everywhere like such as"

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

nawlins, baby.


this trip to new orleans was pretty much strictly business for 24 hours; i'll be in back in dc tomorrow. but after dinner, we did have a chance to walk down bourbon street. it's back and as nutso as i remember from two years ago. this is probably the most PG of pictures i could have taken on this street...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

tequila!

...long story.

Monday, May 05, 2008

prescription, schmiption


leah: you know what is driving me crazy? besides the fact that i want to drink now?

my anti-malaria pills (i still have to take them just in case) say not to get excessive sun exposure

and i fell asleep at the park. in the sun. yesterday.

i'm all kinds of itchy today. i feel like a kid with chicken pox.

Neil: damn, that would be crazy if you got malaria

leah
: exactly why i haven't stopped taking the pills yet

Neil
: that would only happen to you

leah
: i know.


i, in my infinite knowledge, chose my anti-malarial pills based on side effect, not on length of time.

A = hallucinations and nightmares (4 weeks of pills)
hallucinations could be fun, but a little scary.

B = canker/cold sores (2 weeks of pills or something like that)
umm, no. there is no saying yes to herpes simplex 1.

C = clearing up acne, upset stomach (6+ weeks of pills)
clear face, no malaria? sweet!

so needless to say, even though i've been back for 3 weeks, i'm taking these pills for 6 more days (and that's only because i forgot to take some last week). the only problem is that there is a restriction to the exposure of sun* on the label. this is a problem for the girl who likes to be outside on gorgeous days. and read a book. and possibly fall asleep. at the park. to african drumming.

yesterday's sunday fun day, was spent at my 2nd favorite place in the city, with a mat, a book, and a julia's empanada; waiting for the african drums to start while listening to the rush of the fountain going downhill. it was all good, so good, in fact, that i fell asleep outside. that is, until the holy roller with the bullhorn showed up, and woke me up with bible verses.

in case you didn't know, holy roller + bull horn = ineffective way of converting people, especially when these people are trying to relax in the park on a lazy sunday afternoon and just listen to some percussion (yes, including cow bell). and seriously, bible verses are not meant to be yelled out on a bull horn in that tone. get it right.

needless to say, i sat at work, scratching away. typing a word, then scratching away. i need mittens. or to stop taking malarial pills. but since things tend to happen to me, i think i won't give up on these pills just yet.



*this totally explains why i was sooooooo red in africa and why i thought i was allergic to the sheets and itchy for four days straight. stupid me. i am filipino after all.


Sunday, May 04, 2008

Too tired to write coherently

It's weekend bullet time (hey, it counts as an update).

  • instead of drinking my life away on friday night, i chose to spend sometimes outdoors with a book at my favorite spot in the city. ended up people watching, meeting the guards, being totally weirded out by a guy in a wilco shirt who stood 1 foot away from me but wouldn't say a word, and being surprised with a choral concert. there is never a quiet day in dc.
  • as i was walking the breadth of the mall yesterday, doing my second 'job' as dc tourguide (i love this), i was planning on getting some sun to keep my african tan going. the only discernible, additional tan i got was on my feet, in the shape of flip flop. awesome.
  • even awesomer is the fact that even though i was not a purchaser of the $200 tickets to attend a fundraising gala to help support DC artists and their work, is that i was allowed to get dolled up in a dress that i haven't yet worn since it's purchase 2 years ago, attend the gala after some minimal volunteering, see a performance, see some art, eat some yummies, drink (thanks to campari), dance the night away to the resident Saint-Ex DJs in a venue not 1/10 as crowded as Gate 54, and even received a swag bag. thanks CuDC.
  • though after looking through the swag bag this morning, the only thing i got remotely excited about was vodka, chocolate, and a magnet - because i need one for my fridge.
  • by the way, what's with the hordes of guys who showed up at a creative cocktail event in polo shorts, pleated khakis and seer sucker pants? with the art, the artists and the graffiti covered walls, i felt like i was in a weird remake of pretty in pink (80's music included).today, i'm itching to play outside again. so returns sunday fun day. yay for warm weather!

Monday, April 28, 2008

PROOF

Alright so, it's been 3 weeks since I've returned. And I think I'm back. After multiple attempts to correct my internal clock with beer and wine this week, I think Friday night did the trick. I slept in until 9am. That's HUGE.

After a family reunion x2 on Saturday, today, I had the pleasure of hanging out with some my Seattlites for a few hours and of course, ladies night with the girls.

Margaritas + Girls = Good Times. As if you didn't know that.

Of course, I'm not at all tired but I have an early day tomorrow. What time is it? Most people would call that irony, but my name is Leah; things happen to me.

Speaking of, I was able to get some help on my jump video (thanks!) and here it is (so much for being anonymous).

Ok, so it's no surprise that somehow I was able to hurt myself when jumping off of a bridge over a gorge. Who woulda thunk?!

According to the internet, the Vic Falls jump is a 166 meter drop. That's approximately 545 ft. For those that need comparison, a foot ball field including endzones is 360 ft. So, I fell about 1.5 foot ball fields. (I know, what was I thinking?!)

Funny things to note:

  • Yes, it's a little blurry at first.
  • 00:15 When you see me smiling and laughing when I'm sitting and talking to dude, I say, "you're going to make sure I don't die right?"
  • 00:24 Yes, I was nervous
  • 00:47 Yes, I was really nervous
  • 00:49 They had a random mix CD on repeat. I told them I needed to jump to the Chili Peppers or else I wouldn't get amped enough to jump. Coincidentally, it was playing before I "jumped".
  • 00:52 Yes, dude was hot. No, at the time, I did not notice that he was hot nor the fact that he was doing pull ups. with only one arm. on the platform. over the gorge. I was a little distracted by the fact that I was throwing myself into a hole with a rope tied to my legs. Though right now I wish I did notice. Very nice.
  • 01:01 "I'm sorry mom!"
  • 01:42, 01:44, 01:46 Yes, they had to PUSH my arms off the handrails 3x. During this time, I was negotiating with them, that I needed a second. Their response was, "we'll give you five seconds. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... BUNGEE!!!" My response, "Ahhhhhhhhh! then the Lords Prayer a few million times" (01:49)
  • 02:12ish Contrary to popular belief, I did not get a nosebleed because of the drop. Thanks E. On my second or so bounce, the bungee cord hit me. In the face. I got rope burn, a busted lip and a busted nose - that resulted in a nosebleed. Yes, you can see the blood in the video. Yes, I have proof of the busted lip and rope burn in pictures. No, I'm not putting up here.
  • 02:41 At this point as I dangle like a worm on a hook, I'm screaming "help me..." As you can see, I'm crooked. I'm really thinking that this is when I pulled a muscle in my leg. It's just not right, you can see I'm hanging funny.
  • 03:02 J: "did she go?! she didn't chicken out?!" thanks j, thanks.
  • 03:02-03:29 hanging upside is not fun. hanging upside and being spun while the guy pulls you in. SO NOT FUN.
  • 03:29 J: "i thought she would chicken out." once again, THANKS J.
  • 03:57 leah: "i love you!" dude #3: "i love you too!" nice.
  • 04:00 Yes, I am smiling!
  • 04:21 My new BF is showing me the Batoka Gorge and the Vic Falls behind me.
  • 04:30 Hamming it up for the camera now that I know I realize that I'm not in the river getting eaten by crocodiles.
  • 04:37 Still hamming it up and still bleeding.
  • 04:43 J, admitting he was "freaked out." uh, huh.
  • 04:50 - 07:20: tour of Victoria Falls c/o J and N.
  • 07:20 I emerge from under the bridge. STILL BLEEDING. but ALIVE.


Oh, and for the record, I maybe would do it again.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

jetlag = bad post

it's been one full week and i'm still on african time. failed attempts to get back to DC time have included:

  • staying out and drinking on friday night with fun people. i pretty much fell asleep sitting up at the bar at 10:36pm and only after 4 beers.
  • taking a sleeping pill last night instead of going out with other fun people that i miss (sorry, guys, i'm totally lame...). i didn't even make it past 10pm. and i still woke up at 4 and said @*#$@$#@&$%! --- like ten times.
due to lack of sleep and just plain being miss grumpy, i've tried to save you all from my bitching by avoiding all public contact (i've snapped at two people this week... sorry j's). one day, i'll be normal again - as normal as i ever was, at least.

anyway, to the more important updates, because, i'm sure you are dying to know...
  • i am not cool enough to upload the jump video because i don't have a dvd ripper. any volunteers? payment will be made in food because since leah's cabinets and fridge have been empty since march 20th, she stupidly decided to go to the grocery store hungry this morning. and instead of sticking to her list of eggs, milk, cheese, some veggies and some chicken -- leah bought all kinds of cool semi-gourmet food that will last all of 1 week before spoiling unless she feeds someone else. trust me, this whole nosebleeding thing needs to explained thoroughly so i would love to post this video. i'm not taking this lightly. :P stop laughing, miss e.
  • yes, i was lucky enough to win a ticket to see benny, but at this point i'm all Poped out. and actually, tired of waiting for youtube to upload my video of the POPEMOBILE (yay!). the mass was amazing, the excitement of the crowd was thrilling, and benny was so cute with his german accent. it was a great day and i loved it. (this post gives thursday no justice, but i'm sleepy).

  • oh, and i was totally surprised that placido domingo was at the mass. he was far, soi only got jumbotron images that i won't post here.
  • sis and i took little j to the zoo for first time yesterday. holy crazy crowded. but she saw her elephants (asian elephants are not as cute as african ones), her zebras (dude, why are the zebras at the zoo dirty? and not as cute as the african ones, i might add!), and a slew of other animals. she was uber cute yesterday. probably won't be the last time at the zoo for the next couple of years, but definitely will be the last time we go on the first, warm, saturday of the year.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Songs in My Head v2 & Africa updates

Despite the luxury that is B-Class on our 24 hour trip back from Africa, I was unable to sleep. Thank goodness for iPods and forgotten playlists.

Here are the songs stuck in my head (not the best playlist mind you, but at least it's not covers of tracy chapman or bob marley... yay!):

  1. If you Leave, the Cure
  2. Somebody, Depeche Mode
  3. Drive, the Cars
  4. Creep, Radiohead
  5. Amber, 311
  6. Fix You, Coldplay
  7. Brick, Ben Folds Five
  8. Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, U2
  9. Such Great Heights, Iron and Wine
  10. With Or Without You, U2
  11. Run, Snow Patrol
  12. Landslide, Smashing Pumpkins
  13. Trouble, Coldplay
  14. Patience, Guns N Roses
  15. When Love and Hate Collide, Def Leppard (i really don't know...but i like it)
  16. Can't Fight This Feeling, REO Speedwagon
  17. Everybody Hurts, REM (this put me to sleep for 5 minutes)
  18. Love and Some Verses, Iron and Wine
  19. Fade Into You, Mazzy Star (woke up to this)
  20. She Will be Loved - Acoustic, Maroon 5
  21. Dia De Enero, Shakira
  22. The Blower's Daughter, Damien Rice
  23. Both Sides Now, Joni Mitchell
  24. Colorblind, Counting Crows
Random, but now I'm listening to it again.


I did a fairly good job of avoiding any horizontal surfaces yesterday after landing at 7am after only 4 hours of sleep in 24 hours. That is, until after 7pm (that's 1am Africa time) in which I passed out, until 3am (9am in Africa). Real internet is a great thing before dawn. That is, until I passed out again for a couple of hours.


Updates include:
  • the Von Trapp video is up. finally.
  • two sets of Victoria Falls videos and animal updates are up on this post
  • and various other pic updates on other posts
Still working on:
  • the jump video
  • uploading the other pictures

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Out of Africa

As I sit in the airport that lost all systems (read: handwritten tickets), I'm thinking: I'm ready to get home.

I realize that I am very lucky to have experienced this continent, these countries, these people, and this easy going "hakuna matata" kind of life.

These are the things I'll miss/my favorite moments:
-leaving my room and seeing animals roaming... even those bad monkeys
-getting rained on at victoria falls
-the sun; however burnt I am, its better than snow and rain
-seeing a whole lot of stars in the sky; and the stillness of real darkness-- even though it creeped me out while walking to my building at night.
-laughing about kenya's debacle
-seeing the real africa (albeit from a distance), and realizing and recognizing its pace
-feeding and petting an elephant
-talking to locals even when they bring up the election (barack is a huge deal here)
-"yes please"
-the cute kids that haven't seen an asian girl before; that and being told that I look "almost asian"
-not feeling the need to anything but have fun.


Things I won't miss:
-living out of a suitcase
-stopping in random airports
-being scared that a monkey will jump on my dinner table
-being terrified of jumping to my death
-the miscommunications
-my hostel bed in kenya
-the slow pace when you really need something right away
-tracy chapman
-not being invited to a boma
-the local craftsman invading my personal space and trying to convince me that ten dollars is a good price for a wooden rhino.
-and of course, dial up internet



See you stateside!


Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Eles!

johnny, leah and christine on Liwa the Ele | 04.11.08 | mosi-o-tunya park

Today, we got up bright and early to go on an elephant back safari, which I was a little nervous about considering my pulled muscle from the other day. How the hell was I supposed to climb on top of an elephant considering I could hardly maneuver getting into bed without wincing?

Yes, I, too, do not understand how I got hurt. But then again, I jumped off a bridge with a rope tied to my legs. And my name is Leah. It was explained to me yesterday, that Leya, is the language of a tribe here in Zambia that means 'to divert' --- as in from the crowd. Every other jumper came out fine. I didn't. Are you really surprised?

When we arrived, we signed our lives away and learned that a guide with a gun would follow us, in case any rogue elephants came after us in the bush. Exciting!

I got of climbing on the biggest, alpha male elephant, by trying to explain that I hurt myself bungee jumping and couldn't climb him -- of course all while J is shaking his head and N is laughing. I got on the shorter female ele, Liwa, the mother of the ever-so-cute, baby Nandi. Liwa was a great elephant, although she was more into eating branches upon branches of trees instead of keeping up with the pack... that's my girl!

From the great vantage point being on top of an elephant, we were able to see some birds, some pumba - sans timon, buffalo, wildebeasts, and impala but no hippos - much to my dismay. Oh well... I got to ride an elephant and not at some lame-o state fair.

clockwise from the top:
1) hornbill in a tree 2) liwa and nandi 3) water buffalo 4) us on the elephant

Post ele - we went out to our last dinner here in Livingstone and ended the night singing (and dancing) to the live band in at the pool bar. It was nice drunken night to a great week.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What a difference a day makes...

zambezi river sunset cruise on the african queen | 04.10.08

Last night, we decided to take a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. I knew it would be relaxing and pretty non-eventful but I was hoping that I could spot some hippos or a stray elephant on the shore. Not-so-much. We ended up seeing a herd of giraffes, but they were so far away, it wasn't all that exciting. Zambezi River upstream from the falls: Beautiful, yes. Eventful, no.


Today, on the other hand, was all kinds of exciting.

Let's take a little quiz shall we?

Today, Leah:

  1. walked 4 feet away from 3 zebras
  2. came home from an excursion with rope burn on her face
  3. came home from an excursion with massive sun burns on her face
  4. came home from an excursion with a bloody nose
  5. came home from an excursion with a pulled muscle in her leg
  6. professed my love to a Zambian guy that saved me
  7. all of the above
Ding! Ding! Ding! if you chose #7, you are correct. While, I'm sure most of you are thinking that I got in a huge fight with a zebra (that is the most likely conclusion - I admit), I actually put myself in the predicament that has caused me this pain from this afternoon (which really isn't all that bad - promise!).

See this pretty picture I took of the bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe?


I jumped off of it. Into the Batoka Gorge.

  • bungee jumping - CHECK.


(hi mom! i'm still alive.)



**it would have been more poignant to just upload the video from the jump here, but as you know i have troubles with slow internet. plus, i have to edit out my bloody nose -- though i'm sure that's pretty entertaining to some of you.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Perceptions VS. Reality

After our Victoria Falls shower, N and I decided to dry off. And by dry off, I mean, lay out by the pool to get even darker. She’s gotten to be the resident expert with the African sun. I, on the other hand, have proven that I’m not really Filipino. I’m red and it hurts. a lot.

Today’s other activity consisted of visiting the town of Livingstone to see what it had to offer. We went to the Livingstone Museum, which was interesting for about 5 minutes because it was tiny and dated. Interesting to note though that Zambians are not fans of owls, because they are ugly. Seriously. Otherwise, there wasn’t really anything to note there besides some great local paintings.

Our driver then took us to the market, where I have never been called sister so much. The vendors all had sad stories, asking to trade my tissues and hair elastics to give to their sisters in the village. It was sad at first, until everyone had the same story and I realized their game. After getting the hang of the haggling, I purchased some great souvenirs even though trying to divide everything by 3500 (kwacha to dollar) proved to be a little difficult. I’m sure I still paid way more that I was supposed to for some copper bracelets.

With nothing else to do that wasn’t considered an excursion and that didn’t require a reservation, we decided to go to the local pub and grille and have beer – in my case, a Peroni (who knew Italian beer did well here?). We happened to have stumbled across what I think was the bar near the closest hostel- read: lots of foreigners - but none of us were feeling social... just hungry.

When we were in Lusaka last week, I spoke to our Embassy contact that helped plan our event, and she had suggested that we visit the Funky Munkey in Livingstone when we were sick of the hotel food. We took her up on that and instead of eating at the pub, we went to Funky Munky, inviting our driver into the restaurant to eat with us. He was quite surprised and joined us. We started asking questions of him and his life and Livingstone. He had twins and 3 year old, was born in the copper belt to a miner, and moved to Livingstone for a new life.
Chella, our driver & the Funky Munky | 04.08.08 | livingstone, zambia

As he became more comfortable, he started peppering us with questions. Like many others we encountered in Africa, he was concerned with the upcoming election and whether America was ready for a black president. He also asked questions on whether or not there were homeless people in the US. And if Americans went to church. And what perception the Americans have of Africa. He also started going off about how the British people he’s encountered from the resort were not friendly and how he never thought that we would have invited him to join him. All in all, I think both sides learned about each other, and I’m glad we got the chance to really talk to him.

Oh, and the pizza was the closest thing to pizza that we’ve encountered on the continent. In many foreign countries, they’ll have their take on what the food is - basing it on local ingredients which is fine and understandable. Pizza is always one of these dishes, you never know what you’ll end up with. For instance at our hotel, the pizza has sweetened diced tomato instead of tomato sauce. In the Philippines, I remember getting a “pepperoni pizza” which consisted of a tomato and carrot based sauce, cheddar cheese, and sliced hot dogs. Not exactly my type of pizza. At the Funkey Munkey, they even had a brick oven stove in the back. This is very exciting. I love the ethnic food, but after two weeks, I’m tired of eating rice + stewed meat of sorts (either beef, chicken, goat, or impala). Yes, I tasted impala. It was good.

Later last night, as N and I slurped down ice cream cocktails at the poolside bar, we noticed that the zebras had returned to the lawn area in front of our building. After closer inspection, the herd had decided to lay down and sleep near our building, and very close to the path to our rooms. So, in an effort to get to our rooms without spooking the animals and getting kicked, we crossed the other side of the yard in the dark. Mind you these are the same yards the zebras roam on, eat from, and poop on. Umm, yeah that was fun.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

discovery

i just discovered that there is internet on property. i don't really know how i'm finagling this, but i'm going to milk it.

so instead of writing new things, i'm going to try to upload pictures and videos from past posts as we speak.

enjoy!


EDIT: 3:26am (your time)

it's slow and i still don't think i can get videos uploaded. hmpf. stand by.

Mosi-ao-Tunya : Smoke that Thunders

I'm here. I'm alive. I'm so burnt (skin is red).

Though I've been lucky to flirt my way into free internet service the last two days, I probably won't have that much luck as I think they are catching on. Internet is expensive, limited, and dial up (GAH) so I'll update more when I get home.

After our sleep filled stop in Jo-burg, we got up early to ensure that we got on the plane to Livingstone. After finally deciphering the reader boards – which was embarrassing to say the least – we were in! with 2 hours to spare. Thank goodness for duty free shopping.

On the plane, the pilot said that it was such a great day that they would fly over the falls. It was amazing to say the least – even with the plane's engine in the way of my shots.

victoria falls from the plane | 04.06.08

Upon arrival, our airport transfer drove closer and closer to the falls – you could tell because the spray from the falls was over 500 meters high and you couldn't miss it. Ends up, our hotel is located a five minute walk from the falls, and is in the Mosi-ao-Tunya World Heritage Natural
Wildlife Park.

Because of this, we have crocodiles, monkeys, giraffes, impala and zebras roaming around on the grounds of the hotel. Let me repeat that, there are animals roaming freely on the grounds of the hotel - near leah. If you know me and my sister, this is just funny.

BAD monkey! eating sugar packets | 04.07.08 | livingstone, zambia

The monkeys are ridiculous. During meal times – everything is open air here – they hover over the dining tables and jump on tables grabbing food and sugar packets. They're a little manic – probably because they eat sugar packets – and are not totally scared of being near people. I'm not a fan; in fact, I'm downright scared. It's the running joke amongst my friends. Obviously, they didn't see Outbreak.

Of course, the first night here, I went to take a walk, and stepped out side our building to find a zebra's butt outside the hall door. The herd had wandered from the other parts of the property was munching on the short grass near the pool/restaurant. The zebras aren't tame by any means, so it's always fun negotiating a safe path to walk around them.

After my photo shoot with the zebras, we ended up at the Royal Livingstone our first night, having wine on deck on the Zambezi River, listening to traditional drumming and singing.


Yesterday morning, I was antsy and decided to hit up Victoria Falls at 7:30 in the morning. I took the quick 7 minute hike and was amazed at how close I was to the falls. They say that to go see it, you either just go in your swimsuit because the spray is so great, that it's like it is raining. It is. Ponchos are useless and another tourist money making scheme here. The falls are ten times the size of Niagara Falls and you get completely soaked even though you are across the gorge. It's like walking through a car wash.



We spent the day relaxing and booking our activities for the week, including an elephant back safari, a Zambezi river cruise, and a jaunt into town. We also booked a segway tour of the property since it was so big and we wanted to get our bearings.

Our segway tour guide took us all around to find all the animals – didn't see any crocs or impalas this time around but we're here for a few more days. We spotted the zebras on the grounds of our sister hotel and some stupid tourist decided he would stand beside them. Consequently, he got a good, swift kick in the butt from a zebra. It was pretty funny. And a great story to tell. Though I'm not sure he'll be laughing today.

Since it is a park, there are paths through the bush, and it's there that we encountered the giraffes, about 5 feet away from us. I was so amazed, as it was almost surreal -- as if they were toys.

arson, our segway guide & geoffrey, the giraffe | 04.07.08 | mosi-o-tunya park

Afterwards, we had some close encounters with some monkeys during dinner, then walked back to Victoria Falls in the afternoon. But since it was getting dark, it was probably not safe to be outside, hiking on wet stone, in the woods.


This morning, we went to the falls again and were able to cross a bridge that crosses to another island. It was nuts. And very wet. But so much fun! I'm proud to say that I was a trooper and didn't succumb to the ponchos and went with the flow, taking pictures through a ziplock bag.



walking back to our hotel (via a bridge) from the eastern cataract of victoria falls

Ok, gotta go before they decide to charge me a gajillion dollars for this. We're hitting up town in an hour and going to see all that Livingstone has got to offer.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Bed = good

Pimp my ride is on tv
sidenote: they are randomly playing postal service. eh?

and I just woke up from a four hour (much needed) nap.

wha?! Yes, Leah took a nap. in the middle of the day. by choice.

Oh, and I'm in Johannesburg.

Yeah...


Missed flight to our vacation due to some SAA incompetence and can't get to Livingstone until tomorrow. And since this is the fifth flight, and second glitch in this week, J and I decided to just find a hotel. Anywhere. I think my exact words to our travel agent were "... Two rooms, at a hotel near the airport, lower than an exorbitant amount, and... :pause, look at J and smirk: ... preferably with a casino."

J, trying to figure out what to do next outside the Tambo airport

We(he) know(s) how to roll. Except that there is no casino in the hotel. For me, I found a hotel spa. With cheap treatments. And after this week (and if you know me) I was stoked! Maybe jo-burg was fate - for me to relax, and for J to have some fun. We both needed it after running the length of Tambo International airport both with 25lb packs and dealing with some very not-so-nice people while still in good spirits (oh, and working like nuts and not getting more than five hours of sleep since our arrival on this continent, last week).

I ran downstairs with a to-do list that would rival Paris Hilton's weekly treatments and was pretty unreasonable for a half day, but I didn't care. I get to the floor and it had closed... five minutes before I got there.

So, instead, we both passed out. Me more so than him because he just called, woke me up and laughed. HMPF.


I guess it's time to have dinner and find real internet. I'll make the most of this, maybe I can update pics tonight...


Why don't I go out, you ask? We were exhausted and needed to chill, he hates being a tourist and I'm not going out by myself because Johannesburg is not such a safe city; I've been warned many times by books and friends.

And I'm at an airport hotel. Near nothing.

Actually, the hotel staff told me not to go out in the city - just go to the outskirts - because "the blacks and immigrants are dangerous."

Umm... yeah, lady, apartheid is over, and I'm a minority. But, thanks, I'm still not going out.



Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, April 04, 2008

the [mis] adventures continue...

It's 9pm on Friday night and I'm officially on vacation! (yes, cue the gogo's now)

Don't anyone call me/text/google chat if you want to talk about work.

First things first, I survived the hostel. Or what one of my traveling companions called "a homeless shelter." It was a test of my patience but also really fun -- and funny. I laughed - nervously - through the whole ordeal. Thank goodness for Blackberries, google talk, and people who like to stay up and email me.

no, really! i'm laughing, not crying.
also, rare proof of a candid shot of leah.

Things to note when staying at the Sleep N Shower in the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (near gate 3):
  • the room is tiny, even for me. i don't really understand how the 6ft tall guys fit in the bed.
  • the ceiling is not whole and the walls are not thick -- which mean you can hear every sound your neighbors make including but limited to: zippers opening/closing, your travelling companion on the phone next door, the front desk guy talking to his friend in kenyan, the noisy german couple two doors down, and your hired a/v guy who is snoring on the other side of the complex.
  • the shower is sketchy. the males in our group were too scared to take a shower -- for good reason: their water didn't work, and when it did, the chlorine was burning off skin of the other guys in the place (at 4am). the ladies though, were troopers with the shower. though, admittedly, i'm scared that i may catch something.
  • i swear that there were bed bugs. i'm still itchy.
  • it was almost as nearly as bad as the belmar beach hotel in nj.
Anyway, after that ordeal, it was off to Zambia, where when we landed, we hit the ground running (albeit, a little grumpy from lack of sleep). I got to the hotel just in time to meet with my advance staff, the car hire director, my clients, the hotel staff, and with the local av company and then set-up registration. I could hardly keep my eyes open and more dangerously, stopping my mouth from saying what I really thought. And of course, that night, changes to the agenda were given to me at 10pm (again, an exercise of patience). But no worries, today was almost a piece of cake, even with our "presidential" ish VIP.

I'm a little bummed, because I've waited a full two days for non-dial up internet in the lobby and I still can't post videos of the Von Trapps and the other pictures that I've taken. On top of that, CelTel doesn't recognize my blackberry.


need. real. internet. now.


But then again, I'm in Africa. So I'll shut up.

I'm sad to say that in Lusaka, I have seen 1) the inside of the Taj Pamodzi hotel, 2) the inside and road to FedEx, and 3) the inside of the Peace Corps complex for like, 0.5 seconds. And, that's it. Work was a little to crazy to explore and it's too late to walking around by myself.

But tomorrow equals flight #5 and #6 to Livingstone, Zambia where there are animals (crossing fingers), falls (yay), and a pool (hey, I refuse to go to Africa and not get dark). I wish that we could have chartered a plane like some other that are traveling with us but it's ok; two flights and another country later, I'll be on vacation. in Africa.


sick.