Monday, April 28, 2008


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


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


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.


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.


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.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

the adventures continue.

I'm currently sitting in a room that is four feet by six feet. It has a twin bed, a small triangular table and sheets. And I think there are bed bugs. This is my room for the night.

Long story short, Rwanda air sucks and cancels flights without telling anyone. The only flight I could get to Zambia to make it to my next conference without spending a gajillion dollars was to stay in Nairobi for a night. And being that we didn't get visas and that our flight leaves early tomorrow morning, we decided to just stay at a sleeping lounge at the airport. Stop laughing.

Yes. Leah is staying in a hostel like place. Stop laughing.

There are pictures. (I'm laughing in them).

I'll let you know how I fare tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

the (thousand) hills are alive

girl with her mother | 03.30.08 | outskirts of kigali, rwanda

After a rough day yesterday --- and by rough I mean, doing registration, without enough press badges for the major networks and other press that we were unaware were coming, under a tent, outside in the parking lot, during a 3 hour downpour AND running back and forth between said tent and meeting room, three floors up while having to get magnometered and body searched about 57x because a certain head of state was our keynote -- my friend and I decided to enjoy the night and grab a bottle of wine and chill in the hotel lobby.

Next thing you know, the Von Trapp children (yes, like in the Sound of Music) were hanging out in the lobby also. So we made friends. (Yes, I made friends with a bunch of teenagers, but the COOLEST teeagers EVER). Oh and YES, they are great grandchildren of Captain and Maria Von Trapp.

These kids are amazing- - the two oldest, Sophia and Melanie, are doing good work with some orphanages here in Africa and have the most beautiful voices. After much prodding, they regaled us with a mini concert last night. And I melted.

If today wasn't such a big CF with our flights to Zambia being cancelled last minute, we were all going to hang out today for lunch/coffee or something. We ran into them in town, and apparently, they were waiting for us to call or show up, but we were busy taking an unplanned tour of Kigali because they don't have airline ticketing in one central place (including the airport). Trust me, we would have much rather have hung out with them than run around and make 3 almost flight itineraries in three different places today.

Amanda (the third youngest) has her eyes set on GW for school. So I get to play DC tour guide when she's in town next. Yay! So I guess I'll see them again another time.

Will be leaving for Zambia by way of Nairobi this morning (booked our tickets at just shy over 24 hours before departure), that is, if I don't get arrested in the airport for having plastic bags -- polyurethane bags are illegal here. How green!

Signing off from the payes des milles colline [land of a thousand hills],

love, leah

ps. since wireless internet is unpredictable here, i'll have to post my photos later, as there is nothing more frustrating as getting stuff halfway uploaded and then realizing that the line got dropped. soon! promise!