Sunday, January 27, 2008

Elephants on Parade!

We took six days and traveled up to Addo from Cape Town. It was actually a really nice mini-trip. We took the Garden Route inland to Addo passing through a lot of the South African Peninsula on the way. The closest way that I can think of describing the drive is that its like driving through middle America. There were vast stretches of road where for miles there was no sign of human occupation, except for fences. We didn't even run into other cars. But the scenery was beautiful. The two lane road wound through mountainous farm/grazing land. So the landscape was almost untouched, except for the fences. In this day in age, and in all the places where I've lived, you almost never see scenery untouched by houses, stores, or some sign of humans. It was almost creepy in its emptiness.
We stayed the first night in a place that's pronounced like Oatshorn I forget how it's spelled. It was a cute little town, it would have been nice to have been able to spend more time there, there were supposed to be some very interesting things to see, but the only thing we had time for was the Safari Ostrich Ranch. The ranch is actually pretty interesting we almost had our own private tour. We saw baby ostriches and full grown ostriches and ostrich eggs (I even stood on one!) and even an ostrich race! For dinner that night I had Ostrich steak which is delicious! When I first heard about Ostrich farming in the US I thought it was another one of those "yeah, it tastes like beef" kinda like how snake is supposed to taste like chicken. Well, I've had both, and yes, Ostrich tastes like beef, but no snake does not taste like chicken.
After the Ostrich farm we headed on out to Addo which is on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth. I have to say that the township in Port Elizabeth is no joke. It's better than the one in Cape Town, at least all the PE township "houses" seemed to have roofs, but it was still huge and decrepit. It's simply awful. (maybe I will have time to write a post on the lack of black people in Africa)
In the Elephant park we stayed in these cute cabins right in the park, not next to the wild animals, but very close. In the morning we got up and drove into the preserve. It is actually pretty interesting to see all the animals wandering about doing whatever it is that animals do all day. I thought it would be interesting to describe all the animals, but this is one instance in which our pictures make a much better statement. In a couple of days go to and look for the album Africa.

To the ends of the earth and beyond!!!!!!

*SIGH* I had every intention of blogging every night while we were in South Africa. But then we were sitting around trying to figure out what to do with our time here, and we decided to go on a last minute trip to the Addo National Elephant Park. This took us away from Cape Town and my internet access for SIX DAYS! So here's what you missed!
On the day we decided to go to the Elephant Park we journeyed to the Cape of Good Hope which is the most Southern point on the continent of Africa. There are two points on the continent where you can stand and look out over the water, and there's nothing but water as far as the eye can see. In theory, if you had a strong enough telescope and a completely flat earth you'd be able to see all the way to Antartica! The cape itself is incredibly windy and the waves are atrocious! It was crazy to stand at the look out points and imagine that you were a sailor years and years ago coming upon the point. I imagine the cape was pretty ferocious even back then. It was a clear day inland, and yet at the cape the wind was whipping around the island like a madman. It also seemed like the waters just off the coast were lousy with hidden rocks and reefs. But despite all of this it was stunning! The jagged cliffs over looking the rocky wave pounded beach, the mountains in the distance.... All just beautiful!
That evening, like I said, we came home and decided to drive up the penisula to the Elephant Park... but I will tell more about that tomorrow.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


When we first decided to come to South Africa one of the ways that my hubby sold me on the trip was talk about swimming with the Penguins. In Cape Town there is a pretty extensive penguin preserve where you can get pretty close to the nesting grounds of the local penguins. I went thinking that you might see a penguin or two here and there, but no, it is in all actuality, a penguin nesting ground. There were penguins everywhere! Then we went down onto the beach where the penguins also swim around and you could walk around with the Penguins. The kids we were with were playing around in the water and a penguin swam right by them. Then, as I was sitting on the beach a penguin popped right by us so to get to his nest.
It is actually kinda cool to be able to commune with local wildlife like that. I always thought penguins were kinda mean, but no, they kept to themselves, and didn't really bother any of the people.

Friday, January 18, 2008

South Africa!

So we have now been in South Africa for an entire day! Unfortunately, I have been knocked out for most of it. For the first time Babes was not a good traveler, and she woke up whining every thirty-fourty minutes during the plane ride. Which I guess I can understand, those plane seats are not in the least bit comfortable. Now she has her very first cold too, and she's so pitifully cute. She wants to be cheerful, but she's just so tired...
ANYWAY, South Africa is like a super beautiful southern California. The weather feels about the same, and the sky has that same light blue look. Our friends' house is not too big, or too small, but when you walk out into their back yard it is absolutely amazing! First of all the yard is a huge expanse of lawn, with a medium sized pool tucked away into one corner. Their covered porch has big stuffed comfy chairs that are in the perfect position to see the mountain in the distance. Yesterday, I sat with Babes on the chair watching the sun set over the mountain. Absolutely stunning! I've decided I don't even care to see the rest of Cape Town I'm just going to sit on their back porch for two weeks!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

More favorite things

I realized last night why the list seemed so lame to me. I left out all the really good parts of stay at home momminess because I didn't want to be THAT woman... well I am slowly starting to realize that I AM that woman, and there's nothing wrong with it... I suppose, as my hubs says we should just buy a Volvo and get it over with (I'm not ready for that yet. We'll just start with adding to the list)

More Favorite Things:
13. Little baby hands patting my face
14. Little baby feet taking little baby steps
15. Loud baby voices saying "UP!"
16. Weird baby crawl
17. Cute baby laughs
18. Big baby smiles
19. Nursing (although it's loosing it's charm as she gets older)
20. Watching dog put up with getting beat on the head
21. Sneaky baby smiles
22. Big baby yawns
23. Sloppy baby kisses
24. Baby hugs

...hmmm I'm sure I'll think of more but I feel better about the list now.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A few of my favorite things

Post holiday I am finding it hard to find my inner domestic goddess. I am grumpy and out of sorts, and in general just a little blah. But whenever I try to complain, or want to complain it always ends up sounding so lame because deep down I really do love being a stay at home mom in a foreign service family. I mean lets face it, I could be working 70 hrs a week, in a little office with a tiny window (if I'm lucky) staring at a computer screen all day, come home, make some dinner then kiss babes on the head as she is sleeping, OR I can travel the world, stay at home and teach my daughter where her nose is, have a maid, and go on vacations from my vacation like life. So I'm going to make a list of things that I like about being a stay at home mom to see if I can't coax my goddess out of hiding.
My favorite things (in no particular order)
1. Really cute daughter
2. No office
3. No annoying co-workers
4. Never having to receive or write a memo
5. Lunchtime is whenever we feel like it
6. Daily meetings last less than 20 minutes before broken up to bang on something
7. I have been at home for less than two weeks and I'm already going on vacation again.
8. Dress is casual or pajamas, whichever I prefer
9. Every day is different, you never know what is going to happen.
10. Digital cameras are awesome!
11. I have a maid
12. I learn something new every day

hmmm.... I have run out of steam. I guess this list will just have to do for now.

The Big Mac Museum

One of the highlights of my trip back to the US was going to visit my friends in PA. It was a different trip going with babes. Normally I just hang out with them and their three kids. Which is not as bad as it might sound, their kids are AWESOME! so polite and well behaved almost all of the time. Even when i didn't have kids I liked to go hang out with them. Now with babes my kid plays (sort of) with their kids, their kids weren't as bored with me.... All around fun! However it's usually not much to blog about, after all I'm hanging out with college friends and their kids. The stuff that I find fun about those kinds of weekends would not interest the world (it barely interests my husband, and/or parents).
But, about three or four months ago I received an article about the Big Mac Museum which is not far from their house in PA. So, of course, I had to go! Yes, it's just a big McDonald's, BUT it has a GIANORMOUS big mac statue and lots of random big mac information. As well as every commercial ever made about the big mac. So while stuffing myself on some good old fried foods I read up on the big mac and took some pictures.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I am Wuss

I am Wuss! No, not Will Smith, or even his character in the movie, but me. For some reason (and hopefully it's temporary) ever since Zora was born my overactive imagination has gone back to the days where it won't let me sleep if I watch a scary movie. Case in point. I am Legend. Not that scary, but I stayed up the ENTIRE night after I watched it. I think it's mostly my own fault. I gave my brain time to process the movie before going to bed, so that once I got to bed all those gaps left in the narration were filled in by my imagination. What happens in between the time that New York is quarantined and the movie begins, well I can tell you, and it's not pretty. Before this didn't bother me so much. I figured I could kick butt with the best of them, and if not I'd die and go to Heaven, but now.... NOW I have a daughter so my remaining night time thoughts dwelt upon would I rather have her infected and watch her die, or have myself get infected, die, then leave her all alone, or have both of us un-infected but then have to fight like mad to protect us both, or maybe both of us die in a fiery crash.
But really, ever since I read the Stand (you gotta love Stephen King) I have worried about a global-civilization-ending pandemic. Would you want to be on the surviving side? I mean yes, to die is a horrible thing. To die young is even worse, but it's got to be difficult being a survivor. Every time I think about it I end up thinking about the scene from The Stand where the main character is trying to get out of Manhattan and has to take the tunnel, in the dark, with cars full of bodies.... How creepy is that? What would it be like to live in a world made up of mostly ghosts? Where everyone you know has died... where you might have even watched everyone you know die? How do you keep going?
I pray that I never have to find out.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


It snowed in Baku today! Just like last year, there are cars sliding all over the road, and big huge drifts of snow everywhere. We have taken turns standing by the window watching the Ladas and Nivos slide down the hill. I should have taken pictures again, but I was busy chasing the little crawler around the apartment.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


It's really lame when you have a travel blog that you don't update when you are traveling (but yes, I am lame like that).
Babes and I just got back from a whirlwind tour of the US. Yes we were there for 2 months, but during that time, Babes and I went to Philly, Vegas, New York, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Richmond, and DC. We saw a lot of good friends and family, we visited the Met and the Big Mac Museum, and we celebrated Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas.
Now it's 2008 and we are back in Baku, but only for a brief respite, in two weeks we are going to pack our bags and head out again. This time to South Africa!