Sunday, September 30, 2007

Snip, Snip

Growing up, I had rather long hair – it reached to just above my waist. Whenever it needed to be trimmed, I went to one of the most talented stylists in Toronto – my father. He would take the kitchen shears and chop off an even inch along the bottom.

During my first year at university, I became rather intoxicated one night and promised to chop off all of my hair. The next day, one of my friends showed up to ensure that I kept my promise and we watched while I went from waist length to just above shoulder length. I dropped the bomb to my parents about my drastic new ‘do about a week before I went home at the end of that semester. My mother promptly sent me to her guy at Vidal Sassoon to have my shortened hair properly sculpted.

After that pricey cut, I have visited the salon off and on while keeping my hair at lengths I consider short – from just below my ears to just above my shoulder blades. For a year or so back in the late 90’s, I attempted to dye my dark locks red both professionally and with an at-home kit. Both methods were a waste of money as no-one could see any of the highlights unless I stood under direct light at just the right angle.

Since that time, I have been seeing the newest and most fashionable stylist I’ve ever had attend to my follicle needs – my husband. Some might call this method proof that I’m cheap, but I prefer to say that it is my way of demonstrating my love and trust in Hubby. That, and I’m too cheap to pay someone $50 to cut my hair when Hubby does it for free. (I also cut his hair using the clippers every month or so.)

Of course, Hubby, for all that I love him, isn’t, perhaps, the most talented hairdresser ever. Take today’s haircut. I pointed to a spot just below my shoulders as the line he should aim for. My hair now curls just under my chin.

In the name of full disclosure, I should say the following: no matter if he cuts it on an angle, cuts it too short, or cuts is slightly unevenly, Hubby always makes my hair look good. After my hair dried this afternoon, I brushed and styled it and realized that my shorter-than-anticipated style was actually rather flattering and pretty.

So, you can go see Pedro at Vidal, or Mike at the Hair Cuttery, I’m going to keep on seeing the best stylist in town for the money – my wonderful husband.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Happy Blog-Day

Today marks an auspicious occasion here at Wandering the World. It was two years ago today when I first created and started writing this blog. Since that initial day, I haven’t always written every day – or even every month – but I have tried to write faithfully about the goings on in my life and the lives of those around me. Through my writings, I have tried to take you with me to India, Mauritius, Dubai, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Netherlands, Australia, the Seychelles, and even mundane places like Canada and the US.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these tales as much as I have enjoyed writing them. The entry you are reading is the 316th of what I hope will be many, many more. So please keep reading, and I promise to keep writing – not always daily, or even monthly, but always with honesty, and, I hope, a touch of humor about topics that interest all of us. Or, when that fails, at least me!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

To London with Love?

So here’s today’s dilemma: I have a chance to go to London for a week next month and am not sure if I should. I can’t make up my mind and since Hubby and I appear to have swapped brains on this issue, he isn’t being of any assistance. Help!

Allow me to break this problem down to its most basic issue: money. Hubby is going to London for a week at the end of October and wants me to join him. My initial feeling was that this would not be a problem since we had sufficient air miles to get me there for free. Since he was going for work, our hotel would also be covered. So far so good.

I think that by now we all know me well enough to know that even a free vacation with Typ0 isn’t free in the long run. Once in London, I would need to go shopping for everything from books to clothes. (Maybe even a new ipod for Hubby for Christmas! [Hubby Edit: at UK prices?? Yeah, right!]) Plus, I’m not going to London and not eating at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, Fifteen, which, even for lunch, will put us back about £100. *eek* London isn’t exactly a cheap town and I would likely be killing my spare time in pubs and chippies whilst visiting with my family and good friends like Aurenna.

My estimate is that we would likely spend an extra $1000 if I go to London on this “free” trip. So now do you see why I’m torn? Heck, Hubby keeps saying it’s doable and won’t be that bad but I think he’s in denial.

So what should I do? Do I go to London and try to budget myself and live with Hubby when he finally gets the bill for the trip? Or do I forego this lovely opportunity, disappoint Hubby, and more importantly, Aurenna? I can’t decide! Help!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Sorry there was no blog for you to read today – I was without power for almost ten hours! Since we live in what is considered a “good power” area our building has no generator so once my back-up system died (in about twenty minutes) I spent my day like an olden-time gal. No television time, no microwave to heat up my yummy leftovers, not even a stove to make some soup since the starter for the gas elements is electric! Thank goodness my ipod was charged or might have gone truly loony in my power-less apartment.

Due to being on South Beach I didn’t want to risk going out for lunch – the Siren Song of carbs can be blocked out at home but more difficult to elude in the food court. On the plus side, I did get an incredible amount of knitting and reading done.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Kitchen Corner

I believe that I have previously admitted to having an obsession with buying cookbooks. I have books by Food Network stars like Jamie, Mario, and Alton. I also have regional selections that cover various parts of Asia, Africa, Europe, and North and South America. I even have diet cookbooks covering low carb, no carb, and Weight Watchers.

Hubby thinks that my cookbooks are an expensive and silly obsession/collection since we don’t use all the books. He, of course, ignores the fact that we pore through many of the books on a regular basis looking for a new recipe or idea to add to that week’s menu. Which brings us to my new dilemma.

Despite owning well over 70 cookbook, only a fraction of which I’ve pictured here, I want more!! I need new ideas and new recipes! I want new things for dinner with new and exotic flavours to explore. And, before you go there, the Internet is not the answer. Although we have found some great net-cipes in the past, I find that they often go astray and are hard to keep track of – this despite having a lovely binder complete with plastic sleeves to keep them tidy and clean. I prefer to have a nice clean book to sully and spill ingredients upon. I’m weird that way.

I haven’t broken the news to Hubby yet, but I will be placing an order on for some new books soon. Do you have any good cookbook recommendations? Or even a recommendation of a good must-read book? I’m open to suggestions and my new bookshelves need to be filled!

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Carb-Free Life

For however brief a period it lasts, I am back on the South Beach diet. This regime is also known, of course, as the diet sure to give me 24 hour PMS, put me on edge, and render me generally grumpy. Thus, you can all imagine how thrilled I am to be starting it up again!

Before I get too far into my diet-themed whinging, I must start with a bit of honesty – the damn thing works when I adhere to it properly. The first time I attempted this torture, I was on it for two or three months and lost quite a bit of weight without plateauing for more than a week or two. Of course, during that time I was a miserable bitch to live with and would literally grab French fries out of people’s hands just to get high off the smell of carbs.

In case you aren’t familiar with the torture that is South Beach, allow me to enlighten you. This is a diet formed around the concept that carbs are bad. Yet even that is too simplistic an explanation, so I’ll elaborate.

Dr. Atkins started this carb-free craze by telling people they could eat the fattiest foods they wanted as long as they didn’t indulge in anything even vaguely resembling a carbohydrate. And let me tell you – those carbs hide in the most devious of places! Carrots, pumpkins, green peas (but not snow peas), chocolate cake, and even wine are completely verboten and teeming with evil carbohydrates. South Beach, on the other hand, takes a slightly healthier view of carbs and admits that some aren’t completely bad. Moreover, it says that not all fats are good for you either. Not having ever tried Atkins, I can say with absolutely zero authority that South Beach is a healthier and superior form of the carb-free diet craze.

South Beach is a diet in three phases – and I’ve never reached the third. During the first phase (in theory the first two weeks), you are supposed to completely remove all carbs from your life. You are allowed no wine, no bread, no pasta (not even whole wheat), and even veggies with more than a trace of carbs are out of the question. Phase two allows you to wean yourself back onto simple carbs like soy flour (Yum?) and, thank the gods, liquor!

(I just took a break from writing this blog to make myself a few pieces of bacon, eggs, and whatnot. I am not a fan of eggs, which is why the breakfast portion of this diet is so hard for me. Heck, I’m not even a big fan of breakfast to begin with! That said, my breakfast doesn’t taste entirely horrible. Bravo, day one!)

Low-carb diets are easier to cope with in the Real World where products like turkey bacon (Yum!), specially packaged and designed low-carb foods, and a huge variety of naturally (and less than naturally) low-fat foods can be found in virtually every supermarket. Ricotta cheese isn’t exactly an everyday product in Nairobi, let alone the low-fat variety. That means I have to be a wee bit more imaginative in my menus and in my interpretation of South Beach’s rules.

But it isn’t all bad news. After checking online for low-carb recipes to use this week, I realized that although Hubby and I tend to eat a lot of rice- and pasta-based dishes, several of our favourites could be modified to be allowable. Crappy-laya (aka jambalaya without the rice) isn’t one of our better experiments in this method, but soy tacos without the tortilla, soy chili with lots of beans, and stir-fry are all variations on things we enjoy cooking and will still work within my new South Beach life.

So let the betting pools begin! How long will Typ0 last on South Beach this time? I hear that several people have already bet on less than a week. Hubby has secretly put his money on one week. Even I am hesitant to promise miracles beyond two weeks – assuming I’m completely honest with others and myself. In the meantime, I’m off to stare at pictures of Fettuccini Alfredo and dream about the days when I was allowed to eat pasta.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Puck You

Today I have decided to share one of my favourite Shakespearean quotes. These lines are from the final act and final scene of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Indeed this short speech of Puck’s, are the final lines of the play and worth of quoting both in whole and in part.

Enjoy the Bard’s words and apply them to today’s entry in case this Blogger has thee offended…

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Reptilian Relationships

Last week, I headed out on another Association “Out and About” excursion. These monthly outings are usually an enjoyable way to discover something new and occasionally cool to do in Nairobi, while hanging out with a dozen other Association members. And last week’s trip was no exception.

After a 45-minute delay since everybody (other than me) was late, we headed off to our first stop – the Giraffe Sanctuary. Yes, I know, I’ve been there numerous times now, and blog about it almost every single time, but I really do enjoy it so much! The giraffes, especially our favourite Canadian giraffe, Gord, are always fun to visit, feed, and hang out with.

This trip was different for two reasons, however. The first was that we had an actual guide so we were able to learn quite a bit about the history and future of the Centre and its snuggly giraffes. The guide was incredibly knowledgeable and seemed to derive great pleasure from making some of the women kiss the giraffes. (I did not participate in any of these make-out sessions, thank you.)

Our next stop was right across the street from the car park where our guide took us on a several mile nature walk through some of the Centre’s grounds. The extended grounds are home to Jock, the oldest of the giraffes, who has a slight tendency to kick the baby giraffes out of jealousy. He’s a lucky guy though, since the Centre’s handlers bring him a woman to hang out with every night. (Giraffe Centre = Pimps?)

The nature walk was a lot of fun even if the other women were taking bets on when I would collapse from exhaustion, a heart attack, or a combination of the two. Although we didn’t get to see Jock the Bully, we were able to see some fabulous views of Nairobi and the Ngong Hills. (Ngong is the Swahili word for knuckle, which is what the hills look like from a distance.)

Our next stop was to Mamba Village for lunch. The Village isn’t far from the Giraffe Centre and was surprisingly nice. Before I get too far, I should start with another Swahili lesson and hint as to what we were doing at this relatively unknown Karen oasis. Mamba, you see, is Swahili for crocodile!

As some of you may know, I have been to crocodile parks in the past and *not* enjoyed the rather odiferous experience. My first impression of Mamba Village, however, was that the entire place was picturesque and decidedly not smelly. Our lunch, I’m sad to report, was not very good although the setting and company more than made up for its deficiencies. Our table was set next to a man-made lake, which was designed in the shape of Africa. They had even marked off where various countries would be located. (We were sitting near Sudan, I think!)

After lunch, we bought tickets (around 100 shillings, I believe) to see the crocs themselves. Unsurprisingly since I was there, two of them were having sex. (I do seem to have that effect on reptiles!) We were told that any eggs laid at Mamba Village were taken south to Mombassa where they were farmed for various purposes including leather and food.

In addition to the reptilian residents, Mamba Village also boasted several shops, a children’s playground that would meet with screams of terror from most safety experts back in the Real World, and a small flock of ostriches. In keeping with the theme of the day, we were permitted to feed the giant birds large kale leaves. Personally, I wanted to take one home, butcher it, and have it for dinner – but I was told that wasn’t an option. Dang it!

Overall, the ladies and I had a lovely day driving around Karen and seeing the local tourist-friendly animals. Best of all, I was able to fit in a small workout (and sunburn), learn a few new things, and make a new friend or two. Ok, one of the friends was a giraffe, one was a warthog, and the other was a crocodile that kept smiling at me. But hey, they were all really nice and I think I’ll visit most of them again soon!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Is Qi Really a Word?

I am loathe to talk about Facebook again, but I have to give props to my favourite new application there – Scrabulous. If you’re like me, just seeing this name has you singing Fergie’s song “Glamorous” but with cool Scrabble-themed lyrics! "Its the Scrabulous! The Wordy! Wordy! It's the Scrabulous!"

Just me? Really? Ok, let’s just pretend we never talked about this…

The application lets you play a game of Scrabble with other cool Facebook friends and comes complete with dictionary, list of “legal” two-letter words, and will soon even allow you to play in different languages. I often play with one or two friends who, as you can imagine, enjoy playing against me since I am well known for not having a bibliophilic vocabulary, or a ten-year-old’s ability to spell.

Despite these deficiencies, I have learned several tricks which have allowed me to appear not completely without brains. The easiest way to rack up points is the use those coloured squares to earn you double and triple points on your word. Since that isn’t always possible, your next best tool is the list of two-letter words that, as one person noted, seem to only exist for the purpose of Scrabble. Using this wonderful list, I have managed to earn as many as 20 points putting down only one letter.

All of this is nice, but for the sake of honesty, I should admit to something: just because I spend twenty minutes finding the perfect word online doesn’t mean that my non-cyber game has become any better. Something tells me that in real life, people will take umbrage with me trying dozens of words to see where they will best fit – only to discover that the letters I’ve been playing with don’t even spell a real word.

Finally, since you all mocked my Scrabulous lifestyle, I’m going to leave you with these words of wisdom - most of which are even spelled correctly.

If you ain't got no good words take your dumb ass home!
If you ain't got no good words take your dumb ass home!
S-C-R-A-B-U-L-O-U-S, yeah S-C-R-A-B-U-L-O-U-S

I got vocab up to here

I've got cool words in my ear

Spelling me these crazy terms

I don't know what they mean!

I've got letters in the bank

And I'd really like to thank

All my teachers, I'd like to thank

Thank you really though

Cause I remember yesterday

When I misspelled the word daze

And I rocked out the word jird, that’d be sixty points

Damn, It's been a long road

And the dictionary’s cold

I'm glad my daddy told me so, he let his daughter know.

If you ain't got no good words take your dumb ass home!

If you ain't got no good words take your dumb ass home!

S-C-R-A-B-U-L-O-U-S, yeah S-C-R-A-B-U-L-O-U-S

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Sign of the Apocalypse

Capturing a leprechaun so you can steal its gold. Spotting a unicorn beneath a full moon. The Loonie being on par with the US Dollar. What do all of these things have in common? They were all pretty much fantasies of myth… At least until today when the US dollar fell so far in shame that my brave Loonie is equal to its greenbacked splendor.

If this could happen, I’m beginning to think that it isn’t beyond the hopes of we mere mortals to hope for a wee bit of Irish gold.

Loonie catches greenback
Tavia Grant

The Canadian dollar has broken through parity for the first time since Nov. 25, 1976.

The first official trade at parity took place at 10:58 a.m.

“Strong currency. Proud currency,” said Stephen Butler, director of foreign-exchange trading at Scotia Capital Inc., who said he's seen a slew of buyers from corporations to speculators, today. “All the fundamentals point to Canada right now.”

A cheer went up in currency trading rooms across the country on Thursday, but the loonie's astonishing appreciation carries mixed blessings. It's a lot more affordable nowadays to travel abroad and to buy some imported goods, such as clothing. On the flip side, exporters are left scrambling to cope with the sheer speed of the rise.

The currency's 60-per-cent surge over the past five years “represents its most rapid climb on record,” said Jeff Rubin, chief economist for CIBC World Market.

It's a sweet vindication from some who predicted the move. Last year, National Bank of Canada said the currency would hit par by the fall of 2007.

“It would appear that we could miss our forecast made back in April 2006 ... by a couple of days,” quipped Stéfane Marion, economist at National Bank.

He figures that the surge of the dollar combined with rising borrowing costs for businesses “are equivalent to more than 150 basis points of tightening in monetary conditions since the start of the month.”

Thus he's calling on the Bank of Canada to lower interest rates at its next meeting on October 16.

The loonie since retreated from the $1 mark, trading recently at 99.90 cents (U.S.). The highest the currency has reached so far today was $1.0002.

The Canadian dollar has seen some steep ebbs and flows in its history. In 1864, the greenback traded at less than 36 cents (Canadian), an all-time low for the U.S. currency. In 2002, by contrast, the loonie traded as low as 62 cents.

Since then, rising commodity prices, a strong economy and buckling U.S. dollar have sent the loonie into orbit.

On Thursday, the loonie jumped more than a penny as investors continued to shun the American dollar, which sank to a record low against the euro. Gold prices are trading at a 27-year high while oil is near a record.

This year alone, the Canadian dollar has soared 16 per cent against the greenback, the strongest performance of any G-10 country.

The U.S. dollar meanwhile fell to a new low against the euro on Thursday as the European currency breached $1.40 for the first time since its debut in 1999.

Breaking the $1.40 barrier for the euro has long been seen as a key turning point in solidifying the euro's position in global currency markets, providing more impetus for it to be the reserve currency of choice — a position long held by the now-weakening U.S. dollar.

The greenback also fell against other currencies, dipping against the British pound to $2.0082 compared with $2.0025 late Wednesday. It also slipped against the Japanese currency to 114.96 yen from 116.09 late Wednesday.

“We expect more U.S. dollar weakness is looming,” Bank of Nova Scotia said in a report.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Last Minute Madness

Tomorrow at 9:30 a.m., I have to attend a meeting for my book group. There’s only one problem - I haven’t actually finished the book yet. Heck, I only started it yesterday night!

Thus, I’m afraid that I haven’t much for you to read today. Unless one of you has read what appears to be a tedious book, “Blessings” by Anna Quindlen, and wants to tell me about it. *sigh* That’s what I was afraid of.

So now, I’m off to read this boring book so I can discuss it tomorrow morning. And I have to ignore the two really interesting books I’m currently reading until I’m done counting my “Blessings.” Bleh!

PS. Said interesting books would be Colleen McCullough’s “Fortune’s Favourites” and “A Long Way Gone” by Ishmael Beah. Both of these books are incredibly good reads and get my full endorsement of two bookmarks up!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I have a bizarre memory for weird things that nobody needs to know. Where I sat the first time I ate at my favourite Italian restaurant in Maryland, Il Pizzico. I remember exactly how Hubby was standing when I opened the door and saw him in person for the first time. I can even recall the pretty yellow dress my parents bought me when they sold the yellow Honda back when I was a kid. I may not remember how to spell basic words, any elements (other than aluminum) on the Periodic Table, or even my own cell number most of the time, but darnit, I can recite whole passages from Shakespeare at a moment’s notice.

Now, I realize that most people know and can remember (without the aid of note cards, or a teleprompter) important information like cures for diseases, how to remove tomato stains from t-shirts, and their own addresses. But the one thing I think we all remember, from the brain deficient like me to the smarties like Hubby, is the commercial that taught us how the most famous hamburger of all time was made: "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun."

What? You mean it was just me? Well, for the sake of today’s blog, just pretend and read on anyways…

This entire preamble, of course, is because of a new museum dedicated to an icon we all know and love. Or I do at any rate. What historic icon of culinary Americana am I talking about? The Big Mac, of course! But we may not have realized or appreciated this wonderful burger’s place in history. Well, that oversight has thankfully been taken care of!

A genius in Pennsylvania recently opened the Big Mac Museum – the world’s first museum dedicated to Jim Delligatti’s marvelous creation. (It even has a giant Big Mac statue out front!) Surprisingly, though, this cultural pit stop isn’t a drive-thru.

All this makes me wonder though… Does the price of admission include a sample? And can I have fries with that?

Big Mac Museum in Pa.

IRWIN, Pa. - It started out as a culinary idea and turned into a global icon.

The Big Mac, arguably McDonald's most famous sandwich, was first served by its founder Jim Delligatti 40 years ago.

To mark that lucrative feat, the Big Mac Museum Restaurant has opened in North Huntingdon, just 40 miles north of where the first double burger, triple bun sandwich was served in Uniontown for 45 cents.

The museum has it all: the world's largest Big Mac — 14 feet tall and 12 feet wide — a bronze bust of Delligatti, a high-tech global Big Mac map and wallpaper peppered the ad "two-all-beef-patties-special sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions-on-a-sesame seed-bun."

It took Delligatti, now 89, two years to convince McDonald's to allow him to serve up the sandwich. After the first day, he realized that two buns was too sloppy, so the middle bun was injected.

A year later, in 1968, the Big Mac was on McDonald's menus nationwide. Today, 550 million Big Macs are sold annually in 100 different countries.

Delligatti, whose family owns 18 McDonald's in western Pennsylvania, said he still eats an average of one Big Mac a week. And, contrary to those who blame fast food for contributing to the nation's obesity problem, Delligatti — who still works every day — says it keeps him going strong.

North Huntingdon is about 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Spring Cleaning

You would think that having a maid who comes three days a week would help keep our home neat, tidy, and free of clutter. Well, if you thought that, then you obviously don’t know us very well! Hours after clearing a counter, clutter will magically appear to mess it up again. And it drives me nuts.

Before we begin, I should admit that I am not the tidiest of people. (Hush, Mother!) I throw my clothes on my dresser or in a pile on the floor. I take of my necklaces and leave them scattered around the apartment. My shoes can always be found under the coffee table in the living room – where I usually take them off and forget about them.

While my slob-transgressions are numerous, I am obsessively orderly. All of my papers are neatly stacked so I know where to go back to find them. All of our books and DVDs are alphabetic or otherwise arranged so that I know where each and every one is located at a moment’s notice. I can also tell if someone has moved my things by so little as a millimeter – not that I’m obsessive like that. I realize that people might call it OCD but I prefer the term organized.

Which brings us to what we did on Sunday…

Since all of my attempts at tidying up small areas backfired this week, I instituted a spring-cleaning day. The first order of business was Hubby’s office, which has become our catchall place to put things when we don’t have anywhere else to put them. Consequently, there isn’t a spare inch of space on his huge desk, and even the shelves and the top of the safe have become dens of disorganized clutter.

While Hubby attacked that big project, I started in on all of the little fires throughout the apartment. The junk drawers, the paper piles, our kitchen counter that had become a black hole of junk, and even my own messes – like the book shelf in the guest room which wasn’t alphabetical. *gasp*

I realize that I use a liberal amount of literary license in this blog but Hubby is forcing me to own up to something today. He was the good boy who cleaned his office and I was the naughty girl who barely started her list of jobs. In my defense, I want to point out that I was working on various projects for the Association, which took me away from cleaning. (Anyone buying that excuse? Anyone?!) Oh well…

The best part of our spring-cleaning plan is that it is actually springtime here in Kenya. Nothing beats a bit of timely tidying.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Il Pleut

Would someone please tell Mother Nature that it is only mid-September? She has been pouring down rain upon Nairobi consistently for the last several days. So much so, in fact, that the leak in my living room has made another appearance.

The season known in Kenya as “the short rains” usually begins in mid-October – a solid month from now. The short rains normally end about a month later in November. The past year or so; however, has proven otherwise.

When Hubby and I first visited Kenya, it was in the midst of a drought that we kindly ended as it never stopped raining the entire weekend we were here. Ever since that initial visit, the rains seem to have taken up permanent residence and show no signs of taking a vacation any time soon.

The first sign of this seemingly endless rain was last December when it rained constantly through the Christmas season. Several people I know even got stuck in the mud at the Mara due to this. From that point on, it continued to rain at least once a week or so through to the “long rains.” (You’ll recognize that term from the last time I complained about the rain and blogged about the dreadful moisture here.)

The last week or so has proven that unlike India, where the monsoon season rarely changes its habits or calendar, the rains in Kenya are less easily pinned down. The muddy, potholed roads that follow any rainy day in Nairobi are a reminder that Man holds no sway or power over Mother Nature. Even if she is having a bad day and insists on soaking us all from dawn through to noon the next day.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Happiness Is…

I can now officially say that I have the best husband in the world. A title he will retain until the next time he annoys me which will likely be later today. But until then, he’s my favourite husband of all my husbands!

Many of you may have heard me wax poetic about the trip Hubby and I took to Namibia about six years ago. More specifically, you probably heard me drool over descriptions of “the soup” we had at the Hotel Heinitzberg in Windhoek. (Oh my god, but that soup was beyond amazing!)

Well, Hubby found out recently that he has to go to Namibia for a quick business trip. While the trip was supposed to be quick, it was also scheduled to begin on a federal holiday here. It isn’t bad enough that his job takes away our weekends, now its confiscating our Kenyan holidays?!

That’s when Hubby decided that he wanted to be the best husband in the entire world.

Yesterday, he called me to ask if I wanted to go to Namibia with him. I pointed out that while that was a lovely idea, we couldn’t exactly afford it. (At least not if I didn’t want to hear him bitch about it later when we planned our Christmas holidays.) “Well, what if I could get you half way there for only $65?” he asked. I was positive I was being mocked but agreed that would a good deal.

“Then it’s a done deal!” he exclaimed while I squealed with joy.

It turns out that he used my airmiles to buy me a ticket to Johannesburg (where we will have dinner but not stay overnight), and we will then pay for my ticket onward to Namibia. While we won’t be able to stay at the Heinitzberg, we will have dinner there one night. (Soup!!) Best of all, Hubby has agreed to move the Kenyan holiday to Friday so that we will have a long weekend all to ourselves for driving around Namibia.

So look forward to tales about (if not from) Namibia in mid-October. Because I have the best husband ever! (Until he annoys me later today and makes me forget all the good stuff.)

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Dash of Funny

Today's bit of humour is brought to us courtesy of Aurenna the Wise.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Decade Later

Since they beat us to the altar by two whole hours they get the first shout out…

Happy 10th Anniversary to BBS and his sainted wife, the Queen!!

And finally…

Happy fake anniversary to my sweetie.

Thanks for ten great, not so fake years.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Flower for your Thoughts

One of the best parts about living in Kenya is the abundance of flowers and fresh plants. These flora and fauna can be found for sale at dozens of street corners throughout Nairobi, at our local veggie stands, and some people even have them delivered to their front doors every week.

Before you can say that you’ve got the same thing at your local FTD and supermarket, let me stop you. The two-dozen yellow and pink roses that are sitting in a vase in my kitchen cost me 200Ksh. Which is about $3.00 US. Now what were you saying about your local source?

The article below can, perhaps, give you a better idea of Kenya’s flower industry. But until you see the abundance of flowers available here year ‘round, you can’t begin to comprehend what an Eden the Rift Valley truly is.
Kenya's flower farms flourish
By BBC News Online's Mary Hennock

Flower growing has overtaken coffee and tourism as a source of foreign exchange for Kenya and ranks second only to tea, according to the Kenya Flower Council (KFC).

And Kenyan growers have developed a factory-style business that can deliver wrapped bunches to UK supermarkets, where staff need to do nothing more than stand them in water.

"Part of our product offer from Kenya includes a bouquet ready to go, labelled, date-coded," says Martin Hudson, managing director of importer Flamingo UK which supplies British supermarkets and Marks & Spencer. Last year, Kenyan sales of cut flowers abroad were worth $110m (£77m), or 8% of export earnings, according to the KFC.

Dutch connection
Kenya has become the European Union's biggest source of flower imports and overtaken Israel as market leader.

It has a 25% market share, beating Colombia and Israel which each have about 16%.

Two thirds of these blooms go to the Netherlands, which dominates the trade in cut flowers worldwide through its auction halls where Dutch wholesalers buy flowers for re-export to markets as far away as the United States and Japan.

But direct exports to the UK also account for a quarter of Kenya's sales to the EU, making it the country's second market and one that many growers focus on.

Valentine's Day is a big date for Kenyan growers, thanks to the country's perfect match of high altitudes and equatorial sunshine.

Roses make up 74% of Kenya's flower exports, followed by carnations which are the most popular flower in Britain at less romantic times because they last longest.

Flamingo UK, which has annual turnover of £30m on flowers, expects to sell up to 2 million roses, mostly red, in Britain on Valentine's Day, Mr Hudson told BBC News Online.

Getting so many blooms to market in just the right state at the right time involves major preparation for growers, who must try to manipulate flowering times by debudding their bushes.

Flowers are then cut and wrapped and exported in cooled containers, often on chartered aircraft, to reach consumers within 48 hours, KFC chairman Rod Evans said.

Tesco, Sainsbury
The rise of supermarket flower-selling has stabilised the industry by creating constant demand and enabling farmers to get enough steady sales to guarantee quality, Mr Evans told BBC News Online.

"Many of the sales don't fluctuate quite so much as they did in the old days," he said.
"Investment in greenhouses and covering the crop means the customer knows he's got the supply there and he'll buy."

The industry is capital intensive, needing investment of about $50,000 per hectare, but it's high-yielding: flower farms cover a mere 20 square kilometres of Kenya's total land area - 0.00003%.

Horticulture, which includes vegetables, employs about 50,000 workers directly and supports half a million people, Mr Evans said.

Low wages?
Critics of the industry accuse flower farmers of exploiting cheap labour, harming the environment and workers' health with toxins.

The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), a non-governmental organisation, held a conference to highlight these issues ahead of Valentine's Day.

It says some workers get as little as 2,000 shillings ($25) a month. Gross domestic product per head is $391 in Kenya.

The KFC counters that it has drawn up a code of practice and monitors its members, who represent 65% of exporters though a lower percentage of growers, twice a year.

Wages paid by KFC members average about $3 a day, or just over $50 a month, said Mr Evans. "Our competition in Zimbabwe are paying half a dollar a day."

Workers also receive transport and medical care, he points out.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Just Another Day

Do you remember if you said, “I love you” to someone today before they left the house? Do you recall the last time you said sorry first? Do you remember the last time you went to bed without any regrets over the choices you made that day?

Do you remember when 9/11 was just another date on the calendar?

In the days that followed those few minutes of terror, people started pulling together against their common enemy. We didn’t know yet who that enemy was, but they recognized that love, friendship, and goodness were the first steps toward beating it down and winning the war against Evil. It’s too bad that those days ended.

Eventually, we had a name for the Evil and we had people to blame and to whom we could direct our anger. Having named the scary monster in the dark, we gave it power and left behind the memories of promises to never forget our fellow man, to always be there for people with a helpful hand or at least a smile – regardless of whether or not we knew them. That was when everyone started forgetting all the warm and heartfelt promises we made to each other during those first dark nights.

And that, my friends, sucks.

Imagine that today was just another day on the calendar: Do you remember if you said, “I love you” to someone today before they left the house? Do you recall the last time you said sorry first? Do you remember the last time you went to bed without any regrets over the choices you made that day?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Oy Vey

I just spent my entire weekend working on various projects for the Association. And if El Presidente ever gets off her butt, I will likely be spending the rest of the day doing the same. And if I’m very lucky, her edits won’t cause me to yell loudly and vehemently at the computer like they did last month. Now, I admit that part of the problem is my self-professed addiction to procrastination but it is also the fault of tedious people who don’t understand what deadlines are.

I shared my Friday deadline with everyone via personal emails, group emails, text messages, phone calls, and even multiple reiterations at our board meeting on Tuesday. And yet I still got calls this morning asking if it was too late to squeeze something in. “Well,” I said silently, “Since today is Monday and the deadline was three days ago – I’m afraid that I’m going to have to call you an effing moron, buy you a calendar, and tell you that NO, you are NOT getting your article in my newsletter!” What actually happened was far more polite complete with sympathic sounds from me while I lay in bed answering this 8:15 a.m. phone call.

Then there are the people who called me on Saturday night asking to include their new advertisement in the current issue. I apologized politely, and told that they missed the deadline but I would be happy to include their ad next month. I then directed them to the Person they needed to speak with to ensure their advertising future. Said moronic Person then called me and asked if I could fit the ad in. No. She then emailed me to ask me the same thing. I realize that some people don’t learn until you yell at them but this was getting ridiculous.

The deadline drama came after my pulling a major hissy fit on El Presidente for trying to waste my time on a secondary project. She was then aided in her goal of pushing me over the edge when I received an email from an idiot telling me that the work I had done was incorrect. Not only was it NOT incorrect, I explained in an expletive-filled email, I was PMSing and the next time her old, talentless, busybody ass wanted to get in my face about things she didn’t know about – she should save herself the time and not go there! My email was not quite that evil but even Hubby thought the version that I hit “send” on was scary bitchy.

All of this kvetching is to explain why I can’t be bothered to share anything terribly witty or well written with you today. I’m sorry but I promise to try to amuse you later in the week when this newsletter nonsense is done for another month. God help me.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Read, Eat, Quote

I just finished reading “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. If you haven’t read this book yet then go out and find a copy and read it. Now! Well, after you finish reading and commenting on my blog – then you should go and read it.

Fat girl that I am, my favourite part of the book was the first section which took place in Italy where our author spent four months exploring that country’s beautiful language and amazing food. That said, the quote beneath stuck me as very personally autobiographical, and can be found in the India portion of the book. And finally, I keep bugging Hubby to go to Bali for Christmas this year so I can follow Elizabeth’s travels there myself.

By the way, please feel free to say that this quote is nothing like me and that I don’t curse, interrupt, or need any fixing what so ever. And try if you can, to sound more sincere saying this than Hubby did when I asked him.

For instance, I’m never going to be a wallflower, but that doesn’t mean I can’t take a serious look at my talking habits and alter some aspects for the better – working within my personality. Yes, I like talking, but perhaps I don’t have to curse so much, and perhaps I don’t always have to go for the cheap laugh, and maybe I don’t need to talk about myself quite so constantly. Or here’s a radical concept – maybe I can stop interrupting others when they are speaking. Because no matter how creatively I try to look at my habit of interrupting, I can’t find another way to see it than this: “I believe that what I am saying is more important than what you are saying.” And I can’t find another way to see that than: “I believe I am more important than you.” And that must end.

All these changes would be useful to make. But even so, even with reasonable modifications to my speaking habits, I probably won’t ever be known as That Quiet Girl. No matter how pretty a picture that is and no matter how hard I try.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Groove Armada

Hubby has been bugging me to post this video for several weeks now. What can we say? We like naughty bunnies!


Friday, September 07, 2007

Who Needs Luggage?

Our final day in the US was Friday, August 3rd. We left Hubby’s aunt’s house around 8:00 a.m. with four suitcases, and six carryons. The suitcases, it should be noted, were somewhat heavy – at least 2 of them were over the 50-pound limit. We were not, however, worried because I had silver status with Northwest and we both had silver status with Emirates and thus should be allowed 12 kgs each in excess baggage.

Our itinerary had us arriving home in Nairobi on Sunday evening. Before we got there, we had a flight from Illinois to Detroit, Detroit to New York JFK, JFK to Dubai, and then after a night at the Hilton, Dubai back to Nairobi. We anticipated being able to send our bags from Illinois through to New York and then rechecking them at that point through to Kenya. Good God were we wrong.

It started at the Northwest desk in Illinois and evil B!tch of a desk agent who was on a power trip. The agent refused to check our bags beyond Detroit. Since it wasn’t with their airline, it was against the rules, or so she claimed. She also claimed that Emirates wouldn’t let us onboard with the overweight bags despite our silver status. Working for a rival airline in a small Podunk town would give her far vaster knowledge than we had. Somewhere around this juncture, I had a small, tiny bit of a hissy fit and was escorted by Hubby to a seat in the corner while he continued to check us through to Detroit. For my own sake, I want to point out that She looked very superior when Hubby took her side and made me sit down. That B!tch. Oh and we had to pay for all of our overweight bags.

With three hours before our flight to New York was scheduled to depart Detroit, we thought we would have plenty of time to recheck our bags with Delta. Despite stopping for about ten minutes to “discuss” what had happened back in Illinois, by the time we arrived at the baggage belt our first three bags were sitting front and centre for us. Of course, since we had checked four bags through, this didn’t seem quite right.

After about an hour and a half of staring at the belt and waiting for the bag to magically appear, we went to the Northwest desk to ask about our missing bag. The first thing we discovered is that the B!tch was just that – an evil daughter of Satan on a power trip. Northwest has no such rules and our bags should have been checked through to New York at the very least. Lovely. Does anyone here have a feeling that She might be behind our missing bag? Me too.

Filling out the missing baggage paperwork took about another half hour and more than a few tears of anger and frustration. With our remaining three suitcases and six carryons, we headed upstairs to the Delta desk to check back in. Those lovely people said they would check us all the way through to Dubai. Thus cheered, we went back through security, stopped for sushi and bagels, and then sat at our gate for several hours – the flight was late.

When we finally boarded, the stewardess told everyone to hurry up and get seated because we had to take-off in twenty minutes or we would miss our “window” at JFK. Five minutes later, she made a second announcement: the plane was too heavy and they needed to off-load three passengers. Hubby and I looked at each other guiltily remembering our overweight suitcases in the hold below us. And then we waited. And waited. And waited.

When Delta finally realized that no one was going to volunteer, they came up with their own solution: they were going to randomly remove several pieces of luggage from the hold. Exsqueeze me?! Hubby immediately piped up and mentioned that we were flying overseas, so forwarding our baggage would not be quite as easy as they seemed to think. Not to worry, they assured us, anything going international was tagged and at the back of the hold: our bags were safe. For reasons completely unbeknownst to me now, we believed them.

The three hours we had at JFK turned out to be the exact amount of time necessary to change terminals and get through the incredibly long line at security. We likely would not have made it if we had had to check our bags. To add insult to injury, while boarding Emirates told me that one of my carryons was too big and heavy. Thankfully, I have the ability to look very cute and innocent when the situation warrants so they didn’t weight the extremely heavy bag (which, although full of hardcover books, was an officially sized carryon), and believed me when I said that it couldn’t be *that* heavy if little ‘ole me could lift it. Suckers!

Fast-forward 14 hours to Dubai. Guess how many bags were waiting for us? If you guessed zero, then you win the cupie doll! At this point, however, it was all becoming rather amusing and I wasn’t surprised, or even stressed. And, if I may say, if you’re going to lose luggage, then Emirates are the folks to do it with. They had a lovely office designed to calm you down and reassure you about their abilities to find your luggage in record time.

The next day, the Dubai Emirates clerk told us that our luggage had been found! It was even on its way to Nairobi! Once again, gullible us believed them. You’d think we would have learned our lesson by this point.

If you guessed that zero suitcases heralded our arrival in Nairobi. then you would be correct. It took two more days for us to receive the three that we suspect Delta removed from the hold back in Detroit. The final case containing all my clothes turned up on Wednesday.

In case the Greenpeace folks are reading this, then let me break down some environmental numbers for you. Hubby and I took four flights to get from Illinois to Nairobi. Our suitcases, since they were lost, took between 4-5 flights to return home to us. I’ll take a size 14 environmental shoe please!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Birthday Time!

Happy 26th Birthday to ME!!
(Yes, I said 26. And you can't prove otherwise! Nyeh!)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Knitting and Reading

The final stop on our cross-continental journey was Portland, Oregon for a conference of nerds where Hubby was speaking. The best part of these conferences is the opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones. Plus, Portland is a great city for exploring and drinking and we did plenty of both.

One of our first pre-conference stops was the Doc Martin store where Hubby walked away with a great pair of boots. I, on the other hand, discovered that every single pair of size eights was out of stock. Every single one! Not that I’m still bitter about it or anything…

The other great Portland Mecca for me, at least, was Powell’s bookstore – a large independent bookstore with new, used, and even out of print books. I could be graphic about how amazingly orgasmic this store is but I realize that my mother reads this blog so I won’t go there. But it really is amazing!

The huge store calls itself “The City of Books” for a reason – there is no way you could leave this multi-level store without finding at least a dozen books that you can’t live without. Wandering its halls, I looked at the clock to discover that I had spent two and a half hours in the store without even realizing it. Due to Hubby’s strict (and miserly) rules, I left Powell’s with only six books. But I know that I’ll be back the next time we’re in Portland.

Our final great find in Portland was happy hour. On Sunday, we went to a bar called City Lights where we enjoyed tapas for between $2 to $3 per plate. The drinks were regular price but you didn’t notice because the snacks were such great deals. When we left the bar, no one had spent more than $15 or $20 total for food and drink, and no one left hungry or sober.

Unfortunately, we had one downturn during the trip. Although I was able to attend all of Hubby’s talks and presentations (which were surprisingly interesting), I was feeling slightly under the weather and missed out on several nights out. Hubby got to experience far more of the famous bar scene than I did because of this, but I did, at least, get to catch up on my knitting!

One final note about Portland: there are a lot of beggars and street people in this Hippie town. But worse than that: there are do gooders! Rare was the corner in downtown Portland where someone did not accost us from Save the Children or Greenpeace asking us for our time, money, and attention. Hubby had a nice conversation with a Save the Children person who also wanted to be a Cow Counter when she grew up. I simply avoided them by trying to impersonate a Republican. When that didn’t work with the Greenpeacers, I told them how many flights I was taking during my month and a half trip home, and how big my Environmental Footprint was. That always scared them off.

Portland was the end our journey. When we left that town, we only had a few days left in the Real World. A Real World we had never been so excited to leave behind for the Developing one. We were ready to go home.

We just didn’t yet realize what a comedy of errors that was going to be.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

California Dreaming

Monday morning, we left Vegas for various points in California. We were both looking forward to this phase of the trip; driving for hours has been one of those weird activities we miss most in Kenya. When else is a girl supposed to get a few hours of sleep and still have it count as spending time with sweetie and doing something he enjoys?! The best part was that we would able to indulge in one of my favourite things to do in a car: listen to Jim Rome and various other sports news programs. What did you think I was going to say?

After checking out of the Venetian we headed back to the airport to pick up the car Hubby booked. The Las Vegas airport has a really cool rental car “terminal” that makes renting a car an organized and stress-free experience. Driving to California on the 15 is also a relaxing experience – especially when you have a sausage and cheese McMuffin (no egg!) in your hand. Oh, and when you’re not the one driving and can nap most of the way there.

Our first Cali-stop was in Chino to visit K-Fu, the little Fus, and his wife Fu-ette. (Hubby Edit: K-Fu lives in Chino Hills, not Chino! I keep telling Typ0 this but she insists on taking “literary license.”) I was tres hyped to see K-Fu whom we hadn’t seen in several years. To put it into perspective for you, the last time we’d seen the Fus, there was only one little Fu and the second wasn’t even in the planning stages.

Villa del Fu was really nice. Hubby enjoyed the small basketball court while I ogled the huge jungle gym on the other side of the large backyard. K-Fu seemed to be enjoying his life near the former home of Ryan (from the OC). Our first night there, we did some shopping and then went out for great Italian food - so you know I enjoyed myself!

The remainder of our Cali-expereience was really laid back. We checked into an ocean-side hotel in San Clemente just south of Newport (Ryan’s new home!). Hubby and I ordered pizza and ate in bed while drinking champagne. We were finally enjoying the type of relaxing day we had been dreaming of when we told people we were on “vacation.”

I’ve already mentioned that we went to Hubby’s former stomping grounds of San Diego. Our “Chilling out in ‘Diego” day was spent the day driving around looking at the people from Comic Con in their cool costumes (that Hubby mocked), seeing Hubby’s old high school (with still higher fences surrounding it), and driving by his old house on our way to Lolita’s for some yummy rolled tacos.

My apologies that today’s blog is reading like a laundry list of “Things Typ0 did in California.” But this was such a nice and relaxing portion of our trip - driving around aimlessly, catching a vine with Rome, seeing old friends, not rushing for a flight, a date, or even having expectations to live up to. Just being us – in the best sense of the word.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Harry Potter and the Midnight Release

I hope that by now you have all read, enjoyed, and dissected “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” For those of you who think that you are too old, too good, or above reading a book designed to appeal to children and teens, I have this to say – Get over yourself!

One of our latest nights out in Las Vegas was spent waiting in line to purchase the new Potter book. And I wasn’t alone – there were hundreds of people in the Fashion Mall that evening waiting for the same thing. This was my third midnight release party and I wasn’t going to miss out on a single minute!

The Borders that hosted Potter Night started with a showing of the fourth movie, “Goblet of Fire.” (Hubby and I had seen and somewhat enjoyed “Order of the Phoenix" the previous week with SIL back in Illinois.) As the movie wound down, you started to see people edging toward what they hoped would be a line for books. Some people watched the Borders employees so carefully that people not realizing what was going on might have thought they were double agents and we were back in the Cold War era. “She has a microphone. Follow her!” “The tall one is moving toward the escalator. I repeat toward the escalator!” There were even news crews there to observe the melee.

When the movie *finally* ended, we all eagerly looked around for someone in charge to tell us all what to do. Unfortunately, the girl with the microphone was not terribly charismatic and didn’t get her point across very well. All I could hear was, “Concentrate on the room of requirement,” which I thought was really weird and vague. I left Hubby lounging on a comfy looking chair while I sprinted to where I hoped a line would form. Then I noticed the floor beneath the movie screen rising up.

The room of requirement had arrived.

I really wish I had thought to bring my camera that night as Borders did a *great* job of putting this display together. Uncharismatic girl aside, watching the room rise out of the recesses of the Fashion Mall was very cool.

What was less cool was the incredibly poorly organized “line” to purchase your book. First of all, everyone received the same colour bracelet so any attempt at staggering the purchasers was completely lost. There was also a lot of pushing and shoving – I, of course, did not take part in any of that. Mostly…

Hubby and I got back to our hotel room shortly after 1 a.m. from the “midnight” release party. After reading the epilogue to verify who had died, I actually went to bed fairly early that night and dreamed about Harry, Hermione, Ginny, and Ron and the adventures they were having in that orange book on my night stand.

Finally, the book was fairly good – not great, but a wonderful few hours of reading. I won’t ruin the ending but will say that the death that affected me the most was Dobby’s. *sniff* That little guy died for something and someone he believed in – he was valiant when a lot of people in the wizarding world were acting like cowards. I enjoyed the fact that a lot of clues that started all the way back with book one were neatly tied up – or knotted up into some sort of Gordian knot that no one other than JK Rowling will ever fully comprehend.

So now we’re done with Harry Potter and all that we have left are fanfics and dissections of what came before. I’ll miss Harry but I look forward to giving these books (new copies, not mine) to other children who can discover the wonderfully magical world of Harry and his friends.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Sound of “Bobble Head"

Let me start by saying that Hubby and I had a really enjoyable home leave. Let me also say that it was exhausting. From the time we arrived to the moment we returned to Nairobi, we took 17 flights, slept overnight in at least ten cities and three countries, and basically didn’t stop moving the entire time. That’s why we enjoyed our “us” portion of the trip so much!

Our “us” trip included three days in Las Vegas and five driving around Southern California. What made this part of the trip so lovely is that we did what we wanted when we wanted to: there was no schedule to keep. Well, almost no schedule…

After much researching, I decided that we would be staying at the Venetian. This seemed like a good idea as the rooms looked large, it was within walking distance to the bookstore, Mario’s B&B was located there, and we had already stayed at the Bellagio which was considered the other “best hotel” in town. For the same money, the Bellagio is a much better hotel with nicer rooms, better amenities, and far better service. Bellagio is also more centrally located on the Strip – a fact that we would be reminded of frequently when wandering the steamy, 40+ºC streets. I’m pretty sure that hell feels a lot like Vegas in July.

The deficiencies of the Venetian aside, we did win a bit of money there – even if it was by mistake. Allow me to elaborate. Our game is roulette as it is entirely all chance and there are few skills needed in order to win money. Put your chips on the number, on the half number, on the four corners, or you can pick a colour… Well, you get the idea. Hubby and I have a system that usually keeps us in the black (unless I’m trying to cheer him up) and means that we still have lots of fun.

One of the more interesting aspects of sitting at any table in Vegas is watching people bet. “One hundred on red,” only to watch the wheel hit 00. Hubby and I would be in tears, but these people just keep on betting like chips grew on trees. Our first rule is that we only go to $5 tables, which means that we get $1 chips and can play a minimum of five chips at a time. This let’s us maximize our fun, time at the table, and our money.

Back to the Venetian… After having won quite a bit of money across the street at Treasure Island (or TI as it likes to be called), I insisted that we tempt the gods and play one last table. Unfortunately, at a place like the Venetian, $5 tables are not exactly easy to come by. We finally found an electronic game of roulette where there is a real person in the middle of a circle of computerized betting seats. It wasn’t our cup of tea but we waited patiently for our turn.

Our first game we pressed the screen to indicate where we wanted to put our chips and discovered that the touch screens were VERY sensitive. Luckily, we managed to move our chips where we wanted them before the “No more bets” voice came over the speaker. We lost that round. The next round Hubby decided to get in on the game and started to press the screen seemingly at random. He had accidentally put money on number 14 rather than the corner and our time to move the chip was running out. He tried desperately to move the chip to the side and ended up playing a second chip instead. “No more bets.”

I chastised him for putting money on 14 in the first place as it had already come up two numbers prior. Then the wheel stopped and I strained to see where the little silver ball had fallen. I looked up at the screen displaying the winning numbers. Hubby had won – it was 14. We left the table that instant with $71 dollars in chips in our hands. I still have one of the $1 chips in my purse for luck – and to remind myself that sometimes accidents happen for a reason.

This installment of the blog is becoming rather lengthy and I still haven’t talked about Harry Potter and the room of requirement, K-Fu and California, or reliving Ryan’s odyssey in the OC. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll start to share those stories. In the meantime, I’ll fill you in on the photo at the top of the page – Hubby is standing next to Sponge Bob. And was sober. ‘Nuff said.

PS. I almost forgot to explain today’s title/Zen Koan. Hubby believes that the sound which exists even in your dreams after a few days in Las Vegas is what bobble heading would sound like. Close your eyes and listen to the sound of hundreds of slot machines singing, ringing, and winning. Now picture someone bobbling their head. It may not be the sound of one hand clapping, which a taxi driver did describe to great hilarity, but it isn’t bad.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

I Was Thirsty

Today’s blog is more of a photographic tour of our trip home than a long explanation of what i did. A picture, after all, is worth a thousand words... So I thought that I’d share a few of our favourite photos from those weeks back the Real World – the ones we took of our alcoholic beverages. I should note that these pictures in no way reflect the actual and total amount of alcohol we consumed, but it should give you a good solid idea of our constant state of inebriation.

Sometimes Hubby and I each had a pint of cider (for me) or beer. This photo was taken during our pub-crawl with SGH.

Strongbow is usually better on tap but I’m more than willing to drink it this way too. As a waitress in the States once told me, I’m a “bottle baby!” This photo was taken during a pub-crawl we took with the Illinois boys.

More bottles of Strongbow. As many of you know, I enjoy taking the labels of my bottles to use as “tickets.” Three that night in Toronto!

Woman cannot live by cider alone.

I enjoy ordering all the martinis on the menu!

The giant margaritas in Las Vegas were amazing! This one was about a foot tall and had no less than four (maybe even five) shots of tequila. Needless to say, I was wasted long before I reached the halfway mark!

Let this be a lesson to you: too many drinks can only lead you to become a bus driver. And that’s never a good thing!