Monday, September 27, 2010

Thank You Mr. Stikman

Have you ever been out walking around and come across this figure on the pavement?
I think the first time I noticed one of these little guys was in Chicago. M and I were walking around minding our own business when I noticed this little man staring up at me. He's a bit creepy, but oh so cute! Then I came across another one in a different part of the city, then another one, and another. Then to my surprise I saw one when we were in Philly. They've been spotted by others in New York, Montreal, Toronto, Boston, etc etc. Who are these creatures and where did they come from?
M sent me this article in The Washington Post written by someone, just like me, who was wondering where all the robot guys came from. Apparently, the anonymous creator goes by "stikman" and he simply wants people who haven spotted one to pause and wonder. Well, it worked!

Every time I catch a glimpse of a little man on the pavement I smile and laugh to myself. Have you ever spotted stikman's work?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hunting with the Bushmen

As I mentioned in my last post, on the last day of our safari in Tanzania, we spent a morning with the Hadzabe Bushmen.

We left our campsite early in the morning, maybe 6 am, and drove down crazy bumpy roads that shouldn't even be considered roads. When we got to the middle of nowhere, we were there. I felt like I was in a National Geographics documentary. This was such an eye opening and humbling experience. We were encouraged to take lots of photos, which I felt a little weird about, and I tried to be as incognito as possible.

Throughout the entire morning our guide was amazing. He told us so much information about the Bushmen's lifestyle, hunting techniques, natural medicines, etc. The first thing we noticed when getting to their camp was the Bushmen's homes, which you can see in the picture below. I can't even imagine...
The Bushmen were very happy on the day we were visiting because they had recently killed some sort of animal and had a ton of food. Here they are cleaning the animal to prepare it for cooking.
Below is the chief who is cutting the meat into pieces, which would either be cooked right then, or hung in the trees and bushes to dry. And that's how they stored their food, which I still cannot quite comprehend.
You can see a bit of meat in the bush in the background, drying out.
The tribe gave us a bit of cooked meat to try, which M thought tasted good, but I had to choke down. It did not taste like chicken.
We learned how to use their bows and arrows and had a bit of a target practice. I was not good at this at all but M wasn't half bad!
After a while we followed the Bushmen into the forest to go hunting. Those dudes were fast! It was a workout keeping up with them! All that could be found were some birds to shoot at, but they had no luck. They did collect some meat they had previously left in a tree and I watched in utter amazement as they cut the meat and wore it on their bodies like a purse.
They showed us how to dig roots up to eat as a source of water, which they're eating in the picture below. I thought the roots sorta tasted like watery raw potatoes.
They also showed us how to make fire using nothing by wood and friction. It took them about 30 seconds to get the fire going, pretty impressive!
Wow, I feel so fortunate to have had this experience. It was intriguing see how these people live entirely off the land and it made me so grateful for all of the luxuries that I have in my life.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lake Eyasi

As part of our Tanzania safari trip, we spent a night camping at Lake Eyasi. When we arrived at the campground we realized it was not a typical "campground", more like someone's big backyard. We were the only campers there, which was fine with us! Before dinner the owner took us for a walk and taught us about the area and how the farmers tend to their land. We passed a group of children gathering water in the stream and not two minutes later, I turned around and saw they were all following us! They were amazed with M's leg tattoo and kept pointing and asking questions about it! Such a celebrity. He ended up making a few friends.
By the end they were all holding hands. So cute.

We walked out to Lake Eyasi, or rather, we walked on the lake bed since all of the water is dried up. As you can see in the picture below, it looks like we're just walking on soil, but it is actually the bottom of the lake. It was so dry and crunchy because the lake is salt water.
If you look carefully in the picture above you can see the blue flag which shows where the level of the water used to be. Crazy, eh? In the rainy season it'll fill back up a bit, but nowhere near where it used to be.

This place was ridiculously windy. I've never experienced wind like this before. Strong, constant gusts. It wasn't like a gust of wind here, a breeze here. Oh no, it was constant but warm. And difficult to walk against. The remaining salt from the lake bed blew at my ankles with each step I took! I was seriously nervous that the coconut trees were going to blow down in the middle of the night and squish us in our tent.
We enjoyed a beautiful sunset and when we got back to camp our personal chef had dinner ready for us. Ugh, I miss those days!
We stayed in this area because it's close to a tribe of Bushmen, which we visited the following day. What an experience! I'll blog about that tomorrow!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

So Much Food, So Little Time

If you missed my first recap of our trip to New Orleans, read it here!

Now, onto the best part... the food! Simply put, New Orleans has amazing food. Before leaving, I did a bunch of reading about where to go, what to see, and of course, what to eat. Over and over again I kept reading that whatever you do, make going to Cafe Du Monde a priority!

This place is famous for their cafe au laits and beignets. The coffee is strong and delicious and the beignets are warm and completely covered in icing sugar. OhMyGoshYum. This place is open 24 hours a day!
While in New Orleans you gotta try some type of food from the sea so for dinner one night we went to Acme Oyster House to try, what else, oysters! These were melt in your mouth oh so good. With the whole oil spill in the Gulf some people might feel iffy about eating shellfish or seafood here but we were informed that it's very carefully tested and monitored.
While walking around one day I stopped at La Divina Gelateria for a cool treat. I chose sour cherry amarena and it was perfect. I want some more right now. This is the 4 oz piccolo size although it looks rather huge!
One of the events put on for the girls was a cooking class at The New Orleans School of Cooking. Fun! Our chef was born and raised in New Orleans and it was really interesting hearing her stories about the history of creole food and her love of butter and whole milk.
Can you see me below, taking a picture of the mirror that helps you see what's cooking in the pots?
We made five different dishes, the first being my favourite, shrimp and artichoke soup. It was so flavourful and a tad bit spicy down in the throat, just how I like it.
The main meal was jambalaya which I guess I missed taking a picture of! We also made pralines, pronounced "prah-lines" when you're in N'awlins.
And for second dessert, Bananas Foster.
One of my favourite food experiences was getting a muffaletta sandwich from Central Grocery. Heaven in my mouth. The olive spread that goes in this sandwich is to die for. Skip the po'boys and eat lunch every day here.

I think it's time to go back to New Orleans :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tanzania Safari

Other than climbing Kilimanjaro, while in Tanzania this summer, we also went on a three day safari. Sitting, driving, and looking at animals was exactly what we needed after the climb.
August is a great time to go on safari because it's wintertime and there's not a lot of brush for the animals to hide in, making them easier to be seen. Over the three days we went to the Ngorongoro Crater, Arusha National Park, and Lake Manyara. We booked through Team Kilimanjaro and it was nice having just M and I, our driver, and cook in the jeep. Some companies had five or six tourists in each jeep and they looked a bit crammed. Every jeep has a roof that pops open so you can stand on your seat and peer out. We saw tons of animals, lots very close up, and lots very far away!

Hello, baboon! These were everywhere and seemed
about as common as dogs and cats in North America.
Mr. Giraffe,
plus all of his brothers and sisters! We counted about 20 giraffes in this pack. So graceful.
This is no Wanalee, but he'll do! 5 legs and all.
Here's an action shot of a monkey.
Lots and lots of zebras. They all walk on the paths so they don't ruin the grass (their food).
Lions on the prowl!
They were stalking some buffalo and we were hoping to witness them eat their lunch
but they must not have been too hungry, since they gave up after a while!
It was amazing to see the animals in their natural habitats. Going on a safari was an excellent experience!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

On the Tube

We just got netflix and I'm so addicted! For $10.99/month we get an endless amount of tv series and movies that can be watched through streaming, plus one Blu-ray mailed to us at a time. The mail is so fast here, you could watch a crazy amount of movies each month if you have the time.

My vacation time is winding down, but of course the last two days have been rainy in Chicago, so I've made quite good use of netflix to pass the time! Here's what I've been watching:

1) Everest: Beyond the Limit (Season 1)

This is a documentary of 11 climbers, including a double amputee, who set out to climb the world's tallest peak. Holy cow, this was amazing. It's six episodes and during the last episode I think I messaged M fifty times about what I was seeing. It was horrifying! I never knew what frostbite looked like. I'm quite tempted to try climbing to Base Camp now...

2) The Cove

This documentary exposes the secretive and heavily guarded dolphin slaughtering operation that takes place in Taijii, Japan every year between September to February. It's absolutely sickening and is creating a public outcry and if you haven't seen it, you must. Go here to learn more.

3) Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment

This is also a documentary, where nine people are dropped off in the interior of Alaska and try to make it out alive. They forage for food, build makeshift shelters, and have to deal with the harsh weather. So intriguing!