December 10, 2012

Beep, Beep.

Hiya! If anyone is still looking for me, I can now be found here at American Water, a place devoted to food, drink & other culinary musings. Please join me in my next adventure!

November 16, 2011

Love at First Sight.

Obsession at second sight.
Heartbreak at price tag.

Shopping Source.

October 27, 2011

Creative Juices Flowing.

This one is bound to cheer you up:

The Black Keys' new single "Lonely Boy" is out today digitally. On November 25, as part of Record Store Day's Black Friday series, it will be released on 12" vinyl  backed by "Run Right Back".

The new Black Keys album will be out December 6 on Nonesuch worldwide. As previously reported, the album was co-produced by the Black Keys and Danger Mouse.
The cover art for the single, below, features a photo taken by drummer Pat Carney's brother, Michael, who is the band's creative director. The building where the Black Keys recorded their album Rubber Factory once stood in the place of that bulldozer and pile of bricks.

October 21, 2011

A Place to Call One's Own.

How many of you had some sort of play house or tree house or something of the like growing up? A place to call your own, a place where you could set the rules. To be perfectly honest I was always quite jealous of those that fell in this camp, instead I resorted to building forts (admitedly they were super awesome, but a legitimate structure they were not).

I stumbled upon this picture and thought it was such an awesome use of space to dedicate to child's play. Let the games begin (and the imagination run wild!).
Photo Courtesy of.

October 20, 2011

ManEaters on the Loose.

Apparently this story is for real:

And the horrific aftermath:

A list of dead animals included 18 Bengal tigers, 20 lions, six black bears, two grizzly bears, a baboon and a wolf, while a grizzly bear, three leopards and two monkeys were recaptured.

Owner Terry Thompson, who had been charged with animal cruelty 11 times since 2004, was found dead from an apparently self-inflicted wound when authorities went to the farm after reports of animals running free.

But this whole mess begs further answers about the dealers of exotic animals. How? Why?


October 18, 2011

Loaded Baked Potato with a Twist.

This recipe is a fun twist on the classic comfort food -- a loaded baked potato. It is brought to you via one of my favorite cooking blogs, Sprouted Kitchen, a blog I find myself following more for its mouth watering photography than recipes, but sometimes the two combine into a force to contend with.

Meet baked sweet potatoes with chili beans.


Medium sweet potato
Medium sweet white onion
1 tsp olive oil
One large beefsteak tomato (or canned whole tomatoes in juices, if no longer in season)
Two cloves garlic
Pinch of salt
Duck bacon (optional)
1 whole chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (from can)
One 20 oz can pinto beans
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp honey or nectar agave
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp paprika
Twist fresh ground black pepper

Chopped fresh cilantro
Chopped green onions
Sour cream or greek style plain yogurt (whole or 2%)

1. Preheat the oven to 400. Pierce holes in the sweet potatoes/yams with a fork, lightly wrap them in foil, and bake on the middle rack for about 45-55 minutes until soft.

2. Cut onion in half and thinly slice into half moon shapes. Pour olive oil into skillet on medium heat, heat gently, add onions and saute until slightly wilted. Cut tomato into thin wedges and add to pan. Add chopped garlic cloves and a pinch of salt.

3. I happened to have some duck bacon on hand (highly recommended!) so I decided to add 3 pre-cooked slices (cut into smaller than bite size pieces) to add depth and robustness to the flavor of the dish. Regular bacon could do the trick, but be careful with respect to adding any additional salt as most store bought bacon tends to be very high in salt content.

4. Dice the chipotle pepper into smaller than bite size pieces and add additional liquids from the can into the onion/tomato mixture as desired according to ability to tolerate heat. I spooned the pinto beans into the pan with a slotted spoon reserving the extra liquid in the can for adding into the pan one spoonful at a time, depending on taste, desired texture, and need to dilute some of the heat from the chipotle pepper.

5. Add the cumin, honey/nectar agave, cinnamon, paprika, and black pepper to taste.

6. Bring mixture to a simmer and reduce heat for an additional 20 minutes cooking time while the flavors combine. Continue to add liquid from the pinto beans to taste and desired level of spiciness.

7. As the sweet potatoes finish, remove from oven and let cool for ~10 minutes. Slice in 1/2 and create a little cavern down the middle. Fill the potato with the pinto bean mixture and add desired toppings. The sour cream/yogurt is a refreshing and cooling contrast to the spice of the pinto bean mixture, while the fresh cilantro and the diced green onions provide a nice, crisp contrast to the sweet potatoes. 


October 5, 2011

Just Another Day on the Job.

Today, I learned that my company is officially restructuring and that my group may cease to exist, at least in the form into which I was hired. Oh Joy!

Photo Source:

October 1, 2011

My New Favorite Band.

Just as Andrei promised (er, threatened) the title for this post has in fact become true.
One of the most exciting aspects of being home is having the chance to see some of long time favorite bands live. Orkkervil River kicked off a great fall season of live music for us, on our cotton anniversary in Richmond. Felice Brothers rocked out at the long time favorite venue, Black Cat this past Wednesday. And Bonnie Prince Billy will surely put on an unforgettable show at the Birchmere this Sunday. Tickets are still available - come one, come all!

In the mean time, here is a shout out to a good friend who was the first on the welcome band wagon for our arrival into DC. O, Dana.

September 28, 2011

September 22, 2011

An Ode to Ripley.

All dogs go to dog heaven, right?!

Transitioning out of Transition.

Amidst transcontinental and major life changes, this question seems timely.


September 19, 2011

Sarah Markes Exhibit.

Dar based folks -- head's up an an exciting up coming event.

September 17, 2011

On a More Positive Note.

As found on Catalogue Living blog.

Gary! One of the dog plates is getting frisky. I told you we should have had them fixed.

Happy Weekend Folks!

New map shows link between food and insecurity.

A new map of food security risk around the world is, in some ways, depressingly familiar. Sub-saharan Africa leaps out as the place where the most people fear for their next meal, while the rich world has more to fear from obesity. But there's plenty of salutary reminders and fascinating detail, like India's food problems and the vulnerability of Spain.

And it demonstrates the sickening, symbiotic relationship between lack of food and conflict: where one leads, the other follows.

We must start with the worst, in the horn of Africa. In Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, human failings mean a severe drought has tipped millions into famine. It's a textbook case of why things go wrong. War begets poverty, leaving food unaffordable. Devastated infrastructure destroys both food production and the ability to truck in emergency food. The collapse of society means the effects of extreme weather such as drought cannot be dealt with. And the fear of violence turns people into refugees, leaving their livelihoods and social networks behind.

The recent spike in food prices, linked by some to the uprisings across north Africa and the Middle East, had also hit hard in Somalia. Maize prices in Mogadishu were 100% higher in June 2011 than in June 2010, and the price of sorghum in Somalia rose by 180% compared with 2010 prices.

Sharing Somalia's unhappy ranking as having the greatest risk of food crisis is the Democratic Republic of Congo, where all the factors above apply, plus the impact of as much as half its rich arable land being land grabbed by foreigners. The situation in DRC is simply scary: it is on track to be one of the most populous nations on Earth in coming years.

Turning to India, the new map, produced by risk analysts Maplecroft, reminds us that behind the booming economy of that vast nation, hundreds of millions of poor people remain hungry. Almost half of India's children are malnourished and one in four of the world's hungry poor live there.

"Despite the enormous economic growth India has and is experiencing, it still has very stark income inequality, which is reflected in the malnourishment and infant mortality data," says Helen Hodge, head of maps and indices at Maplecroft. The Maplecroft index, reviewed last year by the World Food Programme, uses 12 types of data to derive a measure of food risk that is based on the UN FAO's concept. That covers the availability, access and stability of food supplies, as well as the nutritional and health status of populations.

Spain and Portugal stand out as very rare examples of rich nations with a medium risk of food security problems. Hodge explains, that while water problems are an issue there, the major reason is heavy reliance on grain imports. Spain buys in 11bn kilograms of grain more than it exports every year at a cost of $2.6bn, while Portugal pays $890m for 3.3bn kilograms.

"Spain and Portugal have made the decision that olive oil and wine exports are more profitable than grain," she says, along with salad crops. So they sell lettuce and Rioja and buy wheat and corn with the profits.

That calculation may change if global food prices continue on their current upwards trend. In other parts of the world, soaring food costs may well ignite further conflict. "It is striking is how much food security plays into the wider picture of unrest," says Hodge.



September 9, 2011

MuralsDC Project.

How cool is this?!

The MuralsDC project is a program created by DC Councilmember Jim Graham as an effort to replace illegal graffiti with artistic works to revitalize sites within the community and to teach young people the art of aerosol painting. The goal of this initiative is to positively engage the District's youth by teaching proper art techniques, providing supplies, and a legal means to practice and perform their skill in a way that promotes respect for public and private property and community awareness. Site selection was based on areas of the District with high incidence of illegal graffiti as identified by the Department of Public Works and other agencies. Each mural reflects the character, culture, and history of the neighborhoods in the District and interests from business/residence owners.

Check out some before and after pictures:

“Cultivating The Rebirth” Bruce Monroe Park, Columbia Rd. NW off corner of Georgia Ave. (Ward 1)
Lead Artist: Joel Bergner with youth from Latin American Youth Center’s summer program at Roosevelt H.S.
cell phone tour: dial (202) 292-2565, when prompted dial stop no. 2 to hear more about this piece.

“DC 500″ 1208 9th Street NW (ward 2)
Produced by Words, Beats & Life Inc., Lead Artist: Coby Kennedy
cell phone tour: dial (202) 292-2565, when prompted dial stop no. 4 to hear more about this piece.

“Greetings From Deanwood” 4748 Sheriff Rd. NE (Ward 7)
Produced by Words Beats & Life, Lead Artists: Juan Pineda
cell phone tour: dial (202) 292-2565, when prompted dial stop no. 1 to hear more about this piece.
“Changing Gears” Metropolitan Branch Trail NE DC near New York Ave. (ward 5)
Produced by The Midnight Forum, Inc. w/ Street Artists Workshop, Lead Artist: Asad Walker
cell phone tour: dial (202) 292-2565, when prompted dial stop no. 3 to hear more about this piece.
“Sousa’s New Marine Band” 1432 Pennsylvania Ave. SE (Ward 6)
Produced by Albus Cavus, Lead Artists: Decoy
cell phone tour: dial (202) 292-2565, when prompted dial stop no. 5 to hear more about this piece.
“Explore & Learn” Malcolm X Elementary School, 1351 Alabama Ave. SE
Produced by Albus Cavus, Lead Artists: Peter Krsko, Jazirock, Michael Pinnix
cell phone tour: dial (202) 292-2565, when prompted dial stop no. 6 to hear more about this piece.

and one more mural is coming to our neighborhood this fall. be on the look out around mid-November
Safeway grocery store, 1747 Columbia Rd. NW, alley side (ward 1)
“Building Together” 1747 Columbia Rd NW (alley way) (Ward 1)
produced by The Midnight Forum, Inc., Lead Artist: Aniekan Udofia
cell phone tour: dial (202) 292-2565, when prompted dial stop no. 7 to hear more about this piece.

September 6, 2011


with a Side of Baby Goat.
Unfortunately my current commute to work does not include a side of baby goat. Alas. Baby Goats are so cute and bouncy.

On a somewhat related note, if anyone is ever lucky enough to find themselves adventuring in British Columbia. I highly recommend a pitstop @ Goats on the Roof, otherwise known as Coombs Country Market.

Also, I tasted goat cheese for the first time in a long long while this past weekend, compliments of the Cherry Glen Farm at the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market. It made me a believer. Swing by our 'hood next weekend and see for yourself. I promise it will not disappoint. For those a wee skeptical, the bacon truly will knock your socks off.

Labor Day Weekend Recap.

It ain't the Indian Ocean, but it surely is closer to family.
Photo Credits: #1,3,4 Andrei Sinioukov

September 2, 2011

Wilco Weekend: Happy Holiday.

Happy Labor Day weekend greetings brought to you by Wilco. Wilco.

We've got a few announcements and then we're gonna get out of here and fire up the grills for what could be the last time this summer as a world tour awaits. So with that in mind, (Glenn: a drumroll please) here is the next group of North American tour dates. Ticketing info will follow in a week or so.

Nov. 29: Dallas TX Music Hall at Fair Park

Dec. 1: Austin TX Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater

Dec. 3: Kansas City MO Uptown Theater

Dec. 4: West Des Moines IA Val Air Ballroom

Dec. 6 & 7: Minneapolis, MN State Theatre

Dec. 9: Milwaukee, WI Riverside Theater

Dec. 10: Detroit, MI Fillmore Detroit

Dec. 12: Chicago, IL Civic Opera House

Also, less than 150 tickets are left for the September shows in Indy, Toronto (both nights) and Boston. And for all of our North American tour dates (in case you missed the announcement on Facebook and Twitter), we're starting the Fan Video Project this week. Details here (in short, we want you to create a video stage backdrop for the band).

If that isn't enough, we're gonna do a special under-the-radar stream of the new record tomorrow for Wilcoworld only. Here's the deal -- as a reward for your labors, ours, and those of our forefathers/mothers -- starting at 12 Noon Central time tomorrow (Saturday) and for 24 hours straight we're gonna stream The Whole Love in its entirety, at That's right. Your first chance to hear the whole thing is tomorrow. Trust us, you'll be glad you made time to check it out.

Next up, The Whole Love is officially out and in stores on September 27 -- which is less than a month away. Have you preordered yours yet? If not, you can at our store, iTunes, the ANTI- Records store, Amazon and many indie retailers. We suggest you give a listen, maybe check out a couple of the videos we have up on the site, and then pull the trigger and order one for yourself and maybe a couple more for holiday gifts. What the heck, may as well get an early start, right?

More soon. Have a great holiday weekend.

Cheers (sound of bottles & cans opening....)

- Wilco HQ

August 30, 2011

It All Comes Full Circle.

From Mount Pleasant to Dar es Salaam to Mount Pleasant via Capetown.

August 21, 2011

Housing Search.

Our DC housing search has begun in earnest. And we have met many characters along the way. The considerations have been many - which neighborhood? what price point? year long lease? short term? hotel? roommates? But it was not until we came across this advert that these debatable questions got tipped in a very definitive direction.

As found on craigslist, the authoritative source of housing searches:

$1000 Best. Roommate. Ever.

Konichiwa bitches. Are you looking for the most kick-ass fucking roommate that ever lived? If so, look no further. You fucking found him. I'm a 25-year-old professional marking agent with experience at bad-ass companies like AOL and FORBES FUCKING MAGAZINE. That's right! What you know about experience? I graduated from Auburn University in Alabama, and moved to NYC at a ripe, tender age of 22. After deciding that New York was a stinky shit-hole, I moved back to Alabama to cultivate a more professional experience. Why? So I can make millions of dollars and not have to post shit like this on Craigslist.

Anyway, so I landed a job with a marketing firm in Boston, and I have no fucking clue where to live. My office is located in Cambridge, so I guess I want something in that area. Honestly, I'm moving there in 3 weeks, so I don't give a shit if I have to sleep in your bathtub.

A bit about me: I'm respectful, quiet, clean and I won't bother any of your shit. If you leave shit out, I'm just like, "Oh fuck I better not mess with this shit, because it's not mine." I turn off lights. I clean toilets. Fuck it. I'll even cook for you. That's right! My dad is a chef and taught me everything there is to know about cooking southern cajum cuisine. I'll fry green tomatoes, cover them with marinated crab meat and smother that shit in bearnaise. EVERY. GODDAMN. NIGHT. Don't eat meat? That's fucking FANTASTIC! I'll make a zucchini and yellow squash carpaccio that will knock your fucking socks off.

I also read a lot. I fucking LOVE books. Vonnegut, Palahniuk, Hawthorne. All that shit. I read Tuesday's with Morrie the other day. It's a sad story, but I learned something about life, love, knowledge and the pursuit of something greater than myself. Fucking smart. Do you like movies? I fucking love them. We can watch the shit out of some movies together if you like, or go get drinks, or work out, hike, play video games or play a game of one-on-one basketball, or I don't have to talk to you at all. It's completely UP TO YOU!

Sometimes I play guitar. Are you going to love getting baked and listening to Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd? LIVE? WHENEVER THE FUCK YOU WANT? Of course you are! I'll take requests and learn any song you like, because I have the voice of an angel and the acoustical stylings of James Fucking Taylor. AWWWWWWWW SHIT YEA!

A lot of people ask me, "Hey, you're from Alabama. Are you racist?" And, the answer to that question is, no. I'm not racist or judgmental at all. I love everyone. I'm a secular humanist. I FUCKING LOVE PEOPLE. That's the only requirement to being a secular humanist actually. You have to like other human beings and want to help them for no other reason than they are human regardless of race, religion or sexual preference. WTF?!!!? Pretty fucking cool right?

I own almost nothing! I's driving my car from Alabama to Boston in which I'll be transporting two duffelbags of clothes, one laptop computer, one guitar, one cell-phone with charger, 8 pairs of shoes, one picture frame, probably some condoms and a shitload of beef jerky and Pringles for the trip. Though, you can expect the jerky to be gone upon my arrival. Unless you'd like me to pick up some on the way into the city. See?! I'm the most considerate person you've ever met. I'm offering to buy you shit already!

Am I interested in your pad? You can bet my nomadic ass I am! I only require 4 walls, a ceiling and a floor to shelter me from the elements. Other than that anything else will be considered a convenient plus. I's taking being a roommate to the next level. Email me! I'll hook yo ass up with Facebook links, background checks, credit reports, phone numbers, resumes, references, awards, sexual history, pictures of karate trophies and a list of the top 10 women I'd like to band before I die. If you want a next-generation roommate who consistently blows your fucking mind with awesomeness, then hit me up. I's ready to give you money.

August 20, 2011

August 19, 2011

Back in the USofA.

Low - Especially Me, from here.

And on that note, I am seeking suggestions from readers about what direction this blog should take. Should I scrap it altogether? Keep it going with a new twist? What would people like to see more of - music? recipes? pictures? banal commentary? on urban planning? development? design? useless facts otherwise?

all suggestions welcome, however, consider yourself forewarned, this is not a democracy.

August 4, 2011

Zoos Get a Bad Rap.

As seen in the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago:

As seen in Mikumi National Park in Tanzania:

Music Credit:
Video #1: Mykonos by the Fleet Foxes
Video #2: Loog by The Clean

Hot Shower Made Possible.

At the Kisolanza Old Farm House.

August 1, 2011

Adventures in Unexpected Places.

When people think Tanzania, they think safaris, East African wild life, and Zanzibar. Tanzania has more designated wildlife areas than any other country on earth, with one third of its surface area given over to national parks, game and forest reserves and other valuable protected spaces. And within that, there is plenty of room for diversity and adventure in unexpected settings. Frankly, one of our most impressive trips was to Udzungwa Mountains National Park back in February of this year. I realized I never devoted any blog space to this park, but found that I kept coming up short with words to describe our experience. Instead, I shall borrow from the Rough Guide to Tanzania.

Even with a thesuarus on hand, it's difficult to do justice to the wonder that is Udzungwa Mountains National Park, an immaculate forest-cloaked wilderness whose 1900 square kilometers are among the most biodiverse on earth. Protected as a national park in 1992, the driving rationale was to conserve the catchments on the Kilombero and Great Ruaha rivers, lifeblood of the Selous and of human populations elsewhere. The authorities of course also knew that the area they were protecting was rich in species, but just how rich continues to amaze. Forget about rare bugs and plants, new discoveries of which are two to a penny, Udzungwa still has the habit of turning up mammals hitherto unknown to science, the latest being the world's largest shrew (60cm from tip to toe), and not just a new species but an entirely new genus of monkey, which turned up at the same time it was also found in Kitulo National Park.

Like the Uluguru and Usambara mountains, the Udzungwas are part of the Eastern Arc, a disjointed chain of ancient mountains whose age and isolation, and a steady rain-soaked climate, has allowed its forests to evolve independently from each other, and quite spectacularly. But whereas most of the Eastern Arc's ranges have suffered major environmental damage over the 150 years, Udzungwa is pristine, thanks both to its unusually steep terrain (limiting human interaction to the lowlands) and taboos. Locals around Udzungwa believe the mountain's forests are the abode of ancestral spirits (a belief that crops up elsewhere in Tanzania in places along well-established primate populations), and as such they restricted access to ceremonial purposes, and for burials. To disturb the spirits or the graves, people say, will bring great calamity, and should anyone dare cut down a mitogo tree, they're sure to become a lion's next meal...The result is the only place in East Africa with an unbroken virgin forest canopy from a low-point of 250m above sea-level to over 2km high, covering miombo woodland, bamboo and lowland forest containing trees 50m tall, to montane rainforest up in the clouds.

Given its exceptionally well-preserved forest cover, Udzungwa's wildlife is rich. The park contains Tanzania's widest selection of primates, its 12 species including the recently discovered kipunji monkey, and four endemics: the Sanje crested mangabey, the Iringa (or Uhehe) red colombus, and two species of dwarf galago or bushbaby. Other primates include the thick tailed galago, blue monkey and black and white colobus. Also frequently seen are buffalo. Of elephants, you are most likely to see their droppings or patches of vegetation flattened by portly backsides. Rarer animals include red-legged sun squirrel, the recently rediscovered Lowe's servaline genet (previously seen seventy years ago), the red duiker, Abbot's duiker, Livingston's suni, bush pig, bushbuck, spiny mice, the comical chequered elephant shrew (named after its trunk-like snout), and also recently discovered Philip's Congo shrew and grey-faced sengi - a truly giant elephant shrew (a wispy 700g). Birders are in for a treat too, with possible sightings of rufous-winged sunbirds or Udzungwa partridges, both of them rare endemics. Other endemics include millipedes, a tree frog, over seventy species of spider, a gecko, a skink, and the pygmy bearded chameleon.

Rough Guides concludes: "You would be insane to give this place a miss".

I heartily agree.

July 27, 2011

Lurking Danger(s).

This is the story of Andrei and Matty getting lost. In the bush.

On our most recent road trip to Ruaha National Park we carried three guide books with us. Yes, 3. While this surely sounds like overkill, the thinking was -- we have them, so why not bring them. 

En route to the park, according to the uniform advice presented across all 3 guidebooks, we made a quick pit stop in Ruaha's closest neighboring city, Iringa. We reloaded essential supplies before heading off for a couple of days on safari in the park (petrol, drinking water, snacks, and cash...). We noted our exit time (3:30pm) and reset our odometer to clock ourselves headed into the park, we figured we had approximately 3 hours driving time on 120 km of unpaved packed dirt road ahead of us. We feared we were cutting things close if we wanted to get there before dark and set up ourselves to sleep in the park before the park gates close to incoming traffic, but the driving directions appeared to be very straightforward. That is to say, all 3 guidebooks laid out simple, user-friendly directions. At the fork in the road, go either right (the so called never ending road) or go left (through many villages and towns also offering accommodation and meals outside of the park). In either direction, you land squarely at the park HQ and official entry gate. When we hit the first fork in the road, we went right, onto the so called never ending road.

Soon afterwards, we hit another fork in the road. But all 3 guidebooks said there should only be 1 fork in the road?! We went right. Then, doubting ourselves we asked someone by the side of the road and they confirmed - go right to arrive at the park. Another fork in the road. One side clearly would have driven us straight through a village. So we went right. Again, we stopped and asked someone and he confirmed, we were headed in the right direction. Our odometer was just shy of 100km when we hit a T in the road. By no stretch of the imagination could this be called a fork in the road, it was clearly a T. At this point, our skepticism gave way to full blown panic. We could no longer deny we were desperately lost.

I got out of the car and asked for directions. A million and one greetings later with villagers who may or may not have ever seen a white person before -- it was confirmed, we were really close to the park entry gate. Continue up the road this way and you will be there soon. Great. Dark was nearing, but perhaps we could still make it on time.

A brief high - ok we were on the right track afterall, too much unnecessary panic and doubt.

But if there is one lesson I have learned in all of my travels, it is that when it comes to directions people cannot and will not say - "I do not know". They give you the answer they think you are seeking. I could not shake this fear.

We pass a truck several kms up the road - the first passing traffic we had seen in hours. We ask for directions. You are going where? But where are you coming from?! If you continue straight you will arrive into Iringa (the town that we had left 2.5 hours ago...). Suddenly a white Land Cruiser pulls up behind the truck - as per usual with white Land Cruisers, it was loaded with several mzungus (white folks) and a Tanzanian driver. (Chime in the singing angels from on high) Certainly they would know how to direct us.

"Oh Sh*t," he says. Apparently there was no time for further dithering. "Just follow me," directed the Tanzanian driver. And then he took off like a bat out of hell. Our Rav4 could not keep up. The sun was setting (incidentally, this is the most spectacular sunset I have ever seen in all of my life - you know, big Africa sun and all?!) But there was no time to enjoy that, instead we were in a full blown state of panic - we could no longer see our life line out of here.

Just as we began contemplating next steps (could we sleep in the car? who is around these parts? certainly we cannot set up our tent on the road side, right!? are we safe? how much will this cost us?) we arrive at the T intersection we had left many kms ago - and the white Land Cruiser is waiting for us. ThereisaGod! They are all smiling ear to ear. "Um, you guys are seriously lost. In fact, you are about 3 hours away from the Park Gate. It is dark now. We would not recommend driving all that way tonight. We have a camp site just up the road, why dont you stay with us tonight," was the offering. Andrei and I do not even look at each other - yes! we say in unison.

So all is well that ends well. Or so it seems.

Where should we set up our tent? We ask of them. Anywhere is fine, is the reassurance. Great.

As soon as our last stake is struck into the ground, we are then informed that we can expect hippos and crocodiles on one side of us and hyenas on the other side. Oh and also, snakes love this place for some reason - and we have seen spitting cobras and black mambas here just recently. We were left to hope that they prey on the resident rats that were running amok all over the camp grounds, not us.

Let me show you where the toilet is, one white guy offered. It was a basic affair, offering nothing by means of luxury but all the privacy you could ask for. That is, until one girl emerged from the toilet and calmly announced that there are bats living in the toilet. I was surprised, I didnt see them hanging from the thatch roof. Oh no, she says, they are living INSIDE the pit toilet and they fly up at your *ss when you are squatting over the toilet. That announcement officially marked my last visit to the toilet...

But despite the lurking dangers, we could not have been more thankful about this unexpected rescue and hospitality. I wish those guys a lot of good kharma in their future endeavors and adventures.

July 25, 2011

Consider Yourself Forewarned.

With such hazardous road conditions, it is no wonder Tanzanian officials feel no qualms about putting up such comprehensive warning signs.

Hazardous Conditions.

As seen in passing from our car window on our recent road trip to Ruaha National Park. We even saw a large commercial truck that had burst into flames - the fire was putting out an immense heat that felt in passing. One of these trucks was even overturned in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania's only National Park with a major highway to bisect it (for now).

July 19, 2011

Broken Chair.

And what would a road trip with Matty and Andrei be without an accompanying play list. Among others, Broken Chair rose to the top of the repeat list on our recent adventures. Yes, it is repeat worthy.

Beyond the lyrics, perhaps this song was particularly compelling to us in Tanzania, as its namesake represents some of our most fond everyday images, including the following (also brought to you by Sarah Markes).