Monday, October 30, 2006

Material World

"Cuz we are living in a material world, and I am a material girl"

I think I had the opposite reaction to Africa than most people do. I actually came back and became more materialistic.

In my defense, I think this was a pretty hard thing to do. I was never one for shopping or buying friviolously. The fact that I could afford to go to Africa and not go in to debt shows that fact. I like to save money, not spend it. And, in college, after going shopping I would forever feel guilty if I bought something I did not feel I absolutely needed.

Of course that changed a little when I started hanging out with Sumi. But, not so much that I would say I have an over abundance of clothing and shoes. There were many times I would go shopping, needing something, and come back empty handed because I decided I did not absolutely need it.

Same thing went with eating out, going to concerts, or anythingelse of the such.

But, I come back from Africa, out of a job and cannot stop buying: Buying, food, eating out, buying clothing, planning vacations. And, while i feel like I should feel guilty, especially after seeing how people live in Africa, I do not. I am missing the guilt.

I think I left my soul in Kenya.

Bumps in the Road

"I need not miss Africa. I can go back anytime I want through my memories"

Or, I can just go back by driving down the road behing my apartment.

The roads in Africa were bumpy, to be sure. If you were not fully secured in, you could go flying in many a different direction. I think the poor conditions of the roads was the only reason the police were so strict about seatbelts. It had nothing to do with potential collisions. It had all to do with people flying out of their car when they hit a pothole.

Well, lucky for me, I can revisit Africa any time I wish (and even if i dont wish). The road running behind my apt, which i have to take to get to my parking spot, is one right out of Africa.

My car bumps and bounds over this road that is so broken up that there are always one or two frightening sounds when something hits the bottom of my car as we head to my parking spot.

So, at the end of the day, I fell like I am back in Africa.

Whether I like it or not.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Wedding Portfolio

I finally have part of my photog portfolio up online (thank you PJ for your webspace).

go visit it!!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I am home

S: I've been in Africa a year and I don't know what you know. How long have you been here? JP: Just 24 hours, but I have been preparing for it my entire life.

If you had not already guessed it, or been told by me, I am home. The trip of my dreams is over with. I am back in San Fran living the nice comfortable life of eating whatever food I want whenever I want and gaining back any weight I lost while in Africa.

Give me a call if you want to get together or just want to chat. I am not doing much, just job hunting.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Don't let the bed bugs bite

"It is easy to be brave when the spider is in someone else's bed."

During the "Lion Project" we were on a campsite. We slept in tents and had buckets for showers. And I was the only person on the project (save the guides), who had ever experienced anything like this before.

I was smart enough to grab the first (and biggest) tent offered. I found out space did not matter. Even though there was enough room for 5 people to sleep in the tent, once three girls moved in, there was barely enough room for the three of us.

Clothes were everywhere (not mine surprisingly). I was smart enough to keep my clothing in my bag, which I kept sealed to keep out any creepy crawlies. My tentmates, not used to the life outdoors, took no such precautionary tactics. I would routinley wake up to or just be startled by shrieks that rang through the campsite when one of the girls found a spider, cricket, scorpion, geko, or some other unidentifiable crawling/flying thing.

I, of course, would calmly take charge and capture the critter and let it loose back outside the tent. All the while, I would be rolling my eyes and telling the girls there was no reason to act so silly and that the bugs would not hurt them.

That went on daily until on morning while getting dressed I found a fuzzy little spider crawling down my arm and all the sudden the high pitched scream was coming from me. And I was anything but calm and collected as I flailed about trying to shake myself of my new furry friend.

I never made fun of the girls again.

The Ghost and The Darkness

"It won't work. Nothing works here. Tsavo is the worst place in the world."

Tsavo means "The Land of Slaughter". Now, I can assure that had I known that I probably would have chosen a different project to work on.

The Lion Project (where we saw no lions), was located in Tsavo. Going in, I was aware of the legends of the Man Eaters of Tsavo, a lineage of lions that would hunt and eat humans. They were said to be the rulers of the night in Tsavo. And, I was aware of the Ghost and the Darkness. Those were the two lions that are now on display at the Field Museum in Chicago. While man eaters are definately something to fear, the Ghost and the Darkness ruled both night and day. They feared nothing. Neither fences nor fires could keep these lions at bay.

One of the stranger things about these lions was they were male lions. In most cases, it is the lionesses that do the hunting. So many things were off about these two male lions, that the locals were convinced they were not lions, but devils stalking the land to ensure the white man did not come to rule over Evil's land.

The past of the land did not scare, but intrigued me. But, knowing that Tsavo is known as the Hell of Africa, I would probably not return.

The movie is quite good when it comes to scenery and depicting the story of the building of the bridge. It was not historically acurate when it came to the stars of the story, the lions. The man eaters of Tsavo are, by lineage, maneless lions. Neither males nor felmales (obviously) grew manes, no matter their age. Every lion in this movie has, not just a mane, but a huge mane. I realize this may have been done to make the lion look more fierce. To me though, the fact that the man eaters were maneless just furthered the strangeness of that line of lions.

It is amazing researching the story. Maybe I should have researched it ahead of time. Then, I may have chosen a different program, which would have been for the better.

Maybe on a non Lion Project I might have seen lions.

King of the Lions

"Get away from me you creepy monkey"

I never fully appreciated the beauty and genius of Disney until I watched Lion King two days ago.

While in Africa, I was amazed by the fact that Disney integrated the Swahili language into the movie. Pumba is actually the word for a warthog. Simba means lion. Rafiki means friend. And, people do really use Hakuna Matata (though it usually is cause for worry).

The intro scene to Lion King, when they present Simba and all the animals are circling. With the exception of those animals hanging out around the lions, it was a pretty good depiction of what the savannahs look like.

All the animals graze together. When you spot a zebra, most likely you will see a group of eland or wildabeast or some other animal (again, with the exception of lions).

The movie captured so many of the different animals. I have pictures of almost every animal in that film. The one I am without is a babboon, sadly. And, their likenesses are just amazing. The colors, the movements, everything is very realistic (except them being in 2d).

Having an animator as a boyfriend, I realize more and more the immense research that goes into any cartoon. PJ had to study a frog for days for one of the bits of Ant Bully that he worked on. I cannot imagine the hours of study that must have gone in to making this movie.

I always scoffed at how long it takes to put an animated film out. No more.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Potatoes and Beans

"There are somethings you think you could eat every day for the rest of your life.... until you are forced to eat them every day.... then you will never want them again for the rest of your life"

Potatos used to be my favorite food. I thought I could eat them everyday. Such a versatile food they are. It is like a new thing each meal. No more.... oh no more. After 6 weeks straight of potatoes every day. I never want to touch another potato, for awhile. Baked, mashed, fried, I do not care.

It was the worst these last two weeks. It was potatoes for every meal. EVERY MEAL! That and beans. I constantly had the "Magical Trevor" song going through my head. "Beans lots of beans...." And, while I enjoy that song to an extent.... I never want to hear it again. It was on repeat in my head. Seeing as I had no other form of music, I was stuck.

I ended up eating biscuits for almost every meal.

I wish I had brought an I pod... and something besides potatoes.

The luck of the draw

"Luck, bad if not good, will always be with us. But it has a way of favouring the intelligent and showing its back to the stupid"

Two days before the end of my "Lion" project and I run in to the worst luck I have my entire trip.

I wake up and discover that I have blood under my finger nails. Apparently, in my sleep, I decided I was itchy and scratched my foot raw.... now I have to wrap my foot everyday otherwise, my sock will stick to the wound. Yay fun.

Then, I am doing the dishes (something all together another frustration of mine). Of course, I get bit/stung by something. I look and there is a huge black thing on my hand (huge being the size of one of my teeth). I try to shake it off, but it has attatched itself to me and it continues to bite/sting me. I finally shake it off and, I must have looked like an ant that morning because our guide tells me it is an Ant Lion. It eats ants.

We soon take off on our walk. I realize, half way through, I forgot to take my malaria pills. I make it through 5 1/2 weeks of not forgetting and two days before I get out, I forget.

Of course, while on our walk, I encounter a few.... issues. I am successfully the first person to fall while climbing a mountain. Again, you'd think, we have been here for over a week, that someone would have fallen but, no. I go down and discover a much quicker way to get to the bottom than walking.

Another thing to know about these walks is that there are thorns on every bush/tree that you pass. I have been very good about not getting anything but my clothing caught. This changes at the very end of our walk that day. I am watching one bush to avoid it, and my hand catches on another one behind me. The thorn rips down my pointer finger and feels, oh so nice.

Two days before I leave and I look like I have had the worst luck this trip, but really it was all in one day.

I decided to go to bed early that night.

So many things, So little time

"No lions, tigers or bears... oh my" :(

It has been over two weeks since my last post. I apologize profusely to those who were counting on me as a distraction at work. I know how nothing new to read can make you actually have to do work. Been there.

And now, Man, I do not even know where to start. I guess the first place to start is to explain sadly, that in my two weeks on the "Lion" project, I saw no lions. Soooo I am so happy that I went on that safari to the Mara.

It was acutally more like a gazelle project. We saw bunches of those. By the last few days, one of the girls got so frustrated, she yelled at anyone who spotted the gazelles and told them to stop saying anything.

Now, I am less than twenty four hours away from departing the trip of my long awaited dreams. It is a very strange sad feeling. But, I am also looking foward to eating some real food that has no potatoes in it. I am so sick of starch.

Be warned parents... I am going to want Thai food and Olive Garden when I get home. Maybe all at once, I do not know. I am that hungry.

So hungry was I, that when I got back to Nairobi last night, I went straight to the resteraunt and stuffed myself with veggies and fruit.