It's snowing in Kyiv
And Marilyn and Luther are here.
Five days until they take over Jack duty and KDN and I jet off to a luxurious weekend in Istanbul.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog, including strong statements in support of weinerdog-riding monkeys, are our own, and not those of the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. government.
And Marilyn and Luther are here.
The first of what will, I'm sure, be dozens of articles in travel magazines and newspaper travel sections in the months to come about how super awesome Kiev and the entirety of Ukraine is and why you MUST visit NOW!
So what happens when you leave the letter 's' out of our blog's address?
Isabella. She's a younger woman; about a month younger.
While it was on, and after it was over, Katherine and I stayed willfully ignorant of the goings on in the final season of the Sopranos. We hadn't watched the series until Laos, where we watched everything up until the final season on DVD.
Jack tries it, but only makes it about 10 feet before giving up.
It's been a while.
While uploading a few videos of Jack bustin' moves, I was reminded of this one that I never put up.
So I text-messaged my friend Sarah, London resident who we stayed with on our way to Kenya.
Katherine checks in:
Katherine decided on Saturday that she and Jack had been cooped up indoors long enough and it was time to get out and get some fresh air, damn't!
Note the cones in the road behind me. Businesses take over swaths of parking spots by placing cones or crowd control gates in front of their stores with a guy guarding them, removing them only after ascertaining whether the driver plans to visit the business in question. The salon next door to our building takes up major space.
One day there was nowhere else to park so I attempted to park in one of the 'coned' areas. The guy assigned to not allow me to do so came out waving me off. I parked, stepped out and inquired whether he was the owner of that part of the road. No, he said, but the salon had a contract that allowed them to block off the road.
Go get it, I said, I want to see it. He went inside and brought out some document in Ukrainian with an official-looking stamps. As an aside, we see fake documents with official-looking stamps daily in the consular section. I was, therefore, underwhelmed by the document. I told him I'd need a copy as I don't read Ukrainian, and would be bringing it to work so a co-worker could find the name of the city official giving out sole-use rights to public roadways and sidewalks. I said I was interested in getting my own parking spot on the street, and needed to know who to call.
At that point he said he couldn't make a copy without his director's say so. Fine, I said, I'll see you tomorrow.
The next day I asked him if he had my copy. No, unfortunately the director was very busy and he hadn't had time to ask. But, he said, we could work something out without bothering his director. If I came to park close to 6:00 pm, he'd let me park in one of his slots. Very noble of him. But it has been useful.
At some point we plan to get all of our neighbors together and take up all their parking spots on a Sunday when they are closed and leave our cars there for the week.
Katherine and I have had a running battle about when to give Jack his first haircut. I was pushing for later on the assumption that, like Samson, he derives his strength from his flowing locks.
Yesterday, I finally gave in.
Katherine is out to dinner with friends, Jack is put to bed, it's 14 degrees out...so on to Malu.
For Christmas, Jack and Harp got bubble guns. A most excellent gift. Dip the end in the soapy water, pull the trigger, and the dragon spits out bubbles. Very fun.
There was a working farm on the property, and we made daily pilgrimages to see the cows, donkeys, goats and horses. The horses had been adopted some years ago by a zebra named Bob, so he hung out in the horse stalls too.
Along the way there were lots of stops for rocks.
There were also chickens, ducks and geese. We were free to feed them to our hearts' content.
John and Katrina looking happy (and blurry) after the ceremony.
A wedding, by the way, in which the vows were interrupted by (I kid you not) a guest standing and yelling 'IS THERE A DOCTOR HERE?' Would have been better only if they would have used the more recognizable 'Is there a doctor in the house?' As we were in a church, it wouldn't have made as much sense, unless talking about the 'house of god'.
Seems a pregnant woman hadn't eaten much, was in a hot church, near the incense. It all became just a bit much. She was sitting right behind Katherine when she passed out. Jack and I had taken our leave of the service to go outside and eat rocks for a while so we saw her carried out, a rag doll in her boyfriend's arms. She came to about 20 seconds later and was fine, if not a little bit embarrassed. And the wedding concluded without incident.
After a bit of a happy hour at Katrina's parents' place, where we spent most of our time chasing after the kid...
John and his boys, Edward and Yohannes. They live in Norway with their mum, but visit John often in Laos, or wherever it is he might be at any given time. Here they were enjoying that song (maybe by a Norwegian) that goes Wa a a HEE Wa a a HAA Wa a a HO Wa a a HOO HOO or something like that.
The 300+ wedding guests were all under one tent. One HUGE tent. Four enormous poles, taller than a telephone pole, holding the center up.
The next morning we went back to the Patersons' for brunch, where we once again spent our time chasing the kid. Thankfully, he had Buzzy the Jack Russell Terrier to entertain him. And it seems Jack may be a future rugby player.
Lots of warthogs running around.
My dad rode an ostrich at a rodeo when he was a kid in North Dakota.
Crowned cranes. Our driver/guide told us that the Masai dance (the jumping, the chin jut, etc.) is patterned after the crane's mating dance. We saw it in action, and I have to say they are quite similar.
Pretty bird with buffalo grazing in the background.
These two were tussling amongst a herd of about 30 elephants. Just messing around, I guess.
Two Topis were having a bit more serious encounter. While I would venture a guess that they were fighting over women, there were actually no female Topis in sight. Maybe it was just practice.
This male lion was feeling a bit amorous, but the female was having none of it. So he bit her in the head.