Life on the Mekong and Other Rivers

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.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bex comes a callin'

Bex and Amanda came to visit last weekend from jolly ol' know.

UPDATE: More pictures, including a photo of a monkey riding a pony*, can be found here.

Jack and Bex had a good time playing at the park...

pretented to be "real" Americans rather than effete East Coast (or worse, expatriate) America haters. Salt of the earth, those two.

They even waited paitently for their blinis with cinnamon apples and dulce de leche.

And at the end of the day, they shared a tender moment while riding the "train" (really a series of connected cushman golf cart-type cars) around the park.

*The pony-riding monkey was at the Kyiv circus, so I didn't breathlessly report the siting immediately after it happened. It was a planned entertainment event, afterall. There was to be a much more interesting monkey-riding episode at the circus, but the huge pig was having none of it and turned and ran back through the curtain, leaving the monkey without his trusty steed.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Tourism Board of Zambia Welcomes You

And so do we.

Former Sec. State Powell endorses Obama

Well, Senator Obama, get in line...

I'm fairly certain that Secretary Powell for all intents and purposes endorsed me in October 2007 and I'm STILL not president.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Got an offer for our onward assignment

We accepted.

Going here*.

Well, not exactly there, but Chiawa camp is in Zambia.

Estimated arrival August/September 2009.

Visitors welcome starting October 2009.

Start planning and saving.
*I did stay at Chiawa twice in 1998. We will be going back. We would welcome fellow travelers.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Katherine's new job

I've taken on an editing gig with the UNDP (United Nations Development Program). I'm editing a brochure on pension reform options for Ukraine.

Here's an example of what I'm dealing with:

Legal measures such as for instance the retirement age
are also adjusted to that goal being increased up to
67 years for both men and women. Nonetheless,
demography rules anyway and pushes pension systems
towards financial instability.

And just think, I have to edit 65 PAGES!!!!!!

With that, I've got to get back to work so I am finished with this madness before two lovely ladies from London arrive on Friday!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Dogs and Dancing

We've been dogsitting for Sierra for a month. She's nice. A 10-year old golden lab. Very calm. Lots of shedding, though.

Katherine took her home tonight, as her family returned from the US today.

I think Jack's going to miss her. I think Sierra will be fine without Jack...

And just because it's been a while...

And so it continues...

President Yushchenko dissolved the parliament last night and called pre-term elections for December 7.

Ukraine's Orange revolution victors to become election rivals after coalition collapses

The Trouble with Ukraine Democracy

And if you want to play along at home, all the (english) news that's fit to print about Ukraine is


It's not updated as often as the Ukrainian or Russian versions of the site, but it is pretty up to date.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Music class has begun again. Jack likes it.

He shares his couch with Rose and some other chick.

He plays the drums.

But what he won't do is share his bear.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Light blogging

I've been pretty busy with this (pasted below) since moving to the political section the end of August.

There is also this. Avast!

We're good. Jack is talking more every day. About 10 days ago Jack saw a plane flying by and said "Boppa plane fly home" (Boppa being Luther). We were ever so proud.

Oh, and I was promoted today, so that's nice.


Talks continue to save coalition in Ukraine

Lawmakers loyal to the Ukrainian president and prime minister made frantic last-minute efforts Friday to revive their pro-Western coalition and avoid early elections in this politically turbulent nation.

But there was little indication that the estranged 2004 Orange Revolution partners, President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, could reach a compromise and avoid announcing a new vote.

The nine-month old alliance fell apart last month amid infighting between the two leaders, who may be rivals in the 2010 presidential election. Yushchenko's party pulled out of the coalition after Tymoshenko's faction sided with the opposition to pass a series of laws that trimmed presidential powers.

The president and prime minister also bickered about how to react to Russia's August war with Georgia, with the Yushchenko accusing Tymoshenko of selling out to the Kremlin, which opposes Ukraine's drive to join the West's NATO alliance.

Tymoshenko said Friday she had met all Yushchenko's demands, including rescinding the legislation that stripped him of some powers, in order to save the alliance. She accused Yushchenko of blocking those efforts.

"The democratic coalition has been taken hostage by dishonest and indecent politicians," she told reporters. She said holding an early election — a third parliamentary vote in as many years — would be damaging at a time of global financial crisis.

Tymoshenko said she also fears that a new vote could rob Parliament of its current pro-Western majority, hampering the country's efforts to integrate with the West.

Yushchenko said in a statement Friday that Tymoshenko's efforts were insincere and a way to blame him later for the collapse of the coalition.

Yushchenko reiterated his determination to announce the early vote if no agreement is reached soon, but he did not specify the deadline. Tymoshenko has named Friday as the deadline' an official with Yushchenko's office said lawmakers have until mid-October to form a new alliance.