28 August 2008

Lake Tanganyika

We've added some Lake Tanganyika pics to the flickr album:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/15217562@N00/

Personal internet time is still scarce.

25 August 2008

Pictures!

I got a handful of pictures uploaded to flickr this weekend. Click here. Uploading is slow so this is going to be a long process. We hope to have the internet in our house within the next two weeks or so, which will be better for communicating.

18 August 2008

The Meat-Cycle

We've made it through the first week. It's been exhausting but fun! (Yes, I've copy/pasted that from just about every email I've sent today.)

On Saturday morning we decided it was time for some grocery shopping. Our cook does the grocery shopping but he had Friday through Sunday off because of a holiday. He roasted a chicken on Thursday to cover us for the weekend, but there were a few personal items we wanted to try shopping for.

We got a little lost. The map becomes useless at a certain point when there are no street signs and no obvious landmarks. Eventually we saw the lake and then the cathedral and were able to navigate back to a store (a store that is literally right around the corner from our house). But as we were out there in Buj traffic surrounded by people and bicycles and mototaxies and minibuses, we had to stop and laugh. An old man was riding a bicycle with a huge cow carcass strapped to the front basket. I don't even know how he was able to ride and keep his balance; it must be something he does regularly. It was so funny and ridiculous. I wish I had the camera ready, but it's just something we'll all have to picture in our minds. It really is as funny as it sounds.

12 August 2008

I'm in Africa!

Just a quick note... Africa is freakin' cool. After nearly 24 hours of travel we arrived in Bujumbura Sunday night with the cats in hand. They're settling in a little bit easier than we are, since we both started working right away and they get to stay home in the air-conditioned bedroom all day. We haven't had a lot of time to relax and absorb what's going on here. (But we have an extra-long weekend coming up and look forward to that.) Despite being busy and tired we're having a great time and meeting lots of new people. We've had so many "Well, that's Africa," moments already I don't think I could ever explain them all.

I'll have time for more later!

07 August 2008

What did you do this afternoon?

We cashed in a butt load of change at a Coinstar. Then we took our cash and went crazy. We cut off all our hair and saw Pineapple Express. It was so nice to sit and do nothing for a couple hours. And the movie was pretty funny. And we also have lighter, hot-weather hairstyles. (We were both getting a little shaggy.)

06 August 2008

The Cupboards Are Bare

The packers came late yesterday, but they came. Our food and clothes are gone. This morning they're going to our storage unit to pick up the rest of our stuff. I have my last dentist appointment this morning. We still have some errands to run and we have to spruce up the apartment a bit. But for the most part we're just waiting around for a few days.

I've been sending this blog link to lots of friends and family members recently so you can follow our journey. Welcome new readers! If you scroll down on the right-hand side a bit you'll see links for subscribing via an RSS feeder or email. Do that so you don't have to bookmark and remember to check the blog. You'll get a handy little reminder when I've posted something. Isn't that easy?

05 August 2008

No Sleep 'til Buj

We are back from the land of Springsteen and not a moment too soon. Our train got delayed a little yesterday and I feel like we've been scrambling ever since we stepped off it. Our beloved Subaru is in New Jersey now and we're renting a monster Mercury Grand Marquis. It's like driving around on a sofa. The first time I sat down in it I stretched out my legs and my flip-flops fell off, I was that relaxed and it's that roomy.

The cats had their pre-flight checkup last night and got their microchips. It's been quite a puzzle trying to figure out how to get them on the plane. We're taking them as excess baggage but we're transferring between two different airlines, and those airlines have different requirements for flying pets. (I had typed "pests"; what a Freudian slip.) And the transfer point is a European Union country, so who really knows what's going to happen when we show up there. They don't have rabies, they do have microchips, and on Friday they'll be USDA-approved. That should be good enough for them to travel anywhere.

Momentarily we expect packers to arrive to take our clothes and food. Tomorrow packers go to the storage unit to gather up the rest of our stuff. There's nothing for us to do now but sit and wait.

01 August 2008

Kings of the Road

Today we head north to Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York for the last weekend of our farewell tour. We're driving up and leaving our car with Mike's dad, then taking the train home. It's going to be sad, leaving our car behind. It looks sad enough with New Jersey plates instead of California plates. But to not drive it again for two years? Oh, I'll miss our Subaru!

Last night we did some more shopping and made another trip to the storage unit. We were planning to hit Costco but found the majority of our list items at Home Depot. We had to stop at Home Depot to buy a charcoal grill (no propane in Burundi, apparently, plus the movers won't take the tank anyway) and they had all the pest control products we need, too. And let's grab a couple fire-proof document safes while we're there, too.

The drive from Home Depot to the storage unit is about five minutes, seven if you have to stop for lights. As we're driving along I noticed a funny smell in the car, but didn't say anything. It wasn't a bad smell, just a smell I hadn't smelled before in the car. As we were unloading our things we noticed some of the boxes were wet on the bottom. A bottle of pesticide had leaked from its top.

We are both quite proud of ourselves for how calmly we handled the situation. I opened the boxes and pulled out my clothes and fabrics. They hadn't been sitting in the wetness long enough for any damage to happen to the contents, but the boxes were ruined. We had some other boxes with enough room to stuff the clothes and fabrics into. We also have a rubber liner in the trunk of the car so could take it out and rinse it and let it dry while we were up in our storage unit. Crisis averted. (We are certainly not bringing that bottle of pesticide with us now; it can't be trusted. Some landscapers rent parking spaces at the storage unit and we gave the bottle to one of them.)

One of the chores we had to do at Costco was return a case of motor oil that we bought by mistake. But we didn't have the receipt so decided we'd wait until next week. Since we're not taking it to Burundi with us it's a chore that can be put off until after the packers come. So we grabbed some dinner and then came home. Mike grabbed the box from the back... and it was all wet. What? But the pesticide was in the wayback. The motor oil was right behind the passenger seat. Nothing else is wet.

Oil! We opened the box and the bottles were covered with oil. How did that happen? And when? Sigh. It doesn't really matter. We can't return it now. It's not the right kind of oil for our Subaru or our Burundi truck, which is why we were returning it in the first place. The box is all oily so we can't bring it up to our apartment. It's going to New Jersey with us. Someone we know in New Jersey must need a case of oil, or at least have a garage it can live in until it finds a home.

Time to get up and pack for the weekend. I really want this trip to be as uneventful as possible.

Chapter Six: The Shoemaker: A Tale of Two Cities with Women

For background on the project and to see all the chapters at once, go to the tag A Tale of Two Cities Project . Chapter Six: The Shoemak...