Thursday, October 28, 2010

And finally...Mount Kilimanjaro

You will notice in the summit photo that she is smiling. And she makes it look realistically like a happy moment, when in reality it sounds like summit day was incredibly hard. In that photo she is actually not feeling well at all.

Seeing the photos makes it look like an amazing climb that I would love to do. However, hearing the summit account (which by the way, look up several blogs with brutal first hand accounts and you will see the illness is far from an unusual reaction) gives me pause.

Then there is the problem that I am a complete baby about being cold.
I absolutely love glacier photos.
This tent camp photo is so beautiful:

Ngorongoro Crater

The Ngorongoro Crater is one of those geological wonder locations. It is known as the world's largest intact caldera. The crater is the center point of a large conservation area. This conservation area is actively working to balance wildlife and human interaction including tribal rights to resources.

PBS has a nice write-up on the conservation area and the geological history of the crater.
I rarely think of baboons as cute, but when a baby rides can that not be?
It is hard to imagine just driving somewhere and seeing any of these animals completely in their own habitat.

Lake Manyara National Park

Prepare of an avalanche of images while I feature a place I have never been. The photos are so fun. It is nice looking at photos like this and realizing someone you know was actually there.

Lake Manyara National Park was a destination along the safari my sister took prior to her climb. Because it is centered so much on tourism, it was hard to find more of a general information site on the location. It was established as a habitat to protect elephant herds and hosts a large amount of animal and plant diversity. Approximately 77 square miles of the park is lake when the water is high.

For more information:
Lake Manyara National Park Web site.

Why have a sign, when you can just paint the rocks you will hit if you take the sharp corner too fast:

Welcome home and all is right in Merlin's world

Africa traveling sister made it in on time yesterday. It sounds like she had a great time and most importantly, her group that did the climb together was a good group and they all did well together. :)

Merlin was so excited to see her that he ran over to his favorite rug and made a few cute noises. He was happy and healthy thanks to his caregiver - hopefully she will be willing to come back, even if he is bossy and ate her homework.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One sister incoming

Good morning travel blog readers. The above hot chocolate is what the Traveling Love Ghost had while waiting to get into the Vatican on Monday.

Right now it is about 4:15pm, Wednesday October 27 in Rome. Tomorrow they leave Rome and head to Munich, Germany. Hopefully by now they have seen the Colosseum (rain got in the way of their first efforts) . They went on a small road trip to Pompeii on Tuesday which must have been amazing!

Meanwhile, Africa traveling sister is in her last leg home. She is on Delta flight 233 and you can track her online. She should be in around 11:40am today. Right now she over the Atlantic...more or less.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Where are my sisters?

Good Monday morning...I know you are all eagerly awaiting the latest traveling sisters installment...only I don't have any new photos!

The Traveling Love Ghost should be in Rome by now. Right now, it is about 4:40pm, Monday, October 25 in Rome. I am hoping maybe later tonight to get some photos and word from her.

And Africa traveling sister? Well it is about 5:40pm, also Monday, October 25 in Tanzania and she is wishing she could check-in for her return trip home!

So yes, she summited! Summit day was technically Sunday morning; they started 11:30pm on Saturday night. She said it was incredibly hard, but she is glad she did it. It sounds like she had a great group and a wonderful crew, but it really was a tremendous push.

My nurse practitioner sister that we moved to Virginia will be interested to know that the altitude drugs served her well until summit day. She got hit pretty hard on the summit leg - but she made it and her entire group made it.

She says she is exhausted and took the hottest shower ever. I think she starts her travel home around 9:30pm on Tuesday (Tanzania time).

And in Merlin news? He ate the center out of the caregiver's math homework. We forgot to warn her about his paper fetish.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Traveling update - stood up by the changing of the guard

This posting is regarding Friday, October 22 - phew, I am caught up!

It was a rough day for the Traveling Love Ghost. Despite regularly checking their schedule since July and arriving early today at 10:40am for an 11:30 performance - the changing of the guards had been cancelled!

Perhaps they were also struggling with their hair in the London wind?

Not to be deterred. They will try again tomorrow.

AND, they will see a performance of Les Miserables.

They day was not ruined however. They went to the British Museum and the Traveling Love Ghost got to see a Moai Statue from Easter Island.

About the Moai Statues:

"When we think of Eastern Island we think of of huge stone carved figures -monoliths- that dot the coastline.

They are called Moai and are carved from island rock.

The Moai are seen all over the island, and in different shapes, sizes, and stages of completion. Many Moaiare left unfinished at the quarry site. No one is sure yet as to what purposes did the Moai served, but outside scholarly research together with accumulated local knowledge, shows evidence that the Moai were carved by the ancestors of the present inhabitants."
Taken from:

The mummy believed to be Cleopatra:

The London Eye framing Big Ben:

About the London Eye:
"The London Eye is 135 meters high which makes it the world's tallest observation wheel. It has 32 capsules and carries around 10,000 visitors every day. The London Eye has become the most popular paid for UK visitor attraction, visited by over 3.5 million people a year. While traveling in complete safety you can see up to 40 kilometers away in all directions from each capsule."
Taken from

About Big Ben:
"The name Big Ben actually refers not to the clock-tower itself, but to the thirteen ton bell hung within. The bell was named after the first commissioner of works, Sir Benjamin Hall."
Taken From

Piccadilly Circus:

About Piccadilly Circus:

"The name 'Piccadilly' originates from a 17th century frilled collar named piccadil. Roger Baker, a tailor who became rich making piccadils lived in the area. The word 'Circus' refers to the roundabout around which the traffic circulated.

Piccadilly Circus is now partly pedestrianized and a favorite place for people to congregate before going to the nearby shopping and entertainment areas."
Taken from:

It is funny to read about my sister struggling with a lack of personal space while sight seeing when she is generally far better than I am.

Tomorrow after the see their show, they get to pack up to leave for Rome! I can't wait to see the photos!

Traveling update - Stonehenge!

It is about 2:30am in Tanzania, Saturday, October 23. I wish I had paid better attention. If Saturday was summit day (I am fairly sure it is), they would have been woken up around midnight (if they could even sleep in the cold) and they would have started the several hour summit climb for sunrise.

It is 12:30am in London, Saturday, October 22 and I am already a day behind in blogging!

These photos from Stonehenge are from Thursday, October 21. I couldn't get enough of looking at them. There is something different about seeing all the promotional photos of Stonehenge and then seeing the photos that your Traveling Love Ghost takes when you can't be there yourself.
This sister account calls for direct quoting:

"We walked up to the group, because it was an after hours special access tour limited to 20. 15/20 were worshippers, +dad and me, +another couple. The other couple politely asked the leader of the white robed and colored sashed people if they were druids, what they worshipped, what ceremony they were performing. The guy was arrogant, said we are ONLY HUMANS, THIS is nothing like you have EVER seen before and his eyes got super big. I was scared my Stonehenge experience would be about their chanting and walking- but they behaved for the most part. He was right, it was nothing like i had ever seen before. (and no aliens landed) :)"

I don't even think my dad knows I have a blog (although I have told him about it before).

The Traveling Love Ghost, standing in front of a "traitor gate" where they chained you when you were bad for the tide to come in. She calls it her "vacant" look. :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Traveling Sisters

The time in Tanzania right now is 12:30am on Thursday, October 21. I have no updates on Africa traveling sister. If I remember the plan correctly, she shouldn't have summited yet...maybe Saturday?

I do however have a Merlin update...he is now in bed every night with the house-sitter. Is anyone surprised? And the house-sitter comes home every afternoon and stays in at night. Just the sort of attention Merlin demands from a human.
AND the time in London is about 10:30pm, Wednesday, October 20. Yup, that is right, the other sister has left. (Leaving me with only the senior high schooler sister nearby...have you ever tried to fit into a high schooler's schedule?)

Back on topic...

This sister is traveling through England, Rome, and Germany. She will now be referred to as the Traveling Love Ghost.
Her flight went great. She had a window seat, good food and she slept for about 4 hours on the plane. Not quite enough sleep for the time change as she would later find out when a tour guide asked her if she spoke English because she looked so vacant from being exhausted. Ha!
The bear in her lap is a Stanford Bear named Bashi. Her friend who is currently attending Stanford, shipped Bashi to WA state so that Bashi could have a European vacation.

Apparently, despite the sunny looking photos it is actually really cold and windy over there. She sounds really tired but really happy to be there.

Tomorrow they see the Tower of London and Stonehenge. I can't wait to see the photos from Stonehenge especially.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Nim visits his brother (and special Africa bulletin)

I was in the Fort Lewis area on the weekend and got a chance to take Nim back to his birth home to see his brother and some of the family.
His handsome brother is called Mason. They were pretty funny together. Mason lives with 5 other female dobermans (including Nim's mom and Grandmother) so he lives a far more dog social life than Nim.
Nim was properly overwhelmed initially, but he really did have a good time.
This is probably one of the last times they will really play together. They turned 5 months this week and will only continue to mature more (and build some adolescent attitude).

This pretty girl is Neela. She is 11 months old. Her coloring is blue as far as dobermans go. Neela means "blue" in Indian. She wasn't around the puppies when they were young, but now she is Mason's top partner. When they really got playing, Nim would just stand back and study.
She was very social with Nim right away. It was really nice to see them all together. I could tell Nim had a sense of familiar in this home and I know after this he won't forget it. The breeder even prepared him a special meal when she knew he was coming.

It was funny finding out how much of his behavior is his Grandmother Tyra - including things I wouldn't expect to be genetic - like his need to carry a toy. She also has his fabulous and vocal temper.

After we left he dramatically collapsed in the backseat and immediate fell asleep.

******Special Africa Bulletin*******

First things first. Africa travelling sister reports the coffee is good. Good thing for Tanzania.

Today she should be in the midst of her hike up Mount Kilimanjaro. Currently it is about 9pm, on Monday, October 18th for her.

She had a great safari and the safari guide shared photos of his cat so they got along fabulously. Sometimes the animals would be dots far away and sometimes they would surround the car - which happened with both elephant and giraffe.

And for those concerned: Merlin is of course fine. He has a live-in caregiver and presumably all the attention he demands.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chile and Africa

There are very few times in my life I want cable, but this time during the rescue of the Chile miners would have been one of those times. It took everything I had not to stay up all night checking the computer. What an overwhelming survival story and rescue!

BUT...I had to go to sleep, because this morning I took my sister to the airport so she could depart for Africa! Interestingly enough, I have another sister leaving next week to tour London, Rome and Germany. Very exciting for both of them. :)

Anyway, my morning started by going to Starbucks to order "special" coffee. Only it wasn't for me, it was for my Africa bound sister (and thereby indirectly for me - I refer you to previous posts about road-trip with caffeine addicts.)

The baristas only know me as sugar and chocolate so the coffee was a surprise. Not to mention it is supposed to be a Grande Americano with one inch of steamed soy only then I am supposed to charm my way into the 4th shot that is just going to be thrown away. However I am not charming.

I agreed to pay for the 4th shot.

PS. "Special" coffee is a co-worker creation. Do you think if I had co-workers they would make me "special" coffee and bring it for me in the morning? Every morning?

As we all now know...I am not charming enough.

With coffee in hand, I made to to my sister's house only to see that Merlin, cat of the tempers, and selected the silence treatment as his coping strategy for the morning.
Anyone who has been on the receiving end of the silence treatment knows that it is better to be yelled at.

Merlin was laying it on thick. He dramatically refused to finish his wet food which I have no doubt he finished the second we locked the door.
Apparently no one traveling at SeaTac was on the same Chile rescue high I was about some grouchy people!

You will note the QFC bag in her left hand. It is loaded with cookies and zucchini bread. What I lack in charm I can make up in baking.
It really was exciting to see her off. She will be doing a safari and hiking Mount Kilimanjaro - talk about a major life experience!

As usual, the dogs had to be with me so I could make the trip efficient. You will notice the sister's reflection below Nim in the window.

Then we continued on so Rusty could have acupuncture! He sees Dr. Amy Ward at Northeast Veterinary Hospital and does as well as Rusty can. As you can see he is held in a stand by me. If you check out the staff photos and look at Dr. Ward you will see her doberman Aquila who is a cousin to Nim. I got to meet him and he is a really nice dog.

Currently it is Thursday, October 14, 2:36am in Tanzania and 1:36am in Amsterdam. I think Africa bound sister is set to be arriving in Amsterdam around 11am and then on to Tanzania around 8:20pm that same day. :)