Sunday, July 26, 2009

Wreck Beach... the ship is still there

A post in April called The Fate of Wreck Beach was about the removal of the ship that has provided us good boogie boarding and surfing waves. I am aware of at least two companies that have funded the project - with A LOT of money - and I heard that the ship had been removed but the 'regulars' had to see it for themselves. We assumed the ship was gone so we just planned to stop by and see the place for the last time... or so we thought. The ship is still there.
Here are a few pics of the ship and some of the people enjoying the time in front of the camera. Above are some of the powerpoint displays I prepared for management.

Thanks Mom, Silvia and Yolanda for giving me the clothes to donate here in Nigeria. I had a bunch in my air shipment (when I could have had Dr. Pepper - but I will get over it) and one 45lb piece of luggage. The people here received a small bag of clothes and they were very thankful.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Africa by Toto, a remake

in 1982, rock band Toto had a smash hit called Africa. I was 12! The song has been reinvented by Perpetuum Jazzile, a cappella jazz choir from Slovenia. It is amazing, especially the beginning. Check it out for yourself. Just click here.

Song Facts:
Some say the song is about:
"a man who comes to Africa and must make a decision about the girl who comes to see him. He is enamored with the country, but must leave if he is going to be with her"

"a man living IN Africa who is waiting for the arrival of the woman he loves, who is coming TO him, on a plane, naturally (and that's why "she hears only whispers of a quiet conversation", as you usually do on board a commercial flight)"

"a man going on a plane back to his beloved Africa. It talks about "she" coming in 12:30 flight. He is refering to the time the plane is coming in to take him away because he goes on in the same verse about the moonlight relecting the stars that guide him towards salvation, being Africa. He goes on to talk about an old man he meets. He wants to ask him about some ancient stories or songs and the man turns to him and gives him a look that says, hurry Africa is waiting. The chourus is about how, since he is going back to Africa, it would be almost impossible to drag him away again. Then he goes on to talk about the things he wants to do that he never took the time to do before when he was in Africa"

What do you think?

I remember this song playing at our going away party.

Thanks for forwarding the link Marcia.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I got a Nikon camera, Love to take a photograph

While on vacation, I made the big purchase. I bought a digital SLR camera, the Nikon D90 with an 18-200mm lens. I decided to GO BIG as I was frustrated with some of the photos with the point and shoot, especially the Namibia safari. The Canon SD800 worked great for most pictures and video, I felt I needed to step up, and, oh yeah, I ran over the Canon in Cameroon, though it still works.

Here are some reviews on the D90.
Ken Rockwell - Nikon D90 - Thanks Peter!
DC Resource Review
DP Review

First gripe: What the heck! Why is the battery charger 110V only.? Hello, don't most people like to travel out of 110V territory! Now I have to find one online.

Any other websites or books you would recommend? I have lots to learn.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Uganda - Rafting on the Nile River - Yikes!

I was recently looking into details of our upcoming Uganda trip but am a bit excited and scared about rafting on the Nile. I had a bad rafting experience so I am a bit apprehensive about going on a trip where you will go overboard. Click here for a recent article on rafting with other info on Uganda. There is an option to go Mild or Wild and I am sure the others I am traveling with - Bob, Sharon & Jonathan - will want to go Wild.

Here is an excerpt from the writer who took the Wild option:
We plunged. The curl of a wave lifted our boat straight out of the water and flipped us upside down like an egg in a skillet. But instead of immediately popping back up, a bunch of us got trapped under the raft, with the rapids pushing it down on top of us. It was terrifying, because there was no way out. I kicked. I thrashed. I felt as though I swallowed a gallon of river water. I started thinking of that scene at the end of “Titanic” in which Leonardo DiCaprio drowns. And then, pop, the raft shot away, and I broke through a fury of white water and feverishly gulped for air. That’s when I noticed everything was a little fuzzy, which leads me to casualty No. 2, my right contact lens. Gone. I spent the rest of the trip squinting through one eye.

Abeokuta - Fabric Market & 1st Church in Nigeria

A friend Kay set up another trip to go shopping for fabric and to visit the first church in Nigeria, St. Peters Church. We got a bus and headed out to Abeokuta at about 8:15AM and it was raining and has been for the 24 hours. We had a little bit of traffic and arrived in Abeokuta around 10:45AM (just a guess) and the negotiating started. We wanted to see the dye pits and making of the Batik and Adire cloth (application of the casava paste or wax) but there was some hesitancy to show us. We finally started walking done an alley on our tour. Unfortunately it was raining, therefore no one was applying the Batik or Adire cloth but we did see a few people folding and pounding the cloth (no pictures allowed). Interestingly, they were folding Nigeria designed fabric (batik styles) that was made in China. Luckily, it was easy to tell the difference and the cost was different (15oo naira for 6 yards of the fake stuff vs. 2500 naira for the real stuff. We did also see the indigo dye pits where two women were dying fabric (no pictures allowed).

After the short tour we went back onto the main road to the fabric stalls to spend some money. Most of the fabric I bought (3 of 4 pieces) was tie dyed campala (spelling?) where they take fabric that has a pattern on it and then it is folded and dyed.

Sharon shopping...
Here is a view of St. Peter's Church from the top of Olumo Rock from a previous visit to Abeokuta. As it was still raining, we had a 5 minute tour of the church building that was not currently being used for a service.The interior of the church was simple and the A-frame ceiling was made of timbers.

Toxic Swimming Pool in Kano

This is a video from a trip we took last October to the Durbar in Kano, Nigeria in northern Nigeria. I hope to get that post done some time but I have this video of some kids swimming in a small lake just inside the wall that surrounded the ancient Kano and was originally built in the 14th Century. Here the wall had been rebuilt. As we walked along the wall we came upon a bad smell coming from a small body of water and as we got closer we saw kids playing and swimming in the water, which was a toxic green color. See for yourself.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Another Air Shipment

The company allows us to annually send an air shipment of 1000 pounds or a sea shipment of 2000 pounds. That is one of the non-vacation things we did on our vacation, along with doctor appointments (eye doctor, dentist, orthopedic surgeon for ankle issue). It is a luxury the company provides expats. Many items, but not all the comforts of home, are available here in Nigeria, but if they are they can be 2-3 times the cost of the item in the US. Here are some pics of the stack before packing. I am waiting for the shipment now and will post pics when I receive it. I was told it would arrive in country next week and then it just has to go through Customs. I hope it all shows up.

What did I bring? Stuff for swimming (fins, kick board, pull buoy), ergonomic chair, cooking oil, laundry detergent, chips, chocolate, and all sorts of other crap!

What did not make it? DR PEPPER and my new Indo Balance Board, which may be a good thing with my ankle tendon issue. This did not make it into the shipment as it was over tha allowed weight limit!