A Tanzanian Safari in Ngorongoro Crater

Day Two of Safari

Our safari trip began the day before with a visit to Tarangire National Park, home of Ngorongoro Crater. As our safari guide informed us, “crater” is actually a misnomer as there are living creatures residing in the area, which is an active volcano. The crater is pretty damn impressive. There are tens of thousands of animals living there along with Maasai who live in huts and tend to their cattle and other animals.

The highlight of the two-day safari was the lion incident. All weekend, we’d been hoping to see a lion in action.

Tanzania: Safari – Tarangire National Park

I arrived in Moshi on a Friday night after 18 hours of flying and my exciting visa adventure. I’m in Moshi to volunteer teach at a school geared toward female empowerment through education. Four volunteers were already in town when I arrived. I hadn’t gotten a chance to meet them when I arrived at the volunteer house as they’d all gone to the Serengeti fiesta and two of them were hungover. The party sounds epic: it was held in a stadium with at least 3000 attendees, including Maasai tribe members who seem to be quite popular.

The other volunteers planned a weekend safari trip including me and I got up early to join them. G_ is a very tall South Carolinian in his mid-20s, with boundless amounts of energy, a loud voice and an extremely inquisitive nature. In addition to G_, there is: M_ from Finland, also in his mid-20s, and he’s definitely Finnish: tall, strapping, & broad. He has a deep voice and speaks slightly accented English. He also speaks French, Spanish and German. K_ is a kind-looking blonde, half-German/half Dutch, but has been in the US for at least 20 years and her adult son, J_ is biracial: his father is a black American. He’s in his early 20s, slender with a swimmer’s build and seems chill. They live in Northern California. Everyone seems friendly. I just met these people 30 minutes prior and I’m going on a weekend trip with them. I hope they are sane.

Adios California, Jambo Tanzania!

Knowing I’m leaving the country makes flying out of awful LAX more tolerable. I enjoy seeing the different colored passport covers in the security line. The family in front of me hold maroon passports and are speaking Italian. Another family nearby speaks in French. I spot a navy-blue American passport and see its American owner scratching his balls. Yeah, I see you dude.

On the plane, the pilot says something in English. Her Dutch accent is so thick, all I can hear are phlegmy-sounding words. I have no idea what she’s saying. As long as it isn’t: “The plane is crashing”, we should all be fine.

Mind the Gap – London, England

2008 was a difficult year for me. I was recovering from the dissolution of a long-term relationship. By the start of 2009, I was over the weeping and moaning; the woe is me, I’ll never love again; my heart has been ripped out of my chest mercilessly; men are vessels of evil; why God, why?; please can I be a lesbian? and more overly dramatic exclamations of post-breakup-life and ready to rejoin the world of the living. My friend Heidi had expatriated to London from Orange County a few years prior and kept encouraging me to visit her. I figured it was just what I needed. Since I was heading to Europe, I reasoned I should visit as many countries as I could while there. Within a 10-day span I planned to visit England, The Netherlands, Belgium and France.

What It’s Like to Breakfast with Jay-Z and Beyonce

I have this knack for seeing famous people in cities outside of Los Angeles. I don’t remember the last real famous person I’ve seen in Los Angeles, but if I fly somewhere else, given my track record, I’m likely to see someone of note.

About 4 years ago, I was in Houston visiting the fam. My younger – too fly for her own good – sister, N, suggested we breakfast (yep, I used it as a verb) at a cozy, vibrantly decorated, restaurant called The Breakfast Klub, known for their chicken and waffles. It’s owned by a Kappa (as in Kappa Alpha Psi: black frat; famous for cane stepping; if you don’t know, now you know), so everything that would normally be spelled with a “C” is spelled with a “K”, like the “katfish and grits” dish. Kute.

How I Learned to Love My “Thick Thighs”

I’ve been thinking about my weight since I was 13.

One day I ate everything I wanted with abandon and the next, the size of my thighs were cause for angst.

Thirteen is about when I started working out. My mom had a catalog of Jane Fonda videos from the 80s and I was Jane Fonda’s devoted follower. She looked hot in spandex and my thighs did not. Jane still looks hot today. It’s unreal. I also became a devotee of Joyce Vedral and her fat-burning workout. I thank her to this day for my interest in being fit and toned.

I’ve been known to get a little intense about my interests. My poor parents. As a teen, upon being presented with “soaked in the deep fryer” chicken for dinner, I exclaimed with dramatic horror:

The End of My Love Affair with the Mailman

I used to love getting mail. Remember back when the internet only existed in secrecy and you had to physically write letters to people? In junior high I had a French penpal. We’d write back and forth practicing our kindergarten-level language skills. My letters to her probably translated to something like:

“Hello, my French friend. How are you? I am teenager. It’s not fun as think. Have zits. How say zits in French? Zeut alors! Do go to discotechques? You are amiable. Texas hot. Thanks. Write back now.”