Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Cutest Monster in the World

This is my adorable little Monster, who will destroy you with cuteness:

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Awesome shark cake!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

How Now, Everyone

Hi there, and welcome back to ririaroundtheworld. After nearly a year of travel just back and forth to London, I'm back to somewhere interesting!

I'm in Nigeria for a week, working on a proposal - so far, it's a bit odd. Abuja is a planned city, and the seat of government, so it doesn't feel all that alive. All the streets are wide and often tree-lined, and there is a lot of new construction. It actually feels a bit like southern Florida - as though it's been carefully plotted out - I wouldn't be shocked to see a golf course around a man-made lake in the next 5 years.

On the other hand, I'll be going to Lagos for the day on Thursday - a big, roiling, unplanned city. Stay tuned, and I'll keep you all updated....

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Not so exciting, really

Hello again, and apologies for the very long hiatus. After months of shuttling back and forth between London and DC (yes, it sounds very glamourous, but you try doing it in seat 37D), I've finally settled down in London for the next few months. So, to kick off my adventures here, a list of what I've done so far:

1. Gone to Ikea. Several times. I might go back again this weekend. Some of you (you know who you are) are giggling, if not outright laughing, at this. Just because I've switched continents doesn't mean the love affair has ended, people!

2. Made a windowbox. It's quite pretty, with mint (for tea) and purple phlox. What I didn't realize, though, is that potting soil? It's heavy. Last weekend I went up to Camden (a neighbourhood that bears more exploring) to the garden centre, bought all my supplies, paid for them, and then thought, "well, crap. I don't have a car." So I carried them home on the tube. In retrospect, I appreciate the humour of the situation. I will never replicate it.

3. Made banana bread. And in the process discovered that I had bought what I thought was sugar, but is actually HALF-sugar, with artificial sweeteners. Luckily, I discovered this before measuring it into the recipe. And don't get me started on my accidental purchase of "low sodium salt substitute." It was sitting right next to the salt! Who are the people that buy these things?

4. Got mistaken for Irish. By a gigantic bouncer at a snotty club. It was quite nice, except I had to say, "well, probably not since 1875 or so," since I've long since lost the ability to do an Irish accent. Sigh.

5. Eaten copius amounts of Indian food. I thought I hated it, but really, I was wrong. I would eat it all the time. There's a new place that just opened down the block, and I'm determined to try it this weekend. Mexican food, now that's another story.

6. Been asked for directions at least 3 times. For those who know I track this phenomenon, I'd just like to note that my strange attractiveness to lost tourists continues.

Other than that, I've just spent a lot of time exploring various parts of central London. As I manage to get further afield, I'll be sure to post any story-worthy adventures.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Heart of Brightness

Good evening, Intrepid Readers! Greetings from London. As many of you may know, I've just returned from a week in Liberia (sorry not to have written, not a great internet connection, and very little free time). I'll have to give updates in person, but I'll describe some of the highlights here. One thing to bear in mind: if you took a picture of Haiti, and one of Liberia, and laid them next to each other, you'd think, "These countries are the same."

Well, in terms of the poverty, and squalor, and the general dilapidation left over from decades of civil unrest, you'd be right. But whereas a week in Haiti makes you start to question whether there's much hope in the world, a week in Liberia makes you want to jump in and get working at making things better.

And now, without further ado, here are the highlights:

1. Ex-Presidential Security. When driving back from the airport on our first night, we got into a discussion of the use of the secret service for ex-Presidents. When we asked the driver what they do for them in Liberia, he replied, "We don't have ex-Presidents. We kill dem." Stellar.

2. Best shop name ever (ok, Erbil might rival this, but...): Nookie's Enterprises

3. Best piece of heavy equipment: When the UN moves into a place with no infrastructure, they use something called a "bailey bridge," essentially, a lego-like metal structure that can be plopped into place to serve as a bridge until something permanent can be built. The cool part is that they way they get it across whatever span they need is with a launcher. Yes, that's right. Not only are there portable bridges, but there is a specialized piece of heavy equipment that LAUNCHES them into place. Awesome.

It's already 10pm in London, and I've still got some work to do, so I'll keep this short, but I'll add more soon.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Ah, Ye Imperial Masters

Greetings from London! Yes, I've actually gone somewhere nice for a change. The only thing is, this is the only place in the world where I get reminded that I'm one of the poor colonial relations! I don't think I've ever been here when the exchange rate is this bad, and even though I'm not spending my own money, it's still kind of horrifying to pay $4 for a cup of coffee (literally, just drip coffee...)

Incidentally, I broke my previous record, and was asked for directions before even leaving the airport. Fortunately, I DO know the fastest way into the city, so that worked out OK. In any event, my day really had no good stories attached to it, so I'll keep this brief. Actually, I also haven't slept in about 48 hours, for a whole host of silly reasons, so now I think I'm going to crash.