Up before the sun, S vacillated about her decision to go see the golden monkeys. The road up to Virunga, where we were staying, is treacherous – an impossibly steep ascent up a rough track that is all ruts and boulders leads up to the lodge – and S had some misgivings about navigating it downhill alone in the darkness. Plus there was the fact that she prefers shared experiences to going it alone. The hour she spent with the golden monkeys made it more than worthwhile.
Posts tagged ‘security’
Paris. The city of love, fine art, good food, great wine. And now the city of armed military patrols. We have visited France several times before, and the sight of fully armed soldiers patrolling the streets was as out-of-place in our conception of Paris as a UFO full of extraterrestrials would have been. And yet, this is Paris’s new temporary reality. The state of emergency declared after the November attacks was extended in February for another 3 months, and this decision clearly weighed on everyone’s mind even as Parisians sought a return to normalcy.
Sprawled across both banks of the Bosphorus, with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia, Istanbul can be overwhelming. On our first visit, we took in most of the must-see sights. We visited the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia and both the Topkapi and Dolmabahce palaces. We strolled around the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market, visited the underground Basilica Cisterns, and took a trip up the Bosphorus to the Princes Islands. With all that, we barely scratched the surface of all that Istanbul has to offer.
With exciting tourist possibilities – the opportunity to see a pack of wild dogs polish off an impala or to watch elephants at the watering hole while hanging out with the safari camp’s pet kudu – we had a veritable parade of visitors when we lived in Kenya. Far fewer people appear to be tempted by Moldova’s wineries and pastoral idyll, but we are hoping that Munchkin’s cuteness lures at least a few friends and family to visit us in Chisinau. Thus far, we have had just one visitor – S’s mom, who helped her make the daunting trip from one little-known place in northern Maine to another in Eastern Europe.
After a busy week, we were looking forward to catching up on our blog this weekend. Last week we attended a colleague’s wedding and, having finally sorted through the photos, we were hoping to share some of our impressions and the joy of their celebration with our readers. After the events of this weekend, however, it has been difficult to focus on our small lives and marshall our thoughts away from the tragedy unfolding in our previous home in Kenya.
We had been counting on a quiet night in last Thursday. It was going to be our last night together for two weeks. D was planning a weekend trip to Western Ukraine over Labor Day to play ultimate while S was going to spend some time with her family, who were traveling through the Netherlands and Germany. Instead, we wound up driving an hour and a half to watch a soccer game in Tiraspol, the capital of Transnistria.
Nearly lost in the shuffle of Kenya’s elections, our departure preparations, and last-minute travel was the fact that S has a new job, which she started at the end of January. In fact, she had accepted the offer to join the Embassy’s Economic Section last June, but the new job required a security clearance, which took many months to acquire.