The two years we lived in Nairobi, we made annual trips to nearby Kampala to play in the Seven Hills Classic Ultimate Frisbee tournament and see a bit of Uganda on the side. With our car still bouncing along somewhere on the high seas en route to East Africa, the tournament seemed like the perfect pretext to get out of Kigali and do a bit of traveling, which we had yet to do in our almost two months in country.
Posts tagged ‘Ultimate frisbee’
Live in a country long enough, and a part of you starts identifying with it. Chisinau may only be a temporary residence for us, but after spending two years here we have developed a soft spot for Moldova. So when friends comes to visit, we endeavor to show off Moldova’s good sides. We haven’t had nearly as many visitors here as we did in Kenya, but that was in line with our expectations. In fact, we have been pleasantly surprised at how many of our friends made arrangements to visit our little corner of Eastern Europe. Last weekend, we hosted the last of our visitors — an Austrian friend from D’s grad school days.
This summer marks fifteen years since D first picked up a disc and started playing ultimate frisbee, a trajectory that has taken him from his New England college team to pick-up games in Spain and Costa Rica, tournaments throughout East Africa, and most recently the role of field captain for Moldova’s Flying Mamaligas.
Unlike the Danube Delta, which required advanced planning and a full day of travel to reach, Odessa is so close to Moldova that we always figured we would just go. Ukraine’s storied Black Sea port is a 3-hour-drive away from Chisinau, yet we never quite managed to make our way across the border. Though to be fair, for a significant part of our tour Ukraine was off-limits for Embassy personnel. This month, we finally found a good reason to go.
We had planned to spend last weekend in Ukraine. There was an indoor frisbee tournament at a sports complex outside Odessa, the seaside Ukrainian resort town that is just across Moldova’s south-eastern border. While D played, S intended to do some touristing with Munchkin, with the hopes that D would save a little energy to go out with her in the evenings. Among its attractions, Odessa has an excellent restaurant scene and a well-regarded opera house. Unfortunately, an administrative snafu (emphasis on the last two letters) forced us to cancel the trip just hours before our planned departure.
There is a great scene in the director’s cut of Pulp Fiction that did not make it to the big screen when the film premiered in the United States. At her apartment, Uma Thurman greets John Travolta with a small hand-held camera and proceeds to interview him before they go out to dinner and dance that memorable twist routine. In an interview, Quentin Tarantino said that he omitted the scene not because he didn’t like it — on the contrary, it sheds light on some subsequent dialogue that otherwise has no context — but rather because there were too many other movies in the early 90’s that featured similar on-camera, confession-style interviews. He did not want to be part of a fad, even if he had thought up the idea first, so he axed the scene.
After the tournament in Kigali, we stayed an extra day in Rwanda to go gorilla trekking. In Uganda, we combined Ultimate frisbee with a visit to a chimpanzee sanctuary and a rafting trip down the Nile River. Though Sofia did not hold out the promise of similar adventures, we made sure to schedule enough time before the tournament started to see the city.