With Us

"Even if you're not a seeker,

still, follow us, keep searching with us.
Even if you don't know how
to play and sing,
you'll become like us;
with us you'll start singing and dancing.

Even if you are Qarun, the richest of kings,
when you fall in love,
you'll become a beggar.
Though you are a sultan, like us you'll become a slave.

One candle of this gathering
is worth a hundred candles; it's light is as great.
Either you are alive or dead.
You'll come back to life with us.

Unbind your feet.
Show the rose garden---
start laughing with your whole body,
like a rose, like us.

Put on the mantle for a moment
and see the ones whose hearts are alive.
Then, throw out your satin dress
and cover yourself with a cloak, like us.

When a seed falls into the ground,
it germinates, grows, and becomes a tree:
if you understand these symbols,
you'll follow us, and fall to the ground with us.

God's Shams of Tabriz says
to the heart's bud,
"If your eyes are opened,
you'll see the things worth seeing."

-Rumi

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Goodbye Ireland, Hello U.S.


Ireland was green and cold and lively and homely and everything I thought it would be and more.

In Dublin we stayed with Abby's friend in Ranelagh. It was wonderful to have a warm place and a hot shower and great company. Dublin was... museums with mummified bog people, shopping, tea, coffee, ridiculously expensive but ridiculously delicious foods, boots and pea coats, foggy breath, Guinness, late nights, and taxis.


We rented a car and drove to Belfast where we then made our way to the coast to explore the stony steps of the Giants Causeway....


then we drove to Galway and spent an evening there before heading to the Cliffs of Moher... the wind there is enough to blow you in any direction it pleases - thankfully there were barriers to keep it from sending us into a plummeting death. For the birds it was the opposite - they were shot straight up from the cliffs like fireworks...made of feathers of course.


From Galway we made our way to County Cork were we explored the Blarney castle and did the upside-down back bend to kiss the Blarney Stone (which apparently local boys like to pee on...who wants a kiss?).


In Kilkenny we explored some more modern castles and hung out in local pubs packed with drunk Irish singing and dancing and enjoying their culture to the fullest.


And just before flying out of Dublin we went to the Guinness Factory to enjoy the freshest pint of Guinness I will have ever had (unless, of course, I go back)...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ireland

Goodbye Africa....


The bus ride did not have toilets....and took 28 hours... and at one point did not stop for 7 hours... and it was HOT! I've never felt so sticky. The best part was when we stopped at the weight check point and had to wait 2 hours for them to decide to unload the overloaded luggage onto a truck that would later meet us at the border to reload. Atleast it was a safe ride... we started it with a prayer led by the bus driver. I found that to be extremely uncomforting to know that we needed to pray for our safety.

I'm going to miss all the oddities of africa... like the fact that the capital of Zambia does not have a single crosswalk within the city. Dodging speeding cars in heavy traffic is super fun. I'll miss how when people say "I'm coming just now" they really mean "I'll probably come, but definitely not within the next hour." I'll miss eating questionable street food and drinking questionable water and finding questionable insects in my hair. And I'll definitely miss getting caught unprepared in spontaneous lightening storms after suffering through 47 degree celsius heat.

Although I already miss Africa (despite the obnoxious parts) I've been exploring Dublin and loving it. I love the street performers and the living statues that poke you with sticks when you turn around. I love the buildings with bullet scars and bars and beer and people. I saw my first mummified persons and my first fur protesters. Both were equally scary.

Off to the country side soon...

p.s. more pictars on previous post.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Leaving Namibia

In the last week Abby and I have trekked around Namibia quite a bit...

We spent some time in Swakopmund which was pretty uneventful other than a wrecked ship that has become a luxury home to thousand of seabirds. We oooo-ed and aaaahh-ed at flamigoes and pelicans and spent time with friends on the purple sand beaches. From there we went to the Cape Cross seal colony which was full of angry seals beating eachother up over personal space and pups laying around next to piles of placenta....thousands of piles of smelly afterbirth. Among the thousands of pups were happy jackals chewing away at the ones that were either poorly protected by their mothers or had been crushed by there fathers. Awesome.


Then Spitzkoppe... a land of magical orange rocks that turn red with the sunset and 4,000 year old bushman paintings.... I've never seen a more beautiful night sky... it was like being in a planetarium.



Then Twyfelfontein...dolomite rocks in the shape of "Oragan Pipes," sandstone bushman rock carvings, and petrified forests.


Then Himba village... got to hang out with some lovely barechested ladies covered in red okre. They clean themselves with smoke from mopane trees... no water... interesting.


Then Etosha salt pans. Saw loads of creatures great and small. Abby and I definitley got our birding fixes in and were perfectly happy that everyone saw a leopard (yet again) except for us... and by happy I mean extremely envious.

Hiked up the Waterberg plateau and got lost in the forest and found wild Ruppells Parrots... the view from the top of the plateau was gorgeous.... of course.


Hopping on a bus to Lusaka for 24 hours in about 5 hours... yikes! Hopefully they have toilets... otherwise I'm going to have to get creative because I dont think my kidneys can handle holding it anymore.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

p.s. (from Kruger)


The journey continues

Zambia:
"Caitie I love you."
"I just met you 10 minutes ago."
"I love you."
"I'm engaged." (I lied)
"He doesn't love you."

oh man... the desperation for an american wife.

Botswana:
-Watched elephants playing in the river in Chobe. They were dunking eachother completely under and swimming!

-Baby spotted hyena!
-Took a mokoro (wooden canoe) into the Okavango Delta... ants poured out of a crack in the wood as we sliced through the reeds... landed on an island with elephants roaming around...pitched our tent in the elephants toilet... learned how to pole the mokoros and went swimming near some grunting hippos... sat with a local woman and learned how to weave.
-volleyball in Maun
-walked around with bushmen in Gahnzi and learned how they live... showed us root that you can get water out of and mix with another root to make soap and wash with.


Namibia:
-ate kudu, zebra, and crocodile... i think my zebra was still alive when i ate it.
-hiked around amazing red and orange sand dunes during sunset and sunrises in the Namib desert. Went to Dune 45, Sossusvlei and Deadvlei and Sesrium canyon... found puddle with catfish inside the gorge that were jumping up for air. Beautiful and serene and open and... breathtaking.


More on Namibia later... currently at the skeleton coast.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Nyami nyami... the river god.

Abby and went for a little hike and saw Victoria Falls from the Zambia side. We wanted to see it from the Zimbabwe side but the visa is $55 and its $20 to see the falls.... lame. I supose it would be good to support Zim... but who is the money really going to?

We did however get to walk on the Zimbabwe side of the Zambezi. That counts right? We rafted 25 rapids for about 27 km... class 2 to class 5. Wasn't as terrifying as I thought it would be. It was hot out so all the crocs were out of sight in the river. The ones we did see were ittybitty. We got to swim one of the last rapids and I got a belly full of the Zambezi during that ride. I managed not to fall out of the raft... Abby wasn't so lucky. The gorge is pretty deep so we had to take a cable car up and out. That was the scariest part of the day. Right when we steppe dout of the thing horizontal rain started pouring down along with some crazy lighting. We took an open vehicle back to our camp in the rain and the driver saw an elephant on the way and decided to drive right up to it. The elephant whipped around and looked like it was deciding whether or not to crush us. So through the rain and wind I frantically yelled, "NO, NO, NO, TURN AROUND, LEAVE IT ALONE, DRIVE AWAY!" At which he proceeded to drive closer. I told one of the river guides still with us to tell him no and he finally listened. I survived the zambezi and a sketch cable car and was not about to get killed by an elephant.

In other news... its still ridiculously hot here during the day. Makes your head spin and legs wobble. Abby and I leave tomorrow or the next day for Botswana and will end up in Windhoek, Namibia in about a week and a half... then we figure out our next steps from there.