Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Packs of rabid giraffes

Greetings from South Africa! I have been intending to post something since I got here on Sunday, but I there were several obstacles. The first was jet lag. I have been wicked tired. The second was time – there is a conspiracy to keep us busy from the crack of dawn until sundown each day. I had an hour off yesterday in which I fell into a deep sleep and had bad dreams about spiders and snakes. (Africa anxiety?) The third obstacle has been shear blondness. I haven’t been able to get an internet connection when everyone else could.( I was getting extremely mad, not so much at the bad internet connections, but with the fact that no matter how much I complained about it, Dave never showed up to fix it for me. ) Finally, a colleague pointed out to me that I had my wireless switched off. Ahem. Well, excuse me. I never owned a laptop before in which the wireless could switch off. That’s just idiotic. Who makes laptops like that?

So, I have enjoyed the past few days being completely and utterly isolated from the continent of Africa. The conference I am attending this week is at a resort/spa located way out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by an electric fence. If we wandered out, we would certainly be devoured by lions on a lonely country road. At least that’s what the conference organizer told us, so now she enjoys full participation in all conference events because attending a session is much preferable to being mauled by packs of rabid giraffes. The downside is that I’ve seen absolutely nothing of Africa so far, except a kind of bird walking around that someone told me is a “plevahhh”, which turned out to be a plever. I haven’t heard of that before, but I know my dad would photograph the crap out of them if he were here.

This resort is actually quite amazing. It is spread out over a very large estate, and has a colonial feel to it. As I write I’m enjoying a nice glass of red wine in the Library Bar, a beautiful room with wood floors and French doors thrown open onto the veranda where we look out onto a lighted fountain with plevahhhh running around it. My room is outstanding. Each night someone comes in and turns down the blankets for me, closes the blinds and lays out a thick bathrobe for me. You know what? I’m staying here. Ya’ll can bite me.

That said, I’m really anxious to get out and see some things. Last night we had cocktails at the ambassador’s residence, or maybe it was the second in charge – I’m not really sure because I was straight to the bar like a horse with blinders on. Useful tip from a diplomat’s spouse: NEVER wear heals to a Department of State reception because they aerate the heck out of their lawn, most receptions are outdoors on the lawn, and you will only succeed in sinking into the ground. Take heed. It’s really true.

So far it seems like we will be heading for Nigeria despite the recent unrest. I consulted with some of the educational advisors at the conference who come from Nigerian, and who will be leading our tour once we get there. They pointed out that the bombings in Abuja were specifically targeting their Independence Day events, which have now passed. Security has been ramped up because of the bombings, and they have actually apprehended two of the men involved. So, it seems like we will be going, and I know we’ll be fine. I trust those that are most familiar with the country. I will curb my normal mischievous self in this instance and repress the urge to go gallivanting around Nigeria alone and obnoxious. I promise.

Well, my glass of wine is finished, so I think I’ll head over to dinner. I'll try to post again tomorrow!!



  2. Hi Sandi!! I hope all is well there. Reading your post I feel like you are a bit scared which is just normal since its your fisrt time in Africa...I just want to say that all will go so well you will want to come back again and again! I hope your trip to Nigeria will not be cancelled cause then I will have to take the next plan to south Africa and say hello before you go back home!:) The bombing...is just really a matter between Nigerians...am sure it will not affect your mission. AND if you want, I can be your body guard for all the time you'll be here! FOR FREE!!!:) I will even pay for my trip to Abuja with you. If there is anything, I will tell the people that you are also African..Nigerian..I will defend you!!!lollll
    Think about the many possible IUPUI alumni that reside in Nigeria and just imagine you can meet any of them somewhere in your trip and you will know that you are never alone...

  3. Hi Aunt Sandra.

    I read the blog to Alyssa and Kendyll last night. They would like you to bring them a baby tiger when you come home.

    I'm sure you won't let them down.

    We love you!
    The Harveys