Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mr. Dylan!

So, Robert Zimmerman turns 70 today. Everyone's writing about it. I'm sure he doesn't like that very much (or maybe he does; one can never tell with Bob Dylan). I could (and tried and then deleted my efforts) to go on and on about why his music is important to me, but it's just too complicated to explain. It's been a very long love affair--from the first time at Monica Ros (pre-K-3rd grade) that Seabury Gould, our wonderful music teacher, had us sing "Blowin' in the Wind."

So, instead, two videos. The first, from D.A. Pennebaker's 1967 documentary Don't Look Back, a young Bob Dylan (with Allen Ginsberg and Bob Neuwirth lurking in the background) with placards on a New York street for "Subterranean Homesick Blues." The second, his Oscar-winning "Things Have Changed," with a fun set of celeb cameos--the cast from "Wonder Boys." Fun fact: both times I saw Dylan live (and presumably, ever since March 2001), he's had his Oscar on stage with him. Fun fact #2: according to Rolling Stone, the last year in which he didn't appear in public was 1977--that's someone who's kept working hard. And if you want a really good, recent live appearance, check out his suite with Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers at the Grammys here.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Adultery Fridays

New post. Not my best, but I still think it's an interesting idea. When I'm a mogul with my own foundation, roads will be mine.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Afrika Burn

Following our time on the Wild Coast, friends and I headed to Afrika Burn, an art festival in the desert modeled after Burning Man in the US. Here's a taste of what happened.

Loaded up the minibus with everything we'd need to be self-sufficient in the Karoo--water, food, shelter, Russian Bear.

Paying our toll for the Huguenot Tunnel.

Allie's an impressive hula hooper. I completed the most revolutions I ever have (maybe 5) and have now retired.

See that white thing sticking out of the basket? A recently-married bride (and groom) take a celebratory hot air balloon ride.

This was a dance tent at night (it also had swings inside of it...which unfortunately meant people got kicked in the head if they weren't careful). The inhabitants of the supporting camp were known as The Succulents.

Jamie's got sunset on her breath.

The Vuvu Lounge, a club on wheels, and the Lotus at dusk.

On the left side, my all-time favorite thing at Afrika Burn: the van with the tall bamboo poles and the flags. I called it Howl's Moving Castle because it felt like a Hayao Miyazaki illustration that came to life (if you haven't seen Spirited Away, run, don't walk, to your nearest Netflix).

Mal and Al take in our final sunset at AB.

More photos here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

(Not) Finding Myself

First, quickly, new post over at Global Health. Blogger was down all Friday, so I couldn't put the link up til now.

Expat Aid Workers put up an extremely à-propos post today: #56 Finding Themselves. I put my feet back on US soil on July 2 in the California Republic. I will be jobless, barring any miracles and actual effort on my part to find a job. And after a long stint of avoidance regarding my next steps, I've realized that I actually don't know what I want to do. I don't know what the next step should be. I've jumped from academia to law to medicine to public health to human rights to writing to teaching to film, and that's just the short version of my thought process over the past three years (or more, though as I told my boss last week, I think it's safe to say that President of the United States, astronaut, and Indiana Jones can be struck off my career list...sadly). So, when I return, I'll be heading to San Francisco to live with my much-more driven and ambitious sister, fresh off her first year of law school (right out of college like a real adult person!) and about to finish up her lease on a one-bedroom just between Nob Hill and the Tenderloin. And although this is not necessarily a permanent decision (I'm thinking more of a soft landing), New York will have to wait just a little while longer. SF may be the second-most expensive city in America, but I think probable funemployment in NYC would just kill me financially at this present juncture.

And so, that's the next step. Where I go from there is a mystery. Maybe it'll involve golden idols, moonwalking, and a big veto stamp of my very own. I kind of hope so.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Easter Travels: Bulungula on the Wild Coast

Over the Easter (and other) holidays, a group of friends and I braved a 20-hour bus ride from Cape Town to the Eastern Cape to spend some time at Bulungula, an eco-lodge on the Wild Coast. Here are a few pictures from our time there.

There were cows and other livestock roaming free everywhere--our driver called cows, goats, sheep, horses, and donkeys "the Transkei's Big Five." Transkei is the old, Apartheid-era name for a part of the Eastern Cape, a former "Bantustan" that was designated "independent" of South Africa. Although today it is beautiful and in many ways untouched by modernity, there is also significant poverty.

The girls take in the view.

We participated in a "women's power" activity--part of the lodge's income-generating tourism activities for locals--which was, in all honesty, a whole lot like all the village experiences I've had. Which means extremely awkward, somewhat boring, and lost in translation. We carried water on our heads, had our faces painted, gathered firewood, and ground corn. Probably not an experience I'd repeat, but it was certainly instructive.

This was a serious labor of love from my friends. Being the most prone to motion sickness/barfing, they let me have the front seat of the shuttle that took us from Umtata to the lodge (3 hours or so on really, really bad "roads").

This little gentleman was very cheeky and would tickle attack without advance warning.

The pictures really don't do justice to how stunning it was.

Following delicious an Easter egg hunt (for Allie's birthday), we curled up by the fire and waited for dinner to be served.

Incredible sunsets, followed by a sky full of shooting stars, every night.

More pictures here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I've become so neglectful. I'm sorry. I'll blame this most recent lapse (i.e., not getting my pictures up this week) on a lovely bout of food poisoning. If anyone wants a rundown of all the restaurants to avoid in Cape Town (though, curiously, not Dakar or Bo/Freetown), please let me know. My friends' and my devastating culinary experiences have racked up quite a list of no-go zones.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Adultery Fridays

I'm terrible. Photos will go up. It's been a crazy week.

New post over at the Foreign Policy Blogs Network Global Health Blog.

To tide you over, two pictures of me, courtesy of Ms. MelBoz. Above, the computer hand at Afrika Burn. Below, my attempts at being a good !Xhosa housewife (spoiler alert: didn't go very well).

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Touching Down Back on Planet Earth

My vacation is over. Photos to come soon. Once I no longer have a tent set up in my apartment (it's drying), I have some clean clothes and a full fridge, I've waded through the current event developments over the past week and a half, and my furniture is returned to me (long story), I'll share. But it was all very wonderful.

Until then, here's a ridiculous and somewhat depressing trailer for Clifton Shores (sorry, couldn't figure out the code to embed the video on this post), an upcoming reality show in Cape Town set in the extremely affluent Clifton area. Based on what I'm seeing and reading (check out the post at Africa is a Country, where I first found all the links), I think the show is going to say a lot about the South Africa's unique culture of conspicuous consumption, extreme wealth disparity, racial attitudes, and a whole host of other things. It also will say some uncomfortable things about my own reality of living in South Africa as an American expat. Though I don't wear high heels as often as these girls appear to do.