Masai Mara – 3

21 11 2007

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the beautiful, wonderous, amazing creation God placed here in Africa. I’m also thankful that our family was able blessed with the opportunity to travel to Kenya in July and that we were able to take in a safari at the Masai Mara game reserve. We saw so many fantastic animals, such as…


  • this cheetah (and his two brothers). Having at least 10 van loads full of people ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over his every move didn’t seem to phase this guy one bit. He even decided to lay down in the middle of the road, roll over a couple of times and take a little rest. I still can’t believe I saw this in person.


  • these hyenas (and many others). They were scavenging the scraps from the scene of a zebra kill. As we drove up to the site, we saw these guys on our left and just up on our right were the 5 lions which made the kill sitting in the shade guarding the zebra carcass they had relocated to a cooler place. These hyenas fought with vultures, and each other, over little chucks of hide that was left behind in the move while others circled the tree at a ‘safe’ distance, trying to find a way to get at the really tasty eats. Again… can’t believe I saw these guys either.


  • this lioness (and the rest of her pride). Can you name a lioness ”Scarface”? This girl has obviously been through some battles, and she was seemed to ready for another if any of those hyenas (or other scavenger) were to get too close to the zebra kill. She was definately the most attentive while we were watching the lions under the tree. Too bad those hyenas didn’t make too bold of a move. It would have been a pretty awesome sight.

As if these sights weren’t awesome enough!


London – part 2

16 11 2007

Towards the end of our trip, Andy and I visited two iconic London sites – the British Museum and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

britmuseum2.jpgThe British Museum was awe-inspiring due to the sheer volume of antiquities it contains. We saw stolen friezes from the Parthenon, Assyrian inscriptions, Egyptian statues and, of course, the Rosetta Stone.

(Yes, I said ‘stolen’. It was amusing to read the little pamphlet which explained how much of the Parthenon came to be in the British Museum and passionately – if not convincingly – gave rationalization for why it should remain there. It might as well have said “Finders, keepers! Losers, weepers!”)

Anyways, I told Andy that if I had been here 8 years earlier (or had been in Grad School only a year ago), all of the stuff we were seeing would be even more amazing. I might have even been able to read some of the Greek on the Rosetta Stone!

The one thing we missed out on seeing was an exhibit of terra cotta warriors from China. We were pretty excited to see that they were on display at the Museum AND pretty disappointed to find that all the tickets for the day had been sold out. Bummer!

All in all, I’d say that a visit a visit to London should not be considered complete unless one has visited the British Museum. It’s definately worth your time. (Plus it’s free!)


The last thing Andy and I did in London City (besides watch some rugby and have a late dinner at a local pub) was take in a Shakespeare play at the Globe Theatre.

To be honest, we had been hoping to see a rock concert over the weekend but that didn’t pan out. So, we figured this would be interesting, if not entertaining – which it really was.

We purchased our tickets for the show the day before and opted for the standing room tickets which places you on the floor at the foot of the stage. Had we really put some thought to it, we would have known that our feet and legs would be killing us after two days of walking around London and we would have purchased actual seats. But, we didn’t such foresight.

That’s why we saw only the first act of Love’s Labour’s Lost.

I still need to google the play to find out how it ends…



London – part 1

12 11 2007


A month and half ago (has it really been that long?) I was able to spend a couple of days in London with my brother Andy, who lives in Geneva. (Here we are near the London Tower Bridge.) Andy really enjoys London and I’d never been visited the city before, so when my solo October trip to the US ended up being routed through London, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

We had a fantastic time. Through some friends of Andy, we were able to stay only a short double-decker bus ride from downtown London. (Thanks Pieter, Naomi and kids!) As an added bonus, the weather was actually quite nice. It sprinkled only once and the air was crisp and cool. Oh how I enjoyed having to wear long sleeves and a jacket for a change!


We spent most of our time hanging out downtown, mainly on the south bank of the Thames. The Parliment building – and Big Ben – were impressive. We wanted to check out Westminster Abbey as well, but the admission fee was steep. (Actually, I should say too steep. London is one of the most expensive cities in the world so the price of everything pretty much classifies as ‘steep’.)

Anyways, we spent an afternoon taking in some very interesting art at the Tate Modern Museum. We also got a guided tour of London Tower and London Tower Bridge, courtesy of Andy’s Welsh friend, Rob, who meet us for lunch. As Rob was going through the centuries of British history I found myself being very thankful for the relatively short history of the US – much less to be tested over in school! Rob, a civil engineer, did some work on the London Underground system, so he was also able to share some interesting, little-known facts about its construction as we ‘tubed’ around downtown.


One of the coolest things we did was ride the London Eye, the very large ferris wheel which was recently added to the London skyline and is operated by British Airways (they called the ride a ”flight”, which I found amusing). It is an impressive structure (when they where putting it up, the wheel literally laid across the Thames like a bridge!) and it has really cool design.bryontheeye.jpg

During the ride, you get a bird’s eye view of the city. That was great for us since we didn’t want to spend the time trying to see everything up close. Thanks to the Eye, I can truthfully say that I’ve seen Buckingham Palace and Wembley Stadium…just not in great detail!

I’ve got more pics and stories to share in part 2 of this post . . . coming soon! (I promise!)

You Know You’ve Been Travelling Alot When…

8 10 2006

1) Your oldest son complains that his little brother left the GameBoy bag ‘unattended’. I guess some people actually listen to those airport public announcements.

2) Friends begin to ask you, “When are you going to post a new blog?”

Well, here it is. Our apologies for the delay.

Still Alive

23 07 2006

We may have fallen off the face of the earth as far as blog space is concerned, but we are still around! All the travel and transiency of our lives here in the States has made it difficult to post. Our apologies. As a peace offering, here are few pics of the boys.

At a Texas Rangers game…

At a park in Brownwood, TX…

In Paris (Paris, Texas that is)…

The Swiss Alps

1 06 2006

“Tall mountains, green valleys, the beauty that surrounds me…”

Our trip to Swizerland was wonderful! We had a great time visiting with my brother Andy, his wife Yannick and their son (our nephew) Jayson in Geneva and hanging out with them at a chalet in the ski village of Anzere. (Thanks to Nigel and Christina for letting us stay in their place!) Here’s some pics from the trip.

Andy and Jay in front of Chateau Chillion, a medival castle.

The Ries families in Anzere.

Andy in Graham in Anzere.

Yannick and Tracey enjoy the fresh mountain air.

Isaac and Graham hang out high above Geneva.

Ghana Signs

18 05 2006

For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been preparing for a 3 month visit in the States which starts tomorrow (!). As you can imagine, we had a ton of packing to do, gifts to find, responsibilities to pass on, goodbyes to say and lose ends to tie up. On top of all of this, Graham graduated from Kindergarten, Isaac was promoted to 3rd grade and Owen…well, he’s still 2 and 110% boy – always a handful!

We are currently in Accra, Ghana waiting for our plane to London. From there, we fly to Geneva, Switzerland to visit my brother, Andy, and his family. We are really looking forward to seeing them. (I anticipate having some great pictures to post next week from that stay.)

So what does all this have to do with Ghana signs? Well not much, except that we drove through Ghana today and were reminded of the funny (to us) business signs we frequently see. West African English is a bit different than American (or British) English which can be both frustrating and fun at the same time.

Here’s a list of our favorite signs in Ghana:

Don’t Mind Your Wife Chop Bar
– A chop bar is just a little shack that serves local food. I guess this is a good place to go if you’re having marital problems.

Observers Are Worried Chop Bar
Not the best advertising. Probably not the best food either!

Sokode Biscuit Factory – Proud Users of Holsum Fat
– Can fat really be wholesome or that just industry propaganda?

God’s Finger Farm
– If your kid ever asks you where fingers come from, here’s your answer!

Live and Dressed Chicken Sold Here
– These are more expensive than your traditional ‘dead and naked’ chickens, but I’ve heard they are cute. It is a mystery, though, why the chicken on their sign doesn’t have on any clothes.

Holy Ghost Zone Cosmetics and Hardware Store
They take face lift to a whole new level.

God’s Love Furniture Works
I’m not exactly sure what love furniture is, but apparently the God brand works.

One for the Road Palm Wine Bar
– Enough said!