Where in the World?

Friday 30 March 2012

(Image via)

As a blogger, I often look at my stats to see how many people have dropped by my blog.  When I see the numbers, I wonder who are all of these people and where do they come from?

Well Wordpress has answered one of those questions for me.  They've just added this really cool new map to the stats page which shows which countries have had visitors to my blog on that particular day.  It's sort of becoming an addiction for me as each time someone new from someplace new comes a long, another country gets coloured in on the map.

To date (since the end of February when the map appeared), I've had...

visitors from 54 countries.  54!!!  That is so cool.

Some of the most unique include:  Qatar, India, Malta, Togo, Kuwait, Latvia, Jordan, Peru, Belgium, Rwanda, Botswana, Croatia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Hungary & Trinidad and Tobago.

I would have thought my biggest audience would be from Canada but the top 10 rankings are as follows:

1. United States
2.  Canada
3.  United Kingdom
4. Gabon
5.  Singapore
6.  Germany
7.  Qatar
8.  India
9.  South Africa
10.  Brazil

(By the way, the USA visits double the Canadian.  I'm disappointed in my countrymen!) 

Anyways, I LOVE this new addition to the stats page.  Bravo Wordpress, Bravo!


Tuesday 27 March 2012

I've noticed a lot of really loud 'smooching' sounds around town lately.

For example, every morning we walk by a road construction crew and as we pass there is inevitably several loud SMOOCH sounds from the working men.  I notice it if I park outside of the grocery store parking lot as there's a new apartment going up and generally a lot of men around and even as I stood on the street waiting for a friend to pick me up, taxis slowed and men SMOOCHed out the open window.

Annoyed, I brought it up to Joe a few months back and he said one of his local colleagues SMOOCHed him on the platform, apparently to get his attention.  It bothered him as well.

So I've come to the conclusion that a SMOOCH must be the equivalent to the whistle in North America (and perhaps elsewhere.)  You can use a loud whistle to get someone, or a group's, attention or the whistle we all know if you want to express that someone is good-lookin.

I tend to find it bothersome and not at all flattering (especially when I'm dripping in sweat at 8 am) - as do most of my friends.

Men, can't you think of a more pleasant way to get women's attention?

What's wrong with these photos, photos?

Thursday 22 March 2012

I borrowed the title from Ellen.

A jewelry store in Port Gentil.

"Work together to preserve the environment."

What else could you possibly need?

Monday 19 March 2012

Did I tell you that Aldo has opened a store in Port Gentil.

Shocking, I know.

I didn't really believe it until I physically checked it out myself.  I figured it might be a fake and they'd be selling second hand shoes but it's actually an exact replica of an Aldo at home.

This is crazy because we literally don't have a single other store or restaurant from home.  Actually, the only thing recognizable is Western Union.  (And perhaps the Casino supermarket if you are from France.)

I made my inaugural purchase today.

It was fairly normal except...

1.  The sizes on the rack are bigger (38 instead of 36),
2.  The shoes are probably close to double the cost, and
3.  I actually had to ask her to ring up my purchase.  She just asked for the money without scanning anything into the computer and wasn't going to give me a receipt.

I still can't quite believe it's here - I mean we hardly have stable water and electricity!

 Either way, I'll take it.  Gives me something to do when Joe's away.

Hot, Hot, Hot

Thursday 15 March 2012

It is so hot here.

We've entered the long rainy season which means heavy, heavy downpours but also the hottest weather of the year.  Weird, I know.  One would think the rainy season would be cooler but it is most definitely hotter!

By 8 am when I go walking in the morning it is 29 degrees Celsius and by mid day it's between 31-34 degrees with 80 - 90% humidity leaving us with a RealFeel of 40-49 degrees.

Within minutes of stepping outside, you begin to sweat - sometimes from places you wouldn't expect to sweat from.  Because of this weather, one must be extra careful about what she chooses to wear.  There is nothing worse than standing up and looking like you've peed your pants.  White linen and cotton are generally pretty safe as are lululemon pants but you especially avoid any colour that will darken dramatically when moist.

By far, the best thing to be in is a swimsuit preferably at the beach or poolside - which is exactly what I might do this afternoon!

The Making of a Salad

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Making salads are so much work here and they're super expensive.  That's probably why I don't do it very often.
Lettuce - 3990
2 tomatoes - 1767
Cucumber - 417

Total - 6174 cfa ($12)
**not including salad dressing or onion previously bought**

Soaking the veggies in a vinegar & bottled water bath.

Any produce you buy here that you plan on eating raw must be disinfected because there are all sorts of nasty bugs, parasites and bacteria that love to take over your stomach and make you violently ill for days on end.  (Sounds fun doesn't it?)  So once you pay an arm and a leg for it and get it home you rinse all the dirt & sand off in the sink.  Then you fill a bowl full of vinegar and bottled water in which you must soak the produce in for 20 or so minutes.  Afterwards, you rinse the produce off with another bottle of water to get rid of any lingering yuckiness and the vinegar.  You dry it off and then can prepare the salad.  It takes forever and hardly ever seems worth it for a very basic salad with mediocre produce.

Said salad.

Occasionally I dream about a nice spinach salad with strawberries, red onion, craisins, seeds and a raspberry vinaigrette dressing.  Actually, funny enough, salads are one of the first things we order when we leave Gabon - that and a good latte.  Oh, and a steak too!

Where would you live?

Sunday 11 March 2012

Given our current state of affairs, Joe and I have been talking a lot about where we'd like to live.  Of course there are a lot of factors out of our control but if we had the chance to move anywhere in the world, where would we choose?

My dreams are big and thankfully you don't have to worry about money in dreams!

New York City

Broadway, shopping, culture, museums and an endless amount of amazing restaurants to explore.


(You already knew about this one!)

Beautiful beaches & islands, friendly people, great food, tropical climate and having so many travel opportunities in the palm of our hands.

Cape Town, South Africa

We LOVED Cape Town and I'd love to have a house on a cliff overlooking the water.


Canals, bicycles and European living.

Sydney, Australia

Fun-loving Aussies, beaches, parks & great weather.

I could easily call any one of these places my home for a year or 2!

What about you?  Where are your dream living destinations?

(Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

I've Expanded My Phrase Book

Friday 9 March 2012

I've acquired some new phrases that regularly pop up in daily life.

Sometimes I hear myself saying them and wonder how I got here.

What a difference 20 months can make.

1.  I'm outside your house but I can't find your guard.  Can you let me in?

2.  How deep is the water on that road?  Like, will I make it through?

3.  I asked my guard if the bananas in the yard were ready to cut down but he said no.  I'll give you some when he thinks they're good to go.

4.  The mosquito men are coming and the maid leaves at 10:30 so I have to stay home.

5.  Shit - Joe, there's a cockroach in here.

6.  It is so HOT today.  (This is everyday right now.)

7.  Edgar, (our relief guard) you are not on vacation here.  Wake up, put your shirt on, turn the music down and let me sit beside my pool in peace.

Ok... I didn't say that last one but I think about it every, single Sunday.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Joseph Kony 2012

Wednesday 7 March 2012

I live in Central Africa and I see a lot of terrible things on a daily basis.  I see people starving, kids begging for money instead of being in school, the mentally ill wandering the streets naked and dirty and I see a lot of money being funneled into pockets instead of to the people who need it most.

Gabon has held a relatively stable history and while there are a lot of injustices, nothing is like what our neighbours face in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Sudan and many other nations on this continent.

It's fairly easy to find a lot of things to gripe about here and then every once in awhile, something comes along to remind me it could always be worse.

Today, this video did that.

It's going to require about 30 minutes of your time but I promise you will be inspired.  Watch it, share it and talk about it.  Let's make Joseph Kony famous this year and end his war.


African Luxuries : Electricity Regulators

Monday 5 March 2012

The electrical current is not very stable here.  We should be getting 220V at all times but sometimes it's more, sometimes it's less and sometimes it jumps around.  At the old house, one might think it was haunted at the rate the lights dimmed and brightened throughout the day but it's much better here.  (Are you noticing a pattern here?)

The ups & downs are really hard on electronics and it's fairly common for it to ruin them altogether.  An acquaintance of mine recently went through her 8th router.  Replacing TV's, microwaves & computers every few months would get expensive so it's much easier to use electricity regulators.

Basically, we plug the regulator into the wall and then our big electronics get plugged into the regulator.  The regulators job is to take the current, be it high or low, and stabilize it to 220V.  Hopefully this will result in the longevity of TVs, computers and other electronics.
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