Archive for the ‘Liberia’ Category

notes from africa

Monday, June 18th, 2007

i’ve dedicated this morning to catching up… i went to Africa for the month of March, but the internet connection and electricity was so bad, i actually had to keep a paper blog. today, i have transferred a few of those notes to my blog, in the proper places.

if you’re looking for travel tips, or just wondering why my arm is still itchy, check out the March and April postings.

and pics from Africa are here. enjoy!

out of Africa

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007

here’s a quick visual update on my life here in London.
oh, and i’ll include one from Monrovia for reference.






don’t know if i’ll be back again

Monday, April 2nd, 2007


i’m sitting in the Golden Bar and Restaurant, inside the “terminal” at the Roberts International Airport outside of Monrovia, Liberia.

i’m nearly alone at the bar, and drinking a large bottle of Club Beer. blaring in the background is a bad Jean-Claude Van Damme movie. this beer is cold, but the glass smells funny. every time i raise the glass to take a sip, my nose crinkles. Natasha Henstridge is also in this movie. she’s sort of weird looking. i mean, to be in the “hot” category.

i just heard that the Astraeus flight is on schedule, so i hope to get to London on time.

back on the tv, Van Damme has entered what appears to be a gay bath house. he has suprised his enemy.

i was a little sad to leave the Peet family today. they were so good to me here. and the kids were so cute with their little goodbyes. if i ever return to Liberia, it will be to visit them.

anyway, i’m nervous to fly but i’m excited to get away from this loud Van Damme movie, stinky beer mugs in dirty bars, and Africa in general.

someone to watch over me

Sunday, April 1st, 2007

one thing that i quickly grew accustomed to here, and will definitely miss- having a staff of people working at the house.
you never arrive home to an empty house. when you pull up to the compound, security opens the gates, directs you all the way into the parking spot, and helps carry your bags into the house. it’s as if you pulled up to the entrance of a luxury hotel.

there are two security guards on duty at all times, sitting out on the front drive, with nightsticks on their laps. they are constantly watching over the property.

and the housekeeper is here all day, every weekday. she bleaches my shirts, rotates the bedding daily, and shops for fresh produce.

i will need to bring these people back to Los Angeles with me.

ah, and before i take a nap, let’s do a quick Bug Bite count.
Left Leg/Foot: 6
Right Leg/Foot: 24
Left Arm: 5
Right Arm: 13
Neck/Face: 5
Right Buttock: 2

that is a total of 55 bites from spiders, ants, bed bugs, and mosquitos!

she’s got dumps like a truck

Friday, March 30th, 2007


what does that mean, exactly? well, i know what the expression means,
but i think it begs to be misconstrued. nevermind. that’s neither here nor there. i just had that song stuck in my head because i went to the city dump today. that’s a pleasant experience first thing in the morning.

since Liberia has no public waste system, garbage doesn’t get collected. people either burn their trash or they can drive to the city dump and leave it there. we opted for the latter. when we arrived this morning, i stayed in the car and let the flies come swarm all over me, rather than going to them. wanted to make them work for it. Olly (the NGO volunteer i’m staying with) dropped the trash and gave a few Liberian dollars to the kids standing in the dump, picking through it.

sorry if that ruined your breakfast.

my legs are so itchy i want to scream. see, i’ve let my guard down a bit, now that i’m staying at Olly’s house. started wearing shorts and not spraying Off! all up
and down my body. I forgot that although i’m finally at a nice house, it’s
still a nice house in africa.

that threadbare look was so last season

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

yesterday, i was running errands with a friend. as we were driving near the beach, we passed some people walking (as we often do) and they were wearing ragged clothes (as they often do), and my friend exclaimed, “that reminds me! i’ve got to buy rags”.

i thought that was hysterical. maybe you had to be there (although
when “there” is Liberia, i would recommend that you never “have to be
there”). for the rest of the morning, every time i saw a
person wearing a tattered outfit, i laughed.

we hate our customers

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

this morning, Olly suggested that i break my Royal routine. for
variety, he offered to drive me to the other side of the city, across
from the US Embassy, to The Mamba Point Hotel. this, according to
hotels.com or one of those sites, is the second best hotel in the
city, right behind The Royal Hotel. despite the fact that a hotel guest was
attacked and killed here at some point (according to a user comment i read on that hotel site). actually, i’m going to go find that comment and link it here, so you don’t have to get the facts second hand…

anyway, i’ll continue while another browser window loads that link.

oh, actually i found a bit more info than what i had previously read
in that comment on tripadvisor.com.

http://www.theperspective.org/2004/may/mambapointhotelmurder.html
“But current information gathered at the Mamba Point Hotel where the
victim met his untimely demise on Monday night, 24 May, revealed that
the U.S. military top brass was attacked and stabbed with an
unidentified object by an unknown person. The identity of the killer
is yet to be established. Both international and local police have
started a massive search for the culprit. The incident occurred in the
victim’s Mamba Point Hotel room.

The Mamba Point Hotel is located in the Diplomatic enclave of Mamba
Point within the vicinity of the United States embassy in the Liberian
capital, Monrovia. The Mamba Point Hotel is the leading hotel among
dozens of hotels in the country and has been host to hundreds of
travelers visiting the country.”


so, Olly graciously drives me all the way over here, and drops me off. says he’ll return to pick me up around 4pm. i walk into the lounge and discover signs and flyers distributed on all the tables, with a bunch of new rules about internet use.
apparently, they are cracking down on the people who prefer to lounge around here (in their LOUNGE) and use their internet all day. like i was planning to do.

beginning today, there is now a one hour time limit. and shoes MUST be kept on. and keep your feet off the furniture. don’t bring your own food or drinks into our establishment. they nearly go as far as to suggest we might have been raised in a barn. (i bet a lot of Liberians wish they were raised in a barn, so maybe that wouldn’t have sounded so rhetorical to them.)

fortunately, i have run into some ex-pat friends i made i earlier in my trip and we are now arranging a shuttle to transport us from this stingy little restaurant back to our safe haven at The Royal. if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it. or, don’t go to Liberia. not sure which lesson i should take away from this morning’s adventure.

this is the modern world

Monday, March 26th, 2007

finally, i can get a decent night of sleep in Liberia. i moved into the Peet’s house today.

a fan on all night!
electricity!
no mosquito nets!
running water in a clean, private bathroom!


if i had been here the whole time, i probably wouldn’t have disliked Africa.

speaking of nets…

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

i just dreamt that a white Venus (or Serena- i can never tell them apart) Williams was teaching me how to play tennis. seems like i have a real gift for the sport.

nothing but net

Saturday, March 24th, 2007

i just caught a glimpse of a mosquito. inside with me, here in my bed, under the mosquito net! i’m freaking out…

the Off! spray is burning my eyes. i’m holding the can, waiting for the mosquito to reappear.

now my flashlight is dying.

a mosquito has breached the perimeter. he is inside the trusted, safe zone. and i can’t find him.

i’m dripping with sweat. and every bead on my skin feels like it could be his little legs.

i think they have a lifespan of nine days. i wonder if i can stay awake and alert for nine days.

UPDATE: got him!
3/24/07 @ 12:26 AM