Best Barge in France, possibly Europe

I’m in London now, squatting at Alix’s apartment.  I’ve been here since last Friday, when I came back to hang out with Alix and my friend Jimmy who was in town from NY for the weekend.  Great to see them both, and I’m having a great time being pachanko with Alix.  I never get enough of her, seeing as she lives here, and not in NY.  She’s disgustingly smart, and doing her PhD at Cambridge as a Gates Scholar.  Anyway, today we drank fizzy elderflower juice in an orchard!

Last week I spent on my Uncle Marc’s barge.  I didn’t realize it, but I was a little tired after being on the move for over 2 months and not having to pack up my stuff for 5 days was quite the relief.  Also, some of you might not think it possible, but my godfather is even more of a foodie than I am, and since my Aunt Mary doesn’t drink, the two of us were going through our fair share of wine.  Nothing like a crisp white to temper the heat as you while away the time in the Loire.  Life is hard.  We had some truly amazing meals too.  Uncle Marc and I went to check out a market place in a nearby town and had the set menu at a place in the town square.  So for a little over 11 euros, we had: ham and melon (and not just any melon.  Those little sugar-sweet intense tiny ones the French love so dearly…I don’t even like melon that much and I was maybe a little too into them.) and perfectly cooked juicy veal escalopes in a cream sauce with mashed potatoes that probably had more butter inside them that even I want to think about.  Then there was cheese.  And of course, this being France, we just got handed a tray of about 8 cheeses with plates and more bread and just took what we wanted.  Was there dessert after that?  Cherry clafouti.  Oh, and a carafe of wine.  That too.  For 11 Euros.

I am not coming home.

The barge is lovely too.  It’s cozy, and filled with all these beautiful little antiques Uncle Marc has found in sales all over the place.  He’s got a neat collection of coffee machines too, and he gave me one!  (Mary made him put some of them in the garage, since he has ten of them.)  I hope I don’t break it.  It has these beautiful delicate glass globes and makes the coffee in this intricate way that involves hot water and a flame underneath the globes…I’m excited to use it.

Tomorrow is my last day in London, and then I am off to Yvetot, Normandy, where I will be working for this guy.

IT”S NOT THAT CREEPY. Ok, maybe a little, but hey, I dig the Renaissance.

Diek and I are now sitting at an internet cafe in Zanzibar….and he’s helping me remember some of the things I said at 5800M because I take requests. Seanna is showering at our FANTASTIC hotel because we swam in the ocean earlier. In perfect turquoise water with white sand. It was terrible; none of you should be jealous.


1. “Hey, how did you guys get up here?”

I got dragged up the last bit by our guide and was shocked to find Diek and Seanna also at the summit.

2. “That could happen to anyone! This isn’t just me!”

I kept falling over and yes, it was just me. In fact, one of the people we made friends with on the mountain told me that later, when we were all in Moshi and trying to use ATMs, a random stranger turned to her and said, “See that girl in the black tshirt? She was an absolute MESS on Kili.” Guess who he was talking about?

3. “It’s not my fault!”

Our guide fell over in the scree too. I felt totally vindicated.

4. “They’re planning my life without me!”

Seanna and Diek were following me and NTese and saying how Seanna and I should share the hotel room in Arusha because it would be easier…and I was convinced they were taking control over my life because I couldn’t really understand what they were saying.

5. “It’s like we’re on a promenade.”

It was not like we were on a promenade. It was like NTese was afraid I was getting brain damage.

Anyway, I’m going to go wash the salt off myself and then we are going to have dinner in a Freddie Mercury themed restaurant because he was born here. Did you know that? See? This blog is educational.

I have 4 days left in Africa. I can’t believe it.

Refueling the car, safely.

Rain in the Ark of the Covenant compound

I’ve joined forces with this phenomenal Australian woman who has been traveling through Africa alone for nine months now. She’s brilliantly nutty, talks a mile a minute, waves to every child, calls everybody darling, and is the same age as my mom. She’s been using the name Aisha. I don’t know what her real name is but I want an African alias of my own. suggestions?


So today we got a little robbed and ended up paying slightly more than we wanted to for a trip out to Yesha, which is about an hour away, and only 60km away from the Eritrian border! And I didnt even try to cross it. Even I know better than that. it’s got the oldest Judiac temple in Ethiopia there, and is pretty sweet. 2400 years old. Not bad. We also saw these old tombs in a palace complex that we had to explore with candles because we didnt have torches and the power was out. (the power goes out at least once a day here. im getting used to it) I have never felt more Indiana Jonesy and it was incredible. there were the deep wide steps leading into the tombs and everything! and then there was a room full of bats that came screaming out when we went near them!

ok im about to get kicked off this computer, but tomorrow im going to the rock churches of tigray for two days. I am going to scale a cliff face with “fingers and toes” to reach one of these things. AWESOME.

Flight delayed two hours! Iceland is exploding everywhere! I’m reasonably sure I forgot to pack a toothbrush and an adequate amount of socks!

Which is fine, I guess. I bet they don’t even wear socks in Ethiopia. Good thing I have some leftover Valium from the eye surgery. I’m setting up shop at the nearest airport bar and I’ve already made friends with a security guard on account of my supersweet Indiana Jones hat. Let’s get this party started off right!

Don’t FUCK MESS with me, JFK.