Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Hot Day in Paris is Bettter Than....

Don't you wish you were a Parisienne after seeing photos like these celebrating the quiet corners of Paris.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Fire Island Countdown

My countdown is just a few short days, we'll be heading up to Fire Island to unwind and let summer truly begin. I'm already dreaming of the sand under my toes, 4 p.m. afternoons on the beach, the outdoor shower, my window bench and the lazy, sleepy feeling we all get after a day of doing nothing....

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Missing Tim Russert

Since we departed for Amman, Jordan the day that Tim Russert died tragically, I had not had the opportunity to read the obituaries or see the tributes. Yesterday, I had a chance to see a memorial in which both Tom Brokaw and Maria Shriver spoke eloquently about his love of life, love of family and love of country. It actually moved me to tears. I think everyone felt like they knew Tim Russert and he was certainly the person that I let into my living room on Sunday morning to talk politics civilly and thoughtfully. Back when I was working for Governor Tom Ridge and his name was being tossed around as a running mate for Senator Bob Dole (remember that?), Tim Russert called me to see if he could arrange a time to speak with the Governor. He couldn't have been more friendly or down-to-earth. In all of my years working as Communications Director and press secretary to the Governor and Congressman, this is one of only two calls that I actually remember vividly, perhaps given the larger-than-life status he occupied in my mind. He will certainly be missed.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

From Jordan to Nigeria...

Last night I was transported to Nigeria, attending a Society for International Development dinner in Washington, D.C. It honored World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the former Foreign Minister of Nigeria. What I didn't realize is that she is the mother of Uzodinma Iweala, author of Beasts of No Nation. If you haven't read this book yet, put it on your summer reading list. It will move and disgust you and awe you given this young man's ability to speak in this tragic voice about the life of a boy soldier in an unnamed African nation.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jordan warmth and hospitality

Despite our hilarious Bedouin "experience" which I wrote about yesterday, we had a wonderful week in Jordan. The warmth and hospitality of the Jordanian people is truly wonderful. My daughter, Abigail, was truly the biggest beneficiary....everywhere we went she attracted attention, small gifts and inquiries about her name. By the end of the week, she told me that she wished "they would quit patting her on the head."

One evening we returned to the Hyatt to find a large wedding underway -- we were told it was two famous Jordanian families being joined. Abigail was intrigued by undertaking and so we ventured to the door of the monstrous ballroom, only to be waved in by several of the guests with warm smiles who inquired about where we were from. The bridge and groom came by a few minutes later and were thrilled to see our little blonde girl looking on in awe.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Wadi Rum Disco Tent Camp

Imagine the mystery. A night under the stars in southern Jordan spent with Bedouins who have roved these sands for centuries. A simple tent and a good nights sleep after a delicious locally prepared meal....

Well, that's what we envisioned. But, alas, as I found out last week the tourism industry in Jordan still has some, uh, development to experience....

After a roving ride through the desert which was magnificent when the guides drove away from the other 6 or 7 trucks, we arrived back to our tent camp (think refugee camp without the refugees) to find 4 large tour buses, pulsing Jordanian music and a rambunctious crowd of revelers who were prepared to dance the night away. Now, mind you, that would have been fine some 20 years ago but with a four year old, loud pounding music until midnight was just not my cup of tea...nor was the mass of humanity.

Alas, we settled down in our tent and hunkered down until I could stand it no more. With visions of a lynch mob returning to our tent after my tirade, I nevertheless put aside worries of an international incident and found an English speaking guide who assured me that the music would go off...which it did.

Fresh after five hours of sleep, we snuck out of the camp at 6:00 a.m. enroute to more adventures at Petra. As for my visions of a romantic Bedouin tent camp under a full moon eating lamb and sipping tea, perhaps it's out there somewhere waiting for my visit.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

In Jordan

Sorry, dear readers...I know it's been a long hiatus. But I'm in Amman, Jordan now and reinvigorated about travel and feeding my wanderlusting spirit. I'll write and post more in the next few days. Tomorrow, off to Petra and the Dead Sea.