To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child , a garden patch, or a redeemed condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Viet Nam

Nothing much to add. After I came back from Zambia, I had to go to UK twice, once to attend our annual conference and another time to attend a 5-day training course. This week I reached Viet Nam (Ha Noi) where I'm working right now.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Letter from an Irish mother

Another interesting article put up in the McGinty's bar at Holiday Inn Lusaka was the "Letter from an Irish mother" (apparently to her son living somewhere else). It was hillarious, and I did intend to transcribe it, but forgot in all the excitement of the FIFA World Cup Football. A few snatches, as I remember, were: "Your uncle drowned in a vat of whiskey, his coworkers tried to save him, but he fought them all off bravely. They cremated him, and the fire took 3 days to put out" (had his convictions, I suppose!). "I thought I will send some money, but I had already sealed the envelope." (Prescience!?!) "Your sister gave birth to a child, we still don't know a boy or a girl, so we can't tell you whether you are an uncle or an aunt now" (this one is going around on the internet for quite some time). All jolly good for a hearty (Irish-style?) laugh. Posted by Picasa

An Irish Blessing

McGinty's, the "authentic Irish bar" at Holiday Inn Lusaka, has a lot of Irish tidbits, including a photograph of "A busy highway in Ireland" which shows a single man sitting at the edge of an empty road with his sheep. There was a framed Irish blessing which went like this - "May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back, May the Sun shine warm upon your face, The rain fall soft upon your fields, Until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand." Amen (for all those reading this blog). Posted by Picasa

Lusaka Museum

The museum also gives pride of place to the old traditions of communication (when there were no telephones!). Those of you who have read Phantom comics may recognise someone like a Bandar tribal communicating long distance with drums. Posted by Picasa


Being still a small town with a population of about half-a-million, though well laid out, Lusaka still retain the old world charm of spread out markets. Huge multi-storey malls haven't yet made their presence felt here. Manda Hill seemed the more frequented one (it has a superstore, and you can roam around or have coffee on tabes on the pavement), and Arcades is the other one. Posted by Picasa

Lusaka museum

The central masterpiece in the museum is quite striking - a raised hand ending in a foot! Posted by Picasa

The journey is the destination

The road from Lusaka to Mazabuka was quite picturesque - a winding road hemmed in by low hills. Posted by Picasa


While I stand by my observation that food habits of people in West Africa are closer to India, with the abundance of vegetables, I was pleasantly surprised by one food in Zambia. This was called the 'Tremezzini' at Holiday Inn, and was more like a stuffed 'parantha' (stuffed with fish/chicken/veg - cheese & tomato in the picture) of India, though the outer covering was quite brittle. Posted by Picasa

Crocodile at Holiday Inn Lusaka

The Holiday Inn at Lusaka had a USP - live baby crocodiles inside the hotel. Of course, the crocs were not walking in the lobby or anything. More like they were kept in a small pond around which the breakfast tables were set - provided quite an interesting backdrop. I could see three at a time, and we were told that there are at least five. Lazy creatures - they came out mostly when it was sunny. Otherwise they were content to hide beneath the rocks in the water. Posted by Picasa


On the way out of the Muda Wanga, Lusaka, we saw a pair of Zebras. Posted by Picasa

Story of Phoenix

This was quite a fiasco for me, though fortunately my other fellow travellers were none the wiser! What happened was that (trigger happy) I saw an enclose with a small board which said "My Story". It described in good detail the story of an animal who had become orphan as both its parents were killed by poachers (that should have raised my antenna, but sadly it didn't). Naturally, I assumed that the royal goat standing just inside the enclosure was Phoenix, and clicked away happily. It was only when I went a few steps forward that I realised Phoenix was actually a 5-year old elephant!! Posted by Picasa

American Black Bear

Our next tryst at the Munda Wanga zoo & botanical gardens at Lusaka, Zambia was with an "American Black Bear". The bear looked intimidating, but lazy. It just sat around and shook its head from time to time. It looked menacing, so we were lucky that there was a moat (though dry) between the fence and where the fellow was sitting. Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 26, 2006

Royal Bengal Tiger

Another fantastic sight at the Muda Wanga zoo in Lusaka was a full-size Royal Bengal tiger feeding. What they did was put a chunk of meat on top of a small platform which had some kind of a gangplank leading up to it. The tiger reacher the platform, picked up the meat & then jumped down (to collective applause from the onlookers!). The performance completed, it then slunk off towards a grove to enjoy its meal in peace.
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My tryst with the African lion

My trip to Zambia came off well. The high point was when we wen to the Munda Wanga zoo and botanical garden in Lusaka. Fortunately, when we reached there it was the feeding time for the big animals. So we could catch a good sight of a pride of lions - a mother and her five children including the dominant male (pictured here), another (castrated!) male and five females.
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