Archive for May, 2012

A Slice of My Life – Week 20

May 14, 2012

Another busy week in the Dana Treat household.  So busy that my Four Year Bloggerversary passed by without me remembering.  Four years!  I’m giving myself a little pat on the back.  Thank you to every one of you who has ever visited this site.  Especially those of you who keep coming back.  I truly appreciate you.

A teacher from Graham’s school sent me this shot.  That tiny little guy is making the world’s longest hopscotch game.

This is my kitchen sink.  I love it when it is super clean.

In other news, I got a haircut.  Bangs for the first time since I was 11.

At long last, there is good vegetarian food available at Mariner’s games thanks to the good people at Field Roast.  I got invited to sample the new options (great veggie burgers and three very interesting hot dog options), and take in the game as well.  Of course I had to bring my sidekicks.

Graham loved the moose.  Spencer wouldn’t go near him.

The real reason the boys liked the game – snacks.  That is Kettle Korn and cotton candy.  Spencer was fascinated by the fact that a guy comes around the stadium with bags and bags of cotton candy.  Originally I said no to buying it and then relented saying, “When he comes around again, we can get some.”  After enduring a solid five minutes of him asking, every 20 seconds, “Where is he?  When is he coming back?”, I went to the concession stand and bought some.  To shut him up.  Then I had to get up again to wash off his hands.

I’ve ridden a lot of ferries in my life.  Most of the ferry workers are on the gruff side.  She was the smiliest waviest one I have ever seen.

Taking a 7:55am ferry means coffee.  Fortunately, the coffee they serve is from one of the best roasters in Seattle.

Mother’s Day means Motherasana – the spring day long yoga retreat on Bainbridge Island.  This one marked our three year anniversary of doing these retreats together.

This salad had 3 GIANT bags of kale leaves in it.  It shrunk down enough to fit in a bowl.  I had high hopes for it, but it was not my favorite thing.

Flowers everywhere this time of year.  I didn’t take this photo but isn’t it pretty?

I love San Pellegrino.  And I love sunlight.

Going home ferry stress.  Will I get on or won’t I?  (I did.)

Mother’s Day picnic in the park.  Randy packed us a lunch on a lovely day.



Walla Walla, Washington

May 11, 2012

If you have heard of the town of Walla Walla, it is probably for one of these reasons:

1)  You read Tom Robbins’ Still Life with a Woodpecker in which he mentions that the Native Americans named the city and “walla” means water.  He goes on to say, and I am paraphrasing here, that if that tribe had continued on to much wetter Seattle, we might have been called Walla Walla Walla Walla.

2)  You grew up in Washington State.

3)  You or someone you know went to Whitman College.

4)  You are a wine drinker.

As a matter of fact, all four of these points apply to me.  In all the years I have lived in Washington (lots) and all the years I have loved to drink wine (lots), I had never visited Walla Walla.  It is in the southeastern corner of the state – about a four hour drive from Seattle and not really on the way to anywhere.  But it is the wine capital of our state and in the past ten years, it has grown from a sleepy farm community with a small wine community and a terrific liberal arts college, to a true destination.

Back in February, the Walla Walla Wine Alliance sent me an invitation to take part in a promotion that they were doing called February Foodies.  I could go to Walla Walla, stay in a nice hotel, go wine tasting, and choose from any number of wonderful restaurants to have my meals.  Sadly, I couldn’t go because Randy was teaching skiing on Saturdays and I didn’t want to go by myself.  They graciously offered to have me come at a time that did work and just a few weekends ago, my little family packed up the car, and set out on an adventure.

So many of our friends make annual trips to the region and we knew we were in for a treat.  My parents now drive out of their way when they go to Sun Valley so they can stay at the lovely Marcus Whitman hotel and eat well in one of the many great restaurants in town.  Now we understand why and we can’t wait to go back.

We loaded up our kids, along with plenty of snacks, some books on CD, and various video distractions and headed out on a Friday morning.  We have traveled plenty with our children but have not taken a long road trip.  We weren’t sure how they would do but they were terrific.  We listened to music, to stories, sang songs, and carried on a continuing negotiation about the snacks.  (My children seem to be capable of eating a tremendous amount when we travel.)  I won’t say the 4+ hours flew by but they went much more quickly and pleasantly than we anticipated.

We had a whole itinerary planned for us with stops at three wineries, a goat cheese farm, and two dinners, but we couldn’t resist a stop at an additional winery.  Randy and I have long loved the wines coming out of L’Ecole No. 41 – one of the original Walla Walla wineries.  The tasting room is housed in an old schoolhouse and a charming child’s drawing of the building used to be on the label of all their bottles.  Now that they are distributing to all 50 states, they have changed to a more, um, sophisticated label but Randy and I both miss the old one.  The wine continues to be lovely and fairly priced.

We literally started laughing out loud when we saw that the tasting, in which you got to try 6 different wines, was $5.  It looks like we are never going back to Napa.  They also had a little chalkboard to occupy the boys.  (Spencer has a perpetual plumber’s crack going.)

After that pit stop, we drove right into the center of town to our hotel, a beauty of an old building called the Marcus Whitman.  The lobby has high soaring ceilings and it is decorated beautifully.  It is a little on the dark side, so I wasn’t able to get a good photo of it, but I love that old style glamor.  We had a great room, a suite with both a king and queen bed in separate rooms, so the boys were able to sleep and so were we.  That first night we were treated to an incredible meal at the restaurant in the hotel called the Marc.

(Warm cookies available in the lobby along with juice and coffee.)

In all the eating out I have done in my life (a lot), I had never done a chef’s table before.  I really had no idea what to expect.  How many people would be there?  Would the food be served family style?  What does chef’s table mean exactly?  In our case, we had a table smack dab in the middle of the kitchen, just the two of us, and two completely separate five course tasting menus.  The chef made my all vegetarian and he treated Randy to scallops, pork, and beef – all things he loves.  Between the amuse bouche and the angel food cake dessert and including all the food in between, we were both blown away by the quality of the food and the experience.  The sommelier paired wines with each course and took the time to really tell us about each wine and why he paired it.  We left vowing to bring friends back for another round of amazing food and wine perhaps in the fall.

The next day was a full one.  After a delicious breakfast at the hotel (which is included in the cost – as is parking), we headed over to the beautiful Whitman College campus to take a look around.

(Waterbrook Winery.  They have a lovely deck where they served us a great taco lunch.)

There was a big bike race going on, so we got to watch them zoom by on our way.  We went to two beautiful wineries, Waterbrook and Dunham, and also went to visit a farm where they make goat cheese and got to taste all the goodies in all three places.

(Monteillet Fromagerie.  We got to taste six different cheeses and they were all delicious.)

The landscape in Walla Walla is absolutely stunning in a way that is so different from Seattle.  The Cascade mountains separate western Washington from eastern Washington and they effectively split the state into two different climates and landscapes.  West is wet, green, very hilly, and mild.  East is dry, brown, flat, and more extreme in temperature.  Walla Walla in the spring is incredibly beautiful.  Impossibly green crops against impossibly blue sky and beautiful weather.  We all really enjoyed driving along their country roads.

But for being smack dab in the middle of nowhere, Walla Walla is an impressively cosmopolitan town.  Part of that has to do with the college being there and part of it has to do with the approximately 140 wineries in the region.  Some of the best wine in the country is being made there and where there is good wine, there is good food and culture.  We had another really nice dinner the second night at T Maccarone’s.  The “T” is for Tom and he is the owner and head chef of the restaurant.  He also waited on us that night and made us feel very welcome in his bustling restaurant.  (It was prom night – that made for some great people watching.)

The next day, we hit two more wineries, Va Piano and Pepperbridge, before grabbing a quick lunch and getting back on the road to Seattle.  As we left, the boys said, “Bye bye Walla Walla!  We will miss you!”  It really was a great little trip and the boys are still talking about Walla Walla and how much they liked it.  I wondered why, what it was specifically that they liked so much.  According to them, ages 7 and 5, they liked Walla Walla because of the hotel and they liked the hotel because of the beds and the “delicious breakfast”.  Clearly, they are my children.

(Full disclosure:  The Walla Walla Wine Alliance paid for our hotel, dinners, and wine tasting at Waterbrook, Dunham, and Va Piano.  Also the goat cheese tasting.  All the opinions and enthusiasm are my own.)



A Slice of My Life – Week 19

May 6, 2012

This was kind of a crazy week.  My husband got laid off and we found out that Spencer, who will be starting kindergarten in the fall, got waitlisted at Graham’s school.  But some good things happened too.

Not this though.  50 degrees in May is not good.

I got my new passport.  I’m going to need it come June.

This is what the liquor store near my house looks like.  Empty.  Soon, grocery stores will be able to carry booze and the state stores are going out of business.  (I’m often at the liquor store to get $10 banquet licenses for events.  Really.)

I got the chance to go to Monterey for a couple of days to learn more about Dole and their salad line.  Did you know it is National Salad Month?  Look at all that gorgeous lettuce!

One of the lovely things we did on our trip was have a gorgeous 4 course lunch at La Bicyclette in Carmel.  This was the bread plate.  Stunning and delicious bread.

We also got to go on the 17-mile drive, probably one of the most picturesque stretches of road in the country.  This is the Lone Cypress – the iconic 250 year old tree.

Randy, the boys, and I took in a soccer game on Saturday – a first for the boys.

At the game.  I didn’t think it was possible to take a bad picture of Spencer but apparently I was wrong.

A little overnight trip to Bainbridge Island means a ferry ride.  And if you are Graham, a ferry ride means a soft pretzel with lots of bright yellow mustard to dip it in.

Our friend Tom giving Graham a mighty push on their awesome swing.

I had to work an event on Sunday morning at 9am and my ferry choices were 7:05am or 8:45am.  So, I was up early.  I love how light it is at this time of year.  I also love the sleeping ferries.

 



Last Day of Work Dinner

May 5, 2012

About a year and a half ago, Randy started a new job.  He had spent 6½ years at Microsoft – a company known for their innovation, excellent benefits, fair pay, exciting opportunities, and grueling schedules.  Randy had a great career there but the work/life balance was out of whack.  When he had the opportunity to join a start-up, working with two close friends, he jumped.  (I wrote more about the job and the decision to take it here.)

Almost immediately, our lives changed for the better.  In the Microsoft days, Randy would leave before 6am and return home around 7:30pm.  He did this to avoid sitting in traffic which is epic on the 520 bridge – the span that connects Seattle to Redmond where the Microsoft headquarters are.  He was pretty good about not working on the weekends or in the evenings, but the job was ever-present.  Like the big elephant in the room that everyone tries to ignore.  He traveled nearly constantly toward the end of his time there.  When he was home, he was exhausted from time zone changes and the stress.  It was not a life that was sustainable for our family.  Fortunately he understood that and together we decided it was time to make a change.

The start-up was 2.1 miles from our house.  It had a more relaxed atmosphere – more work/life balance.  Randy is a self-described “type triple A” personality, so it’s not like he slacked off, but I truly felt like he put family first.  He was home around 6 every night and was able to help with drop-offs and pick-ups which allowed me to create my career and take the job as culinary director at Book Larder.

There were several scenarios for how the job at the start-up would play out and we talked about them from time to time.  Maybe the company would get bought.  Maybe he would get recruited for another job at another company.  Maybe the three friends would get hired as a power team to build something new.  I’m not sure that either of us thought that the company would just implode.  But sadly, that is what happened.

Fortunately, we had some warning.  A couple of months ago, we found out that, unless someone bought the company, the leadership team would be laid off at the end of May.  Randy was incredibly busy looking for a job, networking, taking recruiting calls, while simultaneously helping get the company get acquired and also just doing his day job.  And then, the last ditch effort didn’t work.  His last day was Tuesday.  The company is still there and there are a few people still working on business but Randy is officially unemployed.  We both feel sad about this for many reasons.  He poured a lot into that company both in sweat equity and money.  There are friends who no longer have jobs.  He is a little unmoored being without a job for the first time since he was 18 years old.  Our life and our future is very uncertain right now.

We are extremely lucky in that we have just about 100% certainty that he will get a great job.  He has been interviewing like crazy and has about 10 opportunities that are possible at the moment.  We have enough money stashed away that we don’t have to worry about this little interim period until the next job starts.  He is trying to enjoy having a bit of time and being able to focus on just talking to people and finding the right job.

Almost everyday for the past few weeks I have gotten calls from him about opportunities.  “Would you move to Boise?”  “Would you move to San Francisco?”  “LA?”  “Denver?”  “New Jersey?”  “Luxembourg?”  “South Korea?”  My answers to those questions are complicated.  I don’t want to move.  I want to stay in Seattle.  I want to continue to teach my classes at home and work cool events at Book Larder and stay near my incredible network of friends and my family.  After working so hard to find the right school for Graham, I don’t want to have to start that whole process again.  At the same time, I appreciate that the right job might not be in Seattle.  Randy is a fairly senior guy and those jobs are not a dime a dozen.  He is an amazing man – so smart, so successful, so hardworking.  He should be running a company – if not now then soon.  I can’t hold him back from the next step just because I don’t want to move.  He is respectful of my feelings and is trying hard to keep us here.  But neither of us knows what is next.

(Pardon the intense color on this photo.)

I went on a great blogging trip this week to Monetery with Dole to learn more about their salad greens.  I thought I was leaving on Tuesday but when when I went to print out my boarding pass on Monday night, I realized that the trip was actually Wednesday – Friday.  I was relieved.  I would be able to be home on Tuesday night and have dinner with Randy after his last day of work.  An emotional day for us both.  In order to keep the mood light, I asked him what he wanted me to make for dinner.  Of course he said Mexican.

I taught a class at Book Larder last month using some recipes from some of Rick Bayless’ books.  I love his recipes and decided to do a riff on one for Randy’s Last Day of Work Dinner.  I wasn’t sure what he would think – Randy is kind of a burrito/enchilada/quesadilla guy.  I wasn’t sure this “other” type of dish would fly.  I hate to say it was like a Mexican lasagne because that does a disservice to both Mexican food and lasagne.  But you make a sauce (a salsa really), you layer tortillas with yummy things like sautéed mushrooms and chard and beans cheese, and you bake it.  We loved it.  Like really loved it.  I’m glad that, along with a bottle of special wine and a big salad, we were able to toast the end of this chapter, and begin thinking about the next.

One Year Ago:  Roasted Sesame and Panko Coated Asparagus with Soy-Ginger Drizzle
Two Years Ago:  Chocolate Truffles, Gianduja Gelato
Three Years Ago:  Rhubarb Streusel Tart, Bean Tostadas with Sofrito, Niçoise Salad

Layered Pasilla-Tortilla Casserole with Black Beans, Mushrooms, and Chard
Adapted from Mexican Kitchen
Serves 4-6

I made a lot of changes to this recipe, added in some things, swapped out others, changed the size of the baking dish, but this is still a Rick Bayless recipe.  I used canned beans here because I was short on time but ideally, dried would be best.  This recipe has a lot of components but they come together quickly.  You can always make the sauce the day before.  I would imagine, like lasagne, the whole thing can be assembled earlier in the day and just kept in the refrigerator until you want to bake it.  Add another 5-10 minutes to the baking time if you do so.

For Pasilla Sauce:
½ head of garlic, broken apart but not peeled
6 medium (about 2 ounces) dried pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. ground cumin
Olive oil
1 cup vegetable broth
Kosher or sea salt

For the mushroom layer:
2 medium portabello mushrooms, black gills scraped out, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ bunch of chard, leaves stripped off the stalks, roughly chopped

For the casserole:
1 small white onion, diced
2 cups cooked black beans (I used 1 15-ounce can, drained)
8 corn tortillas
½ cup sour cream or crème fraîche thinned with a little cream or milk
6 ounces cotija cheese

Make the sauce:
Roast the unpeeled garlic on an ungreased griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until soft (they will blacken in spots), about 15 minutes; cool and peel.  While the garlic is roasting, toast the chiles on another side of the griddle or skillet.  Do 1 or 2 at a time:  open them first and press down firmly on the hot surface with a spatula; in a few seconds, when they crackle, even send up a wisp of smoke, flip them and press down to toast the other side.  In a small bowl, cover the chiles with hot water and let rehydrate 30 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure even soaking.  In a food processor or blender, combine the chiles, garlic, oregano, cumin, and about 1/3 cup of the soaking liquid.  Blend to a smooth purée, scraping down and stirring frequently.  (If necessary, add a little more broth to get the blades moving.)

With a rubber spatula, working the pasilla paste through a medium-mesh strainer into a bowl.  Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a medium saucepan, then add the paste and a pinch of salt.  Cook, stirring constantly, until dark and very thick, about 4 minutes.  Stir in the broth and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.  Taste and season with salt.  Keep warm over very low heat.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Make the  beans:
Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and a large pinch of salt.  Cook until brown in spots, about 10 minutes, then add the beans.  Using a potato masher or the back of a large spoon, mash to a coarse purée.  Add water or bean broth to thin the beans, if necessary, to an easily spreadable, but not runny, consistency.  Taste and season with salt.  Cover and keep warm.

Make the mushroom filling:
Heat another tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms and a large pinch of salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms start to give off their liquid.  Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add the chard leaves and sauté until the chard is nice and soft and the pan is mostly dry, about 10 minutes.  Taste for salt and season as needed.

Assemble the casserole:
Spread about 1/3 of the sauce in the bottom of an 8×12-inch baking dish.  Put down a layer of tortillas, just barely overlapping.  Top with the beans, another layer of tortilla halves, another 1/3 of the sauce, half the cream, and half the cheese.  Top with the mushroom mixture.  Add a final layer with the remaining tortilla halves, remaining sauce, cream, and cheese.  Bake, uncovered, until bubbly, about 20 minutes.  Let stand for a few minutes to firm up, then cut into squares.

 



South Africa Part Two: Zulu Nyala

May 1, 2012

Do you ever realize that you have been carrying around an opinion about something without ever realizing you even have one?  Maybe, for instance, hearing that an acquaintance was going on a safari and wondering, without ever really formulating the thought, “Why would someone go all that way, spend all that money, go somewhere that hot, just to see some animals?”  Traveling to sub-saharan Africa, going on safari, was never on my bucket list.  If not for my husband, I would probably have gotten old(er) and gray(er) without ever visiting that continent.  As it happens, I found myself on a nine hour plane flight, and then holing up for a five hour layover, and then on another twelve hour flight which leaves a lot of, um, time to think about these things – I realized that that was my opinion about going on safari.  Why go?

This is why.  This and more.  There is something about going so far away, just about as far as you can possibly go, that changes you.  I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I didn’t even really miss my children.  Them and our life in Seattle seemed so impossibly far away that I almost felt like, when thinking about them, I was viewing my twin sister’s life.  (I don’t have a twin sister.)  Getting away from everything, living a life so different from the everyday, in a landscape and surroundings that are almost impossibly different from the familiar, is an experience whose value I would never have known.

And the animals.  Each time we came upon them, no matter who they were, I gasped.  And got goose bumps.  It’s not like going to the zoo.  There is nothing like coming around a corner and watch out! there is a rhino.  And her baby.  In all their prehistoric glory.

(I got these amazing shots of the hippos on our first full day.  Every other time we saw them, they were hidden in the water – eyes and tops of snouts visible only.  I feel lucky that we saw them in their full glory.  Our guide quizzed us on our first day – what is the animal that kills the most humans in Africa?  You might think lions or leopards but technically it is the mosquito (malaria).  Second place goes to the hippo.  They are violent vegetarians.  They might kill you but they won’t eat you.  Later in the trip, we went on a boat ride and got to hold a hippo tooth – it was incredibly heavy.)

Our situation was kind of unique.  Because we bought this trip at an auction, we did virtually no planning.  Our package included six nights at a private game park with all meals and two game drives per day included.  Because it was all set, we didn’t look into other options – we didn’t investigate what else is out there in the world of African safari.  In a way, that was liberating.  We just showed up and had the experience rather than trying to choose the best possible option for our time and money.  We both had very modest expectations of what our experience would be but we did assume certain things.  I thought we would be in a small global village.  That we would be a couple of maybe a handful of Americans surrounded by people from all over the world.  In fact, except for one French couple who bore the distinction of not talking to anyone and eating truly incredible quantities of (very bad) food, everyone at our park was American.  Not only American, but Americans who had bought the trip at an auction, just like us.  (And, we were dismayed to overhear, many had paid a good deal less than we did.)

Our little Zulu Nyala, a 3,000 acre game park about 3 hours north of Durban, had found its marketing niche in American non-profit auctions.  (The park is named after the nyala – pictured above – which roam all over the park.  They are related to impala and are one of the food sources for the big cats.  They are beautiful and graceful.)

So, no global village.  Fine.  The upside was that everyone spoke English and that there were several small world scenarios.  The downside was that, since the park catered to Americans, the food was terrible.  After eating divine food in Capetown, I subsisted on bad starch for the six days we were there.   Our very first night, when I passed by the meat carving station at the dinner buffet, the carver asked me if I wanted anything.  I told him I didn’t eat meat.  He told me they were expecting me and were making something special.  A few minutes later, out came a hubcap sized bowl of pasta, covered in several pounds of cheese and dotted with – wait for it – rounds of sausage.

And that is basically the only negative things I have to say.  Upon arrival, we were assigned to a guide – one who we stayed with our whole trip.  Rohan (pronounced Ro-wan) was a 21-year old South African with a slow delivery which belied his intelligence, his incredible depth of knowledge about the wildlife we saw, and his wicked sense of humor.  Fluent in four languages (English, Afrikaans, Zulu, and Swahili), Randy asked him, “What is your favorite language?”  He took a good twenty-second beat, enough time that I thought he had not heard over the roar of the diesel engine, then he finally answered, “Body language.”  Awesome.  (The photo above is Rohan with the remains of an impala after a cheetah kill.)

We asked a million questions, he gave a million answers.  He took out his camera and was shooting alongside us when we we witnessed the incredibly lovely and moving spectacle of the largest land mammals swimming – with grace and incredible good humor – at the watering hole.  His excitement mirrored ours.  (I had tears in my eyes when I took that last shot.  I had just read a book about elephants and how social and intelligent they are.  This is the baby elephant – actually a nine year old – reaching out to her mommy.)

And exciting it was.  Our first day, we couldn’t get enough of the impalas and zebras.  By day six, we asked him to just drive right by those creatures, now as ubiquitous as deer in North America.  I learned so much about animals that I didn’t realize I cared about at all.  I only felt afraid three times.  One, and this might surprise you, was because of this guy.

This is a buffalo.  They are considered one of the “Big 5″, meaning they are one of the hardest big game animals to kill.  Game hunters used to come to Africa hoping to kill the Big 5, now tourists just hope to see them.  (The others are leopard, lion, black rhino, and elephant.)  The buffalo is mean, huge, and really one has one small spot that a bullet will penetrate – just between his eyes.  We came upon a large group of them and they ignored us, like most of the animals in the park.  They see the truck as just a herd of something so they do not run and they do not charge.  We had been warned not to stand up in the truck, not to get out, and to keep our voices down.  Just to show why, Rohan got out of the truck, walked to the side of it, and pawed the ground with his foot.  All 20 or so buffalo stopped eating and looked right at us.  I stopped breathing.  They sniffed and went back to eating.  He pawed the ground again, they all stopped again and a few of them started walking closer to us.  Suddenly, I got very fearful.  I mean, the guide knows what he is doing, right?  But these are wild animals after all and just one of them could have turned over our truck without much effort.  This cutie pie scared me a little too.

Just a kitty cat, right?  A cheetah kitty cat.  Did you know they can run 60 miles an hour?  There were a pair of brothers in the road and three trucks were stopped near them.  Everyone was snapping photos and gabbing away and all the guides, tired of sitting, were outside the trucks.  Again, I had to wonder – do these guys know what they are doing for real?  Are we safe here?

Do I look nervous?  By the way, my hair was incredibly curly in Africa.

Being in a landscape so different from what I expected (green rolling hills lots of vegetation and trees – not flay dry savanna) did not make it any less awe inspiring.  The beauty was incredible.  Seeing the sun everyday and feeling the heat of that sun, after coming off winter in Seattle, was very life-affirming.  We are so busy at home, both Randy and me, balancing work and kids and family and friends and each other.  It felt very luxurious to have hours upon hours to just sit and read.  Our typical day started early with a 5:30am wake-up call for the 6am game drive.  After bouncing over the rocky roads for a couple of hours, we would head back to the lodge for breakfast.  After that, I would sit on our little terrace and begin the day’s marathon reading session.  Lunch was around noon, and then more reading and several dips in the pool.  At some point in the afternoon, we would set up in the lobby, the only place where we had internet access, and check in briefly back home.  The afternoon game drive set off around 4pm and we were back for dinner by 7pm.

(This is a warthog.  We were in the truck when I took this shot.  Later in the week, I was walking to the lobby area when I came face to face with one.  We were about six feet from one another.  We both froze.  We looked at each other in the eyes for a moment and then I moved to keep walking.  He lowered his head, gave me a low growl, and then turned around and took off.)

After a few days of this routine, we both started to feel a little antsy.  Yes, it is lovely to relax but we had flown so far and our little park, filled as it was with amazing animals, was starting to feel a little small.  Fortunately, Zulu Nyala counts on you feeling that way and has some wonderful optional diversions.  More on those next time.



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