Archive | July, 2019

5. Harar, Ethiopia

31 Jul

[Yes, I’ve written these in whatever order that has suited me best.  Yes, I’ve skipped the 4th blog post about DONKEY.  It’s coming.  In the meantime, here is post 5 (of 6)]

Our next stop in Ethiopia was Dire Dawa. We landed in Addis Ababa, didn’t leave the airport, AND CELEBRATED THE APPROVAL OF OUR E-VISA TO TO DJIBOUTI by eating bourbon cream cookies.  They were not good.  BUT we were incredibly excited that in just a couple of days, we’d be heading TO DJIBOUTI (!!) and a flurry of booking ensued.



To Dire Dawa we go!


But first thing’s first: We had to survive (…and enjoy ourselves) in Dire Dawa. We headed The African Village (check out the rating here), where Patrick and I forged marriage documents so that we could stay in the same room (fan included).  After settling in, we went to dinner at an Indian restaurant with a pool, which we described as “dank.”  I’ll spare you the photos.

Luckily, the pool wasn’t indicative of the food.  We enjoyed our butter chicken & co. (which cost us double what we had paid for our room).

On the street, I saw people using sign language and couldn’t help but try to engage. However, when I’m signing, I can only pay attention to signing — and loose track of my surroundings.  So I didn’t chat for too long because it fell on Patrick to do all of the safe keeping.

BUT I will say, after talking to those deaf people, I realized that I had SO MANY MORE QUESTIONS. Like…DO THEY SPEAK AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE IN ETHIOPIA?!  Why could I understand them?! And, more importantly, I had forgotten to ask, “Where can we get ice cream??” Over the next couple of days, staring out the bus window, I pretended I saw those people again and practiced what I would sign. 

Anyway, that evening we continued wandering around the city but by dusk, things were getting uncomfortable, and locals began fending off kids and scary guys. We were grateful because the locals came to our aid (almost before we needed them to) — but it was clear that we needed to head back to our hotel.  

We called it a night and watched Queer Eye to fall asleep and were awoken the next morning by a caged bird.  For (free) breakfast we had  fuul + an egg — Great combination — Although the honey for the tea was not very sweet and very viscous.

With enough fuul for the day (hehe, get it?), we headed out to conquer some more public transportation (but not in a colonialist sort of way).  We headed to the (wrong) bus station which was tragic because the station in Dire Dawa was Jamaicain-style aggressive — people gathering, yelling, ‘ductors fighting over you and trying to grab your bag. It was then that I decided that I should wear a head scarf. Even though lots of women had their heads uncovered, I realized that I blended in more when I wore one because you couldn’t see what type of hair I had, so it wasn’t as immediately obvious that I was a foreigner. Eventually, we got to the right bus station which would take us to conservative, Muslim city called Harar, with over 80+ mosques.



Let me repeat: 80+ mosques


On the bus memories:  We were overcharged but only by 35 cents (total). When we got overcharged, half of the locals on the bus started speaking up, not letting the ‘ductor get away with taking advantage of us. Thank you very-thiopia much.  A fluffy lady came and sat next to Patrick, which changed our situation for the worse– there was no cross seat– but she sat anyway.

During the ride, people kept trying to touch us from the windows, but the locals on the bus came through YET AGAIN, and protected us. During this very stimulating ride, we learned what khat (pronounced ‘chat’) was — a green plant that makes people feel like they’re on speed. Ethi-dope-ia.

Once in Harar, Patrick and I solidified our holy matrimony by buying rings in shops with no people…but then people came in. We purchased rings by the gram.  To make it more convincing, Patrick rubbed his ring on the wall to get it scuffed up. Five years of marriage, amiright?

After the wedding ceremony, we arrived at our guest house:


Colorful courtyards


Later, at our homestay, Patrick told me to tell the French guy staying at our hostel that I was a dancer.  

Me: I’m a dancer.
French Guy: Yeah, I can tell.
Patrick: WHAT!?
*cue me glaring at Patrick for almost giving me away.
Patrick: …I mean, what do you mean you can tell?
Me [telepathically]: Nice save.
French Guy: I run a dance school.
Me [telepathically]: s***
French Guy: What kind of dance do you do?
Me: …Modern.


Welp.  On that note we went for a walk around Harar.  While we strolled, children– whose children, I never know — ran all around us begging. Money seems to be the universal word everyone knows.

We saw (lots of) people with sticks on their backs, animals, garbage heaps overflowing from the dumpsters, wheelbarrows, tuk tuks, and vehicles moving in all directions through the cobblestone. 

To be honest, Harar was a complete assault on our senses. It was extra noisy, and we felt like we had to be aware of everyone and everything around us. People were yelling “faranji” from every side, and “at any given point, in any direction, something could happen that would be completely unwelcome”.  I couldn’t take pictures for so many reasons, pretty much all of the reasons, actually. 

On the flip side, the atmosphere was incredibly interesting with the sea of colors, adorable goats, people on top of vehicles, and tuk tuks overflowing. Even though it was overstimulating, it really put us in the moment– we couldn’t think about anything else except what was going on in that very instant. We had to process the experience later because it was impossible to do in real time. 

So, the atmosphere in Harar was INTENSE, but most tangible when we removed ourselves to go into somewhere quiet.  Luckily, we found a hotel (that we promised we’d go back to if we got sick) to take a breather before we headed out again to find another spot for lunch.  A place where we could wash our hands. But here’s the catch: it was stagnant water (strike one). It had been sitting out and developed a grimy film (strike two). The soap was disgusting (strike 3). But we probably would’ve struck out even harder if we didn’t washed our hands.   So, we did it anyway and hoped for the best. 

With clean(ish) hands, we ordered everything we wanted — including 3 meals (2 pastas and half a roast chicken), 2 cokes, a huge bottled water, and coffee that came with popcorn. The whole thing was $13. #WinnerWinnerHalfRoastChickenDinner.


But, nothing was that delicious.  Or hot, like, to the touch.  We took guesses on whether our rice was spoiled — and made a list of reasons why we should be scared for our stomachs.

But, alas, I’m writing this from the future AND WE WERE FINE, GREAT NEWS!!!!!!!  


As we finished lunch, we headed out to brave the streets yet again.  We were met with more of crazy khat eyes, begging from every direction — even from grated slots (what horror movies are made of) — and just general overall chaos. We checked out the street food — dirty fruits and veg laid out on tarps with garbage all around. Plus flies and dirty hands.  The bananas were just okay — the selling point was that they had skin, but even so, everything had a layer of grime or “perfume,” as the taxi driver in Addis liked to call it.

We needed another break.  We stopped in a second floor cafe where we also waited for the guide we’d hired through our guide book. And while waiting…. WE MET A DEAF PERSON NAMED ABDUL!! I must have manifested him from all the practice signing I had been doing. I unleashed ALL my sign language on him and was thrilled because AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE IS THE SAME AS ETHIOPIAN SIGN LANGUAGE.  It was truly a revelation!  A local we could talk to and communicate with in THE SAME LANGUAGE?!  How ideal!!  Plus I was in a place where I didn’t have to focus on anything else except signing! 

This cafe also had a public restroom…that was through a construction site.  Patrick stood guard while I held my nose and went for it.  It wasn’t the first time I’d found myself day dreaming about how nice our gas station bathrooms are in the United States. Being in Ethiopia kept us not only really present, but also really grateful.



When our guide, Hailu, arrived, he introduced himself and spoke PERFECT ENGLISH. Which was amazing because it was someone we could both talk to.  We liked him right away.  Also– quick promotion, here’s his email in case you ever find yourself in Harar ( Seriously.  Hailu was so amazing that we ended up hiring him for three days in a row. 

That night, we were supposed to go and feed wild hyenas, but it ended up being the hardest rain Harar had seen in three years. “Watch. The lights will go out in a minute.” – Hailu.  And then BOOM, the lights went out, right on cue! (And, in the privacy of darkness, your girl put even more sugar in her tea). This guy clearly knew what was up.  We were impressed.  Hailu asked us if we’d ever seen a river flood.  We hadn’t so he invited us to be flood chasers (an unofficial class of storm chaser). And all 3 of us went to the river, where “a wet person doesn’t care about the rain” – Amheric.

Patrick and I felt alive!

Later that night, back at Anisa’s guest house, Patrick and I, with our host family, all watched some Turkish TV and then retired to our room where we prepared for the next day, which included meeting Hailu for a thorough tour — including the many tastes — of Harar.  

At this point, Harar had been hard.  But Hailu changed everything!



In fair Harar where we lay our scene.


The next morning, the three of us walked through the walled city and down the winding cobblestone roads that jutted out. Occasionally we came across water that smelled atrocious. To offset the terrible smell, however, there were a bunch of crazy colored buildings, which were beautiful or cool (depending on which one of us you asked). Walking down the street, lots of people called us Faranji (foreigners), and eventually we learned the word for ‘local’ (Habesha), so we started using it right back.  A small joke but… a joke’s a joke. And I’ll take all the laughter I can get!

While walking we speculated that maybe the posture of women in Africa is better because as they grow up they carry water (and all sorts of things) on their heads.



Khat me while you can


Everyone watched us going down the street.  There were people quarreling, guys arguing, vehicles overflowing with humans and animals, lots of dirty water, uneven steps, and men sitting on the side of the road drinking beer. There was a cacophany around us 100% of the time.


In a single stroll through the city, we experienced weeks’ worth of living.



Foodies beware



As you walk forward, there were multiple assaults on your senses.


A working school room.

Per usual in Ethiopia, there were also coffee stands everywhere. Yum!

Different kind of fuel



Having Hailu around really gave us the confidence to both take pictures (thank you, Hailu!) and to try the street food, since he knew the ins and outs, the language, the city, the people, the flavors, and he gave us all the tips.   Truly,  he gave us our street food mojo back. Which, up to this point, we had’t fully recovered from.  See blog post: When Sammi got sick.


Yes, we ate that.



And it was delicious!


*above, taking a picture of street food on the street. So meta.


Eventually, we found ourselves in a world of khat — the men we already were cautious about were now just essentially chewing speed.  They were hyperactive and very intense!  Conversely, when you take too much khat that it ruins your life (it is an addictive drug), it makes you lifeless.  The homeless people we encountered were “sleeping” on the uncomfortable pavement with flies all over their faces, bare feet, and dirty legs.  Not moving.  We wondered how long it would take anyone to notice if they were actually dead.  It was uncomfortable and also ironic that the bitter, leafy drug which makes you SO HYPED UP can also make you into a living corpse, the longer you use it.  It’s an epidemic in Harar.

Below: The largest khat market in the world. Word on the street was that 10.5 million bier pass through their per day.



Everyday is market day.


I can not reiterate enough how much more confident having Hailu nearby made both of us feel.   We were able to see, do, taste, and learn so much more.



This is what khat looks like. It’s a leaf that you chew.




As we made our way through Hrar we sampled all of the tastes. Including samosas (multiple kinds like potato and lentil), smokey french bread straight from the oven, and soursop. But we couldn’t help but notice that Ethiopia does not do dessert well. Even with Hailu, there was NO ice cream and the treats were not very good.  We sound so spoiled as I read it now.  At the time though, we had a hankering for something sweet.  We were in Ethiopia for 3 weeks, after all.  One time, we had a solid lead to head to a place called the Ice Cream Mermaid, but just like mermaids in real life, it was non-existent.  They had run out of ice cream days (or was it weeks) ago with no plans on getting any again soon.


Domino? More like DominYES.


Of course, the lack of ice cream was just a challenge.  Something to look for as we moved about our days, which, by the way, had been AMAZING!  I needed Patrick’s portable phone charger because I’d been able to take so many pictures that I drained my battery.  What a delight!


Happily overwhelmed, the faranji,


PS: Hailu gave me a bunch of recommendations (which I’m just gunna leave on here): Deadly Water the book, a honey bird documentary, the movie Face to Face with Hyenas, and the Planet Earth episode also about hyenas because, spoiler alert, the next and final installment-thiopia is about, you guessed it, hyenas.  

Three-thiopia: Ethiopia Round 3

26 Jul

Here we go! Patrick and I were on the road again, this time heading to Aksum. The way there was so gorgeous, even the driver wanted to get out and snap some shots.



Did you know Ethiopia was so green-thiopia?


IMG_1011 2

THE most beautiful scene


On our way to Aksum, we stopped for fuel (aka food) and got some Fuul aka an incredible baked bean dish.



More than an eye fuul


During breakfast, I bought a religious sticker for my notebook (for one bier aka two cents) — and then we were back on the road.  Hey, why don’t you come along for the ride:









Later, we stopped for another memorable meal comprised of 8, 12, or 10 things. Patrick couldn’t remember exactly — but it was definitely an even number.



Or, is this THE most beautiful scene?!


That night, when choosing a place to stay, apparently, we double-downgraded. At first, the eco-lodge was closed.  Rainy season.  Not my fault.  Then, we had a nice room for 500 bier with our own beds, a brand new toilet, and internet. But then, as Patrick puts it, I “ran to him like lassie” to tell him about a cheaper place.  In my defense, we saved 200 bier  – that’s 200 stickers – and everything was fine, albeit dirty.  

With the 200 bier we saved, we bought ourselves a bottle of wine called “Gouder.” So even though our room was dirtier, the outcome was gooder. #worthit

Overall, our hotel in Aksum ranked 46 on the rating system that Patrick and I created for the places we stayed. What’s that you say?  WHAT RATING SYSTEM?!  Oh.  Here’s a link. The Hotel-thiopia blog.

The next day, we started by going to another hotel to have Boona (coffee in Ahmeric), because that’s what you do in a country that’s obsessed with coffee. And not in the way that the USA is obsessed with their coffee. In Ethiopia, you don’t have coffee without a ceremony which includes burning incense to please the spirits during the ritual.  It’s incredible! And tasty.





Let the ceremony of the grounds commence!


While Patrick and I contemplated ordering a grande coffee with a side of ceremony at Starbucks, and serving coffee with popcorn at the next furries event, we sipped on the best coffee I’ve ever had in my entire life.  And it wasn’t necessarily the taste– it was the FEELING. I got the best body high where I was alert, but calm and patient while still vibrantly aware. Felt like drugs… but I guess caffeine is a drug.  It was a great start of an extraordinary day.

Patrick and I walked around feeling SUPER stimulated — even without the coffee it’s almost impossible to not feel this way in Ethiopia. We bought natural toothbrushes on the side of the road, and Patrick got his shoes cleaned before our next stop: a castle.



The height of luxury.



Natural toothbrush: Say Ahhhhfrica.


From the guidebook, we read that when this castle was occupied they had long tables and wiped their hands on bread instead of napkins (brilliant), and they fed each other balls of meat from a (very) recently alive cow. They chewed loudly, which meant they were enjoying the meal, and made lots of noise while they were eating.  Inside, Patrick and I did dramatic reenactments.



MYTH: Africans only lived in mud huts. 1790.


After the castle, we visited another cool rock church sans the treacherous climb. Some of the churches had a separate entrance for men and women.



Church rocks


Patrick and I enjoyed the church art, particularly what was on the ceiling. And, with the snoring priest in the background, we sort of tripped out over the repetitive angel faces..



can’t look away.



Meditating on what’s above


Later that night, we mixed our piety with a dose of debauchery (#balance) and headed to an illegal shisha place. It was on the 4th floor of a random building, which was actually pretty dangerous because we would have no bargaining power if we were caught by the police.

The establishment was like someone’s nasty living room, and Patrick came back from the bathroom saying it was the most disgusting toilet he’d ever seen. We met a guy who worked at a Citgo in the USA, and had a obligatory drink while PRAYING that the ice wouldn’t make us sick… and then got the heck out of there.

We walked around figuring out our plans. I (as if I hadn’t risked it all with the ice cubes in our drink) contemplated getting a hard boiled egg at a stand on the side of the street but decided against it. Our night wasn’t over, yet… We headed to an underground nightclub in Gondor called The Platinum Lounge. Kuba sarcastically wondered if he’d be able to get in with his sneakers.

Travel can be all about putting yourself in a situation you wouldn’t normally be in, and so even though the club hit me with a wall of B.O. as soon as we walked inside, the group decided to stay and break out our shoulder moves. The African guys wanted to dance with all the men in our group.  Definitely a not normal (for me) situation.



The next day was public transportation day. How do you turn 25 minutes into an hour? A bus. How do you make Ethiopia time? Add 6 hours.

We discussed how there should be a word for being immobile on a bus– for being trapped and helpless but resigned and settled in. A girl tried to steal my watch out of the bus window, good thing it was attached to me.

The scariest thing that happened was the fight which broke out between the guy behind Patrick and the conductor. There was a lot of yelling; we weren’t completely sure what was happening, but the men were FURIOUS about the police taking their IDs. A woman tried to calm them down while the ‘ductor made the van stop and ran outside to grab a giant rock as big as his hand. Everyone tried to hold him back. And then there was us, sandwiched in between it all, with the yelling in a language we didn’t understand, the B.O… it escalated quickly.

Eventually, the bus continued on its way… we never really found out what had happened. Nevertheless, we arrived in Bahir Dar truly grateful to be alive. We chose to stay in one of the nicer hotels that night. (Check out this one’s rating in Hotel-thiopia).

The next morning, we decided to go for a boat ride to a peninsula despite it still being the rainy season.



Yup, still rainy season.


But the ride was amazing. It was near the mouth of the Blue Nile mouth where we saw hippos in the wild and fed some pelicans.  






Pelicans be hungry.


On dry land, we walked through lush, muddy forests to get to church. Inside, if a church had a blue body painted on the wall, it meant that the person depicted was a sinner (not a saint).



Feeling hut hut hut





Note from video above: Nature sounds and people chanting



Natural paintings of archangels on goatskins.



Then, we drank wild coffee (ceremony included) plus ate some delicious home-cooked shiro. 



There’s popcorn in that pot.


We saw, clearly, a family and the progression of a young child’s role: from eating the popcorn, to making the popcorn, to making the coffee, and finally to overseeing the whole process. 

Back to the mainland for dinner.  We ordered fish that came wrapped in tinfoil, lit on fire. Patrick was in heaven.



Fish flambe


That night, we went out to see some more traditional dancing. It was all VERY interesting.   Hardly anyone used a phone to videotape the dance, there was no clapping after any of the performances, and beer bottles just accumulated on everyone’s tables because culturally, I guess you’re just supposed to leave them.

As you can hear in the videos, the music they danced to was repetitive.
As you can see in the videos, the dancing was MUCH more about the upper body than the lower body. The shoulders are the star.  It’s more jerky than smooth, more spastic than controlled. Fascinating and cool.





Some final observations:
A routine was performed on stage for about 20 minutes, and then the dancers joined the audience one at a time — where they were more likely to dance with men than women.


We wondered:
When in the United States can you just go up against a professional dancer?

Completely in love with our days,

Ethiopia: Round 2

23 Jul

We’d had a fantastic night in Ethiopia, and the next morning, we had a teensy headache but filled with excitement we were ready to make more mind-blowing puns. We headed to the airport for our trip to Mekele and had some pizza which wasn’t cooked all the way through… and that, my friends, might’ve been my demise. (More on this later,)

We took a casual flight on Ethiopian airways – they didn’t ask to see our IDs once.  Not.a.once. Have you ever been to an airport and then onto a plane where they didn’t check your ID??






We’re here-thiopia


We landed in Mekele and went out to eat. Every time you travel to a different place, some kind of fruit or vegetable is in season, fresh, and cheap. In this case it was prickly pears and we had our first one of the season. SO delicious. (Perhaps this was the start of my demise?)  They keep track of how to charge you (4 for 10 bier) by counting the skins. If we were using USD, they cost pennies to eat.

We had some orange fanta straight from the glass bottle because the actual drinking glasses are served wet here. (Unrelated, all sodas in Africa are served in glass bottles). It’s considered good form to show tourists that the cups have been recently washed. Ironically, that just means there’s still water on it, which is extra dangerous for us. But it’s the thought that counts, right?  (It might have been the glass bottle that led to my sickness…)


While we wandered, we signed up to go to the Danakil Depression, also known as THE HOTTEST PLACE ON EARTH (cue dramatic flames and hardcore metal music). *It’s also supposed to be one of the most beautiful and interesting.


When we checked into our hotel, I started to feel sick. Really sick. Awful sick. 


As J. Maarten Troost reminds us: “Good luck seeks no antecedent, but bad luck demands an inquest.” And so detective Sam was on the case. Who was the culprit? Was it the uncooked pizza dough? The glasses we’d drank from? The mysterious muck on the side of the fanta bottle? The communal spice (which had been sitting out for god knows how long) I’d poured on my rice? The knife used to cut the side-of-the-road prickly pears??

But sometimes, my friends, you don’t get closure. Sometimes, you just have to spend the entire night throwing up and moaning loudly over a toilet bowl. I was VERY uncomfortable, to say the least.  MISERABLE, the kind of sick where you bargain with god.

Overall, I’d made 6 trips to the toilet that night for some unadulterated, good old fashioned retching. It wasn’t great.  Patrick was forced to stay awake too. There was no way he could sleep with me in audible misery.  

The next day, you can imagine, I was still sick.  Patrick was fine though! Yay! We spent the entire day in the hotel (I really had no choice) and discussed what we were going to do with me.  The next day it was our big trip– the Danakil Depression– which we’d come all this way to see. But I couldn’t go. The HOTTEST PLACE ON EARTH?! (cue dramatic flames and hardcore metal music).  I couldn’t do it. My body was still suffering through sweats, I could not imagine trying to survive in rugged Africa. I told Patrick to go on without me because I was out of the “might-actually-die” phase.  We could both see that I was on the mend and it was totally fine to leave me on my own.


Supplementary / concurrent pictures.

Patrick went to see this:



Stock image. But this is what Patrick saw.


While I enjoyed my view (a la Handmaid’s Tale):



What a nice chair.


While Patrick was gone, I didn’t leave the hotel for 3 full days. What I had started out loving, soon became a prison.  On the 4th day, though, I ventured out for some french fries. And learned the only cool fact I’d heard in three days: Ethiopia uses different time. They’re on a 12-hour clock, so school starts at 2, even though it’s 8am our time. So how many days in Ethiopia time was I really sick? Good math problem.

Patrick returned 3 days later, and I was feeling much better but also stir crazy. I hadn’t had human interaction for quite some time — even though I’d tried. But I didn’t speak Ahmeric and no one spoke English. But it was no matter– Patrick was BACK from the Depression to ease my depression. We went for a walk and discovered fresh avocado juice.
Our guidebook (and I’d had time to read it cover to cover) told us what to order and as soon as we took a sip, the angelic chorus descended from the sky. It was just what the doctor ordered after being so sick and in THE HOTTEST PLACE ON EARTH (cue dramatic flames and hardcore metal music), respectivly.


Avocado juice. Conclusively the best juice.


Patrick told me that during his trip, he’d met two Polish travelers and they’d invited us to travel with them the next day.  (Reminiscent of Kazakhstan and the Germans.)  Always up for an adventure, we agreed and decided to meet Tommy and Kuba at 6am for a jeep excursion out of town and beyond.



Toot toot, jeep jeep


We headed out bright and early to get our church fix (on the rocks).

It was AMAZING. We literally had to rock climb (as in scale literal rocks with harnesses and belays) to get to these churches.  Later when I had wifi and told Collin about the trip, he said:


Collin: Do people climb to church?

Me: Literally yes

Col: Wow. My church was 3 minutes from my house and I barely went.


In the beginning of our climb, our guide singled me out as not being a good climber.  He said, “Are you sure we’re not going to be too slow” …..whilst giving me the side eye. Ouch. 

When we made it to the top, Kuba took an epic drone selfie (my first!). It rocks.




[Entering a magic zone]


8c044d61-dcf5-4b82-9a5f-b480596b1508 2.jpg

Dedicated churchgoers


We spent all day hiking (7 hours), and visited 3 churches overall (some of which were 1600 years old).  We met priests and we’re given tours of old books and churches. It was an amazing mix of history, culture, and nature. We all agreed it was one of the top 10 best travel experiences that we have ever had.



“5 Stars!” – News Weekly
“Gotta be the best church I’ve ever been in” – Patrick
“If I were to make a church of my own, this would be it.” -God


In the end, I’d not only seen these beautiful churches, but I also received validation from the guide who had questioned my rock climbing ability. He’d told me I was a good trekker, and that made me feel redeemed. Seemed fitting to feel that right after church.



“Sammi’s an AWESOME trekker. Best I’ve ever seen.” – Guide on the tour


The experience with these rock churches was so pure.  It was both religious and spiritual.  There was less of an emphasis on reading and writing, in the art, the images were not depicted as white.  And it made me feel closer to the source.



No words to describe it..



Brb- hiking to church



Bunch of rock stars



Taking 3 points of contact to the next level: 4 points of contact.


The views from the tops of these churches were truly incredible and added to the majesty of the experience. 



At one church, we even met a 95-year-old priest who helped us to open wild prickly pears while we walked.  Food from the heavens. 

What wasn’t quite so majestic was the priests asking for money. It was hard to blame them, really, but our guide had already paid and they just wanted more. It was sort of off-putting but understandable, and we tried not to let that shade the experience.



Prickly pears, rugged views


During the hike, we also learned that people in Ethiopia drink holy water after fasting (every Wednesday and Friday) and before eating. How do you make water holy: Is it blessed in church, or do you just boil the hell out of it?


Seven hours later from when we began, we got back in the jeep and saw some wildlife! It was a group of Gilda baboons, and quite the meta experience because Patrick had just been watching a video of them in the car. 



We also saw some camel road kill, which was less exciting but still interesting and then saw another camel being used as a plow for the fields (versus the more traditional cow).  The scenes outside Ethiopia were so neat!

We stopped at a few roadside stands to get coffee-flavored things, since this country is OBSESSED with coffee. We bought various coffee cookies that we wanted to be good (they weren’t).  And noticed how lots of entrepreneurial people opened up coffee stands (sits).

As we drove to the town called Axum, where we’d be spending the night, I noted how, surprisingly, wasn’t tired. One minute later, Patrick asked if I was tired, and I clarified, “You mean since I said one minute ago I wasn’t?”  Sometimes you take too long to respond and sometimes you respond too quickly. Classic.

When we finally got to Axum, we were pretty impressed. It’s the oldest civilization in Africa and lined with huge grave tombstones. (“is this how we get modern gravestone shapes?”) There are also rumors that this is where the Ark of the Covenant is hidden — but Patrick has his doubts. They won’t let anyone see it!

We walked around a bit and saw some people selling street food– including hard boiled potatoes. Hard boiled potatoes had never been more tempting to me.  I couldn’t eat them still because my stomach was not at a full 100%, and I was trying to be gentle. I whispered to Patrick,” I’m desperate for that.” But it was off limits to us… for now.

God bless (but in a good way),

To Ethiopia we Ethi-go-pia

18 Jul

The day had come!  A hard trip!  It was time for me to embark on a 3-week adventure to Ethiopia (E-3week-opia, if you will — and you should if you’re gunna keep reading). The only hard facts I knew about Ethiopia were:

  1. It was the only African nation that wasn’t colonized by a European power.
  2. Its name lends itself to word play.
  3. And we needed to be prepared for kids to throw rocks at us.

Not a lot to go off of so you’d think I would have, at least, checked the weather.  But I didn’t.  As I boarded my international Qatar airlines flight…what was directly in front me captured my attention: The quality of this airline I’d never flown.

Attentive attendants? Great food? WONDERFUL MOVIES? By the end of my flight, it was clear that Qatar is a 10/10 airline. The only thing that I’m still not certain on is… how to pronounce Qatar. 

I landed 12 hours before Patrick in the Addis Ababa domestic terminal (not the international one, which caused some initial confusion).  I sorted myself out though, and headed to the very nice hotel (that I’d pre-booked) to get some sleep.



A place that calls to mind far away adventure!


The official language they speak in Ethiopia is Amheric.  Below is one of my favorite videos from this trip….Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You, in Amheric, filmed in the backseat of a moving vehicle on the streets of rural Ethiopia.  It was SO much fun hearing an English song in another language. Enjoy 🙂




View from the hotel, which belies how nice our hotel actually was.  Alternate caption: I should have brought a raincoat. There, I said it.


Once Patrick arrived, we went to the market and bought me an umbrella.



Speaking of Patrick…Here we are!


But I’m getting ahead of myself. A lot happened before my best friend, Patrick, arrived.  And by a lot…I mean I tried to get a Ghana visa at the Ghanian embassy. When I showed up, they told me I needed to show proof of my United States residency. You’d think a US passport would’ve been enough. You’d think.

 After they turned me away because it wasn’t enough proof (did they want a photo of the dream flat?), I ended up going to the American embassy to ask what else they thought I’d need. They recommended I show the Ghanian embassy my passport. After a quick facepalm, I abandoned my Ghana plans and decided to go to Togo (hehe). #naturalpun

So. Right. Now, back to me and Patrick 🙂 Walking around, we had fun noticing how reality met (or didn’t) our expectations. Thus far, I’d noticed a lack of harassment (compared to what I was expecting). It was there, but not as vulgar or persistent as I’d been bracing myself for. No rocks yet, either. It also didn’t stink as badly as I’d thought (except for in the markets. More on that after I show you my Ethio-utfit). 



Going for a “1” on the attractive scale.


The markets, while STIMULATING and interesting, were usually gross with uneven steps that added the possibility of stepping in sewer water. EWWW! There were limited fruits and veggies, lots of dried beans and dehydrated red peppers…and an odor. The kind of odor that one smells in almost every third world damp and musty market. The kind of odor that makes one think ‘Maybe it’s a good idea to avoid the meat.’ It was really overstimulating, at various points we wanted to sit so that we could remove one sense — moving. Overall though, it was enjoyable and the vendors were really nice.  Not as pushy as I thought they’d be.  One time, we overpaid for a skirt, and the woman gave us back the extra bill.

Other things we noticed:

  • Tuk tuk is a universal word (even if we don’t have it in the US)
  • In Ethiopia, the tuk tuks are more closed to protect from the rain, which was a pro (staying dry) and also a con (it trapped the heat).
  • The people were really friendly!
  • Patrick and I felt like celebrities with how many people were greeting us and checking us out in the streets.  
  • There weren’t as many stray dogs as we were expecting (although there were more in the west).
  • Even though this wasn’t something we witnessed, we learned that volleyball is their national sport. 
  • In Ethiopia, they say “yes” by breathing in like a gasp, and it’s a cool sound.

An unfortunate take away:

  • “By far, the dirtiest money that I have ever held”- Patrick
    It’s called bier and it is, essentially, cold hard trash.
    Just think of the dirtiest money that you have ever touched. Vietnamese dong?  ALL the money is worse than that. We had to check both sides to determine…money or garbage?   The kind of money you can’t tell “is it wet?” it’s so dirty.  

As we learned more and tailored our expectations with reality, we also learned some language. The first word we learned was “Amesegnalaw” (which means thank you — phonetically sounds like “ahmeh sar guh nar weh.” You’re welcome).

We used our new word HEAPS, especially when we headed out to eat at a traditional restaurant called Dashen where we exchanged our bier for beer and YUMMY food.  Like that giant shared platter we were supposed to eat with our hands. All I could think about was how I’d been touching the money (gross), and was pleased when waiters came around with at-the-table hand washing supplies. Amesegnalaw. 

The menu was enormous. We had to take a picture of it and then use Patrick’s phone to cross things off because there were SO. MANY.CHOICES.



Family Style-thiopia


We ranked each dish (of course), but our favorite was a cabbage dish that we never found again. Injira, we trust.

After dinner, there was a traditional after-dinner workout. We thought it was just a performance for the tourists, but boy were we wrong.  I’ve got two words (and two videos) for you: NECK DANCING




The next day, we visited the Ethiopia National Museum… and, not all national museums look as good as you think they would.  HOWEVER, this museum was were Lucy (discovered in 1974) and Selam resided.  It was really cool seeing the skeletons.



What’s left of Lucy.


After some bone browsing at the museum, we went to the Fendika cultural  center where we met the owner, Matteo.


Matteo is a dancer and raised himself on the streets. His story was incredible; we had an amazing time talking with him. 



 “What I love in life is when people take risks and go. That is life.” – Matteo


That night, we learned more Amharic words: “Bugzaire,” which is when you leave the table, and “Norrrn” (when you return). RIP Buen Provecho.

We also had quite the adventure.



Check to make sure the car looks like it’s in good condition before you get inside — Peace Corps


We heard music by a one-stringed cello, met a comedian (just seem to find ‘em no matter where I go), and hung out in the same vicinity as other foreigners who were visiting from Eritrea (first time meeting anyone from Eritrea!).  

Patrick and I felt safe and decided to accept beer whenever it was offered to us. We drank Habesha and, with Matteo, asked each other GQs — but soon upgraded to BQs (beautiful questions).

My best friend and I also spent the night coming up with (what we thought were) genius puns like: truethiopia, Ethijokia, uniquethiopia, clapthiopia. You get the idea-thiopia.

And we tried tibs for our first (and definitely not the last) time. Tibs is a cooked meat dish. Here, I took a picture of the rosemary tibs.


As you can see, it was a great start to the trip!



14 Jul

July was all about spending time with my best friend(s) especially Bel, my dream roommate, my soul-mate, who would be moving to Seattle (with the love of her life) while I was in Ethiopia.  It would be the end of an era.


BFFs ❤


We were going to make the absolute best of July, which was bound to be fun since Katie Barbaro had surprised us with her appearance– she had been traveling all over the world and (quite literally) just showed up at my doorstep one day

Before the furries, Katie, Col, and I took a road trip up to Findley Lake. On the ride, we were starving and looking for “more bananas, less republic.” So we stopped at Eat ‘N Park and, after we ate, took some muffins outside to throw against a wall for play.

We also met my parents and went to the National Comedy Center (!), but my mom and dad wanted to keep the cotton candy grapes company in the car, so it was just Col, Katie, and me for that one.



Jam seshing


That night, we had a mini concert upstairs and took a short boat ride to dinner. Dinner and a show! And a boat… dinner and a show/boat.





The next day, Patrick and his dad came up to the Lake for lunch 🙂


The gang’s all “hear”…feat. the furry ears I put on my phone


After lunch, we headed out on a longer boat ride. This was pre-Ethiopia.. PrE-thiopia, if you will, and you should, if you’re going to read those blog posts coming up.  Anyway, I gave some of my inside-thoughts about what I thought Ethiopia would be like “based on nothing.” Katie took notes. 

Patrick also brought me my birthday present (wrapped in the picture below…). It was AMAZING, but you’ll have to read the furry blog to find out what it is 😉 


A photo FULL of presents. And presence.


After the furries were over, it CLEARLY deserves a post of its own, the dreamflat — Katie, Bel, and I — played Pandemic 9 times in one day to unwind… And we finally won!!

We also made some amazing cookies with our new Kitchen Aid mixer. And, Katie preformed on a showcase at The Improv.



 Blue Apron dinners in July.


This month/always, I wanted to soak up all of the love from Col. So he and I spent days– yes, days…plural– in bed catching up on Handmaid’s Tale. We also drove back up to Findley Lake to meet my parents’ sweet outdoor kittens: Barley, Bean, and Olive.



Furry to furry connection


This month was also the Dutchtown Music Festival!  Literally right outside our front door. Obviously we had to check it out.  At one point, there was even a marching band in our favorite park; Bel and I ran outside to appreciate them.



Best seat in the house.


Because all of us were together — Katie was there for almost the entire month — The three of us bought matching/mismatching earrings and then tried to take Helen to get her ears pierced (not gauged) in the Southside. 

The day I left for Ethiopia was hard.  For breakfast, Collin made me a version of the dream flat meal with eggs 2 different ways ❤

And Bel, my darling Bel, had bought the cheapest plane ticket we could find so that she could accompany me through airport security – say hi to Emily and Laura – and so that we could spend every last possible second together.  She wasn’t really flying on a one-way ticket to Altoona.  Instead, she and I hung out in the newly revamped airport lounge where we shared a chair, champagne, hugs, and a whole bunch of tears.



I’m not crying, you’re crying. Well, actually, we’re both sobbing.


As we said our goodbyes and I got on the plane, I was thinking of Bel.  I tried to remember the positive parts to a life in transition; it forces you to try new thing and opens you up to new experiences (some that you didn’t even know you wanted). Sigh.  Not to mention, all the gratitude I was feeling for getting to live under one roof with my bestie, Bella, the laughs that we shared and the memories we made.  I had been SO lucky ❤

Life wisdom:   You can’t unburn a cookie.

To Bella,
with love,


Furries = Fun

7 Jul

“It’s dopening day! ”  – Bel
Our furry squad was reaching the height of dopeness!!

Helen, Patrick, Molly, a super surprise named Katie, Russ, Emily, Victoria, Collin, Laura.



This years furry bingo sheet.


We all put so much energy into the furries, bringing people around that we love and who help us shine. “I think the furries brings out the best.” – ‘mi
“The furries are our Burning Man” – KB

The group gathered with puns, hugs, and stories. Russ came in hot with a few gems. 1. How he met the “Bob Ross of furry erotic art” on his flight over, and 2. How when Russ was little he used to tell people his name was “Wuss” because he couldn’t pronounce his R’s.  Bonus: 3. Wuss wasn’t on my case at all. In fact, he was really nice to my case — my phone case.  He was always petting her and being super sweet. (see below for a remind-ear of what my phone case looked like.)



Clawsome new journal!



The gang’s all here… just not in this picture.  Note:  photobomb made by furry phone


Standing in the kitchen: Patrick told Katie he decided he wanted his own children when listening to her podcast.

Standing outside: Patrick asked Katie for a favor:
Patrick: Can you blow this bug off my arm?
Kate: Patrick… if you say jump, I’m on it

The festivities officially kicked off on Wednesday night when the whole gang – including Brittny, Ricky, and Katie Diamond – joined us for Italian dinner.  We had funny conversations and lots of Good Questions (GQ).  I let everyone know that the BYOB drinks were pre-offerized and Ricky, incredibly, opened a bottle of wine with a knife.  



Punorities:  When your priorities are pun based.
Stopping mid conversation to evesdrop on a pun.


Katie D. asked Katie how her jokes went in Iceland?
Katie: “They Icelanded.”  HA!

Conversation at dinner:  How much would you pay for a full human skeleton? I don’t want to separate the skull from the bones.

Russ, reporting back to us about a different conversation: They were talking about killing and cleaning a guinie pig.  “What!?  Go back and ask how that came up”.  – Bel




Good listeners AND good talkers


After dinner, Patrick and Katie walked the plank… and not the zucchini variety.

We headed back to the Dreamflat to make (the best ever) cookies. During the dessert session, Ricky noticed that we needed a mixer (AND has since sent us one– THANK YOU <3). Plus Brittny found the WONDERFUL birthday present that Patrick got me…



“Um, excuse me, this car is octopied…”





Octopus, octopi, octopuses…the sentiment is itentical..



Makin’ everyone laugh with ten tickles.



“In America, we love puss.” – Molly


Before we’d gotten together, the pack used this year’s Anthrocon’s official theme — Surf Pacific — to choose our names:

Sammi: Eel-ated

Helen: Clown Fish

Patrick: Friction Underwater

Victoria: Whale Wolf

Emily: Shrimp

Laura: Ink-redible

Katie: Whaley Swift

Standout name options that didn’t make the cut…:  New squid on da block, Oy(vey)ster, WAGuna beach, EleFUN in the sun, SHELL yeah!, So-fish-ticated , Crabsolutely, Ooo barracuda!, Ten-tickles, Swim trunks , Pupcific Rim , Sun of a beach, Prawn king and queen, Yeah, buoy!!, Pelican’t right now, You turn me Prawn , Sea horsin around, Sam the clam, What the duck…tolling retriever



Four-eared friends


Thursday morning we did yoga in the park with Cassie 🙂




After yoga, Furiction Underwater and Whaley Swift cooked breakfast, which we wolfed down like wild animals. It was delicious.


Please feed the animals.


Next up was the “Strange and Weird” sightseeing cruise that I had booked furr everyone! The furry one! The one that the furries were on!  The Gateway Clipper! You get it!
Except I must’ve had some a miscommunication with the computer because… we weren’t on the right cruise


You get what you pay for.



Pawsitivley patriotic on the fourth of July.


“Was the best part of that cruise when we passed the actual boat that the furries were on and waved!?” 

They said it was a strange cruise. They said it was going to be weird.  But in reality “it just lacked facts #factlack” – Clown Fish, our new tour guide



Can you believe we’re not on that??


We were like two ships passing each other in broad day light.


As we waited in line for the (disappointing) boat, someone came up to us and said, “Hey, furries! Look at this!” And pulled out real-fur sugar gliders. It was VERY cute and SUPER unexpected. “Furry surprise” CHECKED off the Bingo sheet.

That night, we watched spider monkey videos from Patrick, and did some prep for how people were going to react to The Octopus; Mostly actions and not words because “you’re a walktopus, not a talktopus.” – Molly




“Say 8!” – Brian Regan



4 ears, its just a fun insult for us.



Day 1: Eager beavers.



Day 2: Howlin’



Day 3: Fur-eaks


“Like, even the girls from my high school who still said huzzah probably wouldn’t come to the furries” – Shrimp 


Opening ceremonies set the stage (and was on a stage) for a whole weekend of fun.  


SonicFox with a microphone up his mouth.


This year, the charity was raising money for parrots who needed expensive surgeries. And we laughed until we cried while sharing (the best) cookies from last night. 

And later, we met Queenie:





We asked:
“Why are your eyes two different colors, Queenie?”
Answer: “It’s called heterochromia, and just between us, it’s the only thing that’s hetero about me, baby.”  Haha, got it.

The group also met Smoochy Boo, a mistletoe character who smelled wonderful.– Definitely deserving of a smooch.  And we met some safari hunters who were looking to see unusual animals interact with each other.  

Patrick had a fur-lebrity sighting (CHECK that off of the bingo sheet)! The mascot talk leader from last year…(see below)


Patrick had some follow up questions.


This year, I learned more about how suits were made.  It’s really cool!

Then Victoria, who felt like she wasn’t in America anymore (fair), went to Fursuiting 101, where she heard a golden nugget of wisdom: “You’re already a big, fluffy animal. Clearly you’re happy.”



Fluff on fluff.




Getting a little too chummy for my taste..


We took our food and lunch breaks on that familiar floor.  Mostly diving into the snack pack (a backpack full of snacks), which had all the treats we wanted.  Including grapes, which Patrick, Wuss, and I had picked up at Giant Eagle pre-convention…when Patrick, with his grocery cart, WAS DE PON A MISSION.
The group also relied on Grubhub for hot meals.  We had Thai food two days in a row which got better each day ’cause we knew what to order.  “Extra broccoli, please”

“This water bottle says Russ but it’s really Sammi’s.” – Sammi

While snackin’, we met Bizzy (with tennis balls) from last year. Luckily, he didn’t remember us.


Too Bizzy to mingle.




Lounging on the octo-pillow


We had read (in advance) about the talks and panel discussions, so we were ready to check them out when we got there. The first one was “Definitely Not a Fox Party,” which wasn’t a very strong use of reverse psychology.  We were onto them; it was a fox party.  We happily went, and there was a powerpoint but no presentation. Just a photo of an adorable baby fox that stayed up on screen for the entire duration of the talk.

The fox party was seemingly in the midst of filming a music video, and they played us the track. The head, red fox (also a redhead) asked us “Does it need more fox?” 

GQ, fox. GQ.

Katie: “I honestly think I’m becoming more fox right now.” How could you not be??

It was during this talk where we learned about the Telegram app.  And also where we decided we should add “…being chased by a fox” to every idiom. For example:

  • “Running around like a chicken with its head cut off….being chased by a fox” – Clown Fish
  • “We dodged that bullet…being chased by a fox..”  – Furiction Underwater


After the talk, we wandered around the convention. Some of the group ran into the founder and celebrity….Samuel Conway!!


A regular Dr. Doolittle


Others of us mingled.


Saw some fintastic new furries.


And as we wandered, we wondered, “Where can we go be casual next?” 


Best friends no matter what animal we inhabit.


We found our way to the dealers room, where we could be casual and purchase a couple of cool backpacks. And Molly, who took a redeye from LA on Friday, took her own much-needed cat nap.


Nobody puts kitty in a corner.


We saw some epic dance competitions.  I would not discourage you from watching this video:


Sometimes, at this event, fursuiters would wave their fursuit head on their arms, as lighters, to show their support.


Daily, we took a picture with as much of the crew as we could gather.



You know what’s ironic?  The bigger the ears, the harder to hear.


We went to the Rodent talk, a favo-rat every year.  This time, the beaver was a heckler.  When the Moderator Matthias asked: “Who here resonates with being the little guy that wins!?”  The beaver replied, “Beavers aren’t that small.”

The rodents discussed being the misfits. They’ve always had a negative connotation because they caused the plague. “C’mon. All we did was cause the death of ⅔ of the human population…” – Furiction Underwater

During this talk, Wuss raised his hand to ask how he’d know if he was a squirrel?

  • You have a big, fluffy tail.
  • And, here’s a question: Do you delay your food gratification?

Followed by: “Since we’re discussing squirrels”….a random guy who wanted to transition topics.

As Matthias finished up the talk Patrick whispered, “Does anyone have Matthias’ number so we can call him and see if he picks up in the middle of discussion?” Lots of GQ’s.

Later, we went to a hoofer talk, where everyone had to introduce themselves but Collin and Wuss bowed out gracefully.  And then, a huge, spontaneous blow up party grew up around us.  Some sentences only make sense at the furries.



Horsin’ around.


Whaley Swift, talking to a small horse:  “Do you like to get ridden?”


Now watch me whip, now watch me neigh neigh



An elephant with an octopus head.  Being walked by her dalmation mole.


Furiction Underwater and I decided to sign up for (and win) a furry escape room!  There were eight spots available which was how Octopus, Party of 8, got her official team name.  Even the orchestrators of the Escape Room were impressed with our strategies.   They said we worked well together, were clearly the fastest, and afterwords, they wanted to be our friends.  Party of 8, and growing 🙂



Octopus, Party of 8


Afterward, on the way to Railfur’s talk, I met Babaru.   A friendship that, at first, went swimmingly.


This seems fishy.


Babru and I took many pictures together, and I thought we had fun.  But Babru didn’t remember me later.  “That’s because she has the memory of a goldfish” – Wuss.

Babaru shut me down hard.  It was almost cruel. We were both underwater animals. I had thought we had had something. I was devastated.  Am I laughing so hard or am I just crying?  I said, in a retelling of the story.  “Delete the pictures. Delete them all.”


Luckily, the fact that it was almost parade time distracted me.  Patrick and I went into a room we had never gotten to go into before!  He was my handler and we seemlessly blended in with all the other fursuiters who had gathered in the Hall A. It was an experience neither of us will ever forget (unlike Babaru who WE HAVE ALREADY FORGOTTEN ABOUT).

Before we headed off, Molly reminded me to “remember your moves”




Pre the first OFFICIAL furry photo.


Patrick’s perspective:




Can you spot my orange head? (Hint: middle, all the way to the left)


And thus, the parade began…


#1 fans ❤





During the parade, Patrick, the not-pictured handler (handlers have a tough job) “Remember your moves!”


All fur-together again.





After the parade, there was (obviously) still fun to be had. Wuss realized he just might be a moose.


Antler alert.


And we went to the My Little Pony Talk.  Where Katie was having a very good ear day.

“I’ve never gotten so much ear attention!” — Katie
“How stelephant got her groove back.” – Molly


Prized pony.


At the talk, we won some prizes.  And Wuss looked up the lyrics and sang the theme song ❤ Perhaps that will be his next karaoke breakout??

This year, we also learned how important badges are because they represent what ‘you’ look like before you can afford get a costume. Or, as you’re figuring it out.   Party of 8 was commissioned, looking very mischievous, and currently hanging on my fridge. Katie drew this badge for Helen:





Should Katie set up a booth in the Dealers Room next year??

At one point, we saw 3 blind mice and wondered…Is the guy in front the leader of the Blind Talk?  (a real event that we went to.)  During that talk, we heard “If you’re going to be blind, “also be fat ’cause if you crash into someone, it’s better for you than it is for them.”

Molly asked a GQ:  “What are the perks of being blind?” #blindperks

  • In airports, you only need minutes to get through security.
  • No car insurance.
  • No electric bill. 



On Saturday night, to close out the convention, there was a rave (of course). In fact, it was THE best rave ever and DJ Ultra Pup made an appereince.  


To quote my boyfriend in what might be one of my favorite videos ever… “It’s lit.” 




Outside the rave cave!



Inside the rave cave!



Who’s ready to octopartyyy?



Passing around the tentacles


Everyone took a turn wearing The Octopus 🙂





Col, Patrick, and Wuss making my heart burst with LOVE



My heart repairing itself so it can BURST WITH LOVE one more time.


Molly was all over it.  We needed her; She made Helen’s hair match her own, she scoured the building until she found some long straws that I desperately wanted.
“I feel so safe here.” – Molly

Saturday night is the best.
And Sunday’s are great, too.  After closing ceremonies, the team, what was left of us, had a heart to heart at Proper Brick Oven before heading back to the Dreamflat to watch a one-woman show of the full-length award winning musical, Pockets, sung by our darling Molly.


Plug:  If you wanna check it out, Pockets will be preformed LIVE in New York City in December 2019.  I will be there for sure!


Furry weekend, I couldn’t have been happier.  Everyone I love, having fun, with an insane  backdrop.  In 2019, we were prepared for Anthrocon.  Deeply prepared. Thank you to EVERYONE for bringing it.  In fact, next year, might we be up for a new challenge?? …

Furry week in Atlanta is supposed to be an absolute party…
May 7th – 11th 2020
The theme sounds amazing:  The Enchanted Forest

I did some research:  A hotel would cost $40 a night per person (depending on how many people come). Plus registation (which is the same as Anthrocon). And flights are bound to be reasonable…

Then there’s the Boston one, which is also supposed to be good.
February 20th -23rd  2020
Theme: The Roaring 20’s



Back to our natural habitat.


Anyway, an octopus can fant-fur-size.


An excerpt from a text I sent during Anthrocon:
“I don’t want to type out what a good time we are having ….but you can assume it’s fantastic” — Eel-ated.