2013 Fall and Winter in Africa

ICANN Durban
Airline View-Winter in Addis
Not much to say, I traveled in my favorite airline,Lufthansa via Addis, spent a lovely day with Mom and took the midnight flight to Nairobi. After few days left for Durban. My trip to Durban was short and measured. Just an ICANN meeting, that is all.  Beautiful place for sure, nothing like Cape town for me, although some swear it is better. For me Capetown is very cosmopolitan and international.
Getish and Lily- Love u!
Click, click, just got a shot of our employee
bus on the highway for one of our business
-Rainy season !

Once at JNB, there was a sense of relief that I was close to my destination, which was to go back to Addis and spend some more time in Addis.

I love Addis, have good friends, love meditating in our Penthouse at the BET and spending time talking with Mom,we spontaneously go to lunch, out for coffee or gym, or visit family friends, or I will be browsing the net or snuggle with a book.
Famous Bole Avenue
With my local friends, I like going to Hilton, Sheraton, Ramada, and  the Intercontinental hotel where I do lunches and drinks catching up with my diaspora friends.

I also like going to the art shows and house gatherings.  Night is not my favorite,  unless  I must make an appearance somewhere.  I want to go home after 6 pm I have no idea why.  Not the nite owl I used to be, also the roads are also under construction and is not so comfortable to move around, although safe.  Although the famous Bole Road coming off the airport somehow has been enlarged so much seem like Fifth Ave NY.
AU Visit w/ Amb
AU Building

One of my trips I got to visit the AU and so got to see the new building and wow was it fabulous. I gave two thumbs up for our late  PM Meles Zenawi.  This was a historic land mark and a very impressive one.

FM Visit w/ Amb
FM Visit w/ Amb

And of course I like to keep in touch with my government for good governance;)

Then bk to Nairobi, my second home, where I spend much of my time working and entertaining visiting friends.
I am a member at an excellent health Club that comes with Personal Trainers and many classes, where I continue to keep fit and maintain a life style.
I then did a stint in the neighboring countries like Rwanda for some meetings, a Heads of State meeting, pretty chaotic, stayed in same  hotel like many of them - Serena Hotel, I would not stay in any lesser one  Watching the national security drama,  I swore I will never come to a Head of State meeting again unless I am one;).  The ADD is I suffered I tell you not  was painful. You can read our PR here.  After few more round-trips to Addis for business, then Zurich Switzerland and back to Cali.

This whole  2 flrs went down
Having fun@ WestGate Mall
2 weeks prior tragedy
Most highlight of my stay, also my low point in Kenya was the tragedy of the West Gate mall, a mall I frequent during the weekends, as well as when I have visitors.  In  fact a 2 weeks before the attack by said terrorists, I had taken a friend from US to celebrate his birthday at the most popular Art Cafe.  It was Gods will , that we missed to be the victims.  My heart goes out to each and everyone who were victimized.  The terror come all the way to our lives daily and our homes.  I could not sleep for days in my place.
Daily breakfast with Mom w/ skyview of city
from our penthouse - Treasured moments

I flew to Addis  to find my refuge where of course the country is known for its highest security in such regards and safety.  I took calm with my Mom and family there and mourned the people of Kenya.  
Of course spending time with  my Sister's kids who visit on weekends and her children is therapeutic.  Her kids are to die for beautiful, so I love messing around with them.

On the good side of course, Karen where I stay is supposedly the safest neighborhood.
Mo keeps my Modeling Pics;)
The restaurants upped their securities I recall except Karen Blixen  who seem to live by the "faith of God", as they keep telling me. The Manager Fred, my very good friend I insisted that he closes his gates, to up his security.  But people seem to live by the faith of God and we all learn to do that at some-point, particularly in Africa, so I stopped complaining;).

Salmon at Hemmingways
The Wine Collection
Hemmingway  is another story, built by the British with land belonging to Moi, the past President of Kenya, the owners spent over 50 mill to build it and the security was amazing, it was like the medieval palaces, they did not joke.  One cannot even go without reservation and identity known to the hotel.
The fountain!
Private Cigar dining
 I am the usual personality , as my Swiss friend in Addis says that I live by exception, but not really true,  I realize it was my connection with people that made that happen.
Hemmingway loved me as much as I loved it.  I spent  a lot of time when I was in town and bring in guests a well.

View from Top Bar
The Ora and elegance is what I had wanted in small town of Karen and I felt at home with it.  The writing on the wall is enough to mesmerize one to want to sit and have a dining experience gazing at the famous quotes from the like of Karen herself and others, more of a poetry I must say.  I frequented the restaurants and enjoyed the most elegant spa.  The entire place was built for the one who wants to get away from people and it gave one a sense of meditation and a spirit that was so open and tranquil.

The Poetry;)

As a new restaurant, I always gave my candid feedback to the Chef and the waiters or to the hotel on how things can be improved and  I note it was well received,  and I find that everyone gets accustomed to my expectations and we became good friends with the staff, who they will always welcome me by my first name and a treatment of a Princess is rendered to me.  People I take there often get delightfully excited to be in my company, but I can say that everywhere in Karen BTW.   Now you know what I call Karen home!

It is home away from home,  I love spending time in Karen in Kenya and I love calling it a second home. Look at the adventured even as I drive home,  where do u see beautiful white ducks simply running your way on the street.
I am writing a book on Africa, so do not want to reveal all the mystery of this wonderful place and the adventures I have  been having, simply on this blog. So I will stop.

I had to be here in Cali for xmas for sure, so I am writing my blog.  It is where I feel happiness during this time of year, of course in Walnut Creek,  the most charming town I have ever lived in, globally I must say.

I did a stint to Buenos Aires, Argentina for 10 days before coming home for xmas and I will cover that trip in my next blog.

Pat and Kate, Barry's Sister and her hubby (pic left) were visiting SF after a great vacation in Mexico and hopping around the world, which they do all year round it seem,  and came over to WC to see me and we had a blast!


2013: Summer in the US - Lovely Lovely Lovely

Ok coming back to the USA is always a fresh of breath air experience and living in Walnut Creek is no less than a holly-wood experience all in one town.                    Everything I need is there that someone has to propose something extraordinary to get me out of this "i can do everything here, so what is your problem?" attitude.    So my arrival after flying around the world trip for the 7th time, is marked by my usual pampering of self;) include massages, manicures etc..before I get swamped with work.  
The Parisian pose. lol
Checking my list of invites send me first to a Beethoven Orchestra, the Summer Cocktails and wine tasting, which is always fun playing dress up, but put me to a relaxing sleep, need I remember my taste has changed since my last trip to Vienna Austria or I have been affected by my Zumba classes in my daily routine of exercise, but I seem to have lost my calm.. Interesting.

W/ Mom
Ecstasy !
My Mom came to visit, and was also my B-Day and so we had grand times!  My Mom loves the US.  She comes at least 2-3 times a year and enjoys every bit of it and us.
Z fashion earring)
As expected, she spends much time at the stores!  You go Mom!

The next day we also spent the day in Walnut Creek, same thing, shopping restaurant-ING, get her hair done and doing padi mani, and simply being silly around Mom.

Another day, we did some shopping in SF and drove off to the Tiburon  Peninsula in Marin County, a quaint place by the Bay, past the city next
My Sis w/ Mom
OMG, this shot is simply
Hallmark Moment
to Sausalito, to have lunch just between the three girls only.

We simply were having a glorious time.
In Tiburon w/Mom

That was the summer before I had to fly out again in mid July off 2 Durban South Africa for work.  Will chat later...

Another Around-the-Globe Trip and Back home to Cali - Picture Highlights

With Ambassador Bobby of Jamaica
 in Kenya

my shoes captured by a
 friend's camera & sent to me
Wow, very late posting.  Busy Spring days in Cali.  The New Year of 2013 has passed and many months after.  I left the US in Early Feb and just got some minutes to reflect and log the major highlights of what I have done in the past few months.  As my work and personal life is intertwined, it is not always easy to separate my accomplishments  however it certainly was a long journey of 3 continents, Africa, Middle East, China, and a few days in New York before setting foot in my home in Walnut Creek, Ca.

With Irine et el @ local nightclub, Nairobi
Kenya has been my second home and where my current Africa work is based, and so where many friends I have made.  I arrived a day before Valentine holiday, did not even know Valentine day was celebrated in Kenya and this well. As much as it is a western tradition, I happen to simply go out for dinner in my local restaurant Karen Blixen, and boy was surprised with the table decor and special menu selection all labeled with lovers name.  Yes it was Valentine!  Flowers for each guest and it went on and on and believe it or not the restaurant was full.  We did not have reservation, but good customership has its privileges  we got seated with no problem.

One has to love the vast fashion Manikins in Addis

The rest of my stay for the few weeks was following up with work and going out with friends. A local night club with great dance and lounge was opened by some Kenya Airways pilot in Karen city where I stay, so we visited and danced most Thru/Fri there.  It was safe, good crowed and most of all close to our homes.
My usual visit to my President
in Ethiopia, with Pres, Girma

View from our Family Penthouse 
Kuriftu Resort out of town
Then off to Addis to attend conferences and spend the most treasured time with Mom and family.  Our family Penthouse with space as large as one can accommodate a bicycle ride from one corner to another is a place of serenity. The view from top allows one to enjoy the beauty of the country, a mix of the city view and the mountains.  Breakfast on the veranda will always take one's breath away.
shoe candy I hardly can walk in 

Capturing the historic election of
 Kenya on TV
After I got my Visa for Beijing in Addis, off I went to Kenya to change bags, spend a week there and start my travel to the most mysterious destination I have never been.

Witnessing the historic election in Kenya was worth my time.

China with its over 1b population, I was so anxious to go.  I was going of course for the ICANN meeting, it is work, however these meetings at ICANN always intersect between tourism and work.
Amazing architectures in beijing
Showing off our names written in Chinese
I certainly was set on climbing "The Great Wall" of China when GAC was conspiring to block my application and nothing would stop me from making history, either way it was history making, ".africa Objection" or g "The Great Wall"; which was cool with me.

Yes, a medal of prove of my 
climbing The Great Wall of China!
Climbing The Great Wall of China,
fashionably too;)
Nothing I can't handle I said to myself.
English is not so commonly spoken, so I had to hire an English speaking guide along with my private driver to go around including all my tours.  I did some shopping.

Ouch! my fall was painful for days
Oh BTW, I stumbled a fell like a little school girl as I was crossing a street from convention center to hotel, which was close bye.  Not fun, my face was saved but was a hard fall on my hands and knees. Hotel where I stayed JD Marriott took great care of me on a daily basis, so I was happy.  My shoes was torn and the Front desk manager even went out to town the next day to get me a super glue to fix the shoes? Wow, that is some graceful service. I was a little sad I could not take a dip in the gorgeously decorated spa and Olympic swimming pool at hotel.
Yes my Party Outfit w/ my
Chinese name 'sophia' Fan!
Need I forgot to tell I went to the Gala dinner, which one can can say is the government affiliate host organized, Fantastic experience. It was another history making done at the People's Hall by the Tienanmen square. You then feel like am in Communist CHINA?  Nothing around Beijing makes you feel like it is a communist country.extraordinary high rises, nearly every western hotel has Presence there, there are hardly any old cars on the roars, the international brand name shops have people lined up on the outside.  All in last 10 years?  Now this is what you call development of a nation.  I has an amazing and extraordinary experience.

@ Yale University
 Next in front of me was a flight that was dreadfully long, 20 Hours to New York and then another 2 hrs car drive to Connecticut to speak at Yale University the next day.  All went well, student chaperone picked me up from airport, they put me up in a nice guest suite on campus, so it was lovely to see the students through my window everyday walk by, reminded me of my own campus days.  Yale is a lovely place, very much looks like Oxford in London but spread out.
W Ethiopian Students I met at Yale

The starbucks across was full of students, and after my presentation the next day, I spend time walking about in the city, stopped over for a great meal for lunch and a dinner treat from one of the organizing Student, who refuse for me to pay.  A great group of student leaders who are trying to solve the issues of Africa and get involved. They should be applauded for their initiatives.  The flight back to  California was uneventful, arrived at evening, took the usual shuttle service home and refused to leave my place to go anywhere that would exert me energy including my Gym.  I only got out of my place to take two massages that week, and pampered with fixing my manic/pedicures and a movie and catching up with comfort sleep.   This was the summary of my trip ya all.  Cheers til next time.  Enjoy pics that say a 1000 words!