Mongolian Friends

Here are our wonderful interpreters –  Tseegil and Mogy – on this “All Girl” Training Team. And below are two Mongolian friends who came to Washington for training, Ariumbolor and Ulzi (the Wonder Woman of Mongolia!) with the other trainers, Melody and Theresa at our celebratory trip to the Grand Khaan Irish Pub!



Mongolian Horse Hair Fiddle Performance

100_1525 As part of our work here in Mongolia, we were treated to a performance of traditional Mongolian music at the Chinggis Khaan Airport yesterday. Here are some pix. We’re off to “the countryside” to the north today, so I don’t know if I’ll have access to the internet and thought I should post before I go!

100_1526   100_1527

100_1528 Great shoes! By the way, Theresa – one of the training team members – took these pix. We have to find her some of these shoes!

Amazing Tomato Essence Soup

One of the best benefits of traveling is that you sometimes get to eat in amazing restaurants that have food you’d never encounter otherwise. Here at the Arcotel in Vienna, I ordered a soup for dinner the other night, called “Essence of Tomato Soup”, that was said to have “Clear Tomato Noodles”. I was encouraged that this would be a good experience because I had ordered the pumpkin soup on a prior night at this restaurant and was delighted at the experience. As for the name of the soup and its ingredients, I assumed this was another case of imperfect translation from one language to another, or as has happened so many times, my simple misunderstanding.

100_1459But, no! This soup was nothing like my favorite tomato soup from a can. There was no question on tasting it that it is tomato soup. But it was not red, it barely had any color at all. And when I started to sip it, I thought that it was just a broth. Until I chanced upon a Clear Noodle.

Ok, when was the last time you were so struck by your tomato soup that you asked if you could take its picture? You can see the noodles propped up by the spoon. But the rest of them – yes, there were more! were virtually invisible in the soup.

Am I the only one who thinks this is funny?

Flush_ButtonOn prior trips to Europe, I had seen an engineering innovation in which toilets had two flush buttons, one for “liquid waste” and one for “solid waste”. I’ve started to see these toilets in the US now too. It seems like a perfectly reasonable way to conserve water. But here in the Arcotel in Vienna, the clean, modern engineering has a humorous element. It took me a little while to figure out, but once I did, I can only chuckle at the engineer who had fun coming up with this flush button.

View from the Arcotel in Vienna

I have gotten some really amazing hotels in my travels, and some that were not so great. After a string of the not-so-great, I started a practice of taking a picture – or in really memorable cases, pictures – from the  window of my room wherever I’m staying. One of my favorites turned out to be a picture of the non-descript roof of the building next door. The reason it was my favorite though, was because it was the first time my favorite travel person, Tracy, managed to get me booked into the Ritz Carlton at Pentagon City. The roof was of one of my favorite places – Pentagon City Mall. I was in heaven!

100_1461Well, so much for history – here is the picture from the Arcotel. It’s a gray day, damp and foggy. Appropriate for November. But this hotel is situated in a nice little corner. There is a playground across the street and an easy walking path to get to the Vienna International Center where we have our meetings.

Erin likes the free breakfast especially because it has so many nummy breakfast foods – not a trivial consideration for a veggie as she is! Now if only the hotel had better internet connection, I would be perfectly content!

Obama Babies!

delila_cropped_webI had forgotten that the circle of Obama supporters in the Tri-Cities had more than one Obama baby! Here is Delila in her Obama onesie. It’s clear from the picture, not only is she adorable, she’s brilliant, poltically savvy – and she has great fashion sense, and a DRY sense of humor! Sorry – a little diaper humor there… 



A Good Time Was Had by All! (Except Me!)

Here are two pix from the local election watch party of some of the fine folks who have volunteered and done so much in support of Obama. On the left are Chuck, Sharon, Ann and Gail. On the right is Gail with two of her favorite men, her husband, Ed, and The President Elect!!!


My daughter Phoebe was somewhere in the crowd, I’m glad to know the family was represented at the festivities! I would have loved to have been there partying with the rest of them, but alas! am stuck in Vienna!

These people sponsored movie nights (Iron Jawed Angels), a food drive for Obama (“Yes We Can!” Canned Food Drive), made thousands of buttons (Thanks Gail!), sold shirts and lawn signs, wrote post cards to encourage people in battleground states, and of course, helped with voter registration, neighborhood canvassing, and get out the vote. 

It has been a great experience – not only did we see the election of the candidate we support, we all have friends we wouldn’t have known otherwise. Our new friends include Elbert an 80-something black man who has seen so much in his life and has now seen the election of a black man for President.  And Arturo, who helped Gail make buttons and turned in a remarkable number of voter registration forms. Arturo introduced us to his children whom he brought to Obama campaign meetings – and some of us are looking forward to meeting the newest baby that was born just a few days before the election. We have it on good authority that the newest little girl is an Obama fan – it says so one her onesie!

It’s Lonely Here in Vienna on Election Night

I am so grateful to be able to contribute to work that brings me to Vienna periodically. But tonight, I must admit, I’d be happier to be home at the local election watch party. To be able to share the anxiety with others who have worked the last two years trying to bring new leadership to the country. At 12:30 am Vienna time, only some of the polls in Indiana and Kentucky have closed and are reporting. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to stay awake to see the final outcome. It doesn’t help any to have gotten panic emails and IMs from the Obama camp saying, “It’s close! We need you to call!”

Ok, so where I’d really like to be is in Chicago. They estimate there may be as many as 1,000,000 people gathering there for a celebration with Barack Obama after the election. For the good of the country, I sure hope those million people are celebrating with President–Elect Obama!

Arg. How will I make it until someone calls the election?!?!