Monthly Archives: January 2013

NewsFlash: Bo Obama Receives Visiting Dognitaries From Furuguay, Fails to Mention East Arfrican Dognitary

In world news today, there are stories circulating about the Furuguayan dognitaries who recently visited with First Dog Bo Obama.  Here is the story in its entirety:

Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 7.45.31 PM

“WOOFINGTON, D.C.—Aiming to strengthen yiplomatic relations with the nation of Furuguay, Bo Obama welcomed a visiting doglegation from the overseas country to the White House Thursday for talks on a wide range of vital rufforms.

The historic meeting—the first time a sitting Furuguayan dognitary has visited Woofington since the Checkers Administration—began with a traditional photo op on the White House portico, in which the two leaders formally greeted one another by shaking paws. After brief prepared rebarks, Bo and the Furuguayan diplomutts reportedly retired to the South Lawn for a private discussion of minimum wag laws and a pending flea trade agreement.

“Bo and Cesar dug in right away and weren’t afraid to get their paws dirty on the tough issues,” said Bo’s press secretary, Chiclets, noting that the two sides spent hours sitting and speaking, and occasionally chasing squirrels. “Furuguay is a developing nation, and unfortunately much of its poor pupulation lives in abject slobberty. That’s why Bo has agreed to a comprehensive aid package that includes thousands of tons of heartworm medicine and emergency Ken-L Rations.”

“It should just be a formality shepherding the relief bill through both doghouses of Congress,” Chiclets added.

In addition to reaching an aid deal, the two leaders are said to have talked extensively about the ongoing situation in Arfghanistan, where Tailiban insurgents continue to commit heinous acts of terrierism and aggressively defend what they consider their territory. According to sources, Furuguayan officials pledged to deploy several hundred well-trained rovert ops soldiers along the Pugistan border to help multinational FIDO forces sniff out and put down the Muzzlem extremists.

Additionally, both sides vowed to tighten treat sanctions on the disobedient nation of North Corgia.

“Bo and Cesar believe we’ve been chasing our tails for far too long with North Corgia, and agree that it’s time to put our paw down on the matter,” Chiclets said. “We’ve tried waving a big stick in talks with the North Corgians, but they simply refuse to roll over. And we’ve also tried offering them a variety of rewards to bring them under the negotiating table, but to no avail. Listen, we’re not going to beg here.”

“They’re being bad,” Chiclets added. “Very, very bad.”

Following the busy day of negotiations and an exciting ride in the presidential motorcade, the Furuguayan representatives were treated to an extravagant state dinner that is said to have featured a variety of rawhide appetizers, a six-course meal of kibble, chow, and wet food, and a mouth-watering bone dessert, all served in gold-rimmed fine china bowls on the White House’s opulent East Room floor.

According to the guest list, over 300 of the biggest figures in Woofington pawlitics attended the gala event to celebrate the countries’ renewed ties and sniff each other’s anal glands. Among those spotted at the fete were the Barker of the House and Bo’s longtime best friend Barack Obama.

Though there was one instance when bilateral talks were disrupted by a ringing doorbell, handlers strongly praised the two dognitaries, unanimously hailing the visit and state dinner as a major achomplishment for both countries.

“Clawing out agreements is not easy, but I think we made major strides today,” said Chiclets. “We know Furuguay will always remain loyal.”

According to aides, Bo and Fetchury Secretary Marshmallow are slated to travel later this week to Poocharest, Romania for the K-9 summit, which will bring together doglegates from the nine wealthiest purebred nations to seek solutions to the ongoing global felinancial cat-astrophe.” — the Onion

The only thing wrong with this article is that it failed to mention the East Arfrican dognitary (Yours Truly) who was also in attendance.  But doesn’t Arfrica always get pushed out of the spotlight?  And if my word isn’t enough, here’s visual proof of our very important tête-à-tête.

Bo and I

Bo and I

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Reason #4 I’m becoming Tanzanian

I don’t go outside when it rains.

Nope, not gonna do it

Nope, not gonna do it

There, I said it.  I know I’m a dog and we’re supposed to enjoy frolicking outside no matter what, but I’ve got standards, and being wet and cold does not fall into those standards.  Yeah, so what if I’m supposed to poop outside.  You know what?  Why don’t you try pooping outside in the pouring rain and then tell me about it.  And even if you did do that, it still wouldn’t change my mind.  I simply won’t go outside when it’s raining, and neither do any Tanzanians.

I know I shouldn’t complain, especially since a month ago I was in the frigid arctic, but I hate rain in Africa.  It’s sort of the rainy season here in Mwanza, but what that means, I’m not exactly sure.  It hasn’t really rained since we arrived over 2 weeks ago, but last night and this morning made up for it all.

I was awoken out of a deep sleep by a frighteningly loud noise (especially since I was deep under the covers in mom’s bed).  It seemed that the sky opened up and dumped all the water in the whole world on us for the next 8 hours.  It was so loud I couldn’t even sleep, and I can sleep through anything!  There were also bright flashes of light, mom calls this lightning, which made me even more scared (which really isn’t saying much because I’m literally scared of everything).

Lightning!

Lightning!

So the rain fell and it fell.  And when the rain comes for that long it makes a big mess here in Mwanza.  You see, our roads are mostly dirt and so they get puddles and holes and sometimes even become rivers themselves.  Sometimes it’s so bad that it’s just not possible to get anywhere because everywhere you look is gushing water.

Roads become rivers

Roads become rivers

 

Normally this is a road...

Normally this is a road…

They have giant gutters on the side of the paved roads to try to help the rain/road situation (in fact, that’s how mom sprained her ankle on her birthday, by falling into one of the giant gutters).  But where we live, there’s no paved road and no gutter and so the rain just flows freely.

These gutters get totally full when it rains

These gutters get totally full when it rains

So here’s what happened this morning, we got up like usual and I was excited to go out and do my business, but the minute mom opened the door, my plans flew out the window and I ran straight back to bed.  Like I said, I DON’T poop in the rain.

Go out there? You crazy!

Go out there? You crazy!

Then mom, like she thinks I’m stupid or something, calls me in her best singsong voice.  But I’m no dummy, I know a trick when I hear one.  So I stayed put there on mom’s bed and didn’t come like the good dog that I am.  But darn it, my mom is persistent.  She came and picked me up and tried to make me go outside, but I struggled and cried and in the end I won (like ALWAYS).  

Nope, still don't want to go out there

Nope, still don’t want to go out there

Get it through your head mom, I DON’T POOP IN THE RAIN.  Look, even Twiga has something to say about it:

Brothers united, We're Not Going Outside!

Brothers united, We’re Not Going Outside!

Oh and in case you forgot, I’m Tanzanian now, and I don’t go out in the rain.

End. Of. Story.

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It’s My One-Year Blogging Anniversary

According to WordPress, I have been blogging for a whole year!  Last year at this time, when mom and Aunt Amanda convinced me to start a blog about a doggie’s adventures in Africa, I had no idea I’d still be here and still be blogging.  But, here I am, a year later, and I’m still at it.  Thanks to mom’s PhD advisor, I get to enjoy the warmth and the sun for 5 extra, bonus months!

Here’s an interesting fact that WordPress told me: 600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012.  My blog got about 6,400 views in 2012.  If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed my blog, it would have taken 11 years to get that many views.

Since mom has been sitting in front of her computer for the last 3 days doing what she calls “data analysis”, I figured I’d get into the data-spirit and share some more interesting blog facts with you all.

The busiest day of the year on my blog was August 9th.  I had 134 views of my blog that day and the most popular post on that day was Happy Nane Nane!

My top posts last year were:

1. Dog-Friendly Hotels in East Africa

2. Arusha to Mombasa

3. I met Madaraka Nyerere!

4. Konyagi Prom

5. Living in Tanzania: What It’s Really Like

I always wonder, other than Facebook, how do people find my blog?  Well here are the top search terms that led people to my blog:

1. Mwanza

2. Mishkaki

3. Madaraka Nyerere

4. Setavin Hotel Musoma

5. Sukuma People

One of the funnest things is to see where the viewers of my blog live.  Here’s a map so you can see:

This is where you're all from

This is where you’re all from

That’s 76 countries in all!  The top countries that viewed my blog were:

1. United States

2. Tanzania

3. United Kingdom

4. Canada

5. Germany

The post that got the most comments was Twiga.  Apparently ya’ll were just as excited as I was about my new kitty brother.

And last, but not least, here’s your top 5 favorite images that I uploaded last year (after all, my favorite part of blogging is sharing a little piece of Africa with you and the best way to do that is through photos!):

 

This is from my post Insanity!

This is from my post Insanity!

This is from the post Sunset in Africa

This is from my post Sunset in Africa

 

 

Thanks to all my viewers for making my blog worthwhile.  If I was able to help other doggies or dog-parents or even teach you something new about Africa, then I feel pretty darn great about the past year.  Here’s to more Tito travel adventures!

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Happy Maulid!

Today is a public holiday in Tanzania known as Maulid.  It’s a Muslim holiday that celebrates the birthday of the prophet Muhammad.  It also means that mom gets to work from home today and that’s what’s really exciting for me.  I think I’ll be doing a lot of this today:

Celebrating Maulid!

Celebrating Maulid!

You know what else is interesting about this holiday?  You don’t actually know what day it will occur on until the night before.  How fascinating!  So, mom had planned that Thursday would be the holiday because that’s what it said on the internet, but on Wednesday night at 7pm it was announced on the radio and TV that Maulid would actually occur on Friday because of the sighting of the moon.  What an interesting way to determine public holidays!  I mean, how can one plan a vacation or schedule appointments if one doesn’t know when the holiday will be until the night before?

Anyhow, it really doesn’t make a difference to me which day it is since I don’t have a formal job other than protecting mom, which I do every day and never, ever take a holiday from it.  So from a Tanzanian doggie to you, Happy Maulid!

More celebrating!

More celebrating!

 

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Charlotte, NC to Mwanza, TZ in 79 Hours

It’s been a week now since mom and I arrived back in Mwanza and it’s taken me that long to get over the stress and anxiety of our trip from, for lack of a better word, HELL.  And before I go any further, I’d just like to say that I seriously considered titling this post, “Turkish Airlines Sucks”, but decided to be a bit more eloquent and explain the situation…so here goes!

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I’d also like to say that Turkish Air has now supplanted Precision Air for the number one spot on my travel “potty” list.  FYI Turkish Air, you are not a REAL European airline if you are more afraid of a 7 kg dog than an 80 kg drunk, belligerent man, just saying.  But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Goodbye Charlotte (Mom informs me this is also the name of a whiny rock band)

Goodbye Charlotte! (Mom informs me this is also the name of a whiny rock band)

We left Charlotte, North Carolina on a Wednesday and flew on US Airways to Washington, DC (an airport I may have pooped in, oops).  For the record, US Airways is awesome for doggies.  The flight attendant was super nice and showed me and mom photos of her own little dachshund, who I must say was quite the cutie.  Based on our excellent treatment by all the US Airways people, mom and I had no idea the personal hell we were in for once we transferred to Turkish Air in Washington, DC.

Enjoying US Airways

Enjoying US Airways

Once in DC, the problems began.  It’s too painful to relive all the terror the Turkish Air people put mom and me through, so I’ll be brief in my description.  More or less, the flight attendants told mom that it was “impossible” (sounds like a Tanzanian talking to me, once again these phrases would not be uttered on a REAL European airline) to bring me on board even though I’m a service dog and have all the appropriate paperwork and even though mom had called and arranged everything with Turkish Air months in advance.

Rejecting a service animal? You should be ashamed of yourself, Turkish Air

Rejecting a service animal? You should be ashamed of yourself, Turkish Air

In the end, I was obviously allowed to fly because here I am writing from Tanzania, but it wasn’t before both me and mom were made to feel incredibly unwelcome on the 10-hour flight to Istanbul.  Luckily our seat mate was great and mom and him complained together about the rudeness of the Turkish Air flight attendants.

Once in Istanbul, me and mom figured everything would be smooth sailing because the people in DC assured us that they had put a special note on our file so we wouldn’t be treated so poorly on the next flight to Dar es Salaam.  But NO, of course this message did nothing to stop the idiocy of this pseudo-European airline.  We were treated even worse on the next flight and were almost kicked off to be stranded in Istanbul.

We finally arrived in Dar es Salaam, tired and nervous at 4:30 in the morning.  We were too late to try to fly to Mwanza so mom took a chance on a taxi driver who turned out to be our savior in this whole bad dream of an experience.  His name was Sham (even I get the irony of this) and he was truly amazing!  He drove us around Dar es Salaam for over an hour looking for a hotel that would accept us because I’m not exactly welcome in Tanzania.  Finally after trying at least 15 different hotels, we were welcomed into the Peacock Hotel and immediately fell onto the bed for an amazing sleep.

Beds are awesome

Beds are awesome

It took mom 2 full days in Dar es Salaam to arrange a way to get to Mwanza.  Because Precision Air is afraid of little dogs like me, I was forced to ride in cargo.  Luckily, I had no idea what this meant until it was actually happening, otherwise I never would have gotten myself into such a situation.

While we were waiting for what I thought was just another routine short flight, mom gave me a little treat, a bitter tasting pill, but I think anything mom gives me is a treat!  Before I knew it I was being shoved into a crate, in a bit of a haze, and was having a hard time keeping my eyes open.

Seriously guys, what's going on?

Seriously guys, what’s going on?

Next thing I know, a Tanzanian man is carrying me away from my teary-eyed mom and then she is gone and I’m alone in my tiny cage.  WHY?  After a while, I’m driven out to the airplane, still in my cage and placed in the bottom of the plane.  What the heck did I do to deserve this?  Luckily, mom came to check on me in the bottom of the plane.  Unfortunately she was just there to say hi and then they closed the hatch and I was all alone.

In cargo, on Precision Air, all alone

In cargo, on Precision Air, all alone

By this point, my eyes were heavy and all I could do was close them and pretend I was with mom in our bed back in Mwanza.  And you know what, it worked!  Next thing I knew, I was reunited with mom and Taxi Tito and we were on our way to our bed in Mwanza!  Hooray!  Best day in a LONG, LONG time!  And then it got better because I was reunited with our awesome house and my best friend Twiga and my girlfriend Miss Piggy.

Reunited with my awesome yard!

Reunited with my awesome yard!

Reunited with Twiga!

Reunited with Twiga!

Reunited with Miss Piggy!

Reunited with Miss Piggy!

Was it worth it?  Sure it was, but it could have been a lot easier.  Mom and I will have to figure out another way back when we head home in May…

An Addendum: Apparently mom and me are not the only travelers to suffer at the hands of Turkish Air.  See the blog post here and all the comments that follow.  Boycott Turkish Air!

http://blog.myletsadopt.com/2010/10/26/turkish-airlines-worlds-worst-airline-for-pets/

Boycott Turkish Air!

Boycott Turkish Air!

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Snow No!

Mom says we’re finally going back to Tanzania tomorrow, yippee!  While I’ve appreciated the cultural experience of snow, I’m ready to get back to my ideal environment–sun and warmth!  To me, snow is like really, really, really cold sand.  At first it’s fun, but after a while it’s just COLD.  And while I was lucky enough to get a nice, warm puffy coat from my Uncle Ben and almost-Aunt Kristen, even with this, my belly still has no fur on it and my little feet just aren’t built to navigate such extreme weather.  So here’s a few photos to show you about my snow adventures:

At first, I wasn’t really sure if I was SUPPOSED to walk on it, I mean it’s so pretty.  But mom gave me the boot and told me to be brave and go outside.

Ummmm...

Ummmm…

I'm still not really sure about this...

I’m still not really sure about this…

Eventually I got over my fears and decided to just PLAY.

Wheeeee!

Wheeeee!

FLYING!!!!

FLYING!!!!

 

Yeah my face is white, I was looking for birds

Yeah my face is white, I was looking for birds

 

Ummm, I'm kind of stuck over here

Ummm, I’m kind of stuck over here

 

There's teeny tiny me in the great white snow

There’s teeny tiny me in the great white snow

 

COLD NOSE, COLD NOSE

COLD NOSE, COLD NOSE

 

I also got to go hiking in the woods behind the house where my mom grew up.  It was a family affair with me, mom, Uncle Ben, and my grandma and grandpa too.  We even found a tree where mom and Uncle Ben had carved their names 22 years ago.  It truly reminds me how old my mom really is!

Uncle Ben helping me do "hiking"

Uncle Ben helping me do “hiking”

 

Mom's tree. It shows her age

Mom’s tree. It shows her age

 

It's just a little too cold out here for a teensy guy like me so Grandpa helped me stay warm

It’s just a little too cold out here for a teensy guy like me so Grandpa helped me stay warm

 

Because the cold was so hard on me, grandma got me some boots to match mom’s Uggs for Christmas.  Next year I’ll be prepared!

Puffy coat and Uggs, I'm ready snow!

Puffy coat and Uggs, I’m ready snow!

 

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