D is for departure. D is for Dulles. D is for Dull. Dulles is an incredibly boring airport. It has a very… Socialist State look on the outside. Utilitarian. Not ugly, but definitely no edifice to elegance. And inside, it is clean but pedestrian, almost sterile. None of the hustle and bustle of people excitedly, expectantly, moving from gate to gate. …

Destination: Liberia

Two weeks ago I left Unalaska to begin an overseas journey of at least a year. The two weeks since I left have been a whirlwind of activity – a series of so long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen visits with friends in both Unalaska and Anchorage; eight days of training in an industrial park in Sterling, VA; so far vain attempts to complete my taxes and other finance-related projects; and seemingly endless shopping. With every passing day I find at least one more thing that, really, I just ought to take with me because, well, I might actually need it. My bags get heavier by the day and yet I know – I’ve done this before – that I will ultimately find that I need, want and use only about half of what I take with me.

I’ve met quite a few new colleagues, including three who will be working with me in Liberia; have confirmed that I have a place to live in Monrovia, 169 meters or so from the Atlantic Ocean (thank you, Abi, for this information!); and now know that rainy season flooding is bad enough that I should’ve packed my Extra Tuffs. Apparently Monrovia is second only to Quibdó, Columbia, in terms of capital cities with the highest annual rainfall: 182 inches a year. Who knew? I did get a yellow and white parasol… I mean, umbrella, to tide me over until my boots arrive.

Tomorrow I fly IAD-BRU-ROB, and by Friday evening I will once again breathe the warm, humid air of Sub-Saharan Africa. Between now and then I am on a mission to find pork.

Related Images:

McNeil River 2017 – Last Day

Departure day. A new group is here and our  group of 10 will be leaving this afternoon. We can see bears through the window of the cook shack, and there are more out on the flats, but no longer will we get to sit within stretching distance of them, listen to them crunch salmon skulls, snarl warnings to one another …