Written November 29, 2007
Hi, Everyone! First of all, please read this letter before you look at the pictures. One of them needs some explanation and I don't want anyone to be unduly frightened before they hear it.
Okay, I got that out of the way. Well, I continue to enjoy my time over here and am adapting to the cultural differences one faces anytime s/he goes overseas. This has been eased by the warm welcome I've received from the embassy. I've also really gotten into running even more so than before. I ran 10k the other day in 44:15. Not fast, but ok for an older gentleman. I started running a few times a week with some friends of mine. I'm also playing basketball every week at the embassy with some of the staff. One thing, when running on the road, these East African marathon runners zoom by me like I'm standing still! For fun, I try to keep up but I'm basically running at a full sprint to do so. They have such a natural, long stride that there's no way I could ever match them.
Now, for the pictures. In the first picture, I'm standing on a hillside in a town called 'Arta.' It's about 30 minutes driving from Djibouti city but a very nice place with cooler temperatures. In the background, you should be able to see the sea where the hills stop. Picture #2 is the one that needs an explanation. As most of you know, I'm a real 'thrillseeker.' I've climbed massive mountains in Slovakia. I've entered forbidden temples in Japan. Now, I've encountered dangerous animals on the East African savannah! I approached these beasts with caution but also a determination to get the perfect photo. I look forward to your praise concerning my bravery. You may now look at the picture. Until the next travelogue, Russ