Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My First Malagasy Pumpkin

There is always a first time for everything. Even for pumpkin carving. Even in Madagascar. Even for me.

Scary costumes please
As kids we'd only vaguely heard about Halloween, something with pumkins and horror stories. It's only since we've been living abroad, and have met many Americans that I know Halloween. And I've come to really like it! But only when it's about wearing scary costumes, not just any costume. Of course you can argue about the defination of scary, and my friends Johnson and Johnsen's outfits as Amy Winehouse and WWE Wrestler definately count as scary to me!  But wearing a jester hat, being little red riding hood, or slipping into a Hawai shirt does not scare me at all. I want to see blood!

Pumpkin carving for beginners
Pumpkin thin'
In Tana we are invited to several Halloween parties, and the American school is organizing a Trick or Treat this Friday. Soleine has her witches' outfit ready. But a whole new world opened to me when we were at a pumpkin carving party. Amazing really. The Americans always have plenty of gadgets; they had pumpkin knives, scoops, mini saws and what not. It was actually much easier to do than I had imagined. Of course I stayed at beginner's level of two triangles as eyes and a ragged mouth, but it looked quite good.

Sarah Palin
Seeing our friend Johnson pricking holes in the pumpkin with a pin fork for over three hours really puzzled me. What was he doing? And why did it take so long? When it was finally finished I could not see much on the pumpkin. Until he put a light in it...One bloody good example of pumpkin carving for advanced users. WOW.

Happy Halloween! Happy Carving!

Advanced pumpkin carving: BEFORE
Advanced pumpkin carving: AFTER

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Super School Trip

With Alice Pippitt, Soleine's teacher
Picture yourself at the age of seven. Now try to relive that exciting feeling of going on a school trip!!
Remember the beardy, big-bellied bus driver? The song singing, the warm sandwiches in the lunchbox, the sleepless night before departure, the sticky hands? And hiding under the seat when the bus arrived back at school to let the awaiting parents believe the bus is empty? I remember all of this vividly. But as hard as I am trying now, I can for the love of God not remember where we went or what we did.

Just like chicken
Soleine went on her first real school trip yesterday - on a bus that is. To the Crocodile Farm near the Airport in Tana. Exciting that she was! The bus driver was not big and beardy but bald and beardless. The warm sandwiches were actually cold rice and chicken. There were no sticky hands (thanks to the mother of American inventions: sanitizer) but sun burn and mosquito bites, despite sun screen and mozzie cream. 
The songs were about a boy called Tim, who went into tub to see if he could swim. And something about a lady with an alligator purse. How appropriate. Because at the croc farm you can buy croc leather shoes and eat crocodile meat. "Tastes just like chicken, mama".

Spot the animals
The trip had an educational purpose, the Grade 2 kids had just learned about amphibia, reptiles, birds and mammals in class.  I hope she will remember any of this, and if not, she can read back this blog and see the pictures that she (yes!) took during the school trip. But personally I need some help, can you spot the animals in the photos? I can not even see them, let alone tell you whether they are amphibia, reptiles or mammals!
I am afraid I'm not much of a rabbateur. You?

There should be something in this picture somewhere

It's probably just swimming under water
And you are?
Is it a leaf or something else?
The brown thing on the top is a branch, there should be a snake in here somewhere!