Sunday, July 7, 2013

Out of Africa

“Perhaps he knew, as I did not, that the Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road.”
― Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa

Because of the Independence Day holiday and all the other news rolling out of Egypt around the time we were wrapping up our African non-safari trip, I never got a chance to adequately wrap up the highlights.

So settle in with your mug of coffee and one of those really naughty jelly filled donuts that are banned in NYC and get ready to rumble down that road; It’s the very special MOTUS Out of Africa Roundup.

BG-2“Here I am, where I am supposed to be.”  ― Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa

As you recall our journey began with the family departing from the south portico to board Marine Won:

Michelle Obama First Family Heads Africa SuAjiMFkzdEx Look – a zebra! And we haven’t even left home yet!

Our very subdued $100 million trip – “a nod to the reality of tight economic times” according to the LA Times:

Obama's trip included remembrances of great leaders and reflections on history, but was largely absent the typical cultural scenes:no safaris, no dancing, no posing with tribesmen.

Obama, in one of his few moments working a crowd, briefly grooved with a drum circle in Senegal. The president beamed and began to sway a bit — but stopped short of dancing.

tanzania boogeymo bo First Lady Thobeka Madiba-Zumaat dancingNot short enough

We stopped by the fabled Goree Island, mythically rumored to be the port of slave drivers, butt in reality just the home of a Dutch merchant equipped with a convenient garbage chute to the sea (pre-global warming and EPA).


obama-senegalOn the Isle of Misfits

We endured dozens of wardrobe changes:

171593528goree door31green yellow black blue and white1372333806002-obamaafrica062713-006-1306270751_4_3_rx1443_c1920x1440Michelle Obama Barack Obama Visits South Africa 1qA8y3U97K9xmo bo in the pinkAFRICA-OBAMA/

A few of which you haven’t seen yet,

mo golden black lace

and some you’ve only seen from the front:


There was, of course, the usual adulation of the Won on the catwalk and the red carpet:

Screenshot Studio capture #1211“But the trouble is not as you think now, that we have put up obstacles too high for you to jump . . . . It is that we have put up no obstacles at all.” - Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa

Then we hovered around Johannesburg and Capetown waiting for an invitation from the Mandela family to visit the comatose Madiba, Big Guy’s personal hero, for the historic photo op. When the invitation was not forthcoming, we settled for a visit to the prison cell where Madiba was held for 18 of his 27 years of incarceration.

prisoners of zenda.3jpg

As they pause to enter Madiba’s cell, Lady M’s BRF serves her well. Butt what’s up with that big smile on BO’s face? It looks like he’s having a Bill Clinton moment.

a light shines on boescaped

Then it was on to Tanzania, where MO wore several creations from her special “keyboard symbols” (h/t Gerard) collection.

First, there was the Tally-man top, sans bananas (h/t PATAZ), :

mo tallymandraft_lens2305724module12761211photo_1227634566Day-O-guitar-tabs

Followed shortly  by the “FORWARD!” key frock:

2013-07-02T085320Z_01_GAC08_RTRIDSP_3_USA-OBAMA-AFRICA_image_982wMO struggling with her BRF, and losing.

The Wons happened to be in Tanzania at the same time as the Bush’s. In fact, MO and Laura were on a panel of First Ladies together; you know – the one where Lady M kidded about being held prisoner in the Big White House:

"There are prison-like elements, but it's a really nice prison," Michelle said. "While people are sorting through our shoes and our hair ... whether we cut it or not ... We take our bangs and we stand in front of important things the world needs to see."

Butt mostly the Bushes were there to help renovate clinics that they’ve funded in order to advance Laura’s efforts to fight cervical and breast cancer in Africa. And they didn’t hesitate to roll up their sleeves to help out:

Screenshot Studio capture #1209Screenshot Studio capture #1210

Just like the Wons do! Seen here on September 11, just one of our many new transformative National Days of Service:


As you see though, everyone cleaned up nicely for the memorial to the bombing of the US Embassy in 1998:

george w and bo“In a world of fools, I was, I think, to him one of the greater fools.”
― Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa

Anyway, I’ve finally tracked down the inspiration for that Tally-man top that Lady M wore while in Tanzania (h/t Blonde Gator). She’s apparently counting the days left in her 8 year sentence.


Although I don’t think she’s the only one marking the days.



“Strange how one person can saturate a room with vitality, with excitement. Then there are others, and this dame was one of them, who can drain off energy and joy, can suck pleasure dry and get no sustenance from it. Such people spread a grayness in the air about them.”
― John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley


oh dear here we go again with the crotchLeaving Africa, tally me banana.

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Cross-Posted on Patriot Action Network