Sunday, January 27, 2019

Welcome Back - Part 2 (Birthday Edition)

Today is my birthday - the big FIVE OH, as they say.  I guess it's been a pretty good run so far.  I did well in the lottery of birth.  And now I get to spend my 50th birthday in a pool in the tropics - and get paid to do so.  Not too shabby at all.

It's time for a look back at the previous year - 2018 in all its technicolor glory.  So - here's how my 2018 went:


Began 2018 in Portugal and Spain with Mark and Jamie, Clinton, and David.  
Warning:  Lots of photos.

Mark, Jamie, and David

Jamie, Clinton, David, Mark, and Michael at the Coach Museum in Belem. 

David and Mark

Riding the Trolly:  Jamie, Mark, Clinton, and David

Mark and David

Clinton and Jamie

Mark, David, and Michael

A Streetcar named David and Mark

Mark's Birthday:  David, Clinton, Mark, Michael, and Jamie

Mark and David

David and Mark

Epiphany fireworks in Porto

Epiphany fireworks in Porto

Obidos and Cabo da Roca, Portugal

Jamie in Obidos

David in Obidos

Mark and Michael at Cabo da Roca

Mark, Jamie, and David at Cabo da Roca

Evora, Portugal

Michael and Mark

David contemplating the ruins in Evora, Portugal.

Seville, Spain
Michael and Mark

Mark and Michael at the Real Alcazar in Seville

Real Alcazar

Real Alcazar

Real Alcazar

Real Alcazar

Baelo Claudia (Roman Ruins) and Gibraltar

Mark just monkeying around in Gibraltar

The Rock

Michael and Mark

Granada, Spain and The Alhambra
(The Alhambra is magnificent - you should go!)

Mark and Michael in Granada

The Alhambra

Mark and Michael

Michael and Mark

Mark and Michael at The Alhambra

Michael and Mark on bicycle tour in Granada

February and March - working and hanging out in Bamako

Niger River in Bamako

Bamako Train Station

Bamako Train Station

U.S. Embassy folks learning about adobe construction methods

Painted Houses Festival around Bamako, Mali

Painted Houses Festival around Bamako, Mali

Painted Houses Festival around Bamako, Mali

Michael and Beverly at the American Club in Bamako, Mali

"Your stuff is here" in Bamako, Mali

April - went back to Washington, DC for some training and consultations, and got to see Zoe, a friend from Bamako who had just left post.  Also, I did a supplemental consumables shopping trip at Costco.  And got a haircut!

Michael with a fresh haircut outside of Harry S. Truman State Department Building (aka Main State)

Michael and Zoe in Rosslyn

at Costco

at Costco

May - a weekend in Senegal at Le Lamantin Resort near Saly

Mark and Michael at the beach in Saly, Senegal

Le Lamantin Beach Resort, Saly, Senegal

June was pretty much spent getting ready for July 4th at the Embassy

Wendy and Mark prepping for July 4th

Your July 4th Committee:  Michael, Mark, Emma, and Keith

'Merica Cupcakes!

"How you doing, America?"  Mark at July 4th celebrations in Bamako, Mali.

The Colors at July 4th in Bamako, Mali.  Our Marines are awesome!

July and August - Second R&R trip to Bordeaux and Languedoc in France
Again, lots of photos

Mark waiting for the train to Bordeaux.

"Where's my dinner?" Mark in Bordeaux, France.

Michael and Mark

Michael and Mark

An entire museum just for wine!

"Mmmmm, sangria."  Mark in Bordeaux.

(This was awesome and you should do it!)
This boat was home for a week.

Michael and Mark

Mark bicycling near St. Èmilion, France.

Trois moulins in France.

Moored in Bourg, France.

Mark wanted this car.

Michael and Mark in a vineyard somewhere in the Bordeaux region of France.

Château Margaux in Bordeaux.

Another lovely winery

The Mark!

Moules et frites - it's what's for dinner!

Michael and Mark in Carcassonne.

Michael and Mark in the Cathar Castle country of Languedoc, France.

Chateau Queribus

Chateau Queribus

Michael and Mark in Port-Vendres, France.

Montpellier, France

Montpellier, France

Nîmes, France

Roman Coliseum in Nîmes, France.

Roman Coliseum in Nîmes, France.

Nîmes coat of arms.

Temple of Diana in Nîmes, France.

Maison Carrèe, Nîmes, France.

Pont du Gard

Mark on a scooter in the Camargue.

Mark in the Camargue.

Paris - with David!
Michael, Mark, and David

Mark, David, and Michael

Michael, David, and Mark

Mark, David, and Michael at Versailles.

David behind the scenes at Versailles.

Mark and Michael at Versailles.

Michael, Mark and David at Versailles.

"I can haz eclair?"

Michael and Mark near Sacrè-Cœur Basilica.

Michael, Mark, and David along the Seine.

Michael, David, and Mark atop the Eiffel Tower.

Cheers atop the Eiffel Tower!  Mark, David, and Michael.

"IT'S CLOSED" Mark wanted to visit a charcuterie in Paris recommended by a colleague.

"I can haz another eclair?"

September and October - just hanging around

November - Africa Bureau Financial Managers' and Budget conference in Cape Town, South Africa

December - Holidays in Bamako

Handicrafts for sale at the American Club of Bamako Holiday Craft Fair.

This is how Santa arrives in Bamako.

Cheers from Bamako:  Michael, Sena, DJ, Kristina, Josh, Johnathon, Rebekah, Jamie, Samuel, and Keith.

U.S. Embassy folks celebrate Christmas in Bamako, Mali.

All in all, it's been a pretty good year!