The View Out Our WindowThe Fearless Spectators are Ruth and Kevin. I’m American and Kevin is English, although we prefer to think of ourselves as citizens of the planet. We left the San Francisco Bay Area in July, 2005, and are still settling into our 700 year old home here in Provence. We live atop a hilltop village, Barbentane, about fifteen minutes from Avignon. Even after two and a half years, each time we venture out our front door it’s a new adventure. That’s mostly because we are both trying to learn French and it’s proving to be not quite the easiest project we’ve ever undertaken. Let’s just say there’s a bit less clarity to life now than there was before!There is adventure, as well, in discovering the wonders of Provence: the food and wine, restaurants, recipes, and markets; the beautiful towns and villages, ancient ruins, and stunning scenery; and especially the people we meet. We will share these discoveries with you in this blog.

Kevin and I also love exploring the rest of the world. We have been lucky indeed to join our amazing adventure travel friend, Pasquale Scaturro, on several expeditions in Africa. In 2003, we climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. In 2006, we did the final descent of the Omo River in Ethiopia, dodging hippos and crocodiles and even angry Mursi tribesmen with Uzis. In 2007, I joined Pasquale again to make the final descent of the Tekeze River, also in Ethiopia. (Kevin met Pasquale while doing the first descent of the Tekeze in 1996.) The crocodiles on the Tekeze are much more aggressive than the ones on the Omo, as one of the photos on our Header demonstrates. When these guys spotted us floating by, they leapt into the water and came at our rubber rafts like speeding reptilian torpedoes. Pasquale had to beat one off with an oar when our “croc rocks” didn’t repel him. Fun!

Unfortunately, the Ethiopian government is paying the Chinese to dam these magnificent rivers, as well as many others. Dams are being built on rivers all across Africa. Of course, the local people and animals are not going to profit from these travesties against nature, quite the contrary, and the world is losing some of the most spectacular scenery that anywhere else would be declared world heritage sites. We want to share our photographs of the scenery and of the fascinating people we encountered. (We took all the photographs, unless otherwise attributed.) On the Omo expedition, we searched out and found many tribal people: the Mursi, the Nyangatom, the Hammer, the Dassenech, the Bodi, and the Toposa. On the Tekeze expedition, we left our river camp and hiked up to villages so remote that many of the local people had never seen white people before. This area in the highlands of Ethiopia is home to very different people than in the lowlands of the Omo; there we met Tigrayans and Oromos.

Last year, in addition to Ethiopia, we visited England, Ireland, Belgium, and were in Oslo, Norway, on the longest day of the year. Last month, we took our first trip to Marrakech. In the five years since Kevin and I met, we have also traveled to Germany, Italy, Spain, South Korea, and Bali, Indonesia. In addition, we rafted with Pasquale down the Colorado River through Cataract Canyon in Canyonlands. Our road trip there and back took us through a total of 13 parks, including Zion, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, and Monument Valley. Then there was New York, Boston, San Francisco, Carmel, Big Sur …

Did I mention that we are among the luckiest people on earth? We know we are, we appreciate it immensely, and we want to share our good fortune avec tout le monde. Thank you so much for visiting our blog.

Bisous, Ruth

Barbentane, December, 2007

P.S. Thank you, dear husband, for your most excellent computery brain and doing everything technical on this site. You’re the best. xox

2 Responses to “About”

Kate Novoa wrote a comment on January 7, 2008

Yes, you two are some of the luckiest people traveling this planet. In addition, you are both gracious, elegant, and compassionate people. Did I mention smart, too? I love you both!

I am adding this to my favorite websites, with a link on my own.

margaret birkemo wrote a comment on August 31, 2009

Ruth, I love your life! I’ll tell you a little about mine on the dragons site.

Care to comment?