Thursday, September 5, 2019


Sometimes it happens. You meet somebody for the first time and you get that warm, comfortable feeling you get when being together with a longtime friend. What are the odds? We both had to travel from our home countries to meet in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. A kindred spirit, being equally addicted to coffee and shares the love for photography. I am sure we were destined to meet.

Dear Sally, thank you so much for finding this sweetie. It must be added that it came in a beautiful box, accompanied by a heartwarming smile. It feels already quite at home in the "International Hippopotamus Bloat". I can't wait to tell her about the exciting adventurers we are going to embark on. Stay wonderful, stay strong. Speak soon!

Monday, September 2, 2019

Lina and Devina

Another proof that the "Hippo Virus" is contagious and still spreading. From infected friends, to their children, family members and friends. I know of some friends who are really getting tired of always "having to" look for hippos, or involuntarily think about me when seeing them. It makes my heart smile, to have introduced hippos in their lives. I still believe that blowing bubbles under water, wallowing in the mud and wiggling your ears when surfacing, are still the best responses to most life scenarios. 

These gifts were given by a longtime friend (Lina) and her daughter (Devina). Lina ordered 2 of these phone cable holders (cable bites) and Devina gave me my first batik hippo. 

Somehow, FB (Face Book) makes you forget distances and time. It is a great way to stay in touch, and get the sense of being up to date, but nothing beats meeting face to face,  drinking (gallons of) coffee and simply feeling thankful for the moment. Dear Lina, thank you for always making me laugh, for your spirit and for your friendship. Dear Devina, it is wonderful to getting to know you, and I can't wait to see where your amazing talents will lead you. Thank you for finding this "batik-beauty" which is, as tradition dictates, named after you. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019


Another first: a Hippo-Pencil-Sharpener. Thinking about all the stationary items I have: hippo-staplers, hippo-paperweights, hippo-erasers, hippo-paperclips, hippo-post-its and, hippo-notebooks. And now, a cute looking, pink, hippo-pencil-sharpener has been added to my collection. 

Dear Orna, thank you so much for thinking about me while you were in Thailand. I wish the circumstances of your visit to Bangkok were of a more happier nature, but we can't decide everything in our lives. As custom dictates, the pencil sharpener will be known as Orna, from now on. A very fond reminder of you. No matter where in the world we we end up, I will proudly point this special gift out when people have a look at my collection, and mention her name!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Simple Woman

Just looking at this mug makes me smile, because, even though my friend lives on the other side of the world, if I listen very carefully, I can hear him make a snorting sound... followed by a not-so-subtle rolling of both eyes... as in his world the words simple and woman do not belong in the same sentence. My rebuttal: men are as complicated as women,  has, by default, been met with a cynical smirk.

The question, whether being simple depends on gender or not, is one, a second question arises too:  what is the connection between coffee and hippos? I have 2 paintings and 1 salt and pepper shaker set, suggesting there is indeed one, but I still can't think of what it actually could be. Coffee and hippos both come from Africa? I honestly have no clue. The second question becomes even more intriguing, when you take into consideration that this mug was a gift of a very dear coffee-hating hippo-loving friend, for both me and a fellow we-count-coffee-consumption-in-gallons hippo-collecting sister (you know who you are :-)).

Whatever it is... it works for me. Simple? That, apparently, is debatable.... Coffee? Hippos? O YES!

Sunday, February 17, 2019


This post is a link to an article of the the Tampa Bay Times, written by Jack Evans. For those familiar with Lu's story and or this article, I felt my blog would not be complete without it. For those of you not familiar, enjoy reading. This is such a nice article, a real treat for all hippo lovers.

At 59, Lu is the oldest living hippopotamus in the Americas. He is the only nonnative animal at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.

Friday, February 15, 2019


How do you name a hippo, that is given by a friend, who already gave you several hippos and already has a hippo named after him? Well, in this case, the question was answered very easily. My friend told me that he bought this beauty in a store called: Abbas (link to the store is in Dutch). A store in my home town Utrecht (The Netherlands), where one can buy Middle Eastern carpets and many other exotic items. My friend had a discussion about this hippo with the owner, and learned that it was hand carved in Togo (West- Africa). 

When he gave it to me, he told me that if I did not like it, he would keep it himself, as he had grown attached to it. So sorry, I really could not lie, and pretend not to like it. So it came home with me. 

But I will promise you this Marius: if you ever find another hippo, you like as much as this one, and you want to keep it, I will give this one back to you, so you can start your own hippo collection. Pinkie square!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Feel the Love

Whenever I am looking at this pendant,  I can't help but smile. When I am wearing it, it makes me feel loved, thankful and happy, all at the same time.

This pendant is designed by a very talented Mongolian artist (see post: Byambajav), and made by her equally talented husband. When I received it (Dec 2018), I was speechless. Even now, I really don't know what to say, so maybe that is exactly its purpose: making people lost for words. You just need to look at it, and let the feeling of love find its way. Oh well, it works for me!


It is not the first time this happens. Sons and or daughters of infected friends falling victim to the "looking-for-hippo-for-Lien" virus. In some cases, the symptoms are even worse than those of their parents. Judging from the number of times I have heard the "we have been looking for hippos" comment, I foresee a rather serious case developing in the near future. 

Proof? Here it is! A lovely hippo from the shop of the San Diego Zoo. How nice  is that? The carbon footprint is impressive. Being made in Africa, sold in the US and brought all the way to Mongolia... but anything for hippo love (and world peace).

Dear Henri, thank you for thinking about me and for asking your lovely mom to get it. I am already looking forward to your next find :-).

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Hippo Creature?

For those familiar with my blog, you already know I have been talking about the side collection, many of us hippo collectors have. The: "almost hippo" collection (rhinos, cows, pigs, dragons etc). Now, this present does not fit the category: almost hippo, because it is immediately recognizable as hippo... but looking closer and a little bit longer, questions do arise... 

I think the craft person must have a wicked sense of humor, its vibes picked up by a buyer with an equally twisted mind. Dear William, thank you for getting this hippo creature in Kenya for me, and making me laugh every time I see it. The world needs more people like the creator of this masterpiece and you! hhhll

Beauties from Burundi

Another first. My collection holds many colored soapstone hippos, but non from Burundi. Brought all the way to Mongolia by my husband's colleague, who upon seeing our house, immediately committed to get me some hippos from her home country. Their bright colors and big smiles made me fall in love with them right away. Good things always come in threes, the saying goes. I think this is very true. Especially if it comes to hippos. 

Dearest Speciose, thank you so much for finding these treasures for me. They instantly made my collection more colorful and special. I can't wait to visit your country one day, returning with loads of bright African cottons and yes.... more Burundian Beauties!

Hippo Bookend

Indeed, just one :-). Bookends usually come in pairs. This beauty was on display in The Netherlands, in the window of a very stylish shop in my hometown, selling lamps. Designer, smart looking lamps and some fancy accessories scattered here and there. The first sighting was done, very early into our holiday. "Not enough space in my suitcase", was the main argument. Which was solved rather quickly thereafter. "Hello" new check-in bag!" 

The label said: Bookend, but even if I wanted to buy a second one, they did only have one. Oh well, apparently the Style Police has decided that one leather Zuny Bookend is fashionable, two are overkill. Not certain about that, but it would have been access luggage, for sure.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

(Hippo) Love from Lebanon

As tradition dictates, this post should have been called: William, as it is the name of the friend who gave it to me. But this blog already has a: William (see post: William), as it is also the name of the unofficial mascot of the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Although the MET William is very special, it can't compete with the "specialty factor" of this one, so I decided it deserves it's own post name. 

When I met William, I already knew he was (and still is) Lebanese. It took quite some effort not to ask for a hippo right away (knowing him better now, I think he would have found it hilarious). But of course, after a while the pressure became too high and the inevitable question was asked. 

Through the grapevines I heard about several attempts of William to find a hippo in Lebanon, without any luck. I could imagine him going to these craft stores, filled to the rim with carpets and pottery "do you guys have a hippo?" And then the silence... Still makes me chuckle.

The one finding it's way to my bloat, had to be brought all the way to Mongolia... delivered with a huge sigh: "this is the ONLY one!" So, lo and behold, the one and only Lebanese hippo, named William.

Dear William, thank you for going through such an ordeal. Please know, this one will always be very special to me, not only because of its origin and history but mainly because of that kind, wonderful and special person who gave it to me :-).