Array ( [total] => 32 [pageSize] => 24 [page] => 0 [results] => Array ( [733] => Array ( [iID] => 733 [tTitle] => In the land of edible calves [tSlug] => in-the-land-of-edible-calves [iTime] => 1210543200 [iUpdate] => 1210543200 [tDescription] => After doing some work for SAfAIDS, in Harare, a few weeks back, they wanted me to come back and do a follow up. And who am I do decline such an offer? Of course also because it meant being able to comfortably visit Rouzeh again. The work wasn't too taxing, a few connected IT assessments, but for the relative lack of internet connectivity. That, while Zimbabwe's electoral process still hasn't found a happy ending, or any ending for that matter. Just when I arrived this second time, the central bank had floated the Zimbabwean dollar, presumably to get some foreign currency into its coffers, them having been completely emptied after the 'harmonized' elections back in March. This meant instant hyper inflation. Just two weeks ago, my room at the Small World lodge came in at a 'respectable' 2 billion. That is 2000.000.000. Now, prices had gone up a bit, to 6.8 billion. That's 6800.000.000. Two weeks ago, the largest note on the market was 50.000.000. Now, it was 250.000.000. It's not unreasonable to expect one trillion notes before the end of the year as the Zimbabwean government is just printing paper disguised as money to make it appear they know what they're doing. The joy of travel At Harare international airport, I wasn't allowed to leave. The ladies at the check in desk, followed by the SAA, South African Airways, ground supervisor, claimed I had no more empty pages in my passport, which, so it seems, is a prerequisite for entering South Africa. I did, one exactly, but it was covered by a note, pasted in by the Thai immigration department. The note, just a note, could easily be removed, but when I did just that, the SAA ground supervisor claimed I had illegally altered my passport, making it invalid. Only barely keeping my calm, barely. Well, not really, Josh, the SAA supervisor, couldn't admit his absurd statement, so I had to produce evidence of my onward journey from South Africa, so that he could label the bags through and we could both pretend I wouldn't go through immigration in Jo'burg, thus skirting the one-page-free requirement. In South Africa, of course I went through immigration, as my layover saw me stuck at ORT for more than six hours. The transit lounge, from where checkins for my flight would only be possible after some four hours, was extremely bare bones and I was not planning on hanging around on one chair until Etihad airways, the national airline of the UAE, considered it time to let the poor sods from the transit lounge check in. A good week earlier, on my flight from Johannesburg to Lusaka, Zambia, my luggage had been pilfered, things had been stolen. In one side pocket, a bunch of minor electronics (and my GPS) had been covered by dirty laundry. Upon arrival in Zambia, the dirty laundry was still in the pocket, but all the electronics had gone. It had been quite a pain to get the paperwork in order, so now, between my arrival at ORT and the start of check in, I had plenty of time to be misguided from one counter, office and terminal to the next, in constant disorganized directional search for the right venue to hand over my paperwork. Estimated processing time? 21 days. Then, when checking in for my flight to Bangkok via Abu Dhabi, I already should have known something was going to be amiss. The lovely girl behind the counter had trouble simply entering the number on my luggage tag into her system. She claimed finding it at some point, but upon arrival in Bangkok, my backpack had arrived at that great luggage depot in the sky. My luggage hadn't arrived, location unknown. So that saw my arrival into the land of edible calves. One more flight to Chiang Mai, a small compensation for the luggage lost and the suggestion that if I hadn't received my luggage after three days, I should fill in a claim form. I was back at my guest house. And where was Vlekje? In stead, I was welcomed by a spider the size of an outstretched hand on the wall opposite my room, gecko poo on my walls inside the room and a tiny gecko in my bathroom. Then, very late, Vlekje stuck her head around the corner of my open door. Home at last. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 4104 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 560 [iOldID] => 1106 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462233428 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 6 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 18.7936 [fLongitude] => 98.9943 [tLocation] => Baan Chinnakorn [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20080512 ) [729] => Array ( [iID] => 729 [tTitle] => Online offline [tSlug] => online-offline [iTime] => 1209074400 [iUpdate] => 1209074400 [tDescription] => With two days work as a consultant for SAfAIDS, one day work at SAfAIDS as a visiting HDN employee, regular work for HDN, close-to-last-minute work for a South African client, SACSIS and internet connectivity that makes connections in South Africa seem like extremely broadband, it's been a hectic week. Not to mention the time I'm spending with Rouzeh. I found it surprising to see that, on the surface, so little has changed in Harare. The streets are structurally more quiet, but that's pretty much the only thing. After ten, nothing seems to be going on anymore, I haven't seen the bar in the lodge open yet. The same shops, some new ones, busy, even classy, expensive restaurants. And even a few wireless hotspots at surprisingly reasonable prices. 'IB', Italian Bakery, in Avondale, close to the lodge I'm staying and a favorite of mine four years ago, now offers wireless internet at 3 USD per 24 hours (over a period of 90 days). At black market rates of course. Then again, when I tried, I couldn't get it to work here. Close to Avondale, there's 'Cork', a gallery and coffee shop. Wireless access is slightly more expensive, at 3.5 USD, but good. Sitting at Cork one afternoon this week, I had to share the connection with six other pros. Six mobile offices. The third and last, I was told, option for wireless internet, is a place called Gecko, apparently quite a bit out of town. The Small World Lodge hasn't change much, on the surface. The parking lot stores four cars by the new owner, none of the waterworks channel water, I have no water in my room, the three cats are no longer there, almost no guests even though HIFA is around the corner Not that I see too much of the lodge, as the days are spent working like mad, well, if there's a connection (and electricity), including the weekend days and the evenings are spent with Rouzeh, often at her place. Rouzeh and I spent quite a bit of time together back in and around Chiang Mai, a few weeks back and had an extremely good time. Although Harare doesn't currently have similar riches or opportunities to offer, we're coping very well. Hey, you don't always have to go out to have a good time. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3076 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 10 [iVoters] => 2 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 741 [iOldID] => 1102 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462239133 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 10 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.7889 [fLongitude] => 31.039 [tLocation] => SAfAIDS office [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20080425 ) [728] => Array ( [iID] => 728 [tTitle] => In transit [tSlug] => in-transit [iTime] => 1208728800 [iUpdate] => 1208728800 [tDescription] => Arriving in Jo'burg, waiting for my luggage to slide down the belt, a small, rather cute dog was being walked around by a minder, sniffing the bags. Sniffing mine, the dog stopped, sat down, at looked at its 'owner'. Did I have any fruits or cheese? One apple indeed and, in my checked in luggage, two nice little cheeses, but I didn't tell anyone that of course. I was allowed to eat the apple on the spot. Then, when my luggage arrived, I made sure I skirted the dog, which was now sitting nearby, next to another traveler's backpack. Cairo airport is nothing like how I remember it to be from my last visit. Then again, I don't remember it at all. I bought the ticket for my last leg online, with Kulula, one of the three low budget airlines operating in and around South Africa. Kulula has its own airplanes, all pretty in fluorescent green. Not so for the flight to Harare, which is operated by British Airways, but flown using a plane from the American carrier Comair. Indeed, a bit confusing. In Harare, the airport, still looking very fine, was very quiet and empty. Last time I passed through, I had to queue up extensively, joining the many foreigners in getting a visa. Now, the bulk of the passengers queued up in front of the counter for residents. Harare, at first, seems to have changed very little, except for the quiet streets. Not empty, just Sunday-like. Not like you'd expect a Monday afternoon to look like. Public transport, the many white vans, combis, operating as shared taxis, seemed to have all but disappeared. But petrol is still available, if you have the right connections to get the coupons required. Work starts tomorrow but today, it was time to relax with Rouzeh. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 2659 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 5 [iVoters] => 1 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 533 [iOldID] => 1101 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462193009 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -26.1469 [fLongitude] => 28.2336 [tLocation] => O.R. Tambo international airport [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20080421 ) [727] => Array ( [iID] => 727 [tTitle] => Spead freak [tSlug] => spead-freak [iTime] => 1208642400 [iUpdate] => 1208642400 [tDescription] => The past week, visiting Holland, I've been running around more than the squirrel Hammy from Over the Hedge on a good day. Both work, HDN as well as my own, and then meeting old friends because, when you visit your home country once or twice a year, there really can be a lot to talk about. Last year, a childhood friend tracked me down with whom I'm now in quite regular contact. Just a few weeks ago, a second childhood friend tracked me down. Obviously, these mega popular social networks are at least good for something. In both cases, we'd hung out a lot, as kids, but lost track some 20 years ago. Twenty years! Obviously meaning that I'm really an old man, now. What's possibly more surprising, in both cases, is the ease with which communication and, I suppose, mutual understanding, was picked up again. Apparently, our early years have a strong effect on defining who we are as human beings. We might give shape to our values and our way of life during our teenage and early twenty-something years, but it seems the underlying emotional landscape acts on a more basic level and allows for stronger and more understanding connections. Crab walk! Taking a crab walk back to Bangkok, I'm flying through Johannesburg, threefour times, before heading back out east. First to get to Harare, then to get to Lusaka, then to get back to Harare and then back to Bangkok. I'm supposed to be giving trainings for HDN in all three locations, but will also spend some time on my own projects. Specifically, in Johannesburg, I'll do some work on, a social news portal, which is set to be launched on May 5th, Karl Marx' birthday. And in Harare, I'll do work for SAfAIDS. And, of course, I'll be visiting Rouzeh in Harare. In Harare, I'm set to stay at the the Small World lodge. Indeed, the same lodge/hostel where we stayed in 2004. A night's stay currently comes in at a respectable Yes, that's two billion Zimdollars. Well, that was the price a week ago. Meanwhile, in Zimbabe, they started to recount the presidential votecount yesterday. Mugabe seems to hope that, as the election process drags out, it will be given less and less coverage in the international press and he'll be able to get away with whatever it is he's planning for. Which could be quite something, as a Chinese ship with arms, destined for Zimbabwe, ended up being stuck in Durban, South Africa, yesterday, after local dockworkers refused to offload the ship's cargo. So far, Zimbabwe has remained surprisingly calm. Let's hope things stay that way. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3556 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 126 [iOldID] => 1100 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462224066 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.8031 [fLongitude] => 31.0296 [tLocation] => Small World Backpackers Lodge [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20080420 ) [262] => Array ( [iID] => 262 [tTitle] => Sixty years of Irene Boender [tSlug] => sixty-years-of-irene-boender [iTime] => 1096754400 [iUpdate] => 1096754400 [tDescription] => My mom had her birthday today, her 60th, which meant we had a rather big party yesterday evening. Not at home, but down at 'the club'. That is, where she and Nico play tennis. It meant they didn't serve spirits, only wine, beer and sodas. Still, by the time we got home, I felt knackered. The end result was that I came out of bed around 12. Betsy's mom (her parents were staying at our place, since they also came to the party but live in Friesland, which is like the other side of the world, if you're wondering) slept until even later. In the afternoon, we headed out to the beach of Scheveningen. To enjoy the reasonable autumn weather, have some fish, and check if the arcades had a version of 'Dancing Stage megamix'. They didn't. At Beelden aan zee (what a crappy website), we stumbled upon a fantastic collection of statues by Tom Otterness. Statues Earlier in the week, I recieved a call from UTi, saying they had located my missing crate with statues I sent from Zimbabwe. A good thing, although I was surprised the guy didn't even apologise for the delay and the fact that, at first, they wouldn't even acknowledge the loss of one crate. So, after having handed UTi the goods in early June, it took them close to four months to ship the stuff from Harare to Rotterdam. They claimed it would take 51 days. An other shipping company, Kuehne & Nagel, say they can do it in 21 days. Makes me rather sceptical. The crate was way too big to get into the car I was driving. As previously, I had borrowed Hoogstraten's car, since he only has two seats and a flat loading area in the back. Still, the crate, about half a cubic metre, wouldn't possibly fit. So while I was loading the goods from the crate in the car, a guy from customs walked over and started chatting with me, continuously checking what I had shipped from Zimbabwe. Many of the goods we now have can be found at Demonstrations I considered going to Amsterdam on Saturday and join the demonstrations against the Dutch government. The demonstrations were organized by the three major Dutch worker's unions. Not that I agree with them or disagree that much with the government, the problems the government currently are facing are too complex and I simply don't know enough to be able to form a clear opinion on the situation. But I thought of taking pictures for The service now running on the site which allows for visitors to have pictures sent directly to their mobile phone has actually allready earned me some money, although it only went live a week or so after the last event I took picture at. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 7922 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 4 [iVoters] => 1 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 262 [iOldID] => 399 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462156575 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 52.1155 [fLongitude] => 4.2833 [tLocation] => Boulevard [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20041003 ) [220] => Array ( [iID] => 220 [tTitle] => Little progress [tSlug] => little-progress [iTime] => 1090274400 [iUpdate] => 1090274400 [tDescription] => Before our departure, I had promised I would stop by the SRC, before heading out to Holland. On the road, I had already picked up the news that the SRC board of directors had been fired by the minister of sports. Now, talking to some of the people at the SRC about it, it wasn't really clear whether they got fired for political reasons or for not resolving the mess that's football (soccer) in Zimbabwe. They had managed to get an IT-'specialist' to replace me. Not anyone who really had applied for the job (none of the candidates was willing to even talk about the low salary on offer), but the young fellow, already working at the SRC who, according to management, could impossibly be transferred internally. But the best part's still to come. My PC, the PC with all the documents this guy needed, assessments, project plans, time lines, next steps, etc., had been taken to an SRC field office in Bulawayo. The boy had nothing to work on or with. But what's even better; shipping the PC, they hadn't taken the little note I had left with the computer, with the username and password. These people in Bulawayo had been sitting on a PC they hadn't been able to work with for over two weeks. These people. Last time I checked, the PC was still in Bulawayo. Then, it was really time to wrap up. We checked the status of our shipment of statues, now in Beira, and Betsy had her hair done in braids. Some last minute shopping and we went back to the lodge, where Bowasi, Darlington, Victoire and Nicola had prepared a delicious braai and I got totally pissed, leaving me with a headache the next morning. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 2889 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 130 [iOldID] => 323 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1461995569 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.821 [fLongitude] => 30.9938 [tLocation] => National Sports Stadium [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20040720 ) [218] => Array ( [iID] => 218 [tTitle] => We're back! [tSlug] => were-back [iTime] => 1090101600 [iUpdate] => 1090101600 [tDescription] => The cats, and particularly Jimmy, were most happy to see us. Then again, maybe this was because of the biltong we had brought with us. A shock came when we heard that Darlington had gotten married only the week before. I was going to do the bride-price (lobola) for him but now, that wasn't an option anymore. Already before we left, Darlington had appeared to be struggling with something and now, definitely, I assumed his new wife was already pregnant. The trip to Harare was a struggle. First a commuter to Chimoio, then another commuter to Machipanda, from where we had to walk across the border. On the other side, we had to share a cab to drive us to Mutare, from where we were just in time to catch the bus to Harare. There, we first got into a taxi which immediately blew its tire, after which we switched and, slowly but surely, arrived at our destination, Small World Backpacker's Lodge. The whole trip, by accident, we had made together with two Koreans who only spoke one word of Portuguese: 'Aqui?' and maybe two of English: 'Yes' and 'No'. At the border, I had to help them to fill in the forms before we could continue. Still, they managed to have our bus from Mutare take a detour and stop at their hotel, the Harare Holiday Inn. Along the way from Mutare, the bus was filling up completely. Not so much with passengers, but with luggage. Literally, complete households were being packed on top of the bus: beds, cupboards, even a whole furnace. Good times Back home, sipping on a Zambezi, I realized it was a very good thing we had made this trip. Not only for the obvious reasons, but also because of the following. Over the months I had been working in Zimbabwe, my disposition towards Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular had become rather negative. Our last five weeks had shown us that, indeed, you also can have a very good time on this continent. That is, as long as you don't have to rely on too much or too many people. Perfect for your holidays, then. I also realized that South Africa shows where Zimbabwe could have been but that Mozambique is an example of how much lower Zimbabwe can go. The future still has something in store for these poor Zimbabweans. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3298 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 5 [iVoters] => 2 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 126 [iOldID] => 321 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462050367 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.8031 [fLongitude] => 31.0296 [tLocation] => Small World Backpackers Lodge [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20040718 ) [185] => Array ( [iID] => 185 [tTitle] => And finally... [tSlug] => and-finally [iTime] => 1087250400 [iUpdate] => 1087250400 [tDescription] => Before I even arrived in Zimbabwe, I was promised a PC upon arrival. I had to struggle for some four weeks before I could actually use one. Way before I arrived, the SRC had already planned to buy new PCs for some of the workers. Nothing had ever come of that. That is, until this morning when, at 10, authorisation was given to buy PCs and network cards for the old PCs. I laughed hard and told them that, with me leaving in only a couple of hours, buying the PCs was pointless. They did buy the network cards which arrived somewhere after lunch. Late, so I only had time to install two of them. The rest of the cards. Well. Whatever. I said my goodbyes to everyone and some didn't even know I was leaving. Great internal communication. I also talked to the lady from HR. Only last Thursday did she come up with the shortlisted candidates for my 'counterpart', a position that should have been filled more than two months ago, after the original counterpart got fired. After having gone through the shortlist myself and selecting the candidates that had potential, she had called them yesterday to invite them over for an interview. None of them was interested. The salaray and package was, they said, way below par. In fact, when I returned to say hi-bye a bit over a month later, Greens, the fellow who had some low-ranking job at the SRC but a keen interest in computers, had been transferred to take over from me. Sadly, his (mine) computer had been moved to Bulawayo and no one knew what needed to be done. The evening was enjoyable. Together with some hashers, Ivor and a whole bunch of locals, we watched Germany and Holland fight it out during one of the opening games of Euro 2004. The Germans scored first and Betsy and I were afraid we were starting to look like fools, dressed in orange and waving flags and all. Thankfully, they equalised the score a while later. It was good to see Lovemore also at the Keg. Lovemore's working at UTI, the company Betsy and I are shipping our statues with back to Holland. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3780 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 175 [iOldID] => 288 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462014434 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.76 [fLongitude] => 31.0886 [tLocation] => Keg and Sable [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20040615 ) [184] => Array ( [iID] => 184 [tTitle] => Different workers [tSlug] => different-workers [iTime] => 1087164000 [iUpdate] => 1087164000 [tDescription] => Lounging around the lodge, waiting for my contract to end, I started talking to one of the other guests. Roderick, South African but living in Swaziland was on his way back from Lumumbashi, in the DRC, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, going into South Africa. Not a tourist, he spent six weeks there trying to buy precious stones. Inbetween violent clashes on the streets, he was offered, on those same streets, diamonds by the hand full. But he wasn't going for diamonds. He had to spend some days at the DRC - Zambia border to find the right people to pay off so that he could pass with his truck and 90.000 USD worth of cobalt. He was now slightly worried about his next leg, going into South Africa where big trucks get pushed off the road by truck-jackers. If I'm not mistaken, cobalt is the stuff that ends up in all our cell phones and is about as valuable, if not more, as gold. Meanwhile, some Spanish and Canadian guests have arrived in the lodge as well. They are going to work in Zimbabwe, harvesting grain. Fucked up or what? [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3530 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 126 [iOldID] => 287 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1461892076 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.8031 [fLongitude] => 31.0296 [tLocation] => Small World Backpackers Lodge [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20040614 ) [178] => Array ( [iID] => 178 [tTitle] => Typical [tSlug] => typical [iTime] => 1086300000 [iUpdate] => 1086300000 [tDescription] => When ICCO extended my stay for only two weeks, I felt a little bit sorry for the SRC. These people struggle to appear professional but mostly act like kids entrusted with tasks which are way above their heads. So I constantly have been suggesting ways to improve their business practices and, of course, it hasn't helped much. Some months ago, I arrived at my office to find the phone line to be disconnected for the SRC not paying its bills. One would think these people would learn from this and pay their bills on time. Not so. Today, I found my Internet connection no longer working, the account being cancelled. It wouldn't surprise me if payments were never made at all. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 5848 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 130 [iOldID] => 277 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462143615 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.821 [fLongitude] => 30.9938 [tLocation] => National Sports Stadium [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20040604 ) [177] => Array ( [iID] => 177 [tTitle] => Even more pecans [tSlug] => even-more-pecans [iTime] => 1086127200 [iUpdate] => 1086127200 [tDescription] => Got up terribly early today to go to the airport with Ivor. He was flying to Amsterdam and agreed to take some of our luggage with him, so that we don't have to lug it around when we start touring the region in a couple of weeks. It was a challenge: He was only allowed to take 23 kilograms and my luggage alone was already 25. Normally, these people can't really be bothered, but soon after Ivor checked in, I joined the group of people re-ordering their luggage, moving as much as possible to hand luggage. Nice nuts When I arrived at the lodge, I was welcomed by huge bowls, filled to the brim with pecan nuts. Pete and Rachel had arrived earlier in the week and Pete decided it was time to enjoy a healthy share of nuts, climbing in the tree and thuroughly shaking it. Now he wants to make pecan butter. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3340 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 126 [iOldID] => 275 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1461975882 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.8031 [fLongitude] => 31.0296 [tLocation] => Small World Backpackers Lodge [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20040602 ) [176] => Array ( [iID] => 176 [tTitle] => Project extension in Zimbabwe [tSlug] => project-extension-in-zimbabwe [iTime] => 1086040800 [iUpdate] => 1086040800 [tDescription] => Over the last three months, I've been working on a project with the Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC) of Zimbabwe, in Harare. If the SRC was going to behave 'well', the project was going to be extended to two years. Last week, ICCO, the Dutch organization funding my stay, decided no extension was in order. They decided that June 15th is going to be my last day at the office. The SRC, I believe, still hope that somehow they'll avert the crisis and that I'll end up staying longer, I don't think it'll happen. Over the past months, I observed a couple of things. Amongst others, they are... The smell Zimbabweans have a particular smell. In Mongolia, the locals smelled of mutton. Here, they smell of sadza ne nyama. It's getting colder now, so people sweat less, meaning you can now occasionally smell the perfumes and after shaves people wear, but in summer... man! Traveling on a commuter can be a real challenge. The noise When people speak Shona, they speak much louder then when speaking English. Quite often, locals are hard to hear when they're talking English. This has nothing to do with some inferiority complex, or whatever, when these people address foreigners or white people in general: they do it amongst themselves as well. However, when they speak Shona, the volume goes up a couple of notches. In the lodge, this sometimes startles me. The maids, sometimes talking English with each other, almost whisper but switch to a very loud voice when switching to Shona. The social contract It has been observed by many people that in many African cultures, it's all right to fool/steal from/harass some one, as long as the person is not part of your extended family. I believe this is because Africans, in general, don't have a 'social contract' with society as a whole, but mostly only with their extended family. In Europe, it's mostly the other way around, you don't have a social contract with your family much more than you have with society as a whole. Examples are rife. Here in Zimbabwe, black people, when driving a car, generally don't let pedestrians cross the road (black or white), at zebra crossings or anywhere else. At work, getting teamwork off the ground is a real challenge since people prefer, at all times, to only work on their own agenda. And don't get me started on Zimbabwean politics... land reform for the rich. The lack of a social contract with society as a whole poses significant problems for the development of a country, or for stopping the continuous depredation of a country, as is the case in Zimbabwe. In fact, this might very well be the main reason why so many African countries have done so badly over the past decades. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 9973 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 7 [iVoters] => 3 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 126 [iOldID] => 274 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462125678 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.8031 [fLongitude] => 31.0296 [tLocation] => Small World Backpackers Lodge [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20040601 ) [2123] => Array ( [iID] => 2123 [tTitle] => Technology consultant in Zimbabwe [tSlug] => technology-consultant-in-zimbabwe [iTime] => 1085954400 [iUpdate] => 1516115363 [tDescription] => During the last three months, I've been working as a technology consultant with the Sport and Recreation Commission (SRC) of Zimbabwe. The plan was to stay two years and help them creating a LAN and later a WAN and establish an information system which would support the organization as well as the many sports associations in Zimbabwe. Although some progress was made (installation of a LAN), due to what seems to be a lack of commitment, a lack of priorities or both, I'll be finishing up this posting in a few weeks time. [iCategory] => 5 [tURL] => [iViews] => 7138 [iClicks] => 843 [iRating] => 3 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 126 [iOldID] => 1301 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462183578 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => sparse [iHideMap] => 1 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 3 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.8031 [fLongitude] => 31.0296 [tLocation] => Small World Backpackers Lodge [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Work [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 5 [categories] => Array ( [5] => Array ( [iID] => 5 [tName] => Work [tSlug] => work [tDescription] => Work, shmork! But, yes, one needs to make a living as well. I'm a self employed web developer with extensive experience in 'the south', that is, the developing world. I strongly focus on social applications, or, 'web 2.0'. If you're intrigued, you can check out my CV. My business is called Baba's projects. [iOrder] => 6 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => sparse [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => bf:blogitem=1301 ) [174] => Array ( [iID] => 174 [tTitle] => Another Zimbabwean trashing [tSlug] => another-zimbabwean-trashing [iTime] => 1085781600 [iUpdate] => 1085781600 [tDescription] => After buying some goodies at the Avondale market, we went down to Harare Sports Club to witness another good Zimbabwean trashing, this time by the Australian cricket team. If you're only a marginal fan of cricket, you still have to have lived outside of this solar system to have missed the news on Zimbabwean cricket from the last couple of months. Fifteen white players withdrew or got kicked out, depending on whose version you believe, after they refused to play when the Zimbabwean Cricket Union (ZCU) decided that the national Zimbabwean cricket team needed to consist of a minimum of 50% blacks, regardless of their past performance. This resulted in a truly crappy team playing Sri Lanka some weeks ago. Although initially the International Cricket Union (ICU) claimed the issues surrounding Zimbabwean cricket were internal and of no relevance to the ICU, they somehow changed their position and, last week, demanded changes to the Zimbabwean cricket team. Suddenly, five of the fifteen players were asked to return, but in the end only two came back. Nevertheless, the ICU made sure the two test matches were to be canceled, so they ended up only playing the three ODIs, in which Zimbabwe was, well, humiliated. Not that it had any effect on the mood at Harare Sports Club this Saturday, during the third and last ODI. Nice and warm (in the sun, at least), we enjoyed drinks and food while some people were throwing bowls at each other on some grassy pitch close to where we were sitting. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 5917 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 131 [iOldID] => 271 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462232052 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.8086 [fLongitude] => 31.0383 [tLocation] => Harare sports club [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20040529 ) [173] => Array ( [iID] => 173 [tTitle] => Game over man, game over [tSlug] => game-over-man-game-over [iTime] => 1085695200 [iUpdate] => 1085695200 [tDescription] => Yes, you read it here first. The game, is over. Over the past three months, I've been sending out bi-weekly updates (that's one every two weeks) to ICCO, reporting on the goings on at the SRC. Last week, I wrote a pretty damning evaluation with the suggestion of extending my stay a couple of months, to allow for an overlap with the expected IT officer which was supposed to become my counterpart. ICCO, however, decided letting me stay on for a couple of months didn't serve any real purpose and wasn't justified by what has happened over the past months. In two weeks time, my contract ends. I. Am. Out. Of. Here. I appreciate the extension. It allows for us to go on a Hash trip to Kariba in two weeks time. After that, our course of action will depend on how much money we'll have in the banks. If nothing, we'll fly back immediately, if a bit, we'll stop by Nampula in Mozambique before heading to Malawi and possibly flying back home from there. If a lot, we'll visit South Africa before going to Mozambique and Malawi. Although I never really expected the project to get extended to a two year assignment, the fact that it didn't even get extended for a couple of months did surprise me. No one within the SRC has even a mild understanding of IT, so after investing 30 million (US$5000) in a network, they'll have a very hard time operating it within no one there to maintain it. A bit of a bummer for these people, but then again, it's also largely their own fault. Almost on a daily basis, I was asked what needed to be done next in relation to the SRC's IT 'strategy'. Every time, I had to tell them I wrote it down in a report that detailed all the necessary steps to grow from a collection of stand alone PCs to a networked environment with shared Internet access and an information system accessible from within and without the organization. I wrote the document two months ago and it was supposedly read by management (and they are the ones who mostly ask me what's next). Then, I go on to tell them what it is that needs to be done next. Every time, nothing happened. Yesterday, after hooking up a PC onto the network, minutes later, the owner walked into my office. If I could put some music on the network. Today, another individual did the same thing. Surprising how that's the first thing they thought about when being able to connect to each others PCs over the network. And then... Yeah, and then what? Well, nothing's certain, but ICCO is looking into posting me somewhere else. There are two projects, so it seems, which currently loosely fit my profile, but both projects still have to be approved by ICCO. One is in Honduras. One is in... Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Betsy and I are looking into buying hand made arts and crafts here in Zimbabwe, shipping it out to the Netherlands and selling it over there, at, of course, huge profits. To keep us busy, you know. And since I have no more clients back in the Netherlands (remember, I was supposed to stay here for two years), I probably will need the money badly. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 4121 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 5 [iVoters] => 1 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 130 [iOldID] => 270 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1461976078 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.821 [fLongitude] => 30.9938 [tLocation] => National Sports Stadium [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20040528 ) [169] => Array ( [iID] => 169 [tTitle] => Cats and a daylight mugging [tSlug] => cats-and-a-daylight-mugging [iTime] => 1085004000 [iUpdate] => 1085004000 [tDescription] => The lodge has three rather permanent residents: Jimmy, Nook and Misty, all cats. Nook and Misty came with the property, but Jimmy came with Darlington, the manager. Last Sunday, I realized that Jimmy had been gone for at least two days, possibly longer and I have to admit, I had started to get worried. Over the next couple of days, we went through every nook and cranny at the lodge, but didn't find the cat. We could do nothing much but wait. Then, today, he suddenly arrived again. Thin as a board and with some nasty wounds on one of his back paws. Luckily, nothing was broken and by the end of the day, he was already starting to very, very slowly move around a little bit. He know walked like Nook, the Sarah of the three at 16 years, blind in one eye and no longer with a tail. Misty is the queen of the cat population at the lodge. Only a couple of years younger than Nook and half persian, she acts very regal and only gets petted if she explicitly wants to get petted. Mugging During HIFA, some other guests at the lodge were John and Semia. He's Zimbabwean but living in Mozambique, she's half German, half Tunisian, living in Germany. They're getting married early next year and were now enjoying Harare. Several times, we went out together. Today, John had come back from South Africa. Semia had left for Germany last week and now John's about to move back to Mozambique again. When he pulled up to the lodge, no-one was there to open the gate, so he got out of his car to do it himself. Just then, four guys got out of a vehicle that was approaching him from the opposite direction and tried to grab his bag from the car. A fight ensued, John was able to get his bag back, while his phone fell on the floor. They grabbed his phone and ran off. Most likely, they had been following him around, to see where he'd go. Although John's Zimbabwean, he's driving a Mozambican car. Last year Bowas, a friend of Darlington, had his car hijacked right in front of the lodge's gate. It was found, several months later, in Malawi. It took him months to get it back again. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3713 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 126 [iOldID] => 262 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462054547 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.8031 [fLongitude] => 31.0296 [tLocation] => Small World Backpackers Lodge [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20040520 ) [2116] => Array ( [iID] => 2116 [tTitle] => Harare tree signs [tSlug] => harare-tree-signs [iTime] => 1084831200 [iUpdate] => 1084831200 [tDescription] => If you've ever visited Zimbabwe, you've seen them: Signs nailed to trees advocating anything from 'The Finest Treecutters' to 'Abortion Hurts Families". Since I'm not always that busy over here, in Harare, I spent some time collecting pictures of these signs. [iCategory] => 10 [tURL] => [iViews] => 21420 [iClicks] => 1626 [iRating] => 4 [iVote] => 10 [iVoters] => 2 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 126 [iOldID] => 1294 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462170952 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 159 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.8031 [fLongitude] => 31.0296 [tLocation] => Small World Backpackers Lodge [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Photography [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 10 [categories] => Array ( [10] => Array ( [iID] => 10 [tName] => Photography [tSlug] => photography [tDescription] => All my photos worth looking at reside on Flickr. Check out what Flickr thinks are my more interesting products and notice that most of them are of a sexual nature.

Also check out my blog listing the world's photomarathons. [iOrder] => 4 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => thumbnailed [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => bf:blogitem=1294 ) [165] => Array ( [iID] => 165 [tTitle] => Network! [tSlug] => network [iTime] => 1084485600 [iUpdate] => 1084485600 [tDescription] => Yep, there is a network at the SRC office now. This contractor has been struggling over the past three weeks, but it appears to be working. Thirtythree access points. Now, since there are only about five PCs with a network card, we have to wait for the new PCs to arrive. This can take a while, since they were supposed to have been bought before I arrived in Zimbabwe. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 5645 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 130 [iOldID] => 256 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462007359 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.821 [fLongitude] => 30.9938 [tLocation] => National Sports Stadium [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20040514 ) [160] => Array ( [iID] => 160 [tTitle] => More HIFA [tSlug] => more-hifa [iTime] => 1083448800 [iUpdate] => 1083448800 [tDescription] => When I realized where Tuku was playing at HIFA, it was already too late. The venue only fitted about two hundred people and, instead of Friday's show where he played with The Black Spirits, Sunday's show at HIFA was The Oliver Mtukudzi Quartet; Tuku, a djembe player and two girls as backing vocals. Still, we were very, very lucky. When returning from another show, we bumped into Andre, the guy who runs Nyati travel. We started talking because we noticed we both spoke Dutch and although Henk (another Dutchie staying at the lodge whose son is buying and selling sculptures) knows him and talked to me about him, we hadn't met him yet. Andre was so kind as to donate one of his complementary tickets for the Tuku show to us (Nyati travel sponsored HIFA this year) so we ran of to see the show. After a bit of a struggle, we both were allowed in, only to experience the last song of Tuku's show. We should have gotten tickets for this one. The evening before, we had seen Ishmael Lo on the main stage of the festival. This West African artist was nice, but not spectacular. It only got interesting when Tuku performed a couple of songs with the man. Earlier on the Saturday, we had seen Once Vaudeville, by Lone Wolf Tribe, the American performer Kevin Augustine. The show was very good and way to short. As the son of a great ventriloquist, the main character tries a show with his father's now senile puppet that is larger than life. The show is an allegory of an artist's and an era's decline. The show was very well performed and very touching. Later, we witnessed Andrew Buckland and his one-man-show Feedback. Buckland is an amazing performer but the story wasn't as good as Buckland himself. The show charted the encounter between D'Earth Foodstuffs Multinational and Mother Myrth, where Mother Myrth is killed and the murder investigated by Brother Myrth and detective Deadly Serious. Buckland's gargantuan performance was highlighted by him performing all (5 or so) characters, as well as personifying foodstuffs. On the Sunday, our first show should have been African Macbeth. However, Pete had seen the show on Friday and thought it absolutely terrible so we opted for a long sleep instead. Enjoyable, since both on Saturday and Sunday, we had been woken early by a big group of 18-year-old girls who started chatting, giggling, screaming and moaning, both mornings, at 7am. Terrible, really. So our first show was Mbirations, the trio of Werner Puntigam, Adam Chisvo and Klaus Hollinetz. Using an mbira and a sliding trumpet ('schuiftrompet' in Dutch) as centerpieces, they did a live performance of industrial experimental music. Very nice. I was annoyed I didn't bring my minidisk recorder. The second show was Unveiling, a play by Vaclav Havel performed by three reasonably well-known Zimbabwean actors. The acting was slightly above mediocrity, but what was very surprising were the political undertones of the play. Originally, the play is about a couple who after joining the communist party, receive many perks and are now trying to convince one of their friends to turn his back on the opposition and join the party too. Effortlessly, the premise applies nicely to the current situation in Zimbabwe and the play made it very clear that the couple was now ZANU-PF. Just for being so daring, the three deserved a standing ovation. On Saturday evening, the after party was big. A local band performed African beats to a roaring, but black, crowd. On the Sunday, Bann'd For Life played their last gig and the audience was a small and almost exclusively white crowd. Lots of fun however, although Gus, the lead singer, didn't agree on performing Radar Love this time. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 4633 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 152 [iOldID] => 244 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462209654 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.8244 [fLongitude] => 31.0452 [tLocation] => HIFA festival grounds [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20040502 ) [158] => Array ( [iID] => 158 [tTitle] => HIFA [tSlug] => hifa [iTime] => 1083189600 [iUpdate] => 1083189600 [tDescription] => Since Harare is as culturally active as a modern day dodo, it's no surprise that HIFA, the Harare International Festival of Arts, now in its fifth year, is a welcome relief. However mainly catering to the white population, partially because of the, for locals, steep prices and partially because the black population simply doesn't appear to be really interested in arts and 'culture' as such, the festival's activities can give quite a distorted view of what's going on in Harare, on a normal weekend. Some of the shows are staged at the 7 Arts cinema at Avondale, but most of the activities occur on or close to the festival grounds, on the edge of the inner city. On Tuesday, we visited Jorge Pardo and the Francisco Molina Trio, a combination of jazz and flamenco. And it was spectacular. Most of the shows at HIFA only run for about an hour, which was by far the largest drawback for this outing. Nevertheless, the combination of Pardo's guitar and Molina's flute and saxophones was perfect. The music being so lively and colorful, everyone left with smiles from ear to ear. A pity, however, that we came to late for the free sangria that was handed out before the show, courtesy of the Spanish embassy, who sponsored this event. On Wednesday, we watched Le Centre National de Danse Contemporaine. And thank god they did two sets. The first was nice, four dancers slowly dancing while being engulfed in light reflected off mirrors held by other dancers, until a black guy appeared to get a ten minute spastic fit on stage. I was reminded once again that, indeed, besides watching fit young nearly naked women jump around on stage, I'm not a big fan of modern dance. The second part was much better with a much larger group dancing semi-synchronous but highly orchestrated in colorful costumes to industrial dance music. The second show we went to were the Cool Crooners featuring Prudence Katomeni. They are supposed to be 'premier exponents of township jazz', but to me it sounded more like blues with African rhythms. It was a great spectacle. The group has been playing together since the fifties, so they're no longer the youngest kids on the block. Still they danced as if they thought they were still in their teens. Lots of fun and very good music. Prudence's appearance was good to, her higher-pitched voice being a very good contrast with the gentlemen's low baritones. Our first show on Thursday was 'My Favourite Things' by Tangled Tribe, a Zimbabwean dancers collective. Although the premise wasn't bad, the group explored the individual's preferences as a defining property for an individual as part of a particular culture, they should have practiced quite a bit more. The second show was fantastic. Also dance, this time 'Mzansi' by the South African collective Moving Into Dance. The show only lasted for 45 minutes and was so well choreographed, expressive, exciting and lively that everyone in the audience was annoyed it was over so quickly. It appeared they were doing something of a dancer's history of South Africa. Connectivity Meanwhile, connectivity has almost ground to a halt. It has been impossible this week to check my email. Web surfing is only barely possible. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 26116 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 170 [iVoters] => 55 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 150 [iOldID] => 241 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462187944 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.803 [fLongitude] => 31.0387 [tLocation] => 7 Arts cinema [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20040429 ) [157] => Array ( [iID] => 157 [tTitle] => Pecan heaven [tSlug] => pecan-heaven [iTime] => 1082930400 [iUpdate] => 1082930400 [tDescription] => I haven't highlighted the joys of pecans yet. The Small World has got a huge pecan tree hanging over the courtyard. Since autumn has started, the pecans have begun to come down and although you have to watch out not to get these sturdy nuts falling on your head, they taste delicious. And there are so many of them! Chinese Meanwhile, I arrived at work today, to find a bunch Chinese hanging around, using digital cameras to record the current state of the stadium. I asked what was going on and it seems that the stadium will get a long-needed checkup soon. Sports and animals Since I'm not doing a lot about my physical wellbeing (running a couple of kilometers before going on a drinking binge every Monday doesn't really count, does it), I can feel myself swell in every direction except the right ones. So, last Saturday, Betsy and I decided to check out some sports clubs in the neighbourhood. The physical exercise of walking around was good. Visiting the clubs rather pointless. At Old Hararians, it felt like still being in Rhodesia. Old whites in shorts hanging at the bar, old people dressed immaculately white playing bowls outside. Alexandra sports club was different, but the same. Here, everyone was black. The bar was just being restocked, no doubt for the drinking party after the soccer match that was being played on the grounds. On Sunday, we went to Mukuvisi woodlands. A small nature reserve on the outskirts of town. We saw the usual animals (including giraffe) and had some samosas at the arts and crafts fair on the grounds. We considered bying a huge hand made mask for a mere 60$. How to get it home..? Braai Hanging out in former white colonies in southern Africa is nothing without a regular braai. Betsy prepared one on Friday and although we were surprised by a heavy tropical rainstorm just minutes before the chicken hit the braai, we still managed. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 5525 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 126 [iOldID] => 238 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462051904 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.8031 [fLongitude] => 31.0296 [tLocation] => Small World Backpackers Lodge [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20040426 ) [154] => Array ( [iID] => 154 [tTitle] => Blow [tSlug] => blow [iTime] => 1082325600 [iUpdate] => 1082325600 [tDescription] => Ivor had driven all the way on our outbound journey, save for a short stretch where Jacqueline sat behind the wheel. On the way back, I drove about half the time, but was snoring nicely when Ivor blew a tire after 250kms. Although he was convinced we wouldn't make it to Harare on the thin spare, we took it easy and still arrived at 7pm. This time, I got all the police roadblocks but we passed every time without a problem. Twice, the first question I was asked was "How was your holiday?" [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 4669 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 149 [iOldID] => 231 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462043141 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -18.7659 [fLongitude] => 27.5757 [tLocation] => On the road from Victoria Falls to Bulawayo [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20040419 ) [144] => Array ( [iID] => 144 [tTitle] => Death of a queen [tSlug] => death-of-a-queen [iTime] => 1080255600 [iUpdate] => 1080255600 [tDescription] => Today, together with Ivor, his wife Jacqueline and Betsy, I signed the condolence register for the former Dutch queen Juliana at the Dutch embassy. She'll be buried in Delft on the 30th of March, so unfortunately, well miss that event on which the 'famous' Bourdon will sound once more. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 5487 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 136 [iOldID] => 207 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462113515 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.8056 [fLongitude] => 31.0798 [tLocation] => Dutch embassy [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20040326 ) [143] => Array ( [iID] => 143 [tTitle] => A good day at the office [tSlug] => a-good-day-at-the-office [iTime] => 1080169200 [iUpdate] => 1080169200 [tDescription] => Today was one of the better days so far. Business-wise, that is. For one, I finally got my external hard disk working. I brought it, containing my digital self, but I've been fighting with it over the past week to get it working. Machines wouldn't recognize it, or it would stop working mid-way. Turned out, after screwing the thing open, the internal power cord wasn't connected all that well. And I talked to the assistent DG (Director General) today. A good thing. Already in my first week here, I created a couple of handwritten (!) documents with observations and suggestions. No follow-ups on these documents have been done so far. Also, I still don't have a signed contract and no Internet connection (I've hijacked someone else's). The contract is quite pressing. Without a contract, I don't get paid by PSO. If I don't get paid, why am I working? I've been voicing my concerns about this non-action from my first week here. This week, as it turned out, my 'boss' has gone away, for a week, to Bulawayo. It was time to take it to the next level. I wrote a memo, but preferred a chat. Wednesday morning, I made it clear to Joseph (assistent DG) I thought it wise to talk. He agreed we would talk later in the morning. Nothing. So I left the rather 'strong' memo in his inbox at the end of the day. The next morning, less then five minutes after my entering the office, Joseph wanted to talk. He claimed he hadn't read the memo yet, but I'm not so sure about that. The memo and our talk made it clear that if what I've been seeing of the SRC over the past four weeks is typical, my position won't be extended. In fact, if I don't get my contract signed rather quickly, I won't be showing up at the SRC anymore. And I suggested it was time to act on the suggestions I had putten forward over the past weeks. It felt rather good to voice my concerns at a slightly higher level. At the end of our talk, Joseph seemed sincere in his concern and he said he would take immediate action. I'm still waiting. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 7170 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 130 [iOldID] => 206 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462220080 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.821 [fLongitude] => 30.9938 [tLocation] => National Sports Stadium [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20040325 ) ) ) Keyword: Harare ::