Array ( [total] => 69 [pageSize] => 24 [page] => 0 [results] => Array ( [5607] => Array ( [iID] => 5607 [tTitle] => On the future of the African diaspora [tSlug] => on-the-future-of-the-african-diaspora [iTime] => 1446159600 [iUpdate] => 1446159600 [tDescription] => Often not realised in the ‘west’, Brazil has a strong connection with Africa. (I wrote about one aspect of that two months ago.) So, for a broad conference on africanfutures, organised by the Goethe Institut, to also be hosted by the Goethe Institut in Sao Paulo should not come as a surprise. However, as part of this broad collection of events, the video conference which I attended and was set in three locations simultaneously, New York, Johannesburg and Sao Paulo, lacked depth, subtlety and insight. The video conference’s subject matter was the future of the African diaspora, with, as a side, African futurism, the central theme of the main festival, as perhaps a guideline. A feature of the remit of the festival as a whole, the video conference failed to define both ‘Africa’ and ‘African diaspora’. As a result, all attendants conveniently forgot about Africa above the Sahara, that is, non-black Africa, while only referring to the African diaspora as the diaspora in the Americas, in the context of the Europe-dominated slave trade. I’m very fine with discussing the future and futurism of the sub-Saharan African diaspora as a consequence of the European slave trade, but as a conference or festival organizer, have the decency to not pretend that all of Africa is black and that all African diaspora can only be found in the Americas. Perhaps because of this lack of framing, too much of the video conference was about how ‘Africans’ still suffered from the yoke of colonialism. “’Futurism’ is a western concept.”, “‘Africa’ is a western concept’”, etc. And, this need to hammer on the colonial past, the Brazilian moderator of the panel in Sao Paulo needed to make a point of demonstrating against the use of English as the language of communication, at the video conference. Not only is English a colonial language, it was forced on the Brazilian participants, who would prefer to speak Portuguese. (Even though Portuguese, too, is a colonial language while the reason for English as the language of communication at the conference is a consequence of English being the world’s lingua franca, like it or not.) More importantly, in relation to one of the main themes of the conference, the emphasis on the loss of black identity and the rediscovery of what it means to be black, ‘becoming black’ as it was put by one of the Brazilian speakers, reinforces segregation based on skin color. A segregation that’s both superficial and artificial. Yes, it’s very important that the consequences of colonisers’ pasts, in the Americas and at home, are not ignored. Yes, it’s important that history, both the better and worse parts, are taught and preserved. But, to claim a heritage that was not actualised for hundreds of years and to frame that as an essential right to be appropriated, works towards active segregation in the present, while really being a cultural appropriation that is artificial. It would be like, say, Mongolian immigrants to the Middle East claiming their Siberian heritage, or Greek immigrants in Persia never letting go of their heritage. In the end, after hundreds of years, assimilation is the only way forward. Additionally, I'm somewhat reminded of goth teenagers telling their parents that it’s ‘not a phase’. To their credit, the speakers in Johannesburg not once mentioned ‘black’ culture or race, while the moderator in New York pointed out that “as soon as the discussion crossed from South Africa to Brazil, ‘African’ was replaced by ‘black’”. However, the Kenyan guest in New York happily continued along the same lines, eventually claiming everything to be African, because “the future started in Africa” and “the past started in Africa”. Ah well. It’s good to see an extensive festival spanning three continents on the future of Africa (which, the guest in New York rightfully pointed out, is *not* a country), even though it’s ironic that this is hosted by a German cultural institution. Yet, there’s still a lot of room for improving both the framing of the discussion as well as the depth of the arguments. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 1146 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1454 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462228857 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -23.5561 [fLongitude] => -46.6817 [tLocation] => Goethe Institut [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] => 20151030 ) [5565] => Array ( [iID] => 5565 [tTitle] => Food, hippos and the hills of Medellin [tSlug] => food-hippos-and-the-hills-of-medellin [iTime] => 1422486000 [iUpdate] => 1422486000 [tDescription] => A more than passing resemblance exists between the layouts of the cities of Medellin and La Paz. Both, sprawling cities surrounded by mountains, edged by slums accessible by cable cars. But, Medellin has lost virtually all its colonial architecture and feels much more affluent. It's also one of the few cities on the continent and the only one in Colombia that has a metro. Or, sky train, mostly, which also brings up similarities with some south East Asian cities, the level of development appearing comparable. And, this is somewhat reinforced by the Asiatic ethnic features of some of the Colombians. Medellin aspires to greatness and claims to be built on seven hills. Also interesting is that the region, Paisaland, was originally primarily occupied by two groups. One of Basque origin, the other Jews. Years of mixing has eradicated those origins. Medellin's metropolitan cathedral is a huge church made of brick. Apparently, it's one of the largest brick churches in the world. (The biggest is in Gdansk.) For the 2008 edition of the Lonely Planet, a lazy author only called around for info on updating the guide and ended up being misinformed, listing the church as the largest in the world. Downtown Medellin gives off a feel of reclaimed inner city, similar to Johannesburg, say, or perhaps also São Paolo. But, this is hardly surprising as, specifically after the killing of Pablo Escobar and the subsequent Uribe presidency, Colombia in general and Medellin in particular, completely turned their safety and security records around. In Medellin, in part, this was done by refurbishing large parts of the city's favelas, as well as connecting them to a city wide public transport grid. Medellin pioneered the concept of using cable cars for public transport to connect the slums on the city's crowded mountain sides. With that also came the creation and maintenance of public spaces and the initiation of public cultural centers, within the favelas. People living in houses that had to make way for providing this connectivity were relocated by the state with the objective of not disturbing the social cohesion of the groups involved. Personal drug use, including cocaine, was decriminalized. The concepts, after proving successful, were copied by a myriad of other cities with similar problems, most notably Rio de Janeiro. And, taking one of the cable cars in to the favelas, with the now well maintained roads, the functional and usable public spaces, it's hard not to notice the apparent mellowness now dominating the favelas, though, it also appears, the slums as I saw them in Rio tend to be significantly poorer. The favela I stayed in, for three weeks in Rio, saw multiple daily military police patrols, with shots being fired nearly every day. But, also in Medellin, not everything is as it seems. There's a lovely park on the outskirts of town. One of the cable cars that goes into one of the favelas connects to another cable car that's outside of the regular public transport system. The long ride takes you to the middle of the huge park where in a large service area a host of well trained staff try to make you feel comfortable. Several free daily tours take you around the area, with a mandatory guide, and mounted police follow you around. A butterfly farm is nearby and I asked how long the walk would be. "Oh, you can't walk there! You have to take the free bus." "Why can't I walk?" "Well, it's not safe." "Safe? Why is it not safe?" "Well, there are many people that will try to hurt you." With which she was mimicking a stabbing motion. Close to Medellin, 40 to 50 hippos are said to roam around in the wild as a consequence of two of them breaking out of Pablo Escobar's private zoo. Two foods worth eating are chocolate with cheese, and a sugary caramel-like substance called melocha. The latter is prepared like dough, around pegs tied to a pole (say a telephone pole) on the street. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 1253 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1392 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462238196 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 18 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 6.2653 [fLongitude] => -75.5615 [tLocation] => Cementerio San Pedro [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] => 20150129 ) [5493] => Array ( [iID] => 5493 [tTitle] => Past visions of the future [tSlug] => past-visions-of-the-future [iTime] => 1395270000 [iUpdate] => 1395270000 [tDescription] => In a Jetsons kind of way, Brasilia, the 54 year old capital of Brazil, is still very futuristic. But, very much like the Jetsons, Brasilia is a vision of the future from the past; outdated and not exactly 'modern'. The city, built under president Juscelino Kubitschek, and designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer, urban planner Lucio Costa and landscape architect Burle Marx, has a floor plan designed to resemble an airplane, or bird, with a wingspan of some 10km. In these four men's vision of the future, everyone would be moving around by car or, at the very least, motorized public transport, the urban walkways being an afterthought, at best. Thankfully, probably in preparation for the hordes of tourists that will come to Brazil this summer, the municipality is putting in a bunch of cycle lanes, presumably as a preparation for providing a shared biking scheme like in some other Brazilian cities. For the moment, though, to see the city's sights, you have to walk a lot, or get very intimate with the badly documented public transport system. Still, I was able to rent a bike from a local bike shop at a reasonable enough rate (15 reais per day, only 50 for three days, yes you read that right) and enjoyed several of the more far flung architectural gems. Virtually impossible to visit by public transport, at least in the time it took me, I cycled over 60km and managed to get my fill of 1960s retrofuturism. As well of a bunch of Chinese moving around, how else, in a rented tour bus. Outside of the main axis of Brasilia, access for cyclists rapidly deteriorates. Though cycle lanes exist in a few places, they typically don't accommodate crossing major thoroughfares, meaning you typically end up playing a real life version of Frogger. Or, when your only option is the highway, moving along on the edge of the road, or on the soft shoulder, with traffic speeding you by. The city must have been empty at its inauguration. Constructions designed by Niemeyer were put up as late as the first decade of the 21st century, Niemeyer himself only passing away in 2012. Some of the suburbs, not so much the endless rows of apartment buildings, more the one or two story outer suburbs, as well as the more upmarket suburbs surrounding the huge man made lake, reminded me a lot of the suburbs of Johannesburg, constructed in similar times as well as without pedestrianized or two-wheeled traffic in mind. The weirdest implementations of the traffic grid are the bus stops on either side of major highways with no safe way to cross. Niemeyer might have been a visionary in some ways, he also obviously missed a few obvious aspects of designing a city for all. Anyway, the whole of Brasilia having been so meticulously planned before anyone moved there, examples of disconnects between how space was expected to be used and how it actually is used are legion. It's fascinating to move around the city, if only for its mind boggling scale. Completely planned, not organically grown, and very spacious, the city feels more sterile than most and, very much, a product of the 1950s or 1960s. Additionally, because of the city's scale, Oscar Niemeyer's creations feel terribly small, as if they should have been 3, 4 or even 5 times as large as they are now. And some truly are tiny, pavilion-sized at best, sometimes smack in the middle of extensive residential neighborhoods, almost being gobbled up by neighboring structures. Brasilia is one of the few completely constructed new capitals which actually seems to be quite successful. From just jungle in 1955, the city's population now approaches three million. Similar initiatives elsewhere, the new capitals of Libya, Tanzania and Myanmar, never have seem to taken off, government employees being forced to relocate for work but typically commuting the distance every day. Brasilia might just thank its success by being in the middle of nowhere. 15 to 20 hours by road from Rio and Sao Paolo and a few more to Salvador. Also, tourism isn't high on the agenda. The city's only official hostel will triple its dorm rates during the World Cup, from an already steep 20 euros per night, about three times the lowest rate you can find in Rio. Not too far from where I was staying, a Wal-Mart stands right next to a Makro, right next to an Extra, right next to a Super Adega. At least they've got their zoning in order. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3887 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1297 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462214037 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 1 [iImages] => 22 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -15.7842 [fLongitude] => -47.9133 [tLocation] => JK Memorial [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [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] => 0 ) [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] => 20140320 ) [5479] => Array ( [iID] => 5479 [tTitle] => There is hope, yet [tSlug] => there-is-hope-yet [iTime] => 1383692400 [iUpdate] => 1383692400 [tDescription] => Kampala is seeing several new malls being developed at the same time. One, specifically, appears to want to be the Westgate (without the terrorist overtones) or Monte Casino of Kampala, but has been under construction for well over a year. Another one, thankfully on our side of town, shot up in the space of a few months and has a branch of the only Ugandan chain of bakeries which actually serves good bread, BBrood. Here, BBrood is not only operating the bakery, but also serves coffee and sandwiches in a Wi-Fi enabled cafe. And they’ve now added stroopwafels to their repertoire, after earlier having started baking speculaas, krentenbollen and oliebollen. There is hope for Uganda, yet! Sadly, the stroopwafels are not nearly up to Dutch standards. In other news, one of Niamh’s brothers came over with a friend recently. We put our car through another week’s worth of suffering and visited Queen Elizabeth National Park as well as the Fort Portal area. We had wanted to stay in the Lake Nkuruba area, specifically, but heavy rains saw us nearly get stuck for the night in the middle of nowhere. A hasty retreat later, which cost the car one of its eyes, we found ourselves not roughing it next to Lake Nkuruba, but enjoying the spoils in an upmarket B&B in Fort Portal. And then Niamh's phone was stolen out of my hands, while driving. Some young schmuck running past me driving shotgun, sticking his hand in the window, grabbing the phone from my hand and running off with it. I was too stupefied for a few seconds and, by then the culprit was long gone. I could have shouted 'thief', which might have resulted on a communal lynching on the spot, but would that have been worth it? Either way, perhaps there isn't as much hope as I... Hoped. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 5599 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1199 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462085984 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 12 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -0.19 [fLongitude] => 29.899 [tLocation] => Mweya 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] => 20131106 ) [5338] => Array ( [iID] => 5338 [tTitle] => "Next, it's ethnic cleansing" [tSlug] => next-its-ethnic-cleansing [iTime] => 1323730800 [iUpdate] => 1323730800 [tDescription] => November 22nd 2012 has been dubbed Black Tuesday, here in South Africa. The National Assembly, with an overwhelming majority, approved the Protection of State Information bill, which could land individuals publishing state secrets in jail for up to 25 years. So much for whistle blowing, in a country where corruption is a major problem. Whistle blowers, coming into posession of state secrets, now have to immediately hand them over to the country's security services, or blow their whistle from behind bars, the bill having no room for the concept of the public's right to know. Even though the party line is that the bill would protect South Africa from foreign 'spies', few accept that. The ruling party, the ANC, has a two thirds majority in the assembly, which allows them to change the constitution, if desired. And though, typically, all ANC MPs vote as one block, two abstained in the vote, though for them that is already starting to have consequences, as it did for other MPs, not toeing the party line in the past. South Africa's constitution is one of the most liberal in the world, created in the wake of the end of apartheid, when tolerance and acceptance of the country's past were essential ingredients in building a country that would be able to look to the future. The more surprising the harsh 'Secrecy bill' which was recently passed. Or perhaps not so, considering the ANC's rather murky track record over the past decade, as far as transparency is concerned. Indeed, I had to adjust, reading my favorite weekly South African newspaper, the Mail & Guardian, where a disproportionate part of their articles now deal with corruption and other shady aspects of the ANC in power. The Secrecy bill, so it seems, primarily serves to protect its own. As did a similar bill in 1970s South Africa, protecting the murky dealings of the apartheid state. In fact, the colloquial name Black Tuesday, refers back to what was dubbed Black Wednesday, in 1977, when the apartheid state banned a progressive South African newspaper, detaining its editor and some of its staf along the way. It's because of that history, as well as looking at other countries on the continent and how they deal with (the lack of) transparency, that a friend of mine said, and believes, that what will follow from the ability of the state, the ANC, to hide what their doing, is ethnic cleansing, or perhaps ethnic targeting, inside South Africa's borders. Demonstrations against the implementation of the Secrecy bill, it still has to pass by a few stations before it can be put to practice, have happened on and off over the last few weeks. The newly created civil liberties group Free Media staged a 'burial of truth' today, though with a rather mediocre turnout. I had to win a quiz, so I could only attend the start of the event, but gladly shot a few nice pictures. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 7308 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1118 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462154872 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 16 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -26.1928 [fLongitude] => 28.034 [tLocation] => Braamfontein center [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] => 20111213 ) [5335] => Array ( [iID] => 5335 [tTitle] => Another walk in Joburg [tSlug] => another-walk-in-joburg [iTime] => 1323212400 [iUpdate] => 1323212400 [tDescription] => The Joburg photowalkers, organized yet another walk around Joburg, this time in and around Braamfontein, yet another area of downtown Jozi which has been regentrified in the last few years, and now even sports a Lomography store, as well as the obligatory art galleries. The early evening walk saw an excellent turnout, some 40 whities, one black woman and one Indian man, with an average kit value of, I suspect, significantly upwards from 1000 USD. We started at the over 100 years old Kitchener's Carvery, an old hotel and bar, walked around Braamfontein, ended up on the roof of the Orion hotel, some 19 floors up, before everyone dispersed. Three guards, apparently in the pay of the suburb of Braamfontein, tried to secure our safety, though for them keeping the group together must have been like herding cats. With a small few, we had a few beers at the Carvery before dispersing ourselves, and that was a truly surreal experience, like being caught up in some weird David Lynch film. The bar of the hotel is over 100 years old and looks it. Wooden paneling on the walls, faded pictures and drawings on display, commemorating the time of the Boer wars, but with samosas and prego rolls on the chalkboard. The bar's wine list consisted of six different, opened, boxed wines. In a side room, a DJ was pumping reasonable funky beats from his MacBook, under the watchful eye of a spinning disco ball, but with no one on the darkened dance floor. A lanky black man, caught up in his own world, wearing black lederhosen, was swinging to the beats, while remaining seated on his barstool, obsessed by the smoke seeping from his cigarette. A very drunk khoisan with almost no teeth in his face and wearing a yellow fluorescent jacket, was toying with a tiny santaclaus playing a mandolin while santa's was spinning and jingle bells was emitting from his arse. The khoisan was a boxer from the Cape, waiting for his next fight. When a happy-faced black lady bounced in, casually dressed and wearing a cocktail parasol in her hair, followed by a muslim in djellaba, proceeding to the disco area and started to dance, we were certain the bar was channeling Mr. Lynch. One thing I learned today, talking and listening to some of the other photographers, is that 'blogging' is now an accepted occupation, something you can actually 'do', as opposed to something that happens on the side, while you actually do important things. "What do you do in real life?", "I blog. About living in Johannesburg". Seriously? So, who knows, maybe there's hope after all for yours truly. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 2326 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1117 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462091029 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 6 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -26.1926 [fLongitude] => 28.0344 [tLocation] => Kitcheners Carvery [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] => 20111207 ) [5334] => Array ( [iID] => 5334 [tTitle] => For the second time, a world record holder [tSlug] => for-the-second-time-a-world-record-holder [iTime] => 1323039600 [iUpdate] => 1323039600 [tDescription] => That's right, plebeians, for the second time ever, I am a world record holder. Granted, it's me and 12500 others, but still. My gym of choice, Virgin Active, organized a world record attempt tonight, trying to get the largest amount of individuals on spinners, spinning at the same time. All gyms, a good 250 worldwide, had a spinning class at the same time, and the rules required a continuous spinning of 15 minutes. I somehow doubt, though, that my name will end up in the Guinness book of records, this time. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 1645 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1116 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462119734 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -26.1284 [fLongitude] => 27.9712 [tLocation] => Virgin Active Cresta [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] => 20111205 ) [5329] => Array ( [iID] => 5329 [tTitle] => Walk walk, snap snap [tSlug] => walk-walk-snap-snap [iTime] => 1322348400 [iUpdate] => 1511543065 [tDescription] => The first time I visited downtown Joburg was in 2004. It was something of a daredevil experience, due to the constant reports of high crime rates in South Africa, the fact that pretty much all businesses had vacated the downtown area to set up shop in the northern suburbs, typically Rosebank or Sandton and the personal reports, telling us how dangerous and unsavory downtown Johannesburg had become. Nothing happened, of course, but we did sense a certain tension, apparent under the surface, as everyone was going about their daily routine. And we did feel like we achieved something by the time we got out of town, having gone in and coming out unscathed. Since, I've come to understand and familiarize myself well with Joburg, to the extent where, a few years ago, I crisscrossed the inner city, photographing and mapping public art, without a hitch or any stress. Very much alone, very much flashing my semi-precious camera and very much not caring about walking around in less savory areas (during the day, no less). Now, shortly after arriving in Joburg a few weeks ago, I had to pick up my rental from rent-a-wreck on the far edge of the downtown area. Refusing to pay for a, pricey, taxi, I decided to walk from Melville to the rental agency, a good six kilometers through the heart of the city. Not worried at all, I was even very surprised that I could feel virtually no tension and that the vibe on the street was almost mellow. Sure, I'm now more accustomed, but I think that's at most half the story. The city of Joburg has spent a lot of time and effort on making the inner city more livable again. Refurbishing the inner city started with Newtown and Fordsburg in the west, years ago, and spread through the city, now having arrived on the east side of town, where, between Fox and Main streets, on the edge of Fairview, a whole new community of art studios, a lovely hotel, a small theatre, an independent cinema and more have been allowed to flourish. There, on the ground floor of the Main Street Life building, the temporary exhibition space Ourspace was hosting a show sponsored by the cultural department of the Spanish embassy in South Africa. Curated by Bronwyn Lace, the photographic exhibition contrasted the works of seven African photographers, taking photos in seven cities of Spain, with pictures taken by seven 'wanderers', homeless guys, sleeping on the streets of Johannesburg. Obviously slightly risqué, but also very interesting. And the exhibition, specifically the Spanish photographs, were rather beautifully presented. Sadly, the photographs of the wanderers could have been more prominent. Perhaps to compensate somewhat, the exhibition was complemented by two walks in downtown Johannesburg, to some extent following the lives of these seven wanderers, trying to give the participants of the walk something of an insight into the lives of those living on and off the streets in the city. On Sunday, I participated, with a crowd of almost 40, white, individuals, most of them having spent very little time in downtown Johannesburg which, for many of them being South Africans, I still have a hard time wrapping my head around. The walk, partially hosted by Marcus Neustetter, who facilitates many of the installations of public arts in the city, partially hosted by Zisi Duze, who was the conduit between the wanderers and the exhibition organizers, was interesting, but the best part was the aftermath, sipping champagne and gorgeous hors d'oeuvres on the roof of the Main Street Life building, with great views of the city and mellow beats flowing in the background. How's that for contrast? A day earlier, I participated in a photo walk at St. John's College, organized by the Joburg photowalkers, something of a hobby club of photographers, brought to life shortly after the two photomarathons I organized in Joburg and Pretoria in 2007. Dipping my toe again into the Joburg arts scene, the result might just be a somewhat informal photo marathon before my departure from South Africa. And, if you're wondering, not all of the city's gentrification process progresses completely smoothly. Particularly the evictions of illegal, mostly immigrant, squatters from former office blocks in the city is a painful process for all involved in the physical eviction and has even more painful consequences for those being thrown out on the street, the city in no way compensating for these people losing the roofs above their heads. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3672 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1115 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462227224 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 30 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -26.2043 [fLongitude] => 28.0595 [tLocation] => Main Street Life building [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] => 20111127 ) [5163] => Array ( [iID] => 5163 [tTitle] => Knowing Kenya [tSlug] => knowing-kenya [iTime] => 1301695200 [iUpdate] => 1301695200 [tDescription] => Stopping for a few days in Kenya, what struck me on my way from the airport to town was the extensive vegetation along the roads in Nairobi. And the streets appear in much better shape than in, say, Uganda, though airport roads in developing countries are often atypical. However, other parts of the city, as I found the next day, are also more Johannesburg than Kampala and not at all unattractive. With several modern malls and lots of thriving businesses, I'm left to wonder if any NGO has any business in Kenya. I want to take the train to Mombasa and back, but in a chat with an American who runs a hostel on the coast, "not now, though, ... We had a few... problems with authority...", I was told that on a recent trip from the coast to the capital, his train completely broke down and they had to switch to matatus, busses, to get to Nairobi. Perhaps I should bus or plane it back. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3266 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1068 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462144545 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 6 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -1.2886 [fLongitude] => 36.8018 [tLocation] => Milimani Backpackers [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] => 20110402 ) [950] => Array ( [iID] => 950 [tTitle] => Jo'burg, Cape Town and finally... [tSlug] => joburg-cape-town-and-finally [iTime] => 1256770800 [iUpdate] => 1256770800 [tDescription] => With Christo having moved to the Czech republic and Stevan on a training in Maputo, there was little to occupy me in Johannesburg. Instead, I tried to get back on track with tasks left unattended over the previous few weeks. Not easy, with a Vodacom 3G connection which is as crappy as it was six months earlier. Lack of 3G, too often only having access to GPRS, connections dropping or inconsistent at best and dead zones. And that at a mere 20 euros per Gigabyte of data transfer. In the end, I ran through 2GB in just one week. The hostel I'm staying in, Purple Palms, now up for sale, is surprisingly enjoyable. In fact, probably the second most enjoyable guesthouse I've stayed at in Johannesburg, after a bed and breakfast in Melville. Their review page on Tripadvisor doesn't look to promising. The only 'excellent' review clearly comes from the hostel's owner and the other reviews aren't very positive However, the self catering lodge is nice, quiet and mellow. No obnoxious backpackers, even though the place is a stop on the Baz Bus and it's fairly close to the airport, meaning it's convenient for those only staying one or two days. Also, there are at least four adulterers staying at the hostel! On top of the that, the guy driving me to the airport on my last day at some point needed my agreement on the fact that so many of the girls we were passing were so good. And, he said, in Africa, they are all so cheap and easy. "Just talk with them for twenty minutes and they will go with you to fuck fuck, fuck." Well. "Are they cheap in your country?" he asked. Then, to top things off, he, a married man, went on to tell me, in expansive detail, how, recently, he had picked up two girls with a friend and how they had locked themselves up in a room and went at it. In Cape Town, I hooked up with Ismail, who was so kind as to let me stay with him in his lovely house in the Bo Kaap. I managed to squeeze in a hash, bringing back Pussy Galore Shagwell to join myself, Ismail and several of his friends in La Perla, in Seapoint, where Shagwell and Snail had a pleasant moment together. Later, I managed to get myself a Gatsby, interestingly enough from the exact same joint I got a Gatsby from five years ago. Finally taking the last leg of my crabwalk to Zambia, groping cuddling Niamh to my heart's content, I grabbed my luggage from the conveyor belt to find that, again, something was stolen from my bag. To do this, they had to unstrap my backpack, unfasten the elastic rope closing the top, take out the toiletries bag, open said bag, rummage around and steal the expensive eau de toilette in it, leaving the cheap eau de toilette. To compensate, or perhaps to underline the situation, the smell of woodsmoke as I stepped off the plane made it clear I had truly arrived back in Arica. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3869 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 966 [iOldID] => 1329 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462147950 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 8 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -15.4107 [fLongitude] => 28.2985 [tLocation] => CIDRZ residence [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] => 20091029 ) [4301] => Array ( [iID] => 4301 [tTitle] => [tSlug] => j-walk-co-za [iTime] => 1234825200 [iUpdate] => 1516123619 [tDescription] => J-walk is a multi-level interactive tour of Johannesburg, which incorporates a walking tour, mobile phone tour and online tour of the city. J-walk bridges the gap between the physical and virtual worlds, with the objective of making locally relevant information accessible from a single repository. Multi-level refers to the fact that the tour will be available through multiple channels and platforms: + Walking tour, + Interactive mobile phone based tour using 3G technologies, + Interactive online tour using state of the art mapping tools. For the mobile phone based tour of the city, QR codes will be distributed around town in the locations highlighted by J-walk. A QR code is a two dimensional bar code. With a small bit of software installed on a cell phone which has a camera and internet access, taking a picture of the QR code will direct the user to a web page with information about the location. You can read more about J-walk on the blog. J-walk will be on show at the Johannesburg Art Fair Special Project - Art for Online Spaces. It's also listed on a website focused on internet art in the global south (as is Soweto uprisings . com by the way). J-walk was dreamt up by myself, and Ismail Farouk. Update (6 Apr 2015): Discontinued.  Update (18 Apr 2010)Delft is now also on j-walk. Next time I'm in town, I'll guerilla market some 2D barcodes around the city. The j-walk for Delft also replaces the city tour for Delft I created in 2004. Update (16 Aug 2009): You can now use your cellphone to get a guided tour of Chiang Mai, in the north of Thailand. Of course, a web interface is also provided. [iCategory] => 6 [tURL] => [iViews] => 10321 [iClicks] => 602 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 911 [iOldID] => 3945 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462238099 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => sparse [iHideMap] => 1 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 1 [fLatitude] => -26.1407 [fLongitude] => 27.9941 [tLocation] => The Buxt residence [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Own stuff [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 6 [categories] => Array ( [6] => Array ( [iID] => 6 [tName] => Own stuff [tSlug] => own-stuff [tDescription] => Erich Fromm said that "creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties" and, without giving freedom to my creativity, I'd die. [iOrder] => 2 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => sparse [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => bf:blogitem=3945 ) [875] => Array ( [iID] => 875 [tTitle] => Travel and insurance [tSlug] => travel-and-insurance [iTime] => 1225321200 [iUpdate] => 1225321200 [tDescription] => Back in SA. Rouzeh was there to welcome me at the airport, after a very long flight, which was nice. She's staying in Pretoria, close to her office, but I'm, at least for now, staying with Christo, in Johannesburg. Jo'burg, after all, is where it's at. The weather is on the warm side, but not too hot, with the gentle breeze that's blowing most of the day. I signed a three month contract for a project with SAfAIDS, building an online contact database. I'm, temporarily, renting a car with rent-a-wreck. It's not too expensive and the car is not too close to being a proper wreck, though fairly close, and it does give me the freedom you need in Gauteng. Things are just too far apart, and there's practically no public transport. However, the brakes on the car are not all that great, which made me think of medical insurances while abroad. I'm sort of insured, but it's a gray area, as I'm out of my home country for such long stretches at a time. Particular my, supposedly continuous, ABNAMRO travel insurance doesn't like that. I've been very lucky over the years and never really needed any medical attention, while abroad. One minor exception is when I badly twisted an ankle in late 2006, I think it was. Also in Johannesburg. I visited a doctor and got some physiotherapy. However, because it was regular medical attention, no emergency evac or whatnot, I could submit the expenses to my regular medical insurance. Though, in the end, I didn't as the combined expenses were less than the discount I would get when not claiming anything. But hoping or expecting to be lucky is a very bad insurance policy. In the back of my mind, I've considered for a long time to get one of those international continuous travel insurances. Mighty convenient, but, so I heard, also quite pricey. Recently, one that was brought to my attention was a package from MultiNational underwriters (they can give you a free international travel insurance quote). They've got a host of packages. For example, I checked their international medical insurance package, which was cheaper than I expected, though not as cheap as I would hope, at around 100 dollars per month. A quote for their travel insurance package, for one year, came in at 732 dollars, which is a reasonable deal, I think. For my regular Dutch medical insurance, I pay around 120 euros per month, so if the coverage with MultiNational underwriters is the same or similar, just switching to them for this would already be financially attractive. Downside, however, is that insurance companies, particularly American ones as MultiNational Underwriters is, are notorious for stalling when payouts are required. Feedback from existing users/clients would be nice. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 4044 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 903 [iOldID] => 1249 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462155755 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -26.101 [fLongitude] => 28.0594 [tLocation] => Vernon, Christo and Peter residence [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] => 20081030 ) [732] => Array ( [iID] => 732 [tTitle] => Back in the RSA [tSlug] => back-in-the-rsa [iTime] => 1209938400 [iUpdate] => 1209938400 [tDescription] => Killing multiple birds with one stone, I'm doing work for SACSIS in situ, while the plan was to also give a training on The latter doesn't seem to be happening, but has opened up time for putting up the new collection on Meanwhile, I'm drinking Wild Bean cafe coffee, eating bunny chow, running a hash and jumping around on a DDR machine for two hours in Menlyn Park, and meeting old friends of course. Driving up to Pretoria for the hash, in the pouring rain, the landscape and weather very strongly reminded me of driving on the ring road around Brussels. Similar constructions, mostly newly build office space, car dealers and malls, with the same grittiness and not-really-up-to-date road system. I'm staying at Ismail's sister, director of SACSIS. She's living in an area of Jo'burg I've never really gotten into, but appears to be very nice. Interestingly, Stevan, who I know from my work in Mongolia and who's moved back to Jo'burg recently, now also lives in the same area; Parkhurst / Linden / Greenside. Lots of nice little restaurants, bars and cafes. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3084 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 747 [iOldID] => 1105 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1461942004 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -26.0196 [fLongitude] => 28.0068 [tLocation] => Fourways mall [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] => 20080505 ) [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 ) [3996] => Array ( [iID] => 3996 [tTitle] => urban concerns . org [tSlug] => urban-concerns-org [iTime] => 1204239600 [iUpdate] => 1516113678 [tDescription] => Urban concerns connects citizens in Umea (Sweden) and Johannesburg (South Africa), as well as the two collaborating art museums, Bildmuseet and Johannesburg Art Gallery. Together with practitioners and institutions, the Urban concerns research process suggests new avenues for experimentation through mapping of multiple and simultaneous public spaces. The site is basically an extensive mashup, using Flickr, Ipernity, Google Video, YouTube, Google Maps, Blogger, Google News, Wikipedia and GeoURL as its sources. [iCategory] => 5 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3911 [iClicks] => 1459 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 41 [iVoters] => 9 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 560 [iOldID] => 3331 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462056127 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => sparse [iHideMap] => 1 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 2 [fLatitude] => 18.7936 [fLongitude] => 98.9943 [tLocation] => Baan Chinnakorn [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=3331 ) [571] => Array ( [iID] => 571 [tTitle] => Finding not finding a cheap place to stay in Cape Town [tSlug] => finding-not-finding-a-cheap-place-to-stay-in-cape-town [iTime] => 1188252000 [iUpdate] => 1188252000 [tDescription] => We came back yesterday from a long weekend in Cape Town. It was good fun, but surprisingly more expensive than I anticipated. At Betsy's work, all the 'Kapies' (that is, people from Cape Town), claim that the Cape is so much more affordable than Jo'burg. Indeed, Jo'burg can be pricey, so we were looking forward to a relatively inexpensive stay in the Cape. Not what happened. The restaurants were pricey, the bars were pricey, even parking was pricey. We rented a car, and that was pricey. And our accommodation had every indication of being pricey too: about 180 Rand (some 18 euros) per person per night, in a double room with en suite bathroom. True, we did have an en suite, but this was at a backpackers (and, if you're used to European or American prices, keep in mind this is Africa). So, this being a backpackers, no breakfast included and no daily cleaning of our room. I booked, the way I always do my booking, through So far, I've always been very satisfied with the offers available through this engine. However, when in Cape Town, what did sting me was that we saw several signs advertising rooms for less than what we payed. So I stumbled upon a service today, called cheaper than hotels (with, amongst others, hotels in Cape Town, hotels in Johannesburg and even hotels in Sandton, but I find these pages much more confusing than the homepage itself) which, obviously, should be able to compete within the hostel market segment. True, the site looks like crap, but that never stopped MySpace. And since it's advertising only last minute opportunities, it might just be able to offer some good deals. I checked it out and tried to compare some options. The homepage has a basic but functional search tool where you can drill down to areas within a city (such as Greenpoint, where we stayed last weekend). Taking a similar weekend as the previous one, I wanted to test the period from 7 till 10 September. I first tried searching only in Greenpoint, but that only returned one (expensive) hotel, so I widened the search to include the whole of the city. Now, I'm normally a huge skeptic of services like this which claim to be cheap as, usually, they end up being bloody expensive (think Budget car rental, which is generally more expensive than Hertz and Avis). Imagine the surprise. The cheapest option ended up being a lodge in Somerset West (which is not too convenient if you don't have your own transport) for a total of 96 euros (for three days, for two persons). This is less than what we had to pay for our double room at the backpackers. In fact, four options were cheaper and three more were equally priced, including two in Sea Point, which is a decent place to stay in, when you're in Cape Town. Feeling like having found the best thing since sliced cheese, I figured that if I'd try and go for something really last minute (the site only allows for booking 21 days in advance as it's a last minute booking site), surely, prices would be even more attractive. Not so. The cheapest available rooms for tomorrow came in at pretty much the same rate as booking two weeks in advance, around 35 euros per room per night. Still, it's a pity we'll be leaving South Africa in five weeks time. We obviously could have had some deals here. Three years ago, when we were living in Zimbabwe, we spent quite a bit of time on the road in South Africa, on holiday. For some locations, this could have been useful. Then again, checking for some cities in the Cape, outside of Cape Town, the really good deals don't really seem to exist. Then again, I also checked availability and prices for both Johannesburg and Budapest. Johannesburg searches only returned one (pricey) hotel, Budapest searches returned lots of hotels, but none that could seriously compete with the hostels in that town. So, you can sleep for less using the booking engine at, but that typically means sleeping in a dorm. If you want a good, private room, with facilities, it seems that when you want to stay in Cape Town, cheaper than hotels can be a good place to start looking. But I'll first check the booking engine at anyway. (In the end, we paid less at our hostel as they turned out to have a deal where the third consecutive night was free, but still.) SL Student Life is a South African magazine aimed at, can you guess, students. I got myself one, while in the Cape, because it was packed with a CD. It's a bit like a sampler, has 15 tracks by as many bands. All of them are new to me, and some are actually quite decent. The Pigeon Detectives sing I found out, which feels a bit like 80s punkpop. The band The Cinematics also create a similar feel with their track Keep Forgetting, although there's a dash of The Cure in there too. Midlake, with their song Roscoe feels rather dramatic, in style reminding me of Radiohead and classic rock from the 60s and 70s. It's close to psychedelic at times. Very good. Then there's Memomena with Wet and Rusting has a bit of a Beatles feel to it. A bit repetitive, but nice. The first of the two best tracks on the album is by Soulsavers and is called Arizona Bay. It's electronica and reminds me of Godspeed! You black emperor, although the band themselves claim to get their influences from the likes of Public Enemy, Johnny Cash, Tom Waits and whatnot. The second is by Paul Hartnoll and is called Haven't we met before. Hartnoll, together with his brother, formed Orbital, electronica at its very best. The album from which this track is lifted was recorded with a full choir and orchestra. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 4626 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 421 [iOldID] => 942 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462208722 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 6 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -26.0287 [fLongitude] => 28.0151 [tLocation] => Shingara Sands [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] => 20070828 ) [561] => Array ( [iID] => 561 [tTitle] => Data has arrived in South Africa [tSlug] => data-has-arrived-in-south-africa [iTime] => 1186610400 [iUpdate] => 1186610400 [tDescription] => For the initiated, Data is the nickname of a friend of mine. Don't get your hopes up, no, we haven't finally gotten a friend to visit us, he's here on business. However, he is on business in Johannesburg, so we've been seeing him quite a bit lately. August 9 is National Women's day, which commemorates 9 August 1956 when women participating in a national march petitioned against pass laws (legislation that required African persons to carry a document on them to "prove" that they were allowed to enter a "white area"). Those passes were generally known as 'dompas' and quite similar to a, say Soviet, internal passport. Dompas is an Afrikaans word and literally means 'stupid pass', because, supposedly them blacks were mighty stupid. Well let me tell you. Anyway, as Betsy's working for a Dutch call center, she doesn't get the day off on South African public holidays. Still, she took one and we went to the Lion Park. Yes, we've been there a few times, but it's hard to get enough of the cute little lions and hand feeding the giraffes and ostriches. 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[tSlug] => doing-the-time-warp-again [iTime] => 1185660000 [iUpdate] => 1185660000 [tDescription] => It's winter, here in Jo'burg. Which means it's bloody damn cold. So to alleviate this struggle against the cold, Betsy threw a Rocky Horror Party. All dressed up, we jumped to the left and then took a step to the right. The house was a mess afterwards, with confetti, rice and all sorts of leftovers. Before the show, we posed for a few pictures. Ain't Christo a natural, as Frank-N-Furter? [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3003 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 421 [iOldID] => 929 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462237574 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 30 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -26.0287 [fLongitude] => 28.0151 [tLocation] => Shingara Sands [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] => 20070729 ) [3759] => Array ( [iID] => 3759 [tTitle] => Three leopards are one [tSlug] => three-leopards-are-one [iTime] => 1185314400 [iUpdate] => 1185314400 [tDescription] => On the Mac, I'm currently working with Autopano Pro to create panoramas. It has a nifty detection mechanism for finding pictures that are supposed to make up a panorama. However, it sometimes gets it wrong. Or, in this case, strangely right. The three images that make up the above panorama are of the very same object from three different angles. The panorama is nearly seamless and qutie cool, if I say so myself. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 31840 [iClicks] => 1095 [iRating] => 4 [iVote] => 311 [iVoters] => 94 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 428 [iOldID] => 3047 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462093669 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -26.1968 [fLongitude] => 28.047 [tLocation] => Johannesburg art gallery [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] => 20070725 ) [3756] => Array ( [iID] => 3756 [tTitle] => In the Continuum [tSlug] => in-the-continuum [iTime] => 1185141600 [iUpdate] => 1185141600 [tDescription] => You'd think that after doing a show for two years, having everything fit together perfectly would be mere routine. Almost, perhaps, but not completely. Not that it's disturbing too much, I just noticed. The show -is- actually quite good, even though it's a bit too long or, rather, as a too long middle bit, a strong opening and a very strong if not saddening ending. Two actresses, Danai Gurira and Nikkole Salter, also both authors of the play, are a middle-class wife and mother in Zimbabwe, the other what I suspect is a teenager, African American, in Los Angeles, whose lives get messed up after discovering they've been infected with HIV. What makes the play interesting is that you're actually treated to two very decent one-man shows which alternate but sometimes occur simultaneously on stage, with strong parallels and sometimes interactions. Both actors play a range of characters, within their own story line, which Danai Gurira, the Zimbabwean, pulls of a bit better. The parallel between the two stories is that the two women, although living in two very different cultures, with vastly different economic and social climates, both struggle with the same central issue of how to move ahead while their whole life has been turned upside down, their opportunities and future chances tied to getting hold of, or hanging on to, a male provider, in both cases the man who infected them. Apparently, in some US shows, the program to the show came with a glossary of Zimbabwean, Shona, words used onstage. This show was sponsored by the culture department of the American consulate here in Johannesburg. After the show, the American consul said a few words and then invited, what I assumed was, the director of the theater. Clearly reluctant to speak at first, the man delivered a story about how important the show was in terms of our understanding the disease and the social stigma attached to it. Etcetera etcetera. He talked for over five minutes, maybe even ten, and didn't once mention either 'HIV' or 'AIDS'. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 2569 [iClicks] => 1 [iRating] => 4 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1123 [iOldID] => 3044 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462144500 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -26.2015 [fLongitude] => 28.0324 [tLocation] => Market theater [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] => 20070723 ) [556] => Array ( [iID] => 556 [tTitle] => Public art in Jo'burg and Pownce [tSlug] => public-art-in-joburg-and-pownce [iTime] => 1184968800 [iUpdate] => 1184968800 [tDescription] => It's been a busy few weeks since I came back from Thailand. I've resumed my residency at The Bag Factory, while I have to work on a series of other projects as well. For my residency, this time, I'm not creating art, I'm documenting it, through Currently, already over 30 public artworks are listed on the Johannesburg page on and, because I'm getting support from the Jo'burg municipality, many of those with extensive information. An interesting extra is that I've added KML and GeoRSS feeds, with which you can, say, have artworks plotted inside Google Earth. Pownce The guy behind everyone's favorite social news site, Digg, recently started a Twitter-like service, Pownce. Pownce has more functionality and is getting rave reviews. I received an invite today and have six left to give away. So, if you know me, you can grab one. However, I don't understand the popularity of Twitter. It lets you tell the world what you're up to, like IM (Instant Messaging) to the masses. It's very popular in the States which, I suppose, isn't too surprising as Americans are the hallmark of exhibitionism. But telling the world what you're doing is one thing, actually taking the time to see what others are doing is something else. Why would I be interested if I'm not an insecure 12 year old looking for attention? Anyway, Pownce is a bit more useful: It not only lets you tell the world what you're doing, it also lets you send files to friends, share links and share events. Like a simple shared productivity tool. So I suppose that you don't have to be an insecure 12 year old to use Pownce, but possibly an overconfident late teen, looking to impress your friends. But, still, if it's productivity and usefulness you're looking for, there's plenty of good tools out there (the Google suite being the most obvious, but by no means the only one). [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3357 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 421 [iOldID] => 927 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462159782 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 28 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -26.0287 [fLongitude] => 28.0151 [tLocation] => Shingara Sands [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] => 20070721 ) [3700] => Array ( [iID] => 3700 [tTitle] => We can not continue to die like this [tSlug] => we-can-not-continue-to-die-like-this [iTime] => 1180648800 [iUpdate] => 1516123155 [tDescription] => Ismail Farouk and I made a stop motion movie and selected four stills from the video to add to this work. It's for sale and on display at posi+ive.
Ismail also put the four works online at Flickr here. He also has some background info on his site here. [iCategory] => 6 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3003 [iClicks] => 754 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 421 [iOldID] => 2987 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462137180 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => sparse [iHideMap] => 1 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 1 [fLatitude] => -26.0287 [fLongitude] => 28.0151 [tLocation] => Shingara Sands [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Own stuff [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 6 [categories] => Array ( [6] => Array ( [iID] => 6 [tName] => Own stuff [tSlug] => own-stuff [tDescription] => Erich Fromm said that "creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties" and, without giving freedom to my creativity, I'd die. [iOrder] => 2 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => sparse [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => bf:blogitem=2987 ) [538] => Array ( [iID] => 538 [tTitle] => On show! [tSlug] => on-show [iTime] => 1179871200 [iUpdate] => 1179871200 [tDescription] => Today's opening was quite a decent success. A decent turnout, very pretty pictures and lots of very positive comments. What else could one wish for? Well, lots of sales, I suppose. Mini pies I don't normally do this, but this is one great video. And it seems to be real, not digitally crafted.
What language? A while ago, on a walk in downtown Jo'burg, I was handed a flyer from the Watersrand computer and business college (they claim to have a website but it doesn't work) which offers courses in HTLM and C+ among others. Idiots. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 4416 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 3 [iVoters] => 2 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 517 [iOldID] => 908 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462065920 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 3 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -26.2033 [fLongitude] => 28.0261 [tLocation] => The Bag Factory [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] => 20070523 ) ) ) Keyword: Johannesburg ::