Array ( [total] => 57 [pageSize] => 24 [page] => 0 [results] => Array ( [5670] => Array ( [iID] => 5670 [tTitle] => What's the competition at the World Summit Award - Redux [tSlug] => whats-the-competition-at-the-world-summit-award-redux [iTime] => 1508796000 [iUpdate] => 1509966904 [tDescription] => Five years after Dérive app was nominated for the World Summit Award, which we eventually wonrepresenting Uganda in Abu Dhabi in early 2013, work of mine was nominated once more for the UN-backed World Summit Award.  Now, The Museum of Yesterday, a mobile app for exploring the hidden history of the old port of Rio de Janeiro, which I developed together with Agencia Publica, was selected to represent Brazil.  As Dérive app, The Museum of Yesterday is nominated in the Culture & Tourism category. In each of the eight categories, five winners will be selected in November, with winners going to Vienna in March for the 'grand finale'. Now, with 13 other submissions, The Museum of Yesterday was put on the shortlist for the grand jury to deliberate over.  Here's my take of the competitive field. + Cultural Infusion’s digital learning suite (Australia): Mobile apps for kids to build a bridge between their own and foreign cultures. Cultural Infusion makes a bunch of apps, with only trial versions available for free. I tried out one, Joko's Pocket Planet (Lite), which is cute, has a few small bugs, and seems to be a reasonable educational environment for younger kids. + HEARonymous (Austria): A mobile app providing (mostly paid) audioguides for museums. Not very original. + The Museum of Yesterday (Brazil): That's us! A compendium of the hidden history of the port of Rio de Janeiro, with a particular focus on it's less savoury past (slavery) and present (corruption), which requires the user to physically explore the port, with his mobile device indicating where to find the individual stories embedded in the app, as well as in reality. + Cardboard Stage (Canada): The platform's name references Google's Cardboard, a simple tool that turns a mobile device into a stereoscopic viewer. The site itself wants to be a platform for 'young artists' to reach a global audience, essentially by hosting 360 (panoramic) videos that can be immersively experienced with Google Cardboard. Sounds nice, except that their blog hasn't been updated in over two years, when they 'officially launched', while they only host the videos of eight artists.  It seems to me their ship has sailed, while also not offering anything quite unique; 360 videos can, after all, be hosted pretty much anywhere. + Luabooks (Colombia): Physical and interactive mobile 'books' for kids, in Spanish. I tried their app CatTron, which is essentially a series of cute kids-book illustrations, allowing for some basic interactions, like swiping and tapping, to generate simple changes to the illustrations themselves. + Virtual Tour inside El Muizz street (Egypt): Apparently designed for Oculus, it's as the name implies, a virtual tour of a historic street in Cairo. The app is only available for Android, but downloading it failed, the app store crashing every time I tried. + Confirmtkt (India): A (decent looking) train and bus ticket booking engine for India. + Forgotten Vilnius (Lithuania): A quite large online collection of old photos and maps of Vilnius. Somewhat interactive, the content seems to have received more attention than the presentation, which feels like it's more representative of web aesthetics from a decade ago. Only in Lithuanian. Travel Compute (Malaysia): 'Big Data' analysis for the travel industry. The creators need to be contacted if you're interested in a demo. + SnapCity (Portugal): A social network focused around physical locations where users can ask questions about their current city and (hopefully) have them answered by other users, who can be tipped, in real money, for their participation. SnapCity only covers half a dozen cities on the Iberian peninsula, which shows the biggest challenge apps like these have to overcome: traction. The interface is functional, but I don't see this taking off. It's just too difficult to compete with the likes of TripAdvisor or Google Local, also meaning that SnapCity is not conceptually groundbreaking. + Inland Sea (Qatar): An iPhone application that's essentially a basic guidebook of the 'inland sea', that is, desert, of Qatar. The app seems to be made with an off-the-shelf guidebook maker and looks more comprehensive than it is; for the many mapped locations, there isn't actually any detailed information available, except for a location and a name.  + (Sri Lanka): A (decent looking) accommodation booking engine for Sri Lanka. + The Next Rembrandt (The Netherlands): A super slick and heavily funded project to generate a unique 'Rembrandt' based on analysing existing work and letting the analysis, AI, and (human) analysts do the actual job. This project is stunning, as it should be, with funding and support from ING, Microsoft, TU Delft (my university) and Mauritshuis.  + Gone West (UK): A booking platform that 'removes your carbon footprint as you travel'. This, by planting trees to balance your CO2 output. They finished a successful Kickstarter campaign, collecting a bit over 15000 pounds. The details seem a bit fuzzy, as they claim that a long haul flight booked through them will see them, 'with their own hands' plant 'up to' 15 trees in your name. Less practical, according to their booking engine, a flight I tested their system with supposedly was available for 525 pounds, but ended up being 711 pounds after they forwarded me to the actual booking agent. So, conceptually clever, but needs work, as it doesn't appear to actually operate as a price comparison engine. Short-short list? It seems to me we stand a good chance to make it to Vienna, but, who knows who the actual jury will favour. Of the above list, LuaBooks seems a bit more comprehensive and enjoyable than Cultural Infusion (though that might just be my sense of beauty). The Virtual Tour of El Muizz street and Travel Compute are bit of a dark horse, while Confirmtkt, Cardboard Stage, SnapCity and Ayubo lack innovation or content.  If anything, our app, The Museum of Yesterday, is somewhat similar to Forgotten Vilnius, but is more accessible, for being in both English and Portuguese, while also adding the unique aspect that the user is required to physically explore the subject area, which itself is a unique proposition. Gone West is clever, but can only survive if it actually also works as a good price comparison engine. The Next Rembrandt is a sure-fire finalist. So, here's what I think will be the list of winners:  + The Next Rembrandt + Gone West + Luabooks (or maybe Cultural Infusion) + The Museum of Yesterday That leaves one spot to be filled to make five. I think contenders are The Virtual Tour of El Muizz street, Forgotten Vilnius and Travel Compute. Update (November 2017): We've won! Together with The Next Rembrandt, Luabooks, TravelCompute and SnapCity. Onwards to Vienna! [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 360 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1489 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 1 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 1 [fLatitude] => -23.5755 [fLongitude] => -46.8554 [tLocation] => The yellow house [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] => 20171024 ) [5664] => Array ( [iID] => 5664 [tTitle] => Huacachina, because Huacachina [tSlug] => huacachina-because-huacachina [iTime] => 1499983200 [iUpdate] => 1501898524 [tDescription] => We got back to Lima, from Puno, on a 24 hour bus ride from Puno, staying at the same hotel as when we first arrived. Waiting at reception, while someone else was taking up the receptionist's time, I flipped through a tour company's brochure. To discover a photo I took a few years ago, being used to promote a trip to the only oasis in Latin America, Huacachina. Some online sleuthing showed the company using my photo extensively to promote their trips. An email later, pointing out their transgression, where I suggested them paying the license fee and a fine, or them offering us one of their rather expensive day trips, PeruHop was reasonable enough to host us on a day trip, to Paracas, the Ballestas islands and Huacachina. But, to participate, we had to get up at 4:30, getting back at midnight. A bit much.   On the trip, we joined tourists completely separated from, what I think, are more conventional backpackers, finding their own way around the country. PeruHop offers full service bespoke tours of Peru and Bolivia. Operating their own busses and providing excursions all over the country. The tourists on their busses never need to deal with local service providers to get around or see the sights. At a cost, with a lot of convenience, but still, in a way, on the backpacker's trail. The trip was enjoyable and reasonably well organized, even though the guide that was with us for most of the day had an unintentional degree in sowing confusion. The Ballestas islands are a self-styled 'poor man Galapagos', while in Huacachina we got a tour by sand buggy followed by some sandboarding. Perhaps at least as interesting is a 'Nazca pattern' that can only be seen from the sea. Though, when the Spanish first landed, they made no mention of the 'Candelabro', implying that, perhaps, this one was a more recent addition, perhaps even created by the Spanish themselves. Later, after Natalia had started on her way back to Brazil, I realised that the streets of Lima had started to see a new type of street food seller: Venezuelan empanada pushers. And then, on the day the opener of Game of Thrones season 7, more than half a dozen pubs were hosting parties, showing the last episodes of the previous season before showing the start of the new season. I want to De Grot and joined the crowds. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 439 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1412 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 19 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -14.0875 [fLongitude] => -75.7633 [tLocation] => Huacachina [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] => 20170714 ) [5640] => Array ( [iID] => 5640 [tTitle] => The mom in Brazil [tSlug] => the-mom-in-brazil [iTime] => 1475964000 [iUpdate] => 1477273737 [tDescription] => Unexpected until shortly before her arrival, my mom spent a short week with us in Brazil, checking out both our pads in both Rio and Sao Paulo. Taking it easy in the latter, I tired her by visiting a bunch of tourist sites in Rio. The kind of stuff you have to do when visiting Brazil. Sadly, Christ the Redeemer was mostly enveloped in clouds, but my first time up Sugarloaf mountain was great. Annoyingly, both are unpleasantly expensive, particularly considering Brazilian income levels. On the other hand, the recently reinstated partial run of the tram up Santa Teresa is free. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 882 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1489 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 7 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -23.5755 [fLongitude] => -46.8554 [tLocation] => The yellow house [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] => 20161009 ) [5468] => Array ( [iID] => 5468 [tTitle] => Chennai: Home to an apostle [tSlug] => chennai-home-to-an-apostle [iTime] => 1371852000 [iUpdate] => 1371852000 [tDescription] => It's generally accepted by scholars, though not proven, that when Aryans circled the Caspian and, eventually, settled in present day Iran, they also pushed south the, what were called, Dravidian former city dwellers in the Indus Valley, the region in the north west of India as well as parts of Pakistan. Up to that point, it's suspected that Tamil, or more specifically, the Dravidian languages, were spoken throughout India. However, with the arrival of the Aryan tribes in the north west of the Indian subcontinent, the end result was of the Tamil thriving in the geographically shielded region of what is now Tamil Nadu, with a culture and specifically a language that's miles away from the north, centered on a city, Chennai, once known as Madras, that's the fourth biggest city in India. This also means that Tamil, and the other members of the Dravidian language family, are not Indo-European. In fact, the Dravidian languages have confused scholars over the years, only tentative links having been established with Elamite, in south western Iran, and the Uralic, sometimes called Finno-Ugric, language family. Basically, it means Dravidian languages, including Tamil, are darn old. Similarly, the ethnological status of Dravidians is a contended issue. Ethnologists either considered Dravidians on the edges of the Caucasian race, similar to Ethiopians, on another end, or of being a race on their own. Recent research suggests that the truth lies in the middle: Indians appear to be a mix of at least two ethnicities, one of which might indeed be Indo-European, with the further south you travel on the subcontinent, the more mixed the gene pool becomes.  After the Aryan conquest of the north west, the Tamil became a sea faring powerhouse, trading with the Romans, Phoenicians, Chinese and, much later, the Dutch and British, leaving a lasting legacy in countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia with, even today, one of the official languages of Singapore being Tamil. Though there are quite a few sights in the province, for both its size and importance, Chennai, being the fourth largest city in India, has few sights on offer. There's an old British built fort and, of course, a bunch of temples. The best part, probably, is the region's food. Veggie galore! The city, to a large extent, is an eclectic collection of rubble, but one thing I thought obvious was the role women appear to occupy in day to day affairs, holding regular, customer facing jobs all over the place. The city also has a Christian claim to fame. St. Thomas, doubting Thomas, is said to have set up shop here, in the first century no less, before being martyred. Supposedly, his hand print, left during a narrow escape, and the type of relic now more typical of Islam or Buddhism, can still be seen in a cave nearby. More astonishingly, the church of St. Thomas in Chennai actually holds the apostle's tomb. Or, rather, once did, as the relics were taken away in the third century to finally settle in Italy. Only three of the apostles have working churches on top of their graves, all in relatively far flung places, considering their sedentary nature during their time as apostles: Rome, Santiago de Compostela and Chennai. An outstanding temple in Chennai is the Shiva Kapaleeshwarar Temple, an architecturally typically Dravidian construction and with its inner sanctum off limits to non Hindus. All over the floors of the temple were fresh and fading, some on white, some in color, chalk abstracts, presumably invoking the gods and semi gods for protection. The chalk abstracts can also be seen here and there in the city, on the street in front of the entrances of shops or houses. But, what was very unique to the temple was these people's apparent strong dislike for coconuts: a round, low to the ground, concrete container saw what looked like a young family with siblings, handing coconut after coconut to one specific girl, having her head covered but with her arms bare, smashing each coconut to pieces within the concrete receptacle. Due to its size, less a destination, if impressive, Chennai's municipal beach is the longest municipal beach in the world, after Miami's. Gorgeous wide beaches, but not too easily accessible from town. The city's few sights are awfully spread out, which means you can't really see them without your own transport. The tuk-tuks, rickshaws, bajajes, or whatever you prefer calling them, are staffed by mostly annoying drivers, but are possibly your only real option unless you want to spend time uncovering the details of the city's bus network. And the only way to really drive down their prices to acceptable levels is to accept stopovers at a few trinket selling tourist traps. Yes, you can make the number of stopovers at shops which give the rickshaw driver a kickback a part of your haggling. The rickshaw drivers don't get an actual kickback fee on sales, though. they get a 'coupon' for every load of tourists they bring in, whether it's one, two or three in the rickshaw. The coupon is nothing more than a handwritten receipt from the shop in question, with which, my driver told me, he can simply go to a gas station, any gas station according to my driver, and claim a liter of petrol. With a liter of petrol costing about 1 euro, stopping at three shops meant that my driver effectively more than doubled the fee he received for the 3.5 hours or so I took of his time (I paid him 2.5 euros). Of the 3.5 hours, though, perhaps as much as 1.5 was spent driving to these three shops and me having to deal with the shopkeepers. Two were very tiresome, while one pretty much just let me browse his shop. Thankfully, though the tiresome ones clearly were not used to taking 'no' for an answer, I know the value of many things, but also the price of many others, particularly the kind of products shops like these sell, particularly after having spent the last 10 weeks in the region. So, just like they were bullshitting me with free tea and free almonds, I gladly returned the favor verbally. A Chennai institution is the chain of restaurants called Hotel Saravana Bhavan. Indeed, just like in Uganda, it seems, restaurants call themselves hotels, but this one has made it big. With 26 branches in the city and two more in a nearby city, but no others anywhere else in India, at least according to their own listings, it's an achievement they've got the bulk of their branches abroad, in countries ranging from the UK to France, to Singapore and the USA, as well as all over the Middle East. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 2494 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1258 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1461975455 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 21 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 13.0815 [fLongitude] => 80.2861 [tLocation] => Fort St. George [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] => 20130622 ) [5465] => Array ( [iID] => 5465 [tTitle] => A mix of China and Japan [tSlug] => a-mix-of-china-and-japan [iTime] => 1370642400 [iUpdate] => 1370642400 [tDescription] => Taiwan only really entered the (written) history books in the 17th century, when the Dutch and Portuguese were vying for supremacy in south east Asia, originally calling the island Formosa, the Portuguese for 'beautiful'. The island had been occupied for perhaps thousands of years, but also the Chinese came late to the party, but the original austronesian inhabitants, related to the Malay, Indonesians as well as Malagasy, now only make up 2% of the population. Taiwan ended up in its current political form when in 1949 Chiang Kai Shek, leading the nationalists, fled to the island from mainland China, effectively being defeated by the communists under Mao in the civil war of the 30s and 40s. Originally quite authoritarian, Taiwan saw its political climate thaw in the 80s and 90s, now being one of the most prosperous Asian countries. Also interesting, the Taiwanese calendar counts from 1911, when in mainland China the Republic of China was established. And, of course, their spats with mainland China has installed some pride in the Taiwanese, officially calling their country the Republic of China, as compared to mainland China's People's Republic of China. First impressions of Taipei are, not surprising, it feeling like a mix of China and Japan. Jean Luc Goddard drove around Tokyo for its futuristic aspects in his film Alphaville, but he could also have chosen the highways of Taiwan. In a paleofuturistic kind of way. But the city also feels a bit dilapidated, run down. Perhaps because the majority of those living in Taipei believed from the start their visit would only be temporary and never really felt the need to take ownership of their surroundings. And perhaps the city is such a mix of peoples there's too little of a shared sense of community. A touring Star Trek exhibition is currently visiting Taipei, so of course I had little choice, though the thing felt more like cobbled together by a few friends, with a bunch of clothes and (copies of) props thrown in for good measure. And there was no mention of the latest film. But there's plenty to do, both in and close to town. I had considered going on a bit of a road trip on the island, but ended up not straying too far. The zoo, for one, is pleasant and surprisingly cheap, as are most of the museums. Then, the nearby fishing village Danshui is terribly popular for weekend breaks and the, also nearby, Xinbeitou hot springs are a must for their affordability and setting. The best part of the city is the wide, superb and affordable variety of food. I spent an excellent day with one of the hashes in Taipei. We ran on the coast and through the woods, being eaten alive by hornets. I got stung three times, the unlucky ones had to nurse over two dozen successful attacks. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3118 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1255 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1461818206 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 41 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 25.0344 [fLongitude] => 121.565 [tLocation] => Taipei 101 [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] => 20130608 ) [5455] => Array ( [iID] => 5455 [tTitle] => A taste of Xinjiang [tSlug] => a-taste-of-xinjiang [iTime] => 1367704800 [iUpdate] => 1367704800 [tDescription] => The Chinese have made a point of brushing the ethnic majorities aside in the outer regions of the country, displacing them with Han Chinese from the coastal heartland. Tibet is an obvious example, Inner Mongolia is somewhat less known, mostly because the Chinese managed the displacement quietly, but Xinjian, the western promise, has seen a little bit more international press for the unrest the region has seen over the last decade or so. And though fairly recently over 80 percent of the population was ethnic Uighur, a Turkic central Asian ethnicity, now, it hovers around 50. And the high speed connections with the test of china also sees hordes of national tourists stampeding over the many, and what seems to be as usual in China, overpriced attractions. Or rather, stampeding in season. The one major site I visited while in Urumqi was certainly geared to mass tourism, some 100 tour busses waiting at the entrance for bringing them pesky tourists to the actual site, but only a few were used during my visit. The 4000 km journey by train from Shanghai to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province, takes only, if you can call it that, 45 hours and though it crossed my trip from Kunming to Beijing, the scenery only started becoming impressive when we reached Xi'an, where the tracks cross and recross the Yellow River. But even then, much of the landscape more resembled an endless connection of open mines and dry river beds, later slowly transforming into typical central Asian scenery; vast steppes, snow capped mountains in the distance, the occasional mud brick structure along the way. And, closer to the capital of Xinjiang, what seem to be wild camels on the side of the tracks, with the occasional ger, or yurt, thrown in for good measure. A Chinese fellow traveller, perhaps about my age, told me that when she was a child, the journey took four days, while the trains did not have any sleepers. The appropriation of Urumqi by the Han Chinese is probably why the beating heart of the city is not the sterile wide streets downtown, lined with impressive high rise buildings and the occasional central Asian wedding cake. The city is alive around the Turkish bazaar. Though the bazaar has been refurbished, Chinese style, pulling everything down and then rebuilding it again, strangely throwing in a copy of the Bukhara minaret from Uzbekistan, itself again under renovation, its visitors and the streets around it are (still) authentic. Walking down the dilapidated streets lined with street vendors and shops, manned by Turkic men with little round caps on their heads, speaking Turkic Uighur, you could mistake the city for some remote town in Azerbaijan or Turkey. Indeed, the outward focus here does not appear to be towards China, but to Turkey, Turkish flags and shop names being an easy find in the neighborhood. And not just Turkish. Perhaps it's the somewhat older buildings, but its not hard to find shop names and other signage in Russian. Maybe dating from when the Chinese and Soviets had a much closer relationship. But the beating heart is also neglected. Beggars on china's main streets are a rare occurrence. Not so around Urumqi's Turkish bazaar. Wailing women, men with stumps for legs, mothers with their sick or dying children emphatically shouting for mercy. Not so heavenly Probably the most visited site near Urumqi is Tian Chi, heavenly lake, in the Tian Shian, the heavenly mountains, which surround the city. Pretty and, once, idyllic, the area, like so many others in China, has been extensively cultivated. Sure, it is pretty, but not extremely exceptional, even though, after my arrival, the slowly dissipating mist and cloud cover, revealing an Alpine beauty in all its technicolor glory, was quite impressive, similar scenes can be had all over the world. And the exorbitant entrance fee is downright ridiculous. More so as it doesn't include additional sights like the temples inside the park, for which you need to pay extra. Somewhere in the last few years, the entrance fee has been nearly doubled. And even though the lake is only some 40 kilometers away from Urumqi, as the crow flies, it takes about 2.5 hours by public transport to get there, three busses from the center of the city. I had perhaps at least as much fun meandering around Fukang, the town where you have to switch buses on the way to Tian Chi. This middle of nowhere town with its overload of humongous power plants is decidedly Turkic. Taking in the sights and sounds of the Sunday market, eating foods never before seen in my life and watching the world go by, basking in the sun and sipping coffee, was a great way to see a tiny bit of the veil lifted from Uighur city life. Also interesting, though Fukang had more than its fair share of power plants, both sides of Urumqi have fields covered with hundreds of industrial power generating windmills. Then, with the stark blue sky holding, the views of the heavenly mountains, God's peak in particular, looming over Urumqi, is near spectacular. Urumqi is built around the banks of the Urumqi. Already closed up in the downtown area, workers were constructing even more of a tunnel to hide the river from sight. Or rather, to build a sewer for the non existing stream. The ethnic mix The ethnic mix of peoples in Urumqi is fascinating. The high streets are dominated by Han Chinese, the coastal Chinese trying to ethnically standardize China as a whole. But, the Turks, Uighurs, are everywhere, some indistinguishable from their Turkish brethren on the far western tip of Asia, some even with light blue or green eyes. Then there are the obvious Kazakh, Mongols, Tajik and Kyrgyz. All blended together in one huge mix, it's a shame Central Asia is so extremely Balkanized. Banding together they could rule the world. It wouldn't be the first time. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 4674 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1235 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462195367 [iHot] => 2 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 42 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 43.8042 [fLongitude] => 87.6016 [tLocation] => Maitian hostel [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] => 20130505 ) [5441] => Array ( [iID] => 5441 [tTitle] => Derive app at the World Summit Award [tSlug] => derive-app-at-the-world-summit-award [iTime] => 1360105200 [iUpdate] => 1360105200 [tDescription] => The reason for heading to Abu Dhabi was Dérive app being selected as one of the winners of the World Summit Award, a UN-backed, UAE-sponsored event promoting solutions in mobile technologies. The event was held at the Jumeirah hotel at Etihad towers, an extremely opulent hotel of over 60 floors. Our bathroom, with a freestanding tub, on the 40th floor, had a near 180 degree view of the city's shoreline. Still, even though the walk-in rate is 300 euros, rooms can be booked online for a not-so-outrageous 180 euros for a double. The conference itself was not overly interesting. Many of the speakers were rehashing old news, while a session on mobile activism, in a fancy hotel in a country that stiffles political opposition, was laughable, mostly talking about commercialisation of mobile apps. But that perhaps was more due to the UAE's fear of giving local political dissidents the 'wrong' ideas. The catering was superb, though a bit too much of the organisational planning left to be desired, possibly in part because the actual organisers are based in Salzburg, while the local partner is possibly more interested in the political clout that actually comes with organising the event. Not from the perspective of the participants, but for outsiders. Perhaps this is underscored by the apparent lukewarm interest in the international tech press, let alone the conventional press, of the WSA. Still, having said that, the WSA was a success for us at Dérive app. We did not become 'champion' in our category, m-Tourism and Culture, that honor went to Harpoen, but we made a host of valuable contacts and were able to focus our strategy through the people we met and conversations we had. And we had superb breakfast, four times in a row. Also, there's the WSA (non-mobile) coming up in Sri Lanka later this year. I suppose we'll have to try to get in. Who doesn't want to go to Sri Lanka? [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3296 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1211 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462159343 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 24.459 [fLongitude] => 54.3221 [tLocation] => Etihad towers [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] => 20130206 ) [5438] => Array ( [iID] => 5438 [tTitle] => Let me be the tourist of your travel memories [tSlug] => let-me-be-the-tourist-of-your-travel-memories [iTime] => 1359846000 [iUpdate] => 1359846000 [tDescription] => I've started a campaign on Indiegogo where you can tell me what location you have a fond personal memory of, and I will visit it. That one corner shop with fantastic noodles? I'll check if it's still there. That superb coffee in that one backstreet? I'll try the coffee to confirm it's still as good. That place where you had that fantastic night out? I'll be there. In April/May/June, I'm (currently) set to travel from Kampala to Mumbai to Chennai to Guanghzou to Beijing to Shanghai to Hong Kong to Singapore to Chennai to Mumbai and back to Kampala. The reason for this trip is my attending a wedding close to Shanghai on April 29. Funding this campaign means telling me where to go on the route I'm already travelling, or providing the cost for veering off course to visit that place that has or once had a special meaning to you. The trip will be documented in writing, with photos and, whenever possible, by checkins and reviews. Note that, though I might visit typical tourist attractions because of my own interests, in principle this campaign's intention is to visit spots that have a personal meaning to you. If you choose to support this campaign, depending on the height of your support, the spot you want me to visit has to either be on my route, or the cost of visiting (bus? train? plane?) has to be reasonably covered by the height of your donation. When traveling, or going on holiday, it's hard not to visit the typical tourist sites, be they the pyramids of Gizeh, the Great Wall of China, or the St. Peter in Rome. However, more and more, visiting these sites, fantastic as they are, is becoming less and less unique. Not only are more and more people able to travel more and more, everyone is also documenting and sharing their experiences more comprehensively than ever before. The result is that memorable, unique, experiences less often happen at the typical tourist hotspots, but in places that, by themselves, appear to have little to offer. That little cafe tucked away on that backstreet, that strange little shop two blocks over or that unexpected bit of architecture off the beaten track. With this campaign I want to make those little experiences, those events that made your journey stand out, into my tourist attractions, documenting my experiences along the way. Visit, and support, this campaign at Indiegogo. Virtual bottle post In 2008, I conceptualized a virtual bottle post network. Participants would leave a note and throw it inside a web-based applet. Then, some other, physically nearby, instance of the applet would pick up the message and offer it to its visitors, who could read the message and then put it back in the applet, or not. An very close approximation of this concept has been actualised with the app airendipity. The only real difference is that it's a mobile-phone based app, not a web-based applet that runs inside websites. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3674 [iClicks] => 341 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1211 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1461782301 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 24.459 [fLongitude] => 54.3221 [tLocation] => Etihad towers [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] => 20130203 ) [5432] => Array ( [iID] => 5432 [tTitle] => So this is Addis [tSlug] => so-this-is-addis [iTime] => 1356217200 [iUpdate] => 1356217200 [tDescription] => More middle eastern, or even eastern European, than African, Addis, as a city, has more to offer than many other African capitals. Not that the museums are too interesting, even though they clearly once were design according to European standards, and as the city is only barely a century old, the cultural history of the national melting pot that is Addis is limited. And large swathes of the city are under development or redevelopment. The organization on African unity set up shop in Addis some 50 years ago and disbanded in 2002. Interesting, as perhaps Ethiopia is least interested in a united Africa, perhaps because the country was never colonized itself. It's buildings are dilapidated, like much of the city. And the city as a whole has few landmarks that stand out, much of the newly constructed buildings being fairly hideous typical middle eastern glitzy office blocks that look just short of finished the moment they are supposed to be. Airport road is lined in the obligatory neon lit fake palm trees. Also, the general attitude of Ethiopians towards faranji, the Asian, not African word for foreigners, is quite different from what it is in most of the rest of the continent, if perhaps more annoying, sometimes even oppresive. Thankfully, tourist-harassment levels haven't yet reached Egyptian levels, and some of the youth that try to strike up a conversation in the street truly only want to have a friendly chat, while at the same time small bands of kids might try to pick your pockets through their orchestrated methods. The city is surprisingly cheap. With Italy's legacy and Ethiopia being its birthplace, amazing coffee being dirt cheap, as is excellent local food, while European food is affordable. Water supply seems to be a structural problem, while electricity appears reliable. And the climate is a few notches more extreme than at home in Kampala. Addis is at 2500 meters, meaning that the sun shines bright and is warm, while the dry air and cool breeze get you burnt to a crisp before you know it. And nighttime temperatures go down to just a few degrees above freezing. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 8372 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1202 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462153196 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 18 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 9.03079 [fLongitude] => 38.7545 [tLocation] => Taitu hotel [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] => 20121223 ) [5418] => Array ( [iID] => 5418 [tTitle] => What's the competition at the World Summit Award [tSlug] => whats-the-competition-at-the-world-summit-award [iTime] => 1349647200 [iUpdate] => 1508852189 [tDescription] => Deriveapp, with Eduardo Cachucho as the artistic lead and myself as the technical lead, is Uganda's submission to the World Summit Award in the m-Tourism & Culture category. WSA claims it's "the world’s leading initiative to select and promote the Best in e-Content and innovative applications", which I find a bit rich, but, hey. In our category, we're up against 51 competitors from as many countries, with only a handful from Africa. It's not too much of a surprise that m-Tourism, with the 'm' specifically referring to mobile technology solutions, is somewhat underrepresented. The award's list of categories mentions the evaulation criteria per category, which are awfully broad, but does put an emphasis on being able to provide a fresh perspective with, specifically interesting for our app, "providing new perspectives on the space around us, using maps and navigation-based contents". Deriveapp 2.0 is about ready to move to 'beta', which means it's pretty much ready for the big time. With users already having tried out derives from Mexico to Serbia, we're off to a promising start. Here's a shortlist of what I think are our biggest competitors. Innovative The WSA award has an emphasis on being able to somehow provide a fresh insight related to tourism or culture. In my opinion, besides deriveapp, only two of the submissions truly meet the WSA criteria. +, an iOS app which lets you memorize locations with a picture and then, later, easily allows you to pull up directions to the locations you saved. +, an environment to create your own mobile apps with tourist information for destinations of your choice. Works together with placegrabber, an app to document your own destinations on the go. The current online environment for building your own guidebooks, in beta, feels a bit rough around the edges, but the potential is interesting. Basically, this allows you to be your own Lonely Planet. In English. Historical, video-based, travel guides Interesting and insightful, but hardly original, as several of the submissions focus on the same theme, are apps that perform the function of a kind of historical tour guide. + Vistory, the "interactive historical video app", which allows you to compare historical videos with their location as they are now. Focussed on Amsteram. Seemingly in English. + Berlin Wall, an iOS app with a video-based history on the Berlin wall. In German. + My Warsaw, a Samsung sponsored app on historical Warsaw, which gives you a gamified and video-based tour of the city. In English and Polish. Copy cats Functional, if perhaps interesting, well executed and effective, copycats, were also submitted. + Xomo event guide, a mobile app listing nearby events with an added social experience. Basically, eventful or upcoming. In English. + TaxiPal, a mobile app for ordering taxis, particularly when you're in a place you are not familiar with. Similar, if more generic, to Uber. In English. + Jets - Flight & Seat Advisor, an iOS app to show you seating arrangements on planes. Essentially SeatGuru on a mobile device. In English. + Harpoen, an iOS app to leave localised messages which can be accessed by other users. Quite similar to Wallit, if prettier. In English. + Lingibli, mobile apps for learning a language. How many of those exist? + Kunst på stedet, mapping public art in Denmark. Effectively a mobile version of my project Beeldenstad, dating from 2002, as well as Beeldenstad's spiritual successor, the Hungarian Szoborlap. In Danish. Nice, but...Simplevox, an iOS app for constructing natural voice announcements in multiple languages relevant to the travel industry. Extremely useful, to some, but hardly innovative, as every PA system for every public transport solution in the developed world uses a system like this. Except, this one is free. + Touchotel, the concept of having tablets in hotel rooms to allow customers to easily order room or other services. In English, presumably, though the company is Senegalese and the idea doesn't seem to have left the concept stage. And isn't very innovative, as at least The Plaza Hotel in New York has been offering their guests iPads since at least early 2011. Audio guides A rather obvious use of mobile devices is to provide their users with audio guides of their surroundings. This can be extended to providing QR-codes at the locations for which audio guides exist. Using QR codes in this context is identical to how I used them in j-walk, which I did with Ismail Farouk back in 2009.  + JiTT, a mobile app, offline audio tour, for a few European cities. In English and Spanish. + GUIDE@HAND, location based audio guides for a few cities in Hungary and one in Slovakia. In English. + Escúchame!, audio guides on touristic cites in Panama, using QR codes. In Spanish. + QR-code based audio guides, for mobile devices on sights in Jerusalem. Travel guides A surprisingly, to me, large number of WSA submissions in the m-Tourism & Culture category were straightforward travel guides. + A virtual museum on the oldest wooden wheel in the world, which is some 5000 years old. Available in several languages. + Minube, an iOS app for tourist attractions in Spain, in Spanish. + 100NTO, a Windows-phone app with tourist attractions in Bulgaria, in Bulgarian. + Conaculta - Mexico Es Cultura, a guide on cultural activities in Mexico. In English. + ExperienciaColombia, an online guide on Colombia, in Spanish. + Historious Athens, a guide for Android with historical information on landmarks in Athens. In English. + Mosquito, a mobile app with tourist information, presumably in Montenegrin. + Smart Tourism El Salvador, a Blackberry app for tourists to El Selvador. In Spanish. + Tourism in Qatar, an iOS tourguide for Qatar. In Arabic. + Tripwolf, a Lonely Planet wannabe, mobile app, in multiple languages. + Vilnius Tourism, a mobile app for sights in Vilnius, in English. + Seoul, on, well. In English The truly commercial and other non-contenders Several of the submissions, simply by their backing or lifespan, should not have been submitted to the WSA awards, even if they're great. This included a 17 year old guide for Beirut, the official London city guide, "India's leader in premium quality digital maps" and a mobile solution for car-based navigation in eastern Europe. Also, a few of the submissions were, if perhaps functional, hardly interesting. Apps for finding travel connections, translating local calendas or dictionaries. Or submissions only available in a local, to me unreadable, language. And there were a few submissions that didn't seem to have a product, were basically just an idea, or forced a download of an Android app without any explanation. Do we stand a chance? There are plenty of the submissions that can pride themselves on an excellent execution, but only a few that are interesting. And, I think, only three that are actually working products and truly innovative or insightful. These being deriveapp, and  I'm hardly the person to comment on which one is the best of the three. What do you think? [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 4052 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 734 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462198897 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 1 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 1 [fLatitude] => 51.9926 [fLongitude] => 4.35874 [tLocation] => Bot-Boender 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] => 20121008 ) [5415] => Array ( [iID] => 5415 [tTitle] => A visit to Andorra [tSlug] => a-visit-to-andorra [iTime] => 1348696800 [iUpdate] => 1348696800 [tDescription] => Andorra, though pretty, is also a bit boring. There's little to do but to ski and shop. And there's little skiing in summer. With no, or virtually no, sales tax, pretty much all products are, by default, some 20% cheaper than elsewhere in Europe. And with pleasure tax being significantly lower, alcohol, and to a lesser extent cigarettes, are ridiculously cheap. On the other hand, accommodation isn't cheap at all. And with space at a premium, the country basically consisting of three narrow valleys, you'll have to park your car in the mountains to park for free. Though Madrid is often cited as the highest capital in Europe, it is in fact Andorra la Vella, the old, some 400 meters higher than the capital of Spain. Andorra started life as a principality back in the 13th century, when the papal representative in Urgell signed an agreement with the count of Foix, both becoming the heads of state for the newly formed principality. The current papal representative is still one of the co-princes. The other, through a series of successions, reverted to the current president of France. Due to its small size, Andorra has mostly lived outside of the mainstream history of Europe. Though the country declared war on imperial Germany in the first world war, it was not included in the treaty of Versailles, which meant the two countries were officially at war until 1957. Since the second world war, Andorra has focussed on tourism. Partially through its excellently developed skiing facilities, partially as a tax haven. The country is not part of the EU, which amongst other things means that you can still smoke in bars and restaurants, though the de facto currency is the euro. The 85000 inhabitants entertain about 10 million tourists yearly. The country only joined the UN in 1993, when it formally adopted a constitution. The official language of the country is Catalan, also the most popular language, closely followed by Spanish. Surprisingly, there are three times more Portuguese speakers in Andorra as there are French speakers. At last, at LAST! Andorra was the last country in Europe I had not yet visited. At least until Kosovo loses its de-facto independence and exchanges it for a de-jure one. Or until, who knows, Catalunya, receives independence. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 4111 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1190 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462166778 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 5 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 42.508 [fLongitude] => 1.52415 [tLocation] => Pyrenees [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] => 20120927 ) [5411] => Array ( [iID] => 5411 [tTitle] => Mostly horrid [tSlug] => mostly-horrid [iTime] => 1346364000 [iUpdate] => 1346364000 [tDescription] => Depending on the route, Lusaka to Kampala is between 2500 and 3500 kilometers, overland. If you're not going through Dar, which is the longest route, only the first 1000 or so can be done with the fairly comfortable TAZARA, where you have to get off in Mbeya, a village, really, of 300000 in the southwest of Tanzania. From there, it's a string of overcrowded busses on dirt roads, heading almost due north. With it being Ill advised to travel at night, crappy roads, crappy drivers and crappy vehicles, the trip takes 7 days of travel, from end to end and takes you through a series of mellow enough, if rather uninteresting, towns. Particularly the leg from Sumbawanga, which sounds like a Hollywood invention, to the backwater that is Mpenda, was rather unpleasant and possibly my least agreeable bus ride, yet. The track is all dirt road, while the driver thinks he is Michael Schumacher in a bus that should have been retired 20 years ago. Literally, bits and pieces were falling of the bus as it moved, my seat came loose, during the ride, as did my neighbour's, and one of the luggage racks came undone at two of its suspension points, the thing ominously and more and more bouncing up and down due to Michael's antics, the trip was like being shaken around by a Powerplate gone berserk. Several times I was propelled off my site so hard that my head hit the up and down bobbing luggage rack. Sarcastically, the back of the cabin read "all these are the blessings of Allah". What a bastard. As I managed to get the last seat on the bus from Sumbawanga to Mpanda, I figured booking immediately for my next day's trip was paramount. But I was already too late, even standing seats no longer being available. Somehow, some 10 minutes later, I could get a standing seat, which wasn't really something I was looking forward to on this 12 hour journey. But, lucky, I somehow ended up on the conductor's seat, with an armed guard next to me. "You know, for robbers." The bus was packed tighter than a can of sardines. What to presume? Kigoma is really the only place between Lusaka and Kampala worth stopping, if only just. Sure, there are some national parks along the way, and Masaka, in Uganda, is probably bigger, but it's Kigoma that, as a town, actually isn't totally disagreeable. And, on the outskirts of town, there is actually something to see that is not nature. Back in 1871, it was in Ujiji, a few kilometers south-east of Kigoma, where Stanley uttered those now famous words, after the world presumed Livingstone had to have been dead for years. The government more recently built a proper tourist trap close to the original site, a memorial and a, seemingly empty, museum, where entrance, per person, is significantly more expensive than a double room, for two, with private facilities, in Kigoma. Foreigners pay ten times the price Tanzanians pay. "But maybe you can pay student price", a steal at only five times the regular Tanzanian rate (but ten times the Tanzanian student rate). I laughed it off and strolled to the nearby beach, where smugglers are transporting goods between Tanzania and the DRC across the water. South of Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, on the northern edge of the lake, there is a memorial to the exact same event, Stanley meeting Livingstone for the first time. The two men did visit this location, but a few weeks after having met for the first time. So, travel in africa is cheap, if you are willing to suffer. The whole nearly 3000 km cost me about 80 USD, under 120 USD if you include accommodation. And this was for a full week on the road. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 5579 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1185 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462077654 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 13 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -4.88002 [fLongitude] => 29.6312 [tLocation] => Sun City [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] => 20120831 ) [5410] => Array ( [iID] => 5410 [tTitle] => Dérive app [tSlug] => deriveapp-2-0 [iTime] => 1346364000 [iUpdate] => 1516124756 [tDescription] => After comparing existing derive apps, I decided to throw together my own creation. Upping this, I'm now working together with Eduaordo Cachucho, creator of the web-based deriveapp, and together we created deriveapp 2.0. deriveapp 2.0 is a web-based mobile app that facilitates a randomized meander through an urban environment by prompting the user with tasks that nudge him to experience his direct surroundings in an unconventional way, heightening the experience of the city for the user, while essentially playing a game. Because this experience of the urban environment does not rely on the actual physical location, but still results in a meaningful and unique experience, it’s the exact obverse of conventional tourism. The objective for building deriveapp 2.0 is to create a simple but engaging platform that allows users to explore their urban spaces in a care-free and casual way. To take the ideals of the Situationists and the concept of psychogeography and merge it with digital means in order to create a tool that implies an exploration of urban space in a random unplanned manner, as a game. Deriveapp 2.0 is being created to try to nudge those people who are in this repetitive cycle, within their urban environment, to allow the suggestions and subjectivities of others to enter into their urban existences. This ideally builds a new understanding of their urban surroundings, opening up new channels of dialogue between individuals through a device that makes the unpacking of urban space part of a game. Task cards that are dealt are created with the intention of heightening the experience of the city for the user, by calling them out to search for specific architectural, urban or social points of interest. Additionally, allowing each user to add their own tasks and therefore their own subjective reality, allows users of the application to see their urban spaces in a different light. The result of using deriveapp 2.0 is an assisted random walk through an urban environment, a dérive. My app and the derivator website merged into the new derive website. Already, the alpha version of deriveapp 2.0 improves over apps I compared earlier: + Individual derives are registered and stored for later perusal. + Individual GeoRSS feeds are created for each derive, meaning that the results can easily be exported. + A clever algorithm decreases the likelihood of the same card being drawn in close succession. + Individual relative likelihoods can be set per card. + The user can choose from a range of decks and mix multiple decks together. + A clever algorithm chooses unique background colors for cards that don't have an image associated with them. + When cards are not stored with the location they were drawn at, interpolation later approximates their location. + Photos uploaded to Flickr and matching an individual derive are shown on a map, with the cards drawn for that derive. But, there is still a lot to improve. Over the next few weeks, amongst other things, we will: + Consolidate the deriveapp website with the alpha version of deriveapp 2.0 into one web-based location. + Move existing (non-app) content into a CMS. + Expand personalized functionalities of the app through Facebook authentication. + Create a design for deriveapp 2.0 that's more in line with the original deriveapp. + Facilitate language independence. + Allow for users to submit their own decks and cards. An award winner In early 2013, deriveapp 2.0 won the World Summit Award 2012 in the m-Tourism & Culture, representing Uganda. A day to remember On January 19, 2013, Dérive app hosted the first Dérive Day. Going mobile In January 2017, Dérive app became available as a downloadable mobile app for both Android and iOS. Hosted dérives In August 2017, just in time for Dérive Day 2017, we added 'hosted dérives', where all participants, wherever they are in the world, get presented with the same task cards, at the same time. [iCategory] => 6 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3749 [iClicks] => 742 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1140 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462100097 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => sparse [iHideMap] => 1 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 3 [iFullImage] => 1 [fLatitude] => 0.29893 [fLongitude] => 32.6227 [tLocation] => GOAL apartments [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 1 [tCategory] => Own stuff [iCategoryFeatured] => 1 [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] => 1 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => bf:blogitem=5410 ) [5400] => Array ( [iID] => 5400 [tTitle] => Psychogeography apps [tSlug] => psychogeography-apps [iTime] => 1341698400 [iUpdate] => 1341698400 [tDescription] => So I did a write up on dérives a few days ago, a dérive being an assisted random wandering around an urban area. The term and concept date from the 1950s, when ideas about psychogeography, the study of how a person's environment effects his experience, were starting to take shape in Europe. I now looked at the possibilities of expanding or rebuilding the interesting, but technically limited, deriveapp and did more of a background search. Turns out, psychogeography has an active following, not in the least because a few prominent writers, such as Will Self, have a particular interest in the field. The blog The Pop-Up City (run by Dutchees), which looks at what will shape the city of the future, had a nice writeup on psychogeography in January this year, listing several massively interesting recent psychogeographical projects. The blog posts mentions the very interesting iOS app Serendipitor, which is close in functionality as what I envisioned in my previous post. Serendipitor, a creation of Mark Shepard, claims inspiration from the analog Drift Deck, as well as the Fluxus movement *and* Yoko Ono (though I would argue Ono never left Fluxus). The Serendipitor assists you in a dérive, similar to the dériveapp, but shows an actual map, and still, for the map, relies on an internet connection. The tasks of the two apps are similar, though Serendipitor sticks to plain text, while the tasks are a bit more akin to those that showed up in the analog Drift Deck. Before you agree to a randomly generated route, you can specify you want a longer or shorter journey. Then at the end of your journey, the app can send an email with your dérive to the Serendipitor website, where your dérive is stored for posterity, complete with tasks, route and photos. Sadly, almost annoyingly, the app only *almost* gets it exactly right: the meander is stored as an image, while neither the geographic locations of your photos, nor where you fulfilled your tasks, are stored, or at least, not displayed. Just a little bit of extra information would have made the app perfectly hackable, automatically creating the lovely maps Eduardo Cachucho put together based on the deriveapp. It's quite possible Serendipitor mails the photos with the geotags intact, meaning that hacking the app's output might be somewhat possible. Interestingly, not many people seem to be using the app, with on average 2 or so trips being posted to the site per month. Drift, by Justin Langlois, helps you to 'get lost in familiar places'. The app feels a bit buggy, but works. Like Serendipitor, photos have to be taken from within the app, meaning you can't edit or adjust the photos you take. Drift also immediately uploads the photos you take, though it isn't immediately clear where the uploaded photos go. Only after registering within the app and getting an email confirmation do you get mailed a link to a webpage, which really only contains a short blurb. In the app's settings, you can specify your pics to be made public, but it took me contacting the author to learn where the resulting photos are shared. Still, individual or trip pages are not generated, meaning that your photos soon disappear into an unclear void. One draw of deriveapp over both Serendipitor and Drift is that it's very easy to change the cards/tasks. Particularly because some of the tasks used are very western-centric, being able to change them is useful for using the apps in out of the way locales. Serendipitor requires you at some point to find a fire hydrant. I don't think I've ever seen one, here in Kampala. It also at some point requires you to ask someone to draw a map of his childhood. A request totally out of place, here. Wanderlust stories takes a different approach, using scripted stories, transplanted to your locale through known foursquare locations, to give you a unique experience. It's a web app and, obviously, becomes less interesting the more you use it, as the content doesn't change, while it works better with a higher density of foursquare locations. On the up, the authors allow for user submissions of stories, though this doesn't appear to happen much, if at all. The movie Inception came with an app which uses soundscapes related to your current surroundings and their state to, perhaps, induce lucid dreaming. Interesting for its use of sound levels and weather to determine what soundscape to play, but by no means a tool for a dérive. The creators of the app, RjDj, followed this up with the app Dimensions, which effectively gamifies the Inception App, making it something of an immersive soundscaping experience, using location and ambient sounds as part of the gameplay. More promising than it seems to be able to deliver, another app by the same guys, simply RjDj mixes ambient tracks with ambient sound around you, resulting in an ever changing soundtrack to, well, your life. And it's perhaps this least pretentious app which is the most successful of the three. With some similarities to Dimensions, Shadow Cities is a location based multiplayer role playing game. Quite well executed and intriguing, I've played the game for a bit, but I'm not sure whether the fascination I have for the game is genuine or based on the game cleverly feeding the user a limited drip of information as the game progresses, constantly resulting in small surprises to retain interest. Update: I forget to mention what perhaps is the mother of all dérive implementations: geocaching, which has a nice enough, if expensive, app. Geocaching is a GPS assisted treasure hunt. Originally done with a standalone GPS receiver and pen and paper, the hunt moved to smartphones a few years ago and has a strong following. Though the resulting journey of one geocache is very much in line with a typical dérive, it's impossible to partake without someone first having created a cache close to where you are. In built up areas in 'the west', this is less of a problem, but in other places, you might have to travel dozens, if not sometimes hundreds, of kilometers, to find a nearby cache. And, once you've done one cache, you can't have another one be magically auto-generated. Geocaches, by design, rely on their exact location. Update (October 2015): I stumbled upon another related app: Zufall. Not exactly psychogeography material, but related in the same way that a photomarathon is, is InstaCC, which gives you, after selecting a group of tasks, a subject a day, for you to find a matching photo. My biggest gripe with InstaCC is that, though well done, you're required to pay for each individual list of assignments. Three years ago, Ryan Raffa converted his own meanderings through New York City into sound, using latitude, longitude, speed and elevation as parameters for creating piano pieces. Care for an example. Raffa used to track his dérives, for example with this trip. is an excellent resource for tracking trips, mapping both route and photos taken. On the downside, the website looks like it hasn't been updated since 2002 and, though there is an app for iOS, there isn't one for Android. The iOS app works well in that it keeps track of your route, allows you to set waypoints and allows you to add photos. Here, too, though, the photos are made within the app and can't be picked up from your camera roll. Though gpsed apparently allows for adding photos to the track later, from services like Flickr or Picasa. Karl Heinz Jeron created an audio guide of Brussels, where he seems to have used the Gutenberg project as an intermediary to introduce a randomized aspect to the walk. A somewhat dated post over at lists a few other apps with links to psychogeography. A few more interesting, and less obvious, ones are... + WalkBrighton. If only I knew when I was there in March. + Glow. This records and shows users' moods, overlaid on a map. Cute, but because it only uses the app as a data source, or so it seems, and not, for example, moods based on Tweets, the data is very limited. + A data logger from Pachube. Next up: comparing the three dérive apps I'm now aware of, deriveapp, Drift and Serendipitor, and musings on what a dérive app should be able to do. The image accompanying this post is a composite of images from WalkBrighton, Glow, InstaCC and Serendipitor. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 8147 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1140 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462215950 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 3 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 0.29893 [fLongitude] => 32.6227 [tLocation] => GOAL apartments [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] => 20120708 ) [5397] => Array ( [iID] => 5397 [tTitle] => Derive, a meandering around [tSlug] => derive-a-meandering-around [iTime] => 1341439200 [iUpdate] => 1341439200 [tDescription] => A while back, a good friend of mine (who's also very lax in updating his website, even though he's doing all sorts of interesting stuff) introduced me to a digitized version of the Drift Deck, a seemingly somewhat tongue in cheek method for meandering around a city. The Drift Deck is based on the concept of dérive, French for 'drift', which was defined in the late 1950s by a French Marxist as "[An exercise where] one or more persons [...] drop their usual [...] activities, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there". In other words, a dérive is a meandering around town. The concept of dérive has its origins with the Situationist International, a group of self-styled revolutionaries, founded in 1957, reaching its peak of influence in the general strike of May 1968 in France. With their ideas rooted in Marxism and the 20th century European artistic avant-gardes, they advocated experiences of life, alternative to those typical within a capitalist system, for the fulfillment of human desires. For this purpose they suggested and experimented with the "construction of situations" or more specifically, the creation of an environment favorable to the fulfillment of such desires. Using methods drawn from the arts, they developed a series of experimental fields of study, including unitary urbanism and psychogeography. The objective of unitary urbanism is for the (urban) surroundings to be blended in such a way that one cannot identify where function ends and play begins. The resulting society, while it caters to fundamental needs, does so in an atmosphere of continual exploration, leisure, and stimulating ambience. Psychogeography is the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals. It shouldn't come as a surprise, then, that modernist Neoism has some roots in the psychogeography of the 1950s. In the late 1950s, the concepts behind psychogeography produced the idea of the dérive. In a way, more recent alternate and augmented reality games, games that superimpose an alternate world on physical reality, typically, but not always, using modern technology to achieve this, also have their roots in psychogeography. One very good example, using more directed tasks but in many ways similar to the use of the Drift Deck, is SF0, an alternate reality game based in San Franciso. In fact, the recent resurgence of psychogeography has resulted in an annual festival in New York (though I'm not convinced this year will see a continuation of the event). The analogue Drift Deck, a stack of cards with simple instructions to aid the user in his random move around town was put together by Julian Bleecker, and was the inspiration for the digital version which I saw last year. Now, this digital version has somewhat evolved into a collaborative digital project to make dérive 'packs' for multiple cities. Based on a post on, it could be concluded that the person behind this is Eduardo Cachucho (who at least updates his website regularly). I travel regularly (and never enough), and find that, over time, what I draw my satisfaction from when traveling has changed. More and more, it's the smaller attractions, let's say the 'hidden gems' or the little chance encounters, the small surprises, which are much more interesting than the major sights, those which every tourist makes a point of visiting. Nor surprisingly, visiting a new place and only doing the latter results in an experience that's no longer unique. This is no longer the time of the Grand Tour, everyone and their brother has visited the Pyramids. So, to make a visit unique, or to look at an oft-visited location afresh, a dérive is an excellent concept. Indeed, there are parallels between a dérive and urban exploration, often of urban ruins. That, however, needs preparation and in itself requires direction, whereas a dérive is a random, perhaps assisted, but not actively, meander. Back in 2004, I created a dynamic and customizable cell phone based city tour of Delft, using the typical tourist venues of Delft as locations. In 2009, I expanded on this with j-walk, which uses QR-codes sprinkled around town, at highlighted venues, to allow for customized walking tours, both on the web and through a mobile device. J-walk stores the user's meanderings, the result being available for download after finishing the walk. I first created j-walk together with Ismail Farouk for Johannesburg, after which I also built a version for Chiang Mai before converting my original city tour of Delft into a j-walk tour. Dérive, in a way, is turning j-walk on its head. Instead of allowing for a flexible platform that will allow the user to visit a number of fixed locations around town, there's instead a clearly defined platform that opens up the city, to the user, focusing on the interactions, instead of the locations. I also realized that my appreciation of photomarathons is also because, for participants, they effectively constitute a psychogeographical walk around town. No surprise then, that I've been toying with the idea of building a mobile app that presents the dérive cards to the user, while recording the user's meandering, plotting any photos taken on a map, together with the tasks drawn from the deck of cards. A few available apps that facilitate some of this come to mind. Recording a journey could be done by something like RunKeeper, while an iOS device (and I suspect an Android device as well) geotags photos by default. An app that's limited, but records your meanderings, storing your location and any photos you take, is HipGeo. Annoyingly, their default standalone mapping features need some design magic. On the up, they've got an API through which it seems to be possible to do the trick of nicely mixing up the dérive with a recorded track and photos. Update: I've since found a few other apps that are very similar: MobilyTrip looks and feels very nice, but doesn't appear to have an API. The same goes for TripColor, though this app appears a bit less slick, as compared to MobilyTrip. Tripline doesn't come with a mobile app, but can tie together several mobile services to create a browsable online map. Strangely, it still caters for the long defunct Gowalla and doesn't allow for Flickr imports (but does for Instagram). Travellerspoint is similar. Trippy is another solution that's similar, primarily focussing on the online experience, but also offering a mobile app. Also, Google Earth now allows for recording multimedia tours. As a tourist, you might not be in a region where your smartphone has internet access without excessive roaming fees. The app, therefore, should ideally not have to rely on an online connection The dérive 'app' available over at the aptly named is a nice step forward form what I saw last year, but is lacking in several ways: + It's not really an app, but a website optimized for mobile use. Internet connection required. + There's no integrated tracking of the route traversed. + Photos are not stored as part of the app. Still, there are two dérives, nicely mapped, on the deriveapp website, and I talked with the author on how he managed this. He used maps+, not too dissimilar from RunKeeper in its functionality, and put the whole thing together using a custom Google Map. A bit cumbersome, but workable. Except that he somehow needed to record which cards he drew from the digital deck, at what time, which requires quite the effor, particularly if you're not familiar with the location where you're doing the dérive. An online log of cards drawn at what time could solve that problem, I suppose via a spreadsheet and an import into Google Maps. Or at least some matching magic with the app tracking your location. The dérive author is cool in releasing the code for hosting the 'app' under a cc-a license. A quick glance does reveal some room for improvement: + All the cards appear to be pictures, text and all. This makes making changes to the cards quite cumbersome. Also, this means a much higher demand on bandwidth. + There isn't any logic behind the cards being presented. Nice for the randomness in the spirit of the concept of dérive, but annoying when you draw a card like 'take a ride on the metro' several times in close succession. Assuming there is a metro in your location in the first place. + There's no logging of cards drawn. And a bit more nitpicky: + The code comes with Google Analytics code included, presumably of the website. + Not all the code included is released under a cc-a license, though that's not obvious from the package itself. + Not only is there no separation of logic and design, there's also no templating, with some CSS being hardcoded in the HTML, some in the headers of pages, some in actual CSS files. So, I'm putting some thought in how to take this to the next level. Probably first as a web-based 'app', similar to the current one, but with some added functionality, and assisted by a tool such as HipGeo. Then, if it turns out that doing a dérive is actually fun, perhaps as an actual app. Watch this space. The photo accompanying this article is a collage of a HipGeo screenshot, an image from the deriveapp website and a photo of the artists/revolutionists attending the Situationist International, taken from Wikipedia. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3607 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1140 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462181601 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 0.29893 [fLongitude] => 32.6227 [tLocation] => GOAL apartments [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] => 20120705 ) [5353] => Array ( [iID] => 5353 [tTitle] => In Podgorica [tSlug] => in-podgorica [iTime] => 1329433200 [iUpdate] => 1329433200 [tDescription] => Podgorica, Montenegro's capital, seeing over 50cm of snow with towns upcountry close to two meters, meant the country experienced the heaviest snowfall in 60 years. This inexperience with large amounts of snow, and probably the lack of equipment to deal with it was the reason the roads and train line up country, to Serbia, were closed for many days. Europe's newest country's capital's first impression is that it's very clean, almost clinical and boring. On top of that, the currency being the euro, it's pretty much like being somewhere just over the German border, in central Europe. Somewhere in the Czech republic perhaps. Or maybe northern Italy. Then, with tourism in the capital being very limited, it's the Mediterranean coast in summer which pulls the crowds, the cheapest room I could find, clean, but feeling run down, set us back 30 euros for the night. Whereas an excellent room in a very modern hostel in Belgrade was only 18 euros. Podgorica only reclaimed its former name in 1992, when it reverted back from Titoville, which was the name it was given after the second world war, to commemorate the father of modern Yugoslavia, who managed to skillfully steer his country's own course between the communist east and democratic west, after the war, while masterfully kicking out first the Italians, and then the Germans, during the war itself. All six former Yugoslav republics had a city named in honor of the marshal, but only Montenegro's was a republican capital. Even though it only took this mantle after the war, taking it from the nearby Cetinje. Montenegro is tiny. Some 150000 people in the capital and about 600000 in the country. 50% of exports and nearly 20% of GDP come from one employer, the country's aluminum producer. Add to that income from selling the .me domain, some 600000 and counting, and the result has been an economic growth of nearly 10 percent in the years after independence, that is, since the breakup of the union with Serbia, in 2006. Still, the average monthly income is under 500 euros and unemployment comes in at some 12%. Though that must be a fairly relative number, as with 1.2 million tourists per year, employment must be significantly seasonal. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 4291 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1128 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462184475 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 13 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 42.444 [fLongitude] => 19.2657 [tLocation] => Hostel Nice Place [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] => 20120217 ) [5283] => Array ( [iID] => 5283 [tTitle] => Traveling with an iPad, redux [tSlug] => traveling-with-an-ipad-redux [iTime] => 1313359200 [iUpdate] => 1313359200 [tDescription] => It's a year since I bought my iPad, and a week since I bought my iPad 2, time for an update on my post on what to take when traveling with one. This is directed both at those using an iPad as a tourist and as an alternative for a work computer while on the road. + Strongly consider buying PDF versions of the Lonely Planet chapters you could use. Sadly, at regular prices, the individual chapters are way too expensive, making it easily more interesting to buy a whole guide, at about a 50% discount.  Having tried some alternative solutions, apps that also offer travel info, nothing beats the Lonely Planet, still. The more obscure your destination and the shorter your stay, the more you'll benefit from getting the guide of guides, if only for the practical info. + Use the free Read It Later app to save Wikitravel guides of your destination to your iPad. PocketTrav used to be an excellent app to do this, but the app has stopped working, at least for me and my friends. + Consider saving the Wikipedia entries of your destination to your iPad. This gives you your history section. + Get the MapsWithMe app. This allows you to pre-download openmaps of the countries you are visiting. The maps are not as easy on the eye as Google maps, but their always being available, with your GPS location marked, makes them extremely useful.  As long as you have internet access, Google maps is the way to go, but if you're traveling abroad, this is often a problem. + Get the Tripadvisor app. Granted, you need a connection for it, but when there is one, typically at your hotel or, depending on your destination, perhaps a cafe you visit, you'll be able to check out which restaurant to visit, or which sight to see, based on other people's reviews. Contribute while you're at it. + Consider using the Wikihood app. It's nice, but doesn't add too much, as it only shows you what's near you, when you are online, while the info is culled from Wikipedia. As plenty of venues do not have coordinates associated with them, many of your nearby locations will go unnoticed by the app. Not giving you travel info, but useful, are HipMunk, AirNinja and SkyScanner, for finding cheap fares and budget airlines. Also get your favorite weather app, mine is AccuWeather, and a good clock, I use the aptly named Alarm Clock. Also, on my recent one month, eight country trip, I took just my iPad, not my computer, crossing my fingers I would be able to do all that was needed. This almost worked, but not completely. KyPass, MySQL ODBC and Gusto go a very long way, but when the shit hits the fan, I need the convenience of a properly multitasking high resolution desktop with easy to use keyboard.  I gave up on the Bluetooth keyboard I purchased for my trip to Afghanistan. Just pairing it was so cumbersome I'm better of having thrown it out of the window. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 2475 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 734 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462234804 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 51.9926 [fLongitude] => 4.35874 [tLocation] => Bot-Boender 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] => 20110815 ) [5266] => Array ( [iID] => 5266 [tTitle] => Gotta catch them all [tSlug] => gotta-catch-them-all [iTime] => 1312322400 [iUpdate] => 1312322400 [tDescription] => Ever since entering the European Union some two weeks ago, the weather has been more appropriate for a gloomy September than befitting a central European summer. Arriving in Katowice, the sun peeked out briefly, only to disappear again behind clouds and rain. I really would appreciate a bit more warmth and sunshine, if only for it helping my chances of shooting nice pictures. Close to Aushwitz, Katowice hasn't got as much to offer as, say, nearby Krakow, the city and area having gained economic ascendency through its industrial prowess. The town, more functional than historical, feels a bit like Antwerp or Rotterdam. Though pretty buildings can be found all over town, it's functional constructions from the 1970s which dominate the city. Interestingly, for a brief period during the 1950s, from shortly before to shortly after comrade number one's demise, Katowice was passed of as Stalin's city, Stalinogrod. The region, Silesia, is named after a local river and mountain, Åšlęża, of which the etymology has been traced back to the pre-indoeuropean Vandals, coming down from the Baltics in prehistoric times. Still, though it's not agreed whether Silesians should constitute their own nation, Silesian nationalism, or perhaps pride, is obvious, with the Silesian blue and white flag hanging all over Katowice. The Silesian language, on the other hand, is most often considered a Polish dialect, not a unique language. I'm staying in a very pleasant hostel which is clean, quiet and efficient. Katowice not being one of Poland's backpacker hotspots, the scope is limited, meaning that budget options were few, and I resigned to having to sleep in a dorm. Nevertheless, the attributes of the hostel make up for it. Arriving at four in the afternoon, I went out to take in a bit of the town, including what is said to be the largest monument in Poland, commemorating three Silesian uprisings, a good 80 years ago. I returned after chilling and some good food and drinks around ten in the evening, only to find a bunch of youngsters hanging out in the dorm, on their bunk beds, reading their tattered paperbacks. I took my bottle of Zubrowka, acquired at the Polish equivalent of Aldi, and headed down to the, very nice, common room to nerd and read.
What I don't get and see too often, grandpa mode engaged, is why these 'kids' prefer to read in their bunk beds, while they could be out having a good time for a pittance, or at least relax in a chair. Half a liter of beer at a fancy Irish pub, here, goes for just two euros. Meanwhile, walking down one of Katowice's main drags lined with pubs, bars and restaurants, I couldn't help but noticing scores of youngsters hanging out on and around the permanent furniture in-between the pubs, smoking and drinking their own beers and vodkas. There is little to discover on a dorm room. It's happening on the street! The great death factory tourism factory It's a must to visit Auschwitz, near Krakow, but nearer to Katowice. Last time I was in the area, Krakow, was 16 years ago and I failed this obligatory stop. Not so now. It's been observed that with ubiquitous access to information and flash tourism, it's the prominent tourism attractions that thrive, while the also rans slowly slump back. That's probably why though access to Auschwitz is normally free, in summer between 10 and 3, you can only access Auschwitz I, the main camp, on a guided tour costing you 40 zloty, about ten euros. Access to Auschwitz II, Birkenau, is still free, but the one and only 'Arbeit macht frei' sign can only be found at the former. And extremely busy it indeed is. English tours are held the most often, sometimes as much as every 15 minutes, but even then, my group was so big it still had to be split in three groups of about 20. The tour was decent enough, if too long, but also lacking. The tour guide was very good at going through, presenting, the logistics of running the death camp, sure. No problem there.
At the entrance of the first building, containing information on and photos of the transports to the camps, the famous quote by George Santayana had been put up, "Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it". Obviously, we have not learned; Cambodia, South Africa, Rwanda, Yugoslavia being recent proof. But learning about the logistics of a death camp won't help anyone to understand the underlying causes of these sad events and won't foster the realization of it having happened before, when it happens now or in the future, for there is always the justification which will make it alright, in the eyes of the perpetrators, thinking that 'now' is different from before. However, if we, in this case visitors of Auschwitz, can understand the reasons for Nazi Germany to so abuse man and understand the fallacies in their thinking, we have a better chance at recognizing these fallacies in our own or others' thinking when they happen, hopefully being able to recognize the build ups to genocide before it occurs. Sadly, learning how efficient the Germans were is not going to do that. Getting to Oswiecim, the Polish name for the town, from Katowice, is a bit of a hassle, compared to getting there from Krakow. Only three direct trains a day do the trip, while several bus services ply the route as well, but all starting in different locations in the city and running infrequently. Real estate Believing in society as something that could be constructed, the early 20th century saw a number of (social) engineering projects, typically related to then, newly developing industrial projects. Many of these housing estates, often to a large extent self sufficient, were also often built along similar concepts and similar designs. One example is the Agnetapark in Delft, related to the Gist en Spiritus fabriek (yeast and spirits factory), later Calve, of peanut butter fame, now DSM. Another one is an estate I visited a few years ago in Budapest, Wekerle telep.
I love Nikisz
Quite similar in design and layout to the latter, but this one built in red brick, is the housing estate in Nikiszowiec, now part of Katowice's municipality. Nikiszowiec consists of nine ring shaped blocks, three stories high, with each surrounding a large courtyard, landscaped into a semi private park. A nice neo-baroque church complements the settlement, built for the workers of the nearby mineshaft, Nickisch, which started operating in 1906. For me, slowing down a bit on my schedule of 8 countries in four weeks, taking this extra day in Katowice, I was able to see a few sights slightly off the beaten track. Not only Nikiszowiec, but I also wandered around the city's modernist quarter, which includes a skyscraper of 14 stories which once was the highest building in the country. I also visited what was once the largest building in Poland, the former Silesian parliament, from when Silesia was, briefly, independent, or rather, an autonomous province of the interwar Second Polish Republic. In other news, finally, after some two weeks, the sun has been shining the whole day. It actually makes this industrial city rather attractive. The summer dress code does help with that. Still, its weird that for the whole week, the highs are predicted to be higher in Oslo, than here in central Europe. The sun started shining a day earlier, while in Auschwitz, but by the time I got back to Katowice, and stumbled upon Le Tour de Pologne, sunshine had turned into rain again. No bucket full of meat I've been trying to find one of the city's milk bars. No, milk plus is not served, here, these are low priced, almost communal, kitchens serving good food. Or so I'm told. I found one, but found it closed. Three times. Instead, I ended up at the vegetarian restaurant Zloty Osiol, smack in the middle of town. The food is SO GOOD, I had no choice but to eat there. Three times. In fact, the only meat I had in Poland was inside two kroket, indeed, written just like in Holland, though of slightly different texture, just before going on my tour of Auschwitz. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 2532 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1107 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1461708591 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 31 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 50.2596 [fLongitude] => 19.0219 [tLocation] => Rynek [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] => 20110803 ) [5260] => Array ( [iID] => 5260 [tTitle] => When in Romania [tSlug] => when-in-romania [iTime] => 1311112800 [iUpdate] => 1311112800 [tDescription] => Getting in or out of Chisinau presents you with limited choices. Though there are occasional long distance trains, going to and coming from as far away as Berlin and Moscow, but these only typically run about once a week. There is a daily night train between the Moldovan capital and Bucharest, but busses are significantly more common. So, skipping Bucharest to save time which would allow me to potentially participate in a pubquiz in Budapest on Thursday, I took a bus to Brasov, just under two hundred kilometers north of Bucharest. Brasov, its name deriving from the Turkic for "white water", once in the domain of the Hungarians, is firmly in the heart of Transylvania. The city isn't very big, only counting some 300.000 peeps as it's inhabitants, and the old town of the city is embedded between two scissoring steep cliff faces, which rise up hundreds of meters above the old city. The town itself is actually a tad boring, feeling like a remote Austrian or south German town. And it's also horribly touristy, the whole year through, thanks to the nearby ski slopes and the also nearby home of Vlad the Impaler, more colloquially known as Dracula. You can even visit the man's castle, though he had several. Apparently, a country has to take pride in one's serial killers. More interesting is the castle's history before Vlad associated himself with it, if only briefly. A castle was first built by the Teutonic knights in the early 13th century, this one was destroyed by the advancing Mongols in 1242. Consider how close the Mongols came to conquering the world. Not because they were defeated, but because the generals were called back to select a successor to the great khan Ogedei, the third son of Chinggis Khan. Talk about a case of being saved by the bell. The rebuilt Bran castle, put together by the Saxons and allowed for by the ruling Hungarian king was then first used in the defense against the Ottomans in 1378, after which a back and forth took place for a while, which included the short term ownership of Vlad III, in 1459, the individual on which Dracula was modeled. Now, the building is a museum with a host of materials from the Romanian queen Mary and, actually, not really worth visiting. Sure, the setting is nice, but Vlad the Impaler is only a minor side story, and the disneyfication in the village of Bran is second to none. No sweet transvestites were encountered. Onwards Even the Romanian train network now deploys time-differentiated pricing in the style of Ryanair. Want to travel tomorrow to Budapest? You'll pay up to twice as much as if you had booked a week in advance. Is that reasonable? A public service run by the government shouldn't try to take advantage of it's subjects in a market where competition is not possible. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 2479 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1101 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462210729 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 6 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 45.515 [fLongitude] => 25.3672 [tLocation] => Bran castle [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] => 20110720 ) [5203] => Array ( [iID] => 5203 [tTitle] => The many sights of Banjul [tSlug] => the-many-sights-of-banjul [iTime] => 1303855200 [iUpdate] => 1303855200 [tDescription] => Before coming to Gambia, I grumbled my way into booking a hotel into what effectively is a huge tourist destination on the Gambian coast, as opposed to staying in the nation's capital. Now, after really enjoying the touristy area outside Banjul, before heading to Dakar the next day, we decided to stay in Banjul for one night to check out the city and to make our departure slightly less cumbersome. Spending the day in Banjul, it took us not even half a day to take in the sights. Bit then again, with only some 35000 inhabitants, it's not surprising this tiny capital hasn't got too much to offer. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 2750 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1081 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462102545 [iHot] => 4 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 6 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 13.4605 [fLongitude] => -16.5828 [tLocation] => Arch 22 [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] => 20110427 ) [5202] => Array ( [iID] => 5202 [tTitle] => Of crocs, bumsters and beaches [tSlug] => of-crocs-bumsters-and-beaches [iTime] => 1303682400 [iUpdate] => 1303682400 [tDescription] => Banjul, the capital of Gambia, is a tiny speck of dust, compared to the sprawling suburbs of the kombos, the four administrative areas, kombos, on the Atlantic coast, just outside Banjul. It's here where most of the economic activity takes place and here where all the package tourists are put up, in one of the many rather decent resorts on, or slightly off, the coast. This means that, coming from Salone, the range and quality of restaurants, for one, is rather breathtaking. And because of both the sizable tourist population as well as the indigenous middle class, prices and value for money are not bad at all. Surprisingly, tourists pretty much only show up in Gambia from November till April, meaning that now, at the far end of the season, most hotels are already virtually empty. Odd, as we are here for Easter, which I would think would be as perfect a time as any, or better, for Europeans to visit this sliver of land in west Africa. One flavor of tourists which do come here year round are the, typically, middle aged northern European women who come in search of sex, and easily find it. Many of the suppliers, called bumsters, typically have a handful of recurring clients through which they provide for their extended families. Indeed, the men head out to south east Asia, the woman to Gambia (and some to the Kenyan coast). Perhaps in part because of sex tourism being an important factor for Gambian tourism and the long term income that entails for the local beneficiaries, we found Gambians on the street to often be rather aggressive in their trying to get tourists' attention, to the extent where, multiple times, we were branded, loudly, as motherfockers for not going along with the schemes they were trying to lure us in. I suppose that part of that is their surprise at our lack of gullibility as compared to the hordes of package tourists from Europe, but that's neither an excuse, nor a real explanation. The contingent of Scandinavians is sizable, and our hotel, the oddly named African Heritage Center, one of the very few hotels in the area, in this price range and which actually has a website, is one of the many run by one, a Danish woman. Prices are reasonable, the rooms are quite lovely, the included breakfast is great and the pool is decent. The only real tourist attraction here is a pool filled with tame crocodiles. The pool is famous throughout the country with young women struggling to become pregnant. They bath at the site, though I'm not sure they bath with the crocs, and upon success, name their offspring Kachikally, after the name of the pool. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 6648 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1079 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462210609 [iHot] => 3 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 12 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 13.4761 [fLongitude] => -16.6722 [tLocation] => Kachikally crocodile pool [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] => 20110425 ) [5166] => Array ( [iID] => 5166 [tTitle] => Down, on the beach [tSlug] => down-on-the-beach [iTime] => 1302040800 [iUpdate] => 1302040800 [tDescription] => In Nairobi, an American bloke recommended me staying at a hostel on Diani beach, where the cottages stand on stilts. His day job was running a backpackers in Mombasa until, just the week prior, he was kicked out by the powers that be. In a rematch, he was now teaming up with the owner of the backpackers in Nairobi to, at least, have a local businesswoman on his side, when re-establishing his business on the coast. The stilts were fully booked, but a nearby venue still had some lovely cottages available at not unreasonable rates. Most of the resorts in Diani are off the beach, meaning that the peddlers jump on you like flies once you head out to the shore. And, for some reason, plenty of people have euro coins or one dollar bills they want to change for shillings. The beach, here, is very similar to the ones around Dar, with the same bathtub-warm water. But the general feel is more like a Mediterranean tourist trap on some distant coast, complete with almost western style supermarkets and blond Europeans strolling the beach, hand in hand with their local conquests. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 2965 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1073 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462179556 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -4.3061 [fLongitude] => 39.5802 [tLocation] => Diani beach campsite and cottages [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] => 20110406 ) [5063] => Array ( [iID] => 5063 [tTitle] => To the ends of the world [tSlug] => to-the-ends-of-the-world [iTime] => 1292367600 [iUpdate] => 1292367600 [tDescription] => The Phoenicians pioneered the color purple as a royal color, with Roman royalty being the most ready customers, having exclusive access to the uncommon dye. Though the color purple came from their natural heartland, roughly current day Lebanon, the similar royal blue, or indigo, came from off the shore of what is now Morocco. Indeed, Morocco has been a prized possession for millennia. First Phoenicians, then Romans, barbarians (called Berbers by the Romans), Mauritanians, Arabs, Ottomen, Portuguese, Spaniards and French, roughly in that order, all tried their hand at controlling the country at the edge of the world. Of course, sometimes also in reverse, during the short reign of the Umayyad Caliphate, Morocco was the springboard for the conquest of the Iberian peninsula, resulting in what was the fifth largest contiguous empire ever, before the Umayyads were chased into what is now Spain. Though Niamh coined the term militant tourism for my style of travel, I'm much more organized as well as picky as a decade, or two, ago. The interwebs also allow you to, facilitating you researching your destination in any depth you like. Though I've been recharging my batteries for the last month in Holland, Niamh is fresh out of the challenge that is Sierra Leone, so I wanted to find a reasonable place to stay for our first few nights in Casablanca, our point of arrival. Surprisingly, though a city like Marrakech has perhaps 100 or so budget hotels bookable online, Casablanca only barely has a handful. And many get the most horrendous reviews, specifically on the quality of staff. I managed to find the two of us a reasonable place (I hope!), but as I'm arriving a few days earlier, getting myself hooked up with a reasonable place without paying too much was tricky. Due to fog, my arrival was delayed by almost five hours. We had to make a stopover in Marrakech, from where we left hours later. By the time I walked into the arrivals hall at the Casablanca airport, it was nearly 430 in the morning. However, by that time, my arranged pickup was nowhere to be seen and I had to call them in again. I came prepared enough, with iPad, book and Wired. And I had a whole row of seats to myself. But not for long. Pulling out my iPad, three kids quickly crowded around me, their eyes glued to the screen. And I wasn't able to get rid of them for the duration of the journey. Annoying as that occasionally was, the kids constantly asking for my attention, they were also exemplary for the 'failing' (that's sarcasm) of Dutch multiculturalism. All three kids were born of Moroccan parents. Their parents spoke Arabic with each other, though all kids used Dutch with each other. In fact, this being in-between St. Nicholas and Christmas, their two hottest topics were these very holidays, several times them breaking out in very Dutch holiday songs. A third important topic was where it was I lived. I explained I currently live in Africa. "Mom, mom", in dutch, "he lives in Africa!" then to me "can you teach me some African?" the oldest of the three, a boy, had been in Morocco before, though he was born in Holland. "You know, in Morocco, they constantly use their horns when they are driving! Even when there is no one around or nothing is happening. Toot toot. It's weird. I don't understand it." the girl, a headstrong and talkative little puppet, had to tell us that last year she came in first with regional gymnastics competitions and that she's really good. Whenever she couldn't hear or understand something, she politely said so. "excuse me?" (wablief?) "What is that you're saying?" one of the boys asked the girl. "it's when you don't understand something!" and to clarify even further, "I live in Maastricht." which is in the south of the Netherlands, where people tend to speak a tad more politely. All in all, these three overly hyper kids, I'm sure their parents where happy as it was, this guy practically taking care of their offspring for the duration of the journey, made very clear that what is typical for the multicultural society that is the Netherlands. Sure, first generation foreigners will have trouble adjusting, while second generation foreigners will feel stuck in the middle (these kids will somehow have to match their parents and their grandparents worldview with what they grow up with outside of the home), but one generation onwards, these children their offspring will, for all intents and purposes be as Dutch as the next, only perhaps a name and their looks setting them somewhat apart. Though I doubt even the former. I suspect that, as integration moves forward, foreign families will more and more look for giving their children names that might be indigenous to their culture, but also to their host culture. Case in point, one of the three kids was called Adam, the girl was called Sarah. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3305 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1041 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462106326 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 33.5923 [fLongitude] => -7.61524 [tLocation] => Hotel Oued-Dahab [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] => 20101215 ) [4957] => Array ( [iID] => 4957 [tTitle] => Photographing the photographer [tSlug] => photographing-the-photographer [iTime] => 1281477600 [iUpdate] => 1281477600 [tDescription] => One of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy is Il Duomo and the square right in front of it, in Milan. Tourists fall over each other to take pictures of the church's facade as well as themselves on the square, with the church in the background. However, the sheer size of the edifice makes it rather hard to shoot a picture that's both nice to look at while doing justice to the building itself. Of course, by far most tourists are only interested in snapshots, which reinforces the culture of these people happily snapping away at anything that strikes their fancy. Not long ago, Eric Fischer created a gorgeous set of maps, comparing what tourists and locals take pictures of, in major touristic destinations all over the world, using Flickr and some magic as a base. One of the maps is actually of Milan. What Fischer's match don't show is what direction photos are taken in.  For the set of photos related to this post, I put the tourists themselves on the spot. Shooting themselves, their friends or other tourists, upon request, next to Il Duomo, I photographed the photographers. In the same location as these tourists, my camera was pointed in the exact opposite direction. Not focusing on the tourist attraction, but making the tourists themselves the attraction. For Fischer's maps, my photos are an anomaly, taken in the same location as the regular tourist snapshots, but of completely different subjects, while being taken by, what Fischer defines as a tourist, that is, someone who hasn't been taken pictures in the city being mapped for over a month. Meanwhile, realising the sheer number of photos shot on an average day of tourists at Il Duomo makes shooting any additional photo an act of folly. All these photos are so similar, creating one more becomes almost pointless. Yet it isn't, as everyone wants to be able to show they've seen the church and its facade, remembering it not being enough. [iCategory] => 10 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3082 [iClicks] => 705 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1023 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462235989 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 76 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 45.4642 [fLongitude] => 9.19019 [tLocation] => Il Duomo [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=4957 ) ) ) Keyword: tourism ::