Array ( [total] => 72 [pageSize] => 24 [page] => 0 [results] => Array ( [5598] => Array ( [iID] => 5598 [tTitle] => Democracy Works Foundation [tSlug] => democracy-works-foundation [iTime] => 1440194400 [iUpdate] => 1516110549 [tDescription] => The Democracy Works Foundation is "empowering citizen with tools to make democracy work", in southern Africa. With initially a focus on South Africa, the reach will expand to other southern African countries. The list of individuals involved in Democracy Works is, to say the least, impressive, including the organization's Executive Chairperson, William Gumede. The website runs on Wordpress, has some extensive pesonalizationa and customization and, at launch, already has a wide range of diverse content. With Democracy Works' objective to invest heavily in maintaining a virtual environment at the core of the organization, the launch could not have been more auspicious. [iCategory] => 5 [tURL] => [iViews] => 1387 [iClicks] => 480 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1485 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462231638 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => sparse [iHideMap] => 1 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -29.9024 [fLongitude] => -71.2454 [tLocation] => Andes hostel [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Work [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 5 [categories] => Array ( [5] => Array ( [iID] => 5 [tName] => Work [tSlug] => work [tDescription] => Work, shmork! But, yes, one needs to make a living as well. I'm a self employed web developer with extensive experience in 'the south', that is, the developing world. I strongly focus on social applications, or, 'web 2.0'. If you're intrigued, you can check out my CV. My business is called Baba's projects. [iOrder] => 6 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => sparse [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => bf:blogitem=5598 ) [5494] => Array ( [iID] => 5494 [tTitle] => Black gold [tSlug] => black-gold [iTime] => 1395615600 [iUpdate] => 1395615600 [tDescription] => Ouro Preto means 'black gold' (there's also a 'white gold' in the vicinity) and is possibly the one town in Brazil where colonial grandeur rolled over into post independence splendor, funded by the gold mines in the region. Where Lençois, also funded through mining, resembles a sleepy Southern European mountain village, Ouro Preto is its French tourist hotspot equivalent. Significantly larger and with a much more prosperous past, tourists arrive in droves and the town seems to survive on boutique hotels and cafés, restaurants and shops selling mementos, antiques, as well as soapstone statues. The town has no supermarkets, impressive for a dwelling of 70000, of which some 10000 are students. Unique in Brazil, the students live in one of the few hundred 'republicas', shared housing not unlike fraternities. Arguably Brazil's greatest artist, Aleijadinho, hails from the region, responsible for quite impressive Rococo work in several of the town's many churches, as well as of some impressive artwork in the region. The man mostly worked in soapstone, hence contemporary soapstone sculptures can be found all over town, many having an obvious resemblance to work sold in Zimbabwe, arguably the world's soapstone central. The town is pleasant, with the colonial architecture is more impressive and in better shape than what can be found in Salvador. Ouro Preto started being renovated from the 1940s onwards, as a consequence of commemorating 150 years since the first, failed, independence movement which saw several of its prominent players being deported back to Africa, after it's leader was very violently killed. Walking around on Sundays, the town was awash with men on horseback. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 2012 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1299 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462164516 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 8 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -20.3854 [fLongitude] => -43.5036 [tLocation] => Praca Tiradentes [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] => 20140324 ) [5496] => Array ( [iID] => 5496 [tTitle] => The beauty of Africa [tSlug] => the-beauty-of-africa [iTime] => 1392505200 [iUpdate] => 1463852711 [tDescription] => Even with its corruption, poverty, medieval fear of homosexuality and civil wars, sub Saharan Africa, for its that part of Africa that's almost always what's referred to when the descriptor 'Africa' is used, is, in its day-to-day affairs, a rather easy and, yes, simple part of the world to live in. Well, almost always. As an expat, whether you find yourself in Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zimbabwe or even South Africa, one aspect of African life you will soon understand is that, seldom, it's customary to 'say it as it is'. People beat around the bush; say the opposite of what they mean; use euphemisms wherever possible; avoid losing face at all cost. It's this what can easily make life in Africa so infuriating, as, as a visitor, it's hard to know what's really going on behind the veil. But, not only does this almost enforce, if not just induce, a laissez-faire attitude, it also means that, with the underlying apathy, it takes very little to be successful in much of Africa: 1. Be reasonably ok in your work. Being great or good is not necessary, you only need to be ok. 2. Be reliable. That is, always deliver the same quality work, and be there when called upon. For many westerners as well as for many of the internal African migrants, with that fanning the flames of xenophobia, this means that it's easy to be a somewhat larger fish in one of the many very small ponds. And, with the almost complete absence of meaningful intra-Africa cross border trade, even the big fish in one of Africa's ponds will have a very hard time making the crossover to any of the other markets. In other words, if you make it big in one market, you can rely on being pretty comfy. Sure, the intentional obfuscation of the border between personal and professional life means that conducting business of any serious size can also be risky. Hence, the typical short time frames in which investors in Africa want to earn back their investment. One change of government, one official removed, one politician changing his mind, can have quick and far reaching consequences for your already risky business venture. But, not only does this significantly hamper African growth by keeping many investors away, the personal nature of politics and business, by design, also makes it much easier to keep track of what's really going on, 'behind the scenes'. As a result, much of Africa, though mostly tiresomely underdeveloped, is also notoriously easy to deal with. And, for that, for many a foreigner, a tempting place to make their home. And the countryside sure is pretty. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 2040 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1140 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462026272 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 1 [iForSale] => 1 [iImages] => 81 [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 ) [10] => Array ( [iID] => 10 [tName] => Photography [tSlug] => photography [tDescription] => All my photos worth looking at reside on Flickr. Check out what Flickr thinks are my more interesting products and notice that most of them are of a sexual nature.

Also check out my blog listing the world's photomarathons. [iOrder] => 4 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => thumbnailed [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 0 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20140216 ) [5326] => Array ( [iID] => 5326 [tTitle] => Railroads of Africa [tSlug] => railroads-of-africa [iTime] => 1321398000 [iUpdate] => 1321398000 [tDescription] => Like many, I enjoy long distance train travel and, like many, look back in awe at Rhodes' attempt at building a Cape to Cairo railway. Rhodes never completed his vision, but the, somewhat romantic, idea of being able to take the train from the Mediterranean, say Alexandria, to Cape Town, still fascinates many. I've somewhat traveled in Africa myself, including having taken some of the few remaining long distance train connections. Even though many of the train lines are in dire traits, it's still an eventful and reasonably comfortable way to travel, when possible, and, on these long distances, certainly beats being holed up in a bus, with goats breathing down your neck, chickens stuck under your seat and bags of maize under your feet. However, mostly, the locals don't seem to agree, and prefer cars or busses to the dilapidated train network of, particularly, sub Saharan Africa. Much of Africa's train network was put in during colonial rule, which might in part explain the post-colonial powers' lack of interest in maintaining the existing rail connections, to the extent where plenty of the existing lines were ripped out of the ground and sold, lock stock and barrel, as scrap. That said, the last decade or so has seen something of a revival for African train connections, though primarily as a means to ship natural resources out of Africa, the train lines typically paid for by multinationals or big spending foreign governments (think China) and designed to be used for goods transport, not people. I figured it would be interesting to map what's left of Africa's train network. To my surprise, traveling by train from Cape to Cairo is almost, theoretically, possible, the only real gap being the lack of tracks between the South Sudan town of Wau and the northern Ugandan towns of either Pakwach or Gulu, a distance by road of about 1000 kilometers. Besides this gap, tracks cover the whole distance from Alexandria to Cape Town (outside a ferry connection on Lake Nasser, or Lake Nubia, if you prefer the Sudanese name, between Aswan in Egypt and Wadi Haifa in Sudan). Sadly, several of the connections are for goods only, and plenty of the lines see rather infrequent connections for passenger transport. Still, not bad for a total distance of 7500 kilometers, as the crow flies, some 10500 kilometers by road. Also to my surprise, I found that there are quite a few more working rail lines than I expected, still in operation on the African continent. Sure, though South Africa's passenger traffic appears to be slowly but surely dwindling, their network is still the most extensive in Africa. And Morocco has even been increasing its network over the last few years, introducing some high speed and very comfortable connections. But also Algeria has an extensive rail network, as, to some extent, does Nigeria. Still, the bulk of the network is in southern and south eastern Africa, with a reasonable to good connection between Dar es Salaam and Cape Town. Sources South Africa (1, 2, 3, 4), Mozambique (1, 2, 3, 45), Malawi (1, 2), Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia (1, 2, 3), TAZARA, connecting Zambia and Tanzania (1, 2, 3), Zambia (1, 2), Kenya (1, 2), defunct eastern Africa lines, Egypt (1, 2, 3, 4), Ethiopia, Eritrea (1, 2), Sudan (1, 2, 3), Tunisia (1, 2), Algeria, Morocco, Senegal and Mali (1, 2, 3), Angola, Camaroon, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast (1, 2), Benin (1, 2), the Congos (1, 2, 3), Libya, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Swaziland, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo. Corrections Here and there, I was able to draw on personal experience, but most of the map is drawn based on sources which can't always have been up to date. I'd happily hear about and correct my mistakes. Post ideas, suggestions and corrections in the comments below. [iCategory] => 6 [tURL] => [iViews] => 14942 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 189 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462237437 [iHot] => 11 [tTemplateName] => project [iHideMap] => 1 [iForSale] => 1 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -33.9032 [fLongitude] => 18.422 [tLocation] => V & A Waterfront [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Own stuff [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 6 [categories] => Array ( [6] => Array ( [iID] => 6 [tName] => Own stuff [tSlug] => own-stuff [tDescription] => Erich Fromm said that "creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties" and, without giving freedom to my creativity, I'd die. [iOrder] => 2 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => sparse [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => bf:blogitem=5326 ) [4965] => Array ( [iID] => 4965 [tTitle] => Death [tSlug] => death [iTime] => 1284933600 [iUpdate] => 1284933600 [tDescription] => Last Friday, Goal staff and many others, including myself, attended a memorial service for a Kenyan expat who passed away a good week earlier. The service was pretty bad, with the minister, during the service, advertising the church's services, listing various options for renting out the venue, as well as their individual cost. Contrary to popular opinion, Sierra Leone is extremely safe, as far as crime and violence go. It's diseases which kill people left right and center. Naomi, the Kenyan expat, hadn't felt too great for a few weeks, though doctors here weren't able to diagnose the problem. She went back to Kenya on sick leave, only to be admitted to intensive care upon arrival, where she passed away a week later, still, as far as I know, undiagnosed. Naomi's wasn't the only death in our vicinity since my arrival a good month ago. Since entering the country, it's come to my attention that... + The wife of one of the Goal driver's died. + The son of one of the house guards died. + An German expat intern, an acquaintance of the head of the Goal office in Kenema, though not working for Goal, died. + Naomi passed away. + A friend of the partner of one of the Goal expats died. + A Goal expat was helping out a young couple with HIV/AIDS and a kid. The husband of the couple died. + The father of a friend of the partners of two Goal expats died. + The brother of a hasher died. The only 'natural' death was the last in the list, a man in his seventies dying of cancer. The only other death for which, as far as I know, the cause was known, was the man who died of the consequences of HIV/AIDS. All the other deaths were of unknown cause. So many young people dying for unknown reasons is what I find worrying. If you're in your thirties, say, you're not supposed to die. You're supposed to live to a ripe old age. Of course, that's me looking at the world through the eyes of a privileged first worlder, which is exactly the reason I'm worrying in the first place. And it's perhaps also because death is so common here that few seemed to take offense at the minister hawking his services during his service. Downcast as the expats were at the death, the locals see it every day. Or at least, much more often. Case in point being the following. The infant mortality rate in Sierra Leone is around 80 per 1000 live births, among the highest in the world. With about 40 births per 1000 people and a population of about 5 million, there are about 200.000 births per year and, hence 16.000 children dying per year, or some 50 per day. To compensate, the country's fertility rate is 5 births per woman. Life expectancy is amongst the lowest in the world, at some 55 years, though this is still significantly higher than countries like Zimbabwe or Swaziland, where it's 45 and 48 respectively. It's a good thing that the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is so very low here, well relatively to other sub Saharan African countries, estimated at under 2%, with less than 60.000 people living with HIV/AIDS. With the low quality of healthcare, a higher prevalence rate would surely kill of large portions of the population very quickly. Upswing On a more positive note, Niamh and I celebrated at the Freetown's hash annual posh nosh, more commonly known at other hashes as the AGPU, the Annual Grand (or General) Piss Up. Decent food, decent drinks, dancing and lots of fun. And an overly friendly (read: grabby) Lebanese cook. Rebuild After Disqus stopped working properly for most posts on my site, I figured it was time for another upgrade. For the initiated, I started using the Smarty templating engine. Extremely useful as it also allowed me to seriously tone down on the amount of code I need to maintain myself. The amount of work needed was minimal, perhaps one full day's work. Unfortunately, though surfing the web, on most days, here in Sierra Leone, is barely doable, actually uploading files to a server is almost always an impossibility. As a result, it has taken me a few weeks to get the work done. As a bonus, Facebook likes now seem to work properly again as well. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3124 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1026 [iOldID] => [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1461892060 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 8.47661 [fLongitude] => -13.2839 [tLocation] => Chez Nous [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] => 20100920 ) [4476] => Array ( [iID] => 4476 [tTitle] => Mugabe made from money [tSlug] => mugabe-made-from-money [iTime] => 1250114400 [iUpdate] => 1516123487 [tDescription] => Back when I moved out of Zimbabwe in 2004, when inflation was already impressive, I had collected low denomination bank notes, 10, 20 and 50 zimdollars, to do something creative with. My first idea was to create a toilet roll which, at the time, would already be cheaper made from money than actually buying a toilet roll. The second plan I had was to make a real, physical, mosaic made out of bits of money. I managed to come up with a design and had started cutting up the individual banknotes, but I've basically been on the move ever since. First Afghanistan, followed by South Africa and Thailand, with a bunch of smaller trips thrown in for good measure. Still, I couldn't get rid of the idea of making a Mugabe out of bits of money. So, as I had scanned the notes already years ago, I figured the only way to go ahead would be to make a digital version. The original notes are either lost or buried deep in storage somewhere. [iCategory] => 6 [tURL] => [iViews] => 2421 [iClicks] => 548 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 931 [iOldID] => 4128 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462149688 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => sparse [iHideMap] => 1 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 1 [fLatitude] => 18.7933 [fLongitude] => 98.9945 [tLocation] => Babak's pad [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=4128 ) [907] => Array ( [iID] => 907 [tTitle] => Roadtrip [tSlug] => roadtrip [iTime] => 1233270000 [iUpdate] => 1233270000 [tDescription] => Mike, whom I traveled with from Livingstone to Kasane, hung around just long enough to travel back with us to Johannesburg. Not that he had too much of a choice, getting out of Kasane without your own transport is surprisingly tricky. As is finding decently priced accommodation. We did the 15 hour trip in one day, starting just after 8 in the morning. By the time I crawled into bed, I had a true bedgasm. On the downside, the immigration officer at the border only gave me a seven day visa. I now still have to visit home affairs. Exactly what I wanted to avoid by leaving the country in the first place. Prank Something funny I missed while in Thailand.
Arnold alerted me to this one. Creationism And in unrelated news, Holland seems to go the way of America with a group of Christian organizations publishing (in Dutch) a door-to-door brochure which denounces evolution as a mere theory and a form of religion, just like creationism, while pushing the latter. That and Wilders climbing in the polls makes me shake my head in sad disgust [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3513 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 922 [iOldID] => 1281 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462236574 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -22.9984 [fLongitude] => 27.9412 [tLocation] => Martin's Drift border crossing [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] => 20090130 ) [905] => Array ( [iID] => 905 [tTitle] => From Zambia to Botswana, nearly a quadripoint [tSlug] => from-zambia-to-botswana-nearly-a-quadripoint [iTime] => 1233097200 [iUpdate] => 1233097200 [tDescription] => Not far from Livingstone, four countries almost meet, but not quite. The Chobe and Zambezi rivers meet, shortly before the Zambezi river is split by a sandbank. The distance between these two natural formations is only a few hundred meters and it's these few hundred meters which make up the border between Zambia and Botswana. In fact, because there's no formal border agreement between Zambia and Botswana, the de facto Zambia/Botswana border is actually the gap between the the two nearby tri-nation border points. To the west, the area between the Chobe and Zambezi rivers, is the Caprivi strip of Namibia. To the east, the earlier mentioned sandbank, is an outlier of Zimbabwe, though the actual border between Zimbabwe and Botswana runs east and south of the river split (thanks to aletheia kallos). Indeed, in a few decades, if the courses of the rivers manage to change slightly and if the countries in question decide to update their borders accordingly, this might end up being the only place in the world were four countries actually meet. If the four countries would truly have met in one place, this would be called a quadripoint and there's currently no international quadripoint where four countries meet in existence. Two quadripoints where fewer than four countries meet do exist. The first involves the Belgian enclave of Baarle-Hertog inside the Netherlands, the second the Austrian town of Jungholz inside Germany. Aletheia, in the comment below, points out the potential existence of two secondary quadripoints on the Indian subcontinent. A secondary quadripoint is where four political subdivisions meet, not necessarily countries.
Nearly a quadripoint Google Maps doesn't get the borders exactly right, but you can see how close the four countries come to meeting up at a quadripoint.
The Caprivi strip was named after German Chancellor Leo von Caprivi, who negotiated the land in an 1890 exchange with the United Kingdom. Von Caprivi arranged for Caprivi to be annexed to German South-West Africa (now Namibia) in order to give Germany access to the Zambezi River and a route to Africa's East Coast, where the German colony Tanganyika (now Tanzania) was situated. Although Livingstone had already found the Victoria Falls by then, it apparently hadn't come to von Caprivi's ears as, of course, the Zambezi is impossible to navigate across the falls. The ride from Livingstone to the border is not even 90 minutes, the ferry takes only a few more and then it's just over 10 kilometers to get to Kasane, on the Botswanan side. There, I was to meet Christo and two Dutch friends of his who were staying in the Chobe Safari Lodge. The Dutchees had claimed accommodation would only be some 30 or 40 euros per night. I had done some online research and had gotten a bit worried. Prices for accommodation in and around Chobe national park seemed to range from 200 to 500 dollars per person per night. Indeed, this part of the region is catering primarily to very wealthy travelers. When I hooked up with Christo, Dominique and Sander were out on a game drive and Christo seemed a bit downcast. Luckily, the rate wasn't as bad as I feared, but still a good 100 dollars per night. That, combined with paid-for meals ranging from 12 dollars for a breakfast buffet to 16 for dinner made it quite a pricey undertaking to stay. I traveled the two hours between the two cities with Mike, a chess teacher and freelance journalist on a sabbatical touring the globe. The lucky man was offered two nights sleep in one of the tents Christo had brought from Johannesburg. Accommodation doesn't go for under 40 dollars in Kasane, but camping spots go for less than 10 dollars per night. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 18882 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 918 [iOldID] => 1279 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462204759 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 2 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.7935 [fLongitude] => 25.2679 [tLocation] => Kazungula border crossing [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] => 20090128 ) [904] => Array ( [iID] => 904 [tTitle] => Vic Falls from the Zambian side: very pretty pictures [tSlug] => vic-falls-from-the-zambian-side-very-pretty-pictures [iTime] => 1233010800 [iUpdate] => 1233010800 [tDescription] => It's a very often repeated adage that the Smoke That Thunders, Victoria Falls, is prettier from the Zimbabwean side. However, I've not yet known someone who was able to confirm this first hand. Until today. I took the free shuttle from JollyBoys to the falls, where a 10$ entry ticket, only 20 times more expensive than the local price, got me into the park with excellent views of the falls. Comparing today's experience with five year old memories from seeing the falls from the other side, it seems that, no, the spectacle isn't too much prettier from the other side, if at all, but there is a bit more variety on the Zimbabwean side. Just beyond the entrance of the park, a vendor is renting out raincoats. I wanted to experience the elements and continued unprotected, being soaked within minutes after leaving the raincoat rental behind. Walking alongside the falls, along a path and bridge called the Knife Edge bridge, you come to a point directly on the corner of the falls and the gorge below, with a similar viewpoint clearly in sight on the other, Zimbabwean, side. I hung around for a few minutes, indulging in the free shower I received, while counting the number of tourists on the economically stricken side. I counted three and waved, but with little response. It's possible I actually waved to Christo and two Dutchees, who I was going to meet the next day in Kasane, Botswana, who, unbeknownst to me, had decided to visit the Zimbabwean side of the falls and were there around the same time I was. Inside the park, I, three times, bumped into Noosha, an Iranian Java and Flash programmer, based on LA, and also staying at JollyBoys. Set to do some volunteer work in Cape Town for four weeks, she had attached a few weeks of trekking in southern Africa to get a feel for the continent. Later, back at the hostel, the day turned out to have been very lucrative for some. An Australian backpacker, Andrew, had his wallet stolen at a nearby pub after having gone on a booze cruise. Though he retrieved the wallet from under a tree outside the pub, 230 dollars were missing. Kate, Noosha's traveling companion, had her iPod shuffle stolen from the hostel. A German visitor, also staying at the hostel, claimed to have 1.8 million Kwatcha (around 350 dollars) stolen from his locker. I was waiting around the reception area when the German, with restrained anger, tried to communicate his grief to the receptionist, who wouldn't hear of it and deemed it impossible, not accepting any responsibility and claiming that this had never happened in all the years they were operating the hostel. Somehow, with two other thefts occurring on the same day, this struck me as extremely unlikely. Later, I spoke to an overlander in Kasane who, on the same day in Livingstone, had been mugged while walking around with two friends, having gotten a knife pushed against her throat. Comparing Zimbabwe and Zambia With few people actually seeing the falls from both sides, it's a nice exercise to compare the two views from the two countries.
Sprayed Meanwhile... on the Zimbabwean side... Me getting sprayed standing on Danger Point in Zimbabwe in 2004 (left) and looking at Danger Point from Zambia in 2009.
Victoria Falls The lone tree A lonley tree on top of the falls in 2004 (left) and in 2009.
The bridge to Zambia Connecting Zambia and Zimbabwe The bridge to Zambia in 2004 (left) and to Zimbabwe in 2009.
Two countries The Victoria Falls hotel in the distance Looking through the gorge from the Victoria Falls hotel in 2004 (left) and looking at the hotel from the gorge in 2009.
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[iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20090127 ) [903] => Array ( [iID] => 903 [tTitle] => Livingstone, I presume [tSlug] => livingstone-i-presume [iTime] => 1232924400 [iUpdate] => 1232924400 [tDescription] => The above now immortal words were spoken on November 10, 1871 by Sir Henry Morton Stanley upon meeting Livingstone. Though he was supposed to have said "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" and it's not at all certain whether these words were actually ever uttered. Also, they didn't meet close to Victoria Falls, but near Lake Tanganyika in present-day Tanzania. Livingstone, credited as being the first European to see Victoria Falls, or The Smoke That Thunders, had searched for the sources of the Nile, the Zambezi and the Congo rivers. Livingstone died in May 1873 in Zambia, but much further to the north. Last time I was in Zambia, I wasn't too impressed with the country and now I'm pretty sure that Zambia, at least this side of the country, is not much more than a tourist trap. To get into the country will set you back 50 USD. A shuttle from the airport to town will set you back another 5 to 10. Going for an elephant ride is an abysmal 150 dollars. Rafting costs 130 dollars. Petting lion cubs costs more than 100 dollars. A booze cruise is 40 dollars. A ride to the Botswana border, 90 minutes, in a shared taxi is 5 dollars, where a ride to Lusaka, 450 kilometers is just over double that. Crappy internet costs 2.5 dollars per hour. The exchange rate for dollars at the place I'm staying is 12% lower than the official exchange rate while the exchange rate for euros is an unbelievable 30% less. Then, in Livingstone, there are seemingly no ATMs connected to the Maestro or MasterCard network and only one place which can give a cash advance on a MasterCard, I'm sure at unreasonably high cost. What ticks me off is not so much the unreasonably high prices, one can just choose to not give any tour operators the satisfaction of raking in the money, but the obvious fact that these 10,000s of dollars which get spent here daily do not end up with the local population in any meaningful way. The streets are still potholed, houses are crumbling, the shops are still dirty, quite empty, selling mediocre goods at best and, what's more, very expensive. Where petrol in South Africa is currently selling at 5.82 Rand per litre, about 0.60 USD, here, it's just over 6200 Kwacha, just over 1.20 USD. Still, business seems to be booming. The hostel, though it's not the high season, is quite full. I was hoping to upgrade my dorm bed to a single room upon arrival, but at 30 USD, the price of a double room, however many occupants, compared to a bed in a four-bedded dorm, for 12 USD, I refrained. The more so because I'm not so sure I'll have enough money on me in a few days to get out of the country. The place I'm staying at is called JollyBoys. Service is as can be expected at a backpackers in the middle of Africa, while prices are not too reasonable. A beer is 2 USD, where most pubs in South Africa will sell beers between 1 and 1.50. A meal goes for 5 USD. On the plus side, the atmosphere is enjoyable. Lots of relaxed seating areas, a pool and table tennis table a swimming pool with a fountain and even something which resembles a hot tub, but not hot. A pity it's raining a lot. On the plane, coming in from Jo'burg, the presence of lots of Dutchees as well as Hungarians took me by surprise. In the 90 minute queue to obtain a visa, I had ample time to acquaint myself with some of them. Turns out Nutricia is having something of a middle management meeting at Vic Falls to kick off the new year. Now that is taking care of your employees. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 5635 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 916 [iOldID] => 1277 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462189051 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 8 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.848 [fLongitude] => 25.8541 [tLocation] => JollyBoys backpackers [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20090126 ) [931] => Array ( [iID] => 931 [tTitle] => Building a shared African contact database [tSlug] => building-a-shared-african-contact-database [iTime] => 1232578800 [iUpdate] => 1232578800 [tDescription] => SAfAIDS, which stands for South African AIDS Information Dissemination Service, has been going strong since 1994. It's a regional non-profit organisation based in Pretoria, South Africa. With support from local partners, SAfAIDS implements its programmes in Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. SAfAIDS' core activities include capacity development for other HIV and AIDS Intermediary Organisations, information production, collection and dissemination, networking and building partnerships and leadership in promoting dialogue on cutting-edge issues related to HIV and AIDS. Through the organization's head office and through its partners, which operate as distribution hubs, SAfAIDS distributes a multitude of publications, both analogue and digital, to a wide range of constituents. Up till now, the hubs and the head office were using individual contact databases, if any at all, to keep track of their user base. At each office, these contacts were typically managed by one employee. Obviously, the potential payoff for merging these contact databases and giving access to the data to a wider range of users is huge. To achieve this, Baba's projects has been working on merging the data into an online shared database at SAfAIDS contacts . net. Using an intuitive but strict rights management system, individual users can now update their own contact information. Some of the benefits of the online system include: + Removal of duplicate information. + Easy identification of incorrect or corrupt data. + Individuals are able to update their own information. + Easy access to the data for a wider range of administrators. + Integrated publication distribution tracking. + Integrated mailing list distribution. + Integrated reporting. Although the system is owned by SAfAIDS, it's theoretically relatively easy to make the system self contained, turning it into a contact and mailing list manager for interested third parties. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3346 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 911 [iOldID] => 1310 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462167915 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -26.1407 [fLongitude] => 27.9941 [tLocation] => The Buxt 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] => 20090122 ) [733] => Array ( [iID] => 733 [tTitle] => In the land of edible calves [tSlug] => in-the-land-of-edible-calves [iTime] => 1210543200 [iUpdate] => 1210543200 [tDescription] => After doing some work for SAfAIDS, in Harare, a few weeks back, they wanted me to come back and do a follow up. And who am I do decline such an offer? Of course also because it meant being able to comfortably visit Rouzeh again. The work wasn't too taxing, a few connected IT assessments, but for the relative lack of internet connectivity. That, while Zimbabwe's electoral process still hasn't found a happy ending, or any ending for that matter. Just when I arrived this second time, the central bank had floated the Zimbabwean dollar, presumably to get some foreign currency into its coffers, them having been completely emptied after the 'harmonized' elections back in March. This meant instant hyper inflation. Just two weeks ago, my room at the Small World lodge came in at a 'respectable' 2 billion. That is 2000.000.000. Now, prices had gone up a bit, to 6.8 billion. That's 6800.000.000. Two weeks ago, the largest note on the market was 50.000.000. Now, it was 250.000.000. It's not unreasonable to expect one trillion notes before the end of the year as the Zimbabwean government is just printing paper disguised as money to make it appear they know what they're doing. The joy of travel At Harare international airport, I wasn't allowed to leave. The ladies at the check in desk, followed by the SAA, South African Airways, ground supervisor, claimed I had no more empty pages in my passport, which, so it seems, is a prerequisite for entering South Africa. I did, one exactly, but it was covered by a note, pasted in by the Thai immigration department. The note, just a note, could easily be removed, but when I did just that, the SAA ground supervisor claimed I had illegally altered my passport, making it invalid. Only barely keeping my calm, barely. Well, not really, Josh, the SAA supervisor, couldn't admit his absurd statement, so I had to produce evidence of my onward journey from South Africa, so that he could label the bags through and we could both pretend I wouldn't go through immigration in Jo'burg, thus skirting the one-page-free requirement. In South Africa, of course I went through immigration, as my layover saw me stuck at ORT for more than six hours. The transit lounge, from where checkins for my flight would only be possible after some four hours, was extremely bare bones and I was not planning on hanging around on one chair until Etihad airways, the national airline of the UAE, considered it time to let the poor sods from the transit lounge check in. A good week earlier, on my flight from Johannesburg to Lusaka, Zambia, my luggage had been pilfered, things had been stolen. In one side pocket, a bunch of minor electronics (and my GPS) had been covered by dirty laundry. Upon arrival in Zambia, the dirty laundry was still in the pocket, but all the electronics had gone. It had been quite a pain to get the paperwork in order, so now, between my arrival at ORT and the start of check in, I had plenty of time to be misguided from one counter, office and terminal to the next, in constant disorganized directional search for the right venue to hand over my paperwork. Estimated processing time? 21 days. Then, when checking in for my flight to Bangkok via Abu Dhabi, I already should have known something was going to be amiss. The lovely girl behind the counter had trouble simply entering the number on my luggage tag into her system. She claimed finding it at some point, but upon arrival in Bangkok, my backpack had arrived at that great luggage depot in the sky. My luggage hadn't arrived, location unknown. So that saw my arrival into the land of edible calves. One more flight to Chiang Mai, a small compensation for the luggage lost and the suggestion that if I hadn't received my luggage after three days, I should fill in a claim form. I was back at my guest house. And where was Vlekje? In stead, I was welcomed by a spider the size of an outstretched hand on the wall opposite my room, gecko poo on my walls inside the room and a tiny gecko in my bathroom. Then, very late, Vlekje stuck her head around the corner of my open door. Home at last. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 4104 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 560 [iOldID] => 1106 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462233428 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 6 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 18.7936 [fLongitude] => 98.9943 [tLocation] => Baan Chinnakorn [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20080512 ) [729] => Array ( [iID] => 729 [tTitle] => Online offline [tSlug] => online-offline [iTime] => 1209074400 [iUpdate] => 1209074400 [tDescription] => With two days work as a consultant for SAfAIDS, one day work at SAfAIDS as a visiting HDN employee, regular work for HDN, close-to-last-minute work for a South African client, SACSIS and internet connectivity that makes connections in South Africa seem like extremely broadband, it's been a hectic week. Not to mention the time I'm spending with Rouzeh. I found it surprising to see that, on the surface, so little has changed in Harare. The streets are structurally more quiet, but that's pretty much the only thing. After ten, nothing seems to be going on anymore, I haven't seen the bar in the lodge open yet. The same shops, some new ones, busy, even classy, expensive restaurants. And even a few wireless hotspots at surprisingly reasonable prices. 'IB', Italian Bakery, in Avondale, close to the lodge I'm staying and a favorite of mine four years ago, now offers wireless internet at 3 USD per 24 hours (over a period of 90 days). At black market rates of course. Then again, when I tried, I couldn't get it to work here. Close to Avondale, there's 'Cork', a gallery and coffee shop. Wireless access is slightly more expensive, at 3.5 USD, but good. Sitting at Cork one afternoon this week, I had to share the connection with six other pros. Six mobile offices. The third and last, I was told, option for wireless internet, is a place called Gecko, apparently quite a bit out of town. The Small World Lodge hasn't change much, on the surface. The parking lot stores four cars by the new owner, none of the waterworks channel water, I have no water in my room, the three cats are no longer there, almost no guests even though HIFA is around the corner Not that I see too much of the lodge, as the days are spent working like mad, well, if there's a connection (and electricity), including the weekend days and the evenings are spent with Rouzeh, often at her place. Rouzeh and I spent quite a bit of time together back in and around Chiang Mai, a few weeks back and had an extremely good time. Although Harare doesn't currently have similar riches or opportunities to offer, we're coping very well. Hey, you don't always have to go out to have a good time. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3076 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 10 [iVoters] => 2 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 741 [iOldID] => 1102 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462239133 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 10 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.7889 [fLongitude] => 31.039 [tLocation] => SAfAIDS office [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20080425 ) [727] => Array ( [iID] => 727 [tTitle] => Spead freak [tSlug] => spead-freak [iTime] => 1208642400 [iUpdate] => 1208642400 [tDescription] => The past week, visiting Holland, I've been running around more than the squirrel Hammy from Over the Hedge on a good day. Both work, HDN as well as my own, and then meeting old friends because, when you visit your home country once or twice a year, there really can be a lot to talk about. Last year, a childhood friend tracked me down with whom I'm now in quite regular contact. Just a few weeks ago, a second childhood friend tracked me down. Obviously, these mega popular social networks are at least good for something. In both cases, we'd hung out a lot, as kids, but lost track some 20 years ago. Twenty years! Obviously meaning that I'm really an old man, now. What's possibly more surprising, in both cases, is the ease with which communication and, I suppose, mutual understanding, was picked up again. Apparently, our early years have a strong effect on defining who we are as human beings. We might give shape to our values and our way of life during our teenage and early twenty-something years, but it seems the underlying emotional landscape acts on a more basic level and allows for stronger and more understanding connections. Crab walk! Taking a crab walk back to Bangkok, I'm flying through Johannesburg, threefour times, before heading back out east. First to get to Harare, then to get to Lusaka, then to get back to Harare and then back to Bangkok. I'm supposed to be giving trainings for HDN in all three locations, but will also spend some time on my own projects. Specifically, in Johannesburg, I'll do some work on, a social news portal, which is set to be launched on May 5th, Karl Marx' birthday. And in Harare, I'll do work for SAfAIDS. And, of course, I'll be visiting Rouzeh in Harare. In Harare, I'm set to stay at the the Small World lodge. Indeed, the same lodge/hostel where we stayed in 2004. A night's stay currently comes in at a respectable Yes, that's two billion Zimdollars. Well, that was the price a week ago. Meanwhile, in Zimbabe, they started to recount the presidential votecount yesterday. Mugabe seems to hope that, as the election process drags out, it will be given less and less coverage in the international press and he'll be able to get away with whatever it is he's planning for. Which could be quite something, as a Chinese ship with arms, destined for Zimbabwe, ended up being stuck in Durban, South Africa, yesterday, after local dockworkers refused to offload the ship's cargo. So far, Zimbabwe has remained surprisingly calm. Let's hope things stay that way. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3556 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 126 [iOldID] => 1100 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462224066 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -17.8031 [fLongitude] => 31.0296 [tLocation] => Small World Backpackers Lodge [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20080420 ) [725] => Array ( [iID] => 725 [tTitle] => Elephant polo [tSlug] => elephant-polo [iTime] => 1207692000 [iUpdate] => 1207692000 [tDescription] => We had a lovely visitor in Chiang Mai these past two weeks. Rouzeh, Zimbabwean but of Persian blood, working for an important partner of HDN in Zimbabwe, SAfAIDS, stopped by on holiday. I showed her around town, but not just that, as her stay included visits to Doi Inthanon, the highest peak in Thailand, not too far from Chiang Mai, and a visit to a game of elephant polo in Chiang Rai province, right on the Mekong river, bordering both Laos and Myanmar. Going in search of these playful elephants, taking a bus up to Chiang Rai, we passed a police check point. Neither of us had a proper ID with us. I smiled and showed the copper my Thai bank card. Rouzeh smiled even more and showed the man a torn Zimbabwean A4 piece of paper which had a vague resemblance of being something identity related. The copper smiled back and walked away and we sighed a sigh of relief. Elehpant polo was on the grounds of a pricey resort. Walking into the compound, we could hear the commenter in the distance, emanating the excitement of a horse racing presenter. Coming closer, actually seeing the polo in action, the elephants simply seemed to stroll from one end of the field to the other, without any sense of urgency. Rouzeh and I know each other through Facebook, well sort of. A few of my colleagues at HDN are actually ex-colleagues of her, so we had mutual friends. And then it's quite something when you find there's another Iranian working in the same sector/branch, and only a few clicks away. We got on pretty well, online, and then, when her planned trip through Thailand and Japan got rerouted due to not getting a visa for Japan, just visiting Thailand seemed a sensible choice. And since there's a lot to see and do around Chiang Mai, it's easy to not get bored. Photos will follow. 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[iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20080409 ) [580] => Array ( [iID] => 580 [tTitle] => Listed in a feed, scraped on one of my sites [tSlug] => listed-in-a-feed-scraped-on-one-of-my-sites [iTime] => 1190325600 [iUpdate] => 1190325600 [tDescription] => The website in the screen shot below is I started it three years ago, when living in Zimbabwe. It started as a full blown portal but now, it reads and structures news feeds from allAfrica.
Listed in a feed, scraped on my own site
Last week, Ismail and I won the Highway Africa new media award for Soweto uprisings . com and allAfrica wrote about it. Then, inZIM scraped their feeds and automatically posted it on my site. So, in the end, I'm the subject of a news article, listed on a site which I built three years ago, without me being directly responsible. It's a bit like an injoke. Too late did I realise that, most likely, also picked up the story. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3677 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 421 [iOldID] => 951 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462129960 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -26.0287 [fLongitude] => 28.0151 [tLocation] => Shingara Sands [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20070921 ) [3756] => Array ( [iID] => 3756 [tTitle] => In the Continuum [tSlug] => in-the-continuum [iTime] => 1185141600 [iUpdate] => 1185141600 [tDescription] => You'd think that after doing a show for two years, having everything fit together perfectly would be mere routine. Almost, perhaps, but not completely. Not that it's disturbing too much, I just noticed. The show -is- actually quite good, even though it's a bit too long or, rather, as a too long middle bit, a strong opening and a very strong if not saddening ending. Two actresses, Danai Gurira and Nikkole Salter, also both authors of the play, are a middle-class wife and mother in Zimbabwe, the other what I suspect is a teenager, African American, in Los Angeles, whose lives get messed up after discovering they've been infected with HIV. What makes the play interesting is that you're actually treated to two very decent one-man shows which alternate but sometimes occur simultaneously on stage, with strong parallels and sometimes interactions. Both actors play a range of characters, within their own story line, which Danai Gurira, the Zimbabwean, pulls of a bit better. The parallel between the two stories is that the two women, although living in two very different cultures, with vastly different economic and social climates, both struggle with the same central issue of how to move ahead while their whole life has been turned upside down, their opportunities and future chances tied to getting hold of, or hanging on to, a male provider, in both cases the man who infected them. Apparently, in some US shows, the program to the show came with a glossary of Zimbabwean, Shona, words used onstage. This show was sponsored by the culture department of the American consulate here in Johannesburg. After the show, the American consul said a few words and then invited, what I assumed was, the director of the theater. Clearly reluctant to speak at first, the man delivered a story about how important the show was in terms of our understanding the disease and the social stigma attached to it. Etcetera etcetera. He talked for over five minutes, maybe even ten, and didn't once mention either 'HIV' or 'AIDS'. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 2569 [iClicks] => 1 [iRating] => 4 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 1123 [iOldID] => 3044 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462144500 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => -26.2015 [fLongitude] => 28.0324 [tLocation] => Market theater [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Blog [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 12 [categories] => Array ( [12] => Array ( [iID] => 12 [tName] => Blog [tSlug] => blog [tDescription] => Find my upcoming travel plans over at Dopplr and a listing of major (and some minor) travelogues over on the travelogues section. [iOrder] => 1 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => default [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => 20070723 ) [293] => Array ( [iID] => 293 [tTitle] => Statues matter [tSlug] => statues-matter [iTime] => 1106434800 [iUpdate] => 1106434800 [tDescription] => This weekend was spent in Gent. For fun and profit, although in the end it only ended up being for profit, and we didn't make much. We tried selling statues at Africa Matters at the Vooruit, a nice little festival on, yes, Africa. In previous years, as much as 2500 visitors came along for the ride, but this year, after having moved the venue twice in the last two years, only half of that number showed up. We had planned to stay only for the Saturday, only agreeing to come over last Thursday, but ended up staying for the Sunday too, when our Saturday went relatively well, selling one quite large statue. Overall, the number of objects sold wasn't that bad, but we had lowered our prices significantly and mostly only sold small pieces (keyrings, bookmarks and so forth). In the end, we only barely managed to cover our expenses. What I did enjoy was that all the visitors, and the other people trying to promote their wares were very much Africa minded, in the right mindset, a very welcome change from the previous market we had tried. Two of the other sellers included an African book store, Black Label and a guy selling handiwork from South Africa, Isandla Creations. Back in November, the organizer of the event had contacted me to ask if I was interested to take up a stand at the event. I asked a couple of questions but never heard back from him. As something of an apology, he offered a heavily reduced fare for a table. Last Thursday. We had already decided to go, just to take a look and combine it with a weekend of relaxation, Gent being one of the cuter towns in Belgium. But indeed, after the show was over on Saturday, we only zombied around in two cafes, the ZOO and the Maron, in an area lovingly called 'Patershol'. For some reason, we found the new 'Shrimp look' advertised on the local menu very funny. We were just too tired. And on top of that, we had no choice but to stay in the Formule 1 hotel, just out of town. Cheap, decent, but not very close to the action. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 4858 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 5 [iVoters] => 1 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 283 [iOldID] => 512 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462156661 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 51.0477 [fLongitude] => 3.72741 [tLocation] => Vooruit [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] => 20050123 ) [275] => Array ( [iID] => 275 [tTitle] => The coolest commercial ever [tSlug] => the-coolest-commercial-ever [iTime] => 1100559600 [iUpdate] => 1100559600 [tDescription] => Transformers are back, and they're French cars. Check out the coolest commercial ever. Well, at least this year's coolest commercial. Statues Yes, those statues are still around here somewhere. Well, in fact, they're occupying most of our living room, but who's counting. Today, I made my first sell through the Internet. GRAIN, a Dutch graphical design agency needed some statues that are going to be handed out as trophees and they wanted the trophees to be 'different'. They ended up buying eight statues. Very good indeed. What's funny is that the trophees are going to be presented to companies in South Africa, who've generated over $500.000 in revenue over a set time. Most probably, the people working at these companies can buy these statues just around the corner, for a fraction of the cost they're now sold at. Just the double shipping (from Zimbabwe to Holland to South Africa) is quite hilarious. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 8067 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 5 [iOldID] => 443 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1461977433 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 52.0109 [fLongitude] => 4.33628 [tLocation] => Home [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] => 20041116 ) [272] => Array ( [iID] => 272 [tTitle] => One more day at the market [tSlug] => one-more-day-at-the-market [iTime] => 1099695600 [iUpdate] => 1099695600 [tDescription] => Today was our last day at the market. Again, we did marginally better then yesterday, but really nothing to write home about. Clearly, selling our statues on a market is not the way to go. We actually did get quite a couple of sales today, but people are really only bying small stuff. Even if we would attend a market in a busier (and richer) neighbourhood, I don't think we would be able to make that much of a turnover. People just don't buy, on impulse, something that's worth hundreds of euros. It's a bit of a pain that we had to pack, unpack, pack, log around, unpack all our goods for three consecutive days. I was hoping we would be able to sell maybe a box of statues a day. This would have helped us on the packing side. So I suppose it means I have to come up with an alternative way of getting rid of our statues. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 6859 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 270 [iOldID] => 433 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1461724938 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 51.9975 [fLongitude] => 4.35286 [tLocation] => Shopping mall 'De Hoven' [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] => 20041106 ) [271] => Array ( [iID] => 271 [tTitle] => Another bad market day [tSlug] => another-bad-market-day [iTime] => 1099609200 [iUpdate] => 1099609200 [tDescription] => Today marked the second day of our three day try-out at a local market, trying to sell our Zimbabwean statues at real give-away prices (so if you're in the neighbourhood...). We *almost* sold less than yesterday, but right when we were already packing our stuff up, a lady bought one small statue, resulting in our turnover being only slightly higher as compared to yesterday. I'm happy I was able to read two newspapers and finish a book. Otherwise, it just would have been too boring. Our neighbour said that at the fair his wife was having a stand, she was selling so much that, if he were to replicate those sales, he would have to stay at this market for a total of twelve weeks, continuously. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 6166 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 270 [iOldID] => 432 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462019744 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 51.9975 [fLongitude] => 4.35286 [tLocation] => Shopping mall 'De Hoven' [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] => 20041105 ) [261] => Array ( [iID] => 261 [tTitle] => The week's wrap up [tSlug] => the-weeks-wrap-up [iTime] => 1096149600 [iUpdate] => 1096149600 [tDescription] => How's my week been, you ask? Or rather, you've ended up here, and you want to read something new? Well, all right. Last Friday, our statues finally arrived from Zimbabwe. That is, two of the three crates finally arrived. The third, the largest of the three containing all the personal goods as well as all the metal works, including four huge masks, is still missing. At first, it was claimed it was never shipped. Now that it's clear it was shipped, they're trying to find it again in the warehouse in Rotterdam. The story continues next week. I shipped from Zimbabwe with UTi. I know that, even if they retrieve the missing crate, I won't be doing that again. Sure, they were cheap, but the missing crate also contains my university diploma. These people are putting me through a lot of trouble. Meanwhile, receiving what we did got, did not stop me from starting selling the statues that we did get. I'm still working on getting all the statues on line, but what's already there can be found at Yes, the site's in Dutch, but that's where we live, innit? Betsy's parents are completely wild about the whole thing and one of the statues is already on display at Knipping, where Betsy's father works, in some huge mall in Wolvega (in the north of Holland, I'm sure many of the Dutchies don't even know where Wolvega is). While in Wolvega this weekend, we visited Leeuwarden, to check out this year's Noorderlicht, an annual photography exhibition. This year, it's centered around pictures taken in Arabic countries. Sadly, we were misinformed about opening times and missed the most interesting part of the exhibition: pictures by Arab artists made in Arab countries. Luckily, this exhibition runs until early next year, so there's a reasonable chance we'll be able to check out what we missed. Also, I finally got round to reading 'Does your meter work?!' by Jim Soliski. I know Jim through, where currently 31 of his stories are listed. He self-published a book earlier this year and I got to deliver a quote for it (ANOTHER of my claims to fame). In short: I liked it. Bombs! When I'm unlucky, I get as much as 100 spam emails per day. But today, I got the best one, ever. It invited me to buy rocket propelled grenades and anything else I might need to perform a terrorist attack (no kidding). Here are some snippets: "You're invited to shop for large selection of bombs and different kinds of rockets such as surface-to-air, surface-to-surface and weaponry available at reduced price. With the following types of rockets you will be able to commit terrorist attacks, destroy buildings, electric power stations, bridges, factories and anything else that comes your mind. Most items are in stock and available for next day freight delivery in the USA. Worldwide delivery is available at additional cost. Prices are negotiable." It even listed today's specials. Here's one: ******* AIR BOMBS ******* OFAB-500U HE fragmentation air bomb Fuel-air explosive air bombs -Not in stock BETAB-500U concrete-piercing air bomb ZB-500RT incendiary tank 500-KG SIZE RBK-500U unified cluster bomb RBK-500U OAB-2.5PT loaded with fragmentation submunitions RBK-500U BETAB-M loaded with concrete-piercing submunitions-Not in stock RBK-500U OFAB-50UD loaded with HE fragmentation submunitions And then it went on to list some references: "Our clients are well known Al-Qaida, Hizballah, Al-Jihad, HAMAS, Abu Sayyaf Group and many other terrorist groups. We are well known supplier in the market and looking forward to expand our clientage with assistance of Internet." Man. I'm no fan of that Global Supercop. But this is a bit too much. [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 3269 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 260 [iOldID] => 392 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462214460 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 53.203 [fLongitude] => 5.80104 [tLocation] => Friesch Museum [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] => 20040926 ) [2234] => Array ( [iID] => 2234 [tTitle] => [tSlug] => shonabeelden-nl [iTime] => 1095976800 [iUpdate] => 1516117928 [tDescription] => So it took a while for our statues to arive from Zimbabwe. In fact, half of them are still lost in transit. Still, no reason not to start selling what we already have. At, you can buy as much as you like. In fact, why not buy everything that's up for sale? The site was taken offline in September 2009. [iCategory] => 6 [tURL] => [iViews] => 5117 [iClicks] => 572 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 5 [iOldID] => 1429 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462026136 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => sparse [iHideMap] => 1 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 1 [iFullImage] => 2 [fLatitude] => 52.0109 [fLongitude] => 4.33628 [tLocation] => Home [iPrimaryCategoryFeatured] => 0 [tCategory] => Own stuff [iCategoryFeatured] => 0 [iPrimaryCategory] => 6 [categories] => Array ( [6] => Array ( [iID] => 6 [tName] => Own stuff [tSlug] => own-stuff [tDescription] => Erich Fromm said that "creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties" and, without giving freedom to my creativity, I'd die. [iOrder] => 2 [iActive] => 1 [tType] => article [tTemplateName] => sparse [iFeatured] => 0 [iPrimary] => 1 ) ) [flickrTag] => bf:blogitem=1429 ) [256] => Array ( [iID] => 256 [tTitle] => One year on from 30 [tSlug] => one-year-on-from-30 [iTime] => 1094680800 [iUpdate] => 1094680800 [tDescription] => Yep. 31. It was almost inevitable and it happened. Quite a lot has happened over the past year. Just browse the entries on this site, and you can see for yourself, if you didn't know it already. Greece, Turkey, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, Germany, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Scotland. Quite a list indeed. Also, my plan of taking one picture every day at noon didn't really work out, although the whole 30yp setup was, I suppose, quite succesful. Now, on the homepage, on the right, you can see the number of times articles have been read (or at least viewed) on this site. The number's close to 35000, wich means an average of 100 articles viewed, per day. If only I had so much to say each day. I think I will tone down a bit on my daily updates. When I'm at home, playing 'Dancing Stage' (I know, I AM a special fellow), there isn't really enough to keep people interested anyway. Maybe some weekends will be interesting enough, and coming weekend might be one, with the Nyama ('meat' in Shona) festival in Delft, but surely, I will post heavily during trips abroad. That's what I like doing and, based on visitor statistics, that's what people, that means you, like to read and view. Struggle This year, I learned that all Zimbabweans struggle all the time, whether they have no food on the table or can't afford to buy a third car and I like to struggle with them. The last couple of weeks, in relation to my computer setup at home, I really have been struggling. Everything slowly but surely stopped working. Frantically, I tried to save my Red Hat 9 installation, but today, I gave up and finally opted for Fedora Core 2 and, thank your god, things go reasonably well. The two PCs (one windows box, one linux box) can finally see each other again and I'm even back to the windows box being able to transfer files to and from the linux box. The linux machine now even is able to see the windows box (a first), but I still can't transfer files through the GUI. Work - no work On the money side, things are bleak. I did secure two paying projects some weeks ago, but progress is slow, very slow. I'm even looking at finding a real job now, which means things are really bad. Farsi And then there's Farsi. Betsy and I started a Farsi language course with the totally friendly mrs Azami whom Betsy met through work. She's Baha'i and already invited us to a unity dinner this weekend. I'm not sure we'll be going. She WILL be making Persian dishes, however. We had our second lesson yesterday, and it's not going all that bad. Betsy is struggling a bit (hey, who isn't - see above), but she's doing fine. We missed our planned second lesson last week, because someone really wanted to go the scenic route in Scotland (yes, that's you, Joost). It seems we enjoy the lessons as much as mrs Azami does, having tought Farsi a long time ago and finally being able, once more, to transfer her skills to some younger folks (she's 69(!) but looks mid-50s, at most). Statues Our Shona sculptures still haven't arrived, although they should be going through customs this week. I did some checks in Delft and Den Haag and it seems there's a significant shortage of Shona sculptures. All arts shops appear to believe you can still easily get them 'there and there', but that's what they all say. They keep on pointing you to the next shop, only to be pointed, well, to the next shop. It's a good thing. If only we can start selling them before the summer's really over. And birthday. Nothing much happening today. My parents are stopping by tonight. No party. I get a day older every day. I celebrate that enough already. In fact, I'll have another whisky right now. Which reminds me, have you voted recently at [iCategory] => 12 [tURL] => [iViews] => 4818 [iClicks] => 0 [iRating] => 0 [iVote] => 0 [iVoters] => 0 [iRedirect] => 0 [tISBN] => [iLocation] => 5 [iOldID] => 375 [tCover] => [iAccess] => 1462237683 [iHot] => 0 [tTemplateName] => default [iHideMap] => 0 [iForSale] => 0 [iImages] => 0 [iFullImage] => 0 [fLatitude] => 52.0109 [fLongitude] => 4.33628 [tLocation] => Home [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] => 20040909 ) ) ) Keyword: Zimbabwe ::