Category: Uncategorized

  • Olympia

    Olympia

    This year, the olympic games will be held in Paris. They lit the olympic flame in Olympia and brought it to Marseille on a historic sailing ship, the Bélem. I was there at the old harbor when it arrived, together with what felt like half of Marseille. The banner shows the flame being carried through…

  • Mechanical Beasts at Nantes

    Mechanical Beasts at Nantes

    Nantes is a French city near the point where the Loire meets tje Atlantic. City landmarks are usually cathedrals or other buildings, but Nantes has an elephant. The elephant is a giant mechanical steampunk animal with three floors, built by an artist collective that also built all kinds of other mechanical animals. Some are tiny,…

  • West

    West

    The neighborhood of N’Gor of Dakar can be reached only by two roads, the rest is blocked by a large military airport. The place feels very different from downtown Dakar: it’s very rich, modern, and clean, and half of it is new development. Large billboards advertise split-level luxury condos that are in total contrast to…

  • Île de N’Gor

    Île de N’Gor

    I found it hard to find beauty in Senegal. Everything is simple, functional, and dusty. But N’Gor island is beautiful with its painted buildings, its artist, and its flowers. N’Gor sounds like a Star Trek species but it’s a neighborhood in the northwest of Dakar, with a small island a few hundred meters off its…

  • Ramadan

    Ramadan

    There are people who believe that Ramadan, the month-long Muslim fasting period, is threatening Western culture somehow. To me it looks the other way around – based on the ads I see in Dakar, Ramadan is turning into some kind of commercialized Black Friday. Welcome to Western culture. I was a bit afraid of Ramadan…

  • Saint-Louis

    Saint-Louis

    Saint-Louis is at the northern border of Senegal. It’s scenically located on two narrow parallel islands between the mainland and the Atlantic. A lot of colonial architecture has survived here, although sometimes crumbling. It gives the city charm, something that the utilitarian downtown of the capital Dakar lacks completely. It’s also quite clean, only the…

  • On the road again

    On the road again

    Janjanbureh, aka Georgetown, is two thirds up the Gambia river to its source. It’s a sleepy very basic village with little to do besides river travel. It’s incredibly hot here, all surfaces burn your hand, even my camera and smartphone were so hot I am surprised they didn’t shut down. There are hippos here but…

  • Birding

    Birding

    Gambia the country is essentially Gambia the river plus the land 10-20 km to either side. It’s said that the British steamed up the river and declared all land that their cannons could reach, theirs. That method of drawing borders must have seemed sensible at the time. I followed the road in the south side…

  • Makasutu Park

    Makasutu Park

    That’s a national park south of Kotu Beach, where I am staying. You must have a guide there who explains the forest, and points out eucalyptus trees (quite unlike those in Australia and North America), incense trees with burnable sap, giant termite hills, gibbons, and more. Some of the trees ans ahrubs have vicious thorns.…

  • The Gambia

    The Gambia

    Early in the morning, when it was still dark, I boarded a large old wooden pirogue boat at Niodior (pronounced something like Mordor) that would take me from Senegal to the neighboring The Gambia. It seemed inadequate to cross the open sea but got me there in three hours. The ride was a little bumpy…

  • Miodior

    Miodior

    The name sounds like Dior but it’s another simple small village down the coast. No luxury here. I am staying with a local family in their simple home. There is little design, everything is practical. Things are stacked on the floor where necessary, plastic lawn chairs, curtains for doors, no windows in the rooms. The…

  • Camping in the Saloum delta

    Camping in the Saloum delta

    I had booked a guide recommended by the hotel in Mbour, so we took off in the morning. First to get supplies at the stinky market in Djifer, then we picked up kayaks and paddled for a long time through the mangroves in the delta. The guide had a big kayak stacked high with tents,…

  • Ceci n’est pas un baobab

    Ceci n’est pas un baobab

    In fact it is a baobab tree. They look different here than in the Madagascar movie.… Read the rest

  • Sand and fish

    Sand and fish

    Much of Senegal is in the Sahel zone, a dry band spanning Africa, and it shows. Most village and town streets are just sand, like on a beach. Few trees, savannah shrubs, or just large expanses of sandy fields. To find color and life you need to see the coast. Buildings are mostly cinderblocks, compacted…

  • Where the tourists are

    Where the tourists are

    It’s so amazingly quiet in my Mbour resort, I wanted to find out where all the tourists are. They are 6km to the north, in Saly, where the buffet hotels and French hypermarchés are. Saw people with white skin, and despite Ramadan the restaurants are open. I’ll spare you the pictures because I didn’t take…

  • Beaches and plastic

    Beaches and plastic

    Took an early bus to Mbour at the Atlantic coast. A little north is Saly, which is more popular, but it’s rather too touristy there for me, with its big buffet hotels. I found a wonderful tranquil resort right at the beach. To get on a bus, evem if it’s only a hundred kilometers, you…

  • Dakar

    Dakar

    The capital of Senegal doesn’t know what to do with tourists. They don’t get many. While Dakar is still a notch above Dhaka in Bangladesh, poverty and shantytowns are pervasive, making more modern neighborhoods feel like investor transplants airlifted in place. I do not feel welcome here but I didn’t let that stop me. The…

  • Senegal

    Senegal

    My first visit to Africa south of the Mediterranean countries! I am in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. It’s seriously warm here, the forecast says 27 degrees but it feels much warmer. I hear the calls from the mosque next door, people are out celebrating the sunset because it’s Ramadan and sunset marks the end…

  • Rio de Janeiro

    Rio de Janeiro

    Rio is not only beaches ans favelas, or the faceless highrises that dominate the skylines. I have alao visited many charming neighborhoods full of life, like Catete, Flamengo, and Urca. And I have discovered all-you-can-eatbsteak restaurants.… Read the rest

  • Rio’s beaches

    Rio’s beaches

    Rio loves its beaches. White, fine sand, wide, surf, people playing volleyball or a volleyball variant played with feet and head. Copacabana, probably the best-known beach in Rio, is not my favorite. Too wide, separated from the city with an enormous highway that is hard to cross, and too commercial. My favorites are Ipanema Beach,…

  • The other Rio attraction

    The other Rio attraction

    There is a 700-meter mountain called Corcovado in the middle of Rio with a big Jesus statue on top. They call it Christ the Redeemer which makes me think of plastic bottles. The statue is 38 meters tall. Beautiful views from up there. It’s packed up there even on a weekday; the platform is not…

  • Rio de Janeiro

    Rio de Janeiro

    First stop in Rio is the sugarloaf mountain!… Read the rest

  • Unpolished Manaus

    Unpolished Manaus

    Just pretty pictures is boring. I had another day in Manaus and decided to go to the edges, where it’s industrial an poor – without venturing into the favelas (slums) because that’s dangerous. Took a picture from across the river though, the banner of this post.… Read the rest

  • Amazonas

    Amazonas

    Hiking in the jungle again. No animals this time but we got a course on building traps. The guide cut the crown off a young tree, bent it down, and tied a rope to the end which was held down by an H-shaped frame and a carefully balanced trip rod. Step on that rod, and…

  • Amazonas hiking

    Amazonas hiking

    Met a few others at the lodge, and our guide took us on a long hike. First 45 minutes using our small wooden motor out, then two and a half hours back through the jungle. Our guide was in front, walking a path that he knew but that I couldn’t even see, occasionally using his…

  • Amazonas

    Amazonas

    The Amazonas region is one of Brazil’s largest undamaged jungles. I had a tour booked that first took me from Manaus across the Rio Negro and the Amazon. The former has dark water and the latter is yellow, and they don’t mix where they meet, just swirl a little. Very peculiar. The tour continued to…

  • Manaus, Brazil

    Manaus, Brazil

    Manaus is the gateway to the Amazon river. Most river and jungle tours begin and end here. Manaus is not a beautiful city; it’s loud and busy and colorful but has few attractions. The opera house is one of them. I took the picture below from the hotel’s roof terrace. Like so many tropical cities,…

  • Bogotá

    Bogotá

    Long time without Internet in Amazonas! Now I have to catch up. Here are some more photos from Bogotá. I especially enjoyed the university neighborhood up the mountains, with all the cafés, offbeat clubs, and street art one would expect, plus large green spaces and nice views over the city. Bogotá is otherwise not a…

  • Bogotá, Colombia

    Bogotá, Colombia

    There was a time when Colombia was at the top of the American crime charts but no longer. Doesn’t mean it’s Switzerland now, but the biggest threat is now a taxi scam where they take the passenger hostage and force them to withdraw all their money. The historical center is Candelaria, and that’s where I…

  • Santa Cruz

    Santa Cruz

    Santa Cruz is a seaside town 100km south of San Francisco, at the north end of Monterey Bay. It was a very charming town until it was mostly destroyed by the Loma Prieta earhquake in 1989. For many years, downtown was just huge metal tents. Today it’s back to what it was, it has been…