Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

It’s been a curvy, topsy year. The sort that wends and twists in its own strange ways to end up in places that you never quite expected. It’s also been pretty much non-stop, with only recent days in the Scottish backcountry as the first proper, unrushed opportunity to decompress . To reflect on just how   Read More …

26 December: Epulu Ranger Station, Democratic Republic of Congo.  But for the early arrival of the pygmies from yesterday, the morning would have started unremarkably. Yesterday’s thunderstorm delayed the trade in Ituri forest crafts, but this morning, they arrived with scores of necklaces made from forest nuts, small seeds and bark rope. Plus a musical instrument   Read More …

The Karoo is hot. Like fucking sun-massacred hot. The land where God hates the trees. She loves only the scrubby, fragrant bushes that refuse to die and the Orange river. The leviathan that cuts its way through the flat line of the horizon like an old boxer – no speed remains, only power.

Night makes for such delicious confession. Only the warm insomniacs inside, writing their muses into weary pages, and those few in the cold beyond. Who use the dark to play their own games deep past the witching hour. Inside is music, coffee, and self reflection. This three-year asana is drawing to its close. Existential tendons have already begun to draw into something different. Steeling for the years abroad. I’m headed overseas.

It’s been hard to write of late, as some heavy fugue settles over my heart and holds otherwise dextrous fingers from their dancing. A creative humidity that permits a degree of heat, but kills any brighter spark as it tries to burn and leave. Partly, I think it’s the academic  writing that’s done it. Too   Read More …

[Taken from the Ugandan Journals]

In transit at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, I bought a copy of Six Months in Sudan by James Maskalyk. I vacillated over the decision to buy it. Mostly because of not wanting to draw shillings from the ATM just for a book. In the end, of course, I would.

Returning is only over when you are back at a place you recognise as home, waking up in a bed that remembers how you like to spread out at night, for more than a week. By that yardstick, I’ll be home on Wednesday and you will get delicious audiovisual treatery soon after. For now, though, a brief storytelling interlude via some quick stats written on the dirtiest back pages of my journal.

Up at 04h30. In Entebbe airport by 06h00. On a plane by 08h30 and starting the long trek home. It’s all so managed. So clean. In your seat. Eat your meal. Listen to music or fall asleep for distraction. I feel awry in the whitespace. My clothes are filthy, and probably smell a little.

It’s undeveloped, and it has crap roads – these things are true. But it is also full of really friendly people, to whom we have not had to pay a single bribe, who have really gone out of their way to show us a great time.

There are twenty four minutes left on this laptop battery. Power to the plugs in ‘hotel’ Tropikana (don’t ask) has failed, though the lights work absolutely fine. Outside is a little dark, and slightly infused with the smell of burnt trash and roasting meat. Somewhere out there, a bar cranks out huge sound while patrons   Read More …

This post should have gone up two days ago. But packing can be such a demanding mistress. Have I put in too little? Too much? Do I really need an extra bandage in the first aid section? (yes) Have the extra batteries for the camcorder arrived? (No). And so it has gone. So these are   Read More …

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