Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Style over substance and MY VOICE as a person with a disability

The New York Times Style Magazine has a story about Namibia that includes a fashion photo shoot in many of the same places I just went to in Namibia. The blog Africa is a Country rightfully points out that the article and photo shoot reinforces some of the worst colonial fantasies about Namibia and rural Africa in general as a pristine setting to view primitive cultures (see Leni Riefenstahl's Sudan photos). That said, it's always interesting to see how a professional photographer handles the same landscape.

My blog of late has turned into something of a vacation photo album, um sorry. On a completely different note I want to applaud my house mate Louis on the successful launch of his poster series MY VOICE as a person with a disability. You can read about it on his blog here. See the posters here. The program included some great and funny speeches by disability advocates, a skit by a couple soap opera stars and ended with an otherworldly gospel sing along led by arguably Zambia's top pop star John Chiti.

Why does any impromptu group singing in Zambia automatically arranges itself into four part harmonies. I don't get that. It's incredible though. The following are some photos I took at the event.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

African Penguins

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Liveblogging BBC world

It's a nice time to be alive.

Frankly I like living any time.

Something's changing in America.

As opposed to the last few hundred years of stasis.

An Obama presidency will make people give their prejudiced views a second thought.

I'm rethinking my membership in the Daughters of the Confederacy as I'm writing this.

For Paris we'll see some more wet weather.


Monday, January 19, 2009

The Desert's No Joke

Namibian Birds and a Quiver Tree

Windhoek and Swakopmund

I'm just now realising the wonders of resizing one's photos before attempting to upload them on a dodgy satellite connection. It does make them a little less pretty but saves me hours of failed upload attempts.

Although my friends who've lived there will, I'm sure, call me naive, entering Namibia from Zambia felt a bit like entering the European Union. The border crossing at Katima Mulilo involves a sweaty shoving match in a concrete hut on the Zambian side but complete serenity on the Namibian side. The building above is not the border but a church in the seaside resort town of Swakopmund. So are the next few.

I was excited to see curbs in Namibia but bike lanes?
This is central Windhoek, probably the cleanest most inoffensive city I've ever encountered anywhere ever. Of course, that's through the tourist's lens and I'm sure someone will correct me. This church, by the way, stands at the confluence of, I think, Robert Mugabe Avenue and Fidel Castro.
I traded this man, who by the way is a Namibian of German descent if it isn't obvious by the moustache, one hundred billion Zimbabwean dollars for one Zimbabwean cent. Though economists will tell you both denominations are equally worthless as money I think I got the better deal.

Inexplicably fast internet

After months of brutally slow internet it seems to be going very quickly tonight. This will allow me to post all the shameless tourist snaps that have until now been lost to the "your connection has been reset" demons. The next five photos are of my illegal tour of the edge of Victoria falls. This was probably the scariest thing I've ever done. No mom, I was never in any real danger although my guide was the way he jumped around from rock to rock.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Zambian Airways Implodes

You heard it here first. Zambian Airways suspended operations today stranding hundreds of passengers, well, maybe not quite hundreds but dozens for sure. No refunds, barely even an apology. I know because I'm stuck in OR Thambo in Johannesburg.

It got hot as the crowd started accusing the Zambian Airways representative of cheating them. I felt bad for the guy who having just lost his job had to confront an angry crowd of stranded Zambians. They'd been waiting since 9 am. The plane never even left Zambia. That's 150 bucks down the drain and an entire day spebnt in the airport.

Luckily I got on a SA airways flight tomorrow. I was so careful to book just a few days in advance knowing full well that the airlines waws in difficulty but it's been in difficulty since it began!

Monday, January 5, 2009

My Whereabouts

On Kloof street in Cape Town. I'm a bit stunned how hard I've fallen for South Africa. Everything from the weather, the people I've met, the landscape and even the soap operas on SABC thrill me. I really feel like I could live here.

Yes, I'm aware of the social problems and that my sense of excitement might have something to do with the fact that basic goods and services here are half the price of Zambia at twice the quality. I had good sushi and a Kirin beer the other day on a nice patio for less than a plate of nshima and a Mosi back in Lusaka.