23 février 2015

N'Gouja, probably for the last time.

                                   It's the holidays next week, so this weekend was really the last one before the holidays on which to go to the beach. I don't go that often - not really interested in lying around in the heat, and not bothered about salty water and small fish - but H loves the beach, and I'd promised to bring him back some sand from his favourite beach in Mayotte. So I rang up a colleague who... [Lire la suite]

02 février 2015

Brugge

      On my last day in Lille, H had to work all day, so I dropped him off at his school, planning to go back down to Lille and across to Roubaix, where I'd heard there was an interesting exhibition about Camille Claudel as well as 500 or so wool soldiers that local artists had made. The enormous traffic jams going into Lille made me change my mind, so I drove up to Dunkirk instead. Please bear in mind that it was 8 or 9 a.m., not fully light yet, and -1°C. Drove through Dunkirk, making a royal mess of the traffic... [Lire la suite]
19 janvier 2015

Lille

                   Two British Rail trains, four Underground trains and two Eurostar trains. I don't mind travelling, really. I'm not keen on all the waiting around that has to be done in airports and train stations, and I'd rather not have to justify my identity and defend my presence every ten seconds, but the actual act of travelling - the sitting down, eating, reading, playing silly games or watching incomprehensible films - is fine. I also very much enjoy the arrival at... [Lire la suite]
29 décembre 2014

A Family Christmas

               This year, the Cooper Christmas commenced, continued and ceased in a rather categorical fashion.              We had moments of present-giving and new clothes...                                Smiles and silly hats...                           Moments of intense concentration... ... [Lire la suite]
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26 mai 2014

Kids

         Adults in Mayotte don't really like the camera lens. There is a belief that being photographed removes a part of your soul, but it's usually closer to not liking white tourists taking photos of "locals" doing "local things". Which is fair enough and perfectly understandable. Most people probably wouldn't like a foreigner pointing a camera at them while they're just going about their business as usual. However, the kids love the camera. They'll play up to it, smile, group together and make signs... [Lire la suite]
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14 avril 2014

Majicavo

The village I live in is called Majicavo. Literally, it means "where there is no water". Like all Mahorese villages, it's a very poor place, but near enough to the capital (Mamoudzou) for people to want to be modern and Westernized. Also like all Mahorese villages, it has a lot of shops, known as doukas, and small local restaurants, called brochetti or brochetterie because they sell mainly chicken wings and kebabs of meat or fish. They have names such as "Welcome Mayotte", "Mastéréhi" ("Enjoy your meal and be at rest"),... [Lire la suite]
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15 janvier 2012

Water, water everywhere...

        I got a call the other day from a girl I’d met at a friend’s birthday party, asking me if I wanted to do something on Sunday. The search was on. She rang me back yesterday evening, having thought of going to the beach, renting a kayak, paddling round a pretty island and fish-watching on the coral reef afterwards. I picked her up this morning and we were off.               ... [Lire la suite]
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