01 juin 2015

Nanny, you probably don't want to know what I did last weekend.

             I recently had a couple of acquaintances over. The sort of people who'll give you absolutely no news for a year or so, then suddenly pop up out of the blue saying that they've bought plane tickets to Mayotte and can I put them up. They'd timed their visit to be here at the same time as a friend of theirs, a hiking guide on tour in Mayotte at the time, so they were off with him most of the time, which was fine as far as I was concerned. They didn't have anything planned for the... [Lire la suite]
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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]
26 janvier 2015

Brussel

                  The original plan was to spend New Year's Eve in Brussels with a friend of H's. However, they hadn't managed to contact each other in time, and she was working that day, so we went up on New Year's Day, a public holiday, without warning the friend beforehand. Brussels is about an hour's drive from Lille, very easily done. H called his friend when we arrived in the city, she got herself ready, we parked in front of her flat and the three of us went off to discover... [Lire la suite]
01 septembre 2014

Alefa Madagascar! Part 2 of 2.

          The starting point of anything Malagasy is Antananarivo, the capital city, generally shortened to Tana. It's bang in the centre of Madagascar, and it's where all the planes go to and come from. So, logically, this was the starting point of my adventure. It's also the only place in Madagascar where you can rent a motorbike (or any other vehicle, for that matter). I started off down the RN7, which is the best-known and best-maintained road in Madagascar. It's tarred pretty much all the way down,... [Lire la suite]
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25 août 2014

Alefa Madagascar! Part 1 of 2.

           I enjoyed hiking in Reunion Island and liked the country very much, it has an interesting history and it's extremely beautiful. However, I don't think I'll be back, unless I can manage to get a transfer to live and work there. Madagascar, though, was a different kettle of fish. I fell in love with the place when I went there for the first time in May this year, to the point that the day after I got back, I had already booked my next flight to Antananarivo. The first time had been a... [Lire la suite]
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19 mai 2014

Repoblikan'i Madagasikara : a visiting vazaha.

                   Just spent a week in Madagascar, and absolutely fell in love with the place. It's beautiful. It started off with a rather strange idea of going to Antsiranana - more pronounceably known as Diego Suarez - to learn to kitesurf. One of those all-inclusive holidays where you have a bed, food and kitesurfing lessons all rolled into one package, and they even send a taxi to fetch you at the airport. The airline company for Madagascar is Air Madagascar.... [Lire la suite]

12 mai 2014

There haven't been any underwater photos for a while.

               On Easter Sunday, I went out on a boat trip with the Bretons of Mayotte association. Dragged a friend along, too, and there also happened to be a couple of folk dancers on the same boat. We went to the north of Mayotte to look for dolphins and possibly manta rays. Found a few dolphins - not the usual few hundreds, just ten or so - and watched them for a bit, then we stopped off at the Îlots Choisil for lunch.                ... [Lire la suite]
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13 janvier 2014

Pink bags and blue boxes

            In Mayotte, people don't fret about big travel bags, careful packaging, luggage straps and padlocks. They don't worry about their big black case being indistinguishable from everybody else's big black cases on the luggage carousel. They don't bother repackaging their stuff so that it all fits nicely together. Quite the contrary. The ideal luggage here is ready to be transported, solid and re-usable upon arrival.                    ... [Lire la suite]
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12 août 2013

Consuegra

                        South of Madrid lies Consuegra, where Don Quijote's windmills stand on a ridge. Twelve windmills, some of them broken, allegedly by Don Quijote himself. Spain is obsessed with Don Quijote, as there are picture and sculptures everywhere, every village has a bar or restaurant named after either the character or the author, and Cervantès' birthplace in Alcalá de Henares is a widely-visited tourist spot.            ... [Lire la suite]
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13 mai 2013

When in Spain...

                I went to Madrid during the half-term holidays to visit P, who was transferred there for his job last December. I'd never been to the capital city before, so that was a very interesting experience. On top of trying to speak Spanish, I learnt a few things we weren't taught at school; namely that...            ...people queue halfway along the street to buy espadrilles              ...restaurants offer... [Lire la suite]
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