Thursday, April 26, 2007

Rad Writers at the Ottawa Writer's Festival

If I was in Ottawa, I would only be attending this event: Writer's Festival, hosted at the National Library and Archives. Stephanie Nolen, the voice of Africa in the Globe and Mail (read a snippet from her book 28 Stories of AIDS in Africa here, will be speaking along with Michael Ondaatje, Andrew Cohel and Alexandre Trudeau. What a line-up.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Maroc: Bienvenue!

I finally get to see North Africa. When I lived in south Portugal back in 2002, I had always contemplated hopping on the ferry from Spain to say that I had been to "Africa" - well Morocco, that is. Now being a little more knowledgeable (less naive) about the continent, my "hop-over" will now be an 11pm flight tonight to Dubai (another new airport), then connecting to Casablanca, and then Fez, Morocco at around 5pm on April 14. Map is courtesy of US CIA. Ah, the joys of long flights and airport interiors. I have also been informed that about some most-wanted local suicide bombers with 9lbs of explosives were taken down by police in the slum areas of Casablanca. Apparently it should not affect travel in anyway. For me, it sounds like a re-visit of when I passed through Bilbao, north of Spain, winter 2001, when the day before, the police had to block off some street for an expected bombing by the ETA. No one was hurt, but full-on threat to citizens living in these cities that they experience everyday.

What have I been reading: The reason why I love the New Yorker is because of its eloquent way of getting the reader to see multiple sides to a person or event that the mainstream media, in most cases, fails to cover. I noticed that Cassidy's article on Paul Wolfowitz, president of the World Bank, has become their most read article. The article allows the read to try to determine themselves whether Mr. Wolfowitz could be using his presidency as a move to push his agenda on Iraq which failed to surface with the US government because of his "silent diplomacy". I got in major debate with an American and Canadian volunteer while in Mombasa on the World Bank especially on the quote that Mr. Wolfowitz was a "bleeding heart". I like the lead-on that the World Bank president needs to project more clearly his plans for the future of World Bank as McNamara did... decide for yourself. Good read.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Mombasa Easter SlideShow

Wow, this took a while to figure how to put together a slideshow on your blog. I actually learned how to do it from Digital Inspiration website and voila! after a few newbie errors, this is the wonderful tool of showing my photos from Flickr. This digital world is a wonderful place! hahah.

Mombasa was hot and sweaty. From the bus ride on the newly paved tarmac, right into the island, I felt the perma-drip on my nose the whole time we were in Mombasa. I caught the mini-bus everywhere, hopping around from one part of the north coast to the other. We crashed a few 5-star hotel poolsides just to take advantage of their waterfront location and lounge chairs. On the Saturday, we made our way into Haller Park to see the giraffes up-close and personal - the park is actually more than that. It is a peaceful trail of ponds and wildlife, completely to gain back serenity after hours of people at the Nakumatt shopping centre or the packed beaches. I stayed with some new friends at Bombolulu, a handicraft workshop where all goods are made by the disabled or the blind. It is an amazing place as the staff live on the grounds and you will find yourself surrounded by smiles and welcoming sits or chats near a breezy covered spot even at the heat of the day. Thanks to Cindy, Geoff, John, and Mike for our competitive evenings of this boardgame, Carcassone and introducing me to the Mombasa place of life. Enjoy the pics.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Simplicity or not?

After almost two years with the same design for the blog, I've decided to switch over to a more simplistic format, colour and font change. I'm not sure if I feel to comfortable with it yet, so bare with me while I test my own tastes on you.

After heavy debate between me, myself and I, the decision for a trip to Mombasa for Easter holidays has been set. I'll be jumping on an non-air-conditioned bus at 9am on Friday morning and be set on my way to the East coast. I met some new VSO friends who said that they would be happy to host us. I am so looking forward to seeing the ocean, sand and just a new side to the world.

It's funny the things you start to miss while living away from home. Like funky trendster Asians walking around Robson and 10$ all-you-can-eat sushi or cheap Sunday brunch with friends or Aboriginal Art or Emily Carr and the imfamous West Coast forests. I have been getting a bit Vancouver home flavour from a few fun websites from like Beyond Robson and the Commodified. The best at home literature I get at the office is the Ottawa Citizen. Oh yea.

Monday, April 02, 2007