Reading 2

April 7, 2008

This blog might perhaps not be the fastest place on the planet! But my visitor log reveals that some of my dear online friends have not given up on me, despite my rather erratic posting frequency.

Today I saw a visitor from a new country, Botswana. This of course brings back happy memories of one of my favorite writers: Alexander McCall Smith, who writes absolutely charming books. I blogged about him a while ago, here. So my dear visitor from Gaborone, if you come back here, please let me know who you are.

Gaborone, as seen by emster214

As for my other readers/bloggers I have another question: Very few of my real life friends read my blog these days. (It was different in the beginning when I was travel-blogging as a way of staying in touch. ) Today I have a nice little circle of online-friends, of whom I have met none, (well OK, very few!). How is this for you, do you have many real life friends who read your blog?

As for my own life, it is presently rather full of not too good family related troubles. Such things hardly help me find the time or energy to post. Let us leave it at that.


Sahara Run

March 2, 2007

Well my friends, the rumours of my untimely death have been exaggerated. Two legs, two arms, and my head, still in place.

I thought that I was done with the Sahara, blogwise but no, not yet. This story is so good that I must share it with you. I wrote that the Dakar was a tough challenge. Well, compared to this the Dakar is a walk in the park.

Three top athletes ran 6437 km from coast to coast in the Sahara. It took them 100 days. That corresponds to more than two marathons a day. I’m not kiddin, two marathons a day! And marathons are sort of tough, even under the “luxurious” conditions of paved roads and a nice climate. Really really impressing…

Check story on National Geographic and Yahoo.

Sahara – Encore Une Fois

January 24, 2007

Fresh snow outside my window.
10 degrees below freezing.

The Formula 1 season seems far away indeed…

But in the world of Rally Racing: the Jewel in the Crown, The Dakar, (for many years known as the Paris-Dakar), [Wiki facts], has just reached its completion. It is one of the toughest challenges on this planet, and extremely dangerous too. It crosses over endless miles of dessert landscapes. And the roads, oh the roads (!), are certainly not a walk in the park. Driving skill, mechanical skills, navigation, endurance and machinery all come into play.

This year’s winner in the car division was Frenchman Stèphane Peterhansel. After 16 days of racing, his winning margin was an astonishingly slim 7 minutes! But I must confess to you my dear readers: as I have been following this race on TV, I have hardly paid any attention to the numbers and names. I have been quite hypnotized by all the Sahara images.

When I traveled the Libyan Sahara some 9 months ago, something happened to me. That experience got into my bloodstream in a way I never imagined. It is like malaria, once you get it, it remains in your body for life. It does not necessarily break out, but it is always there. Do not get me wrong, there is nothing negative with the malaria comparison, I love this feeling. I just mean that it is something that I may forget for many months, but when it wakes up I realize that it has been there, all the time…

…and then sometimes, one starts to think about the people who live their entire lives here.

Catch a Fire – Film Festival Take #3

November 26, 2006

The third and last installment of my Film Festival Reviews, (unless I change my mind and write a note on “A Scanner Darkly”), is about a film called “Catch A Fire”.

It takes place in Apartheid South Africa, around 1980, but it does cast very deep shadows into our own days. It is about a man, Patrick Chamuso, who is a hard working family man. He has nothing absolutely to do with the ANC, the armed liberation movement, or “the terrorists”, in the white regime lingo.

Tim Robbins delivers an excellent performance, perfect South African accent and all, of a anti-terrorist cop. When the plant where Patrick Chamuso works get hits by bomb attacks every black man becomes a suspect. And he gets some very hard torture-like treatment. He tells them nothing as there is nothing to tell, he is innocent. But the treatment does turn an innocent man into an active terrorist. It certainly raises questions on how productive the methods of today’s so called War on Terrorism are!

And no, it is not a propaganda brainstorm. The story of Patrick Chamuso is a true story.

The Sounds of Sand

November 22, 2006

The Stockholm Film Festival is on right now. Hundreds of films in 9 days

On of the films I have seen is the Belgian production Si le vent soulève les sables, (or The Sounds of Sand.) It is a beautifully photographed film, about a poor family struggling on foot across the desert sands, in search of water.

I myself have travelled in the mighty Sahara it has gotten into my bloodstream a bit. Even though I travelled in the relative comfort of 4WDs I still could recognize the total mercilessness of the dessert.