The weather is not tropical ever but especially not at this time of year;
the Pacific waters are frigid all the time; and to boot my pockets were empty yet again. Though a 4 hour drive to the coast would seem like not much fun given these circumstances, I found it a unique and full experience to stay dry at the beach.
The private skies and landscapes as well as the elegant compositions of life and cycles of flora and fauna, I found invigorating to the spirit particularly because I didn’t seek nor even expect to see them
Las Salinas, Maitencillo 2014
Philly is not hyped and I appreciate that.
At an unprecedented (sunny) 52 degrees Fahrenheit, one weekend at the beginning of March, I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time idling outdoors with friends.
I stayed in Fishtown, a trendy little neighbourhood a little outside of the centre made enjoyable thanks to my fantastic company.
I had low expectations for the excursion though I’ll admit that I’ve always intuited that I’d have an affinity for Philly. And so it has won me over in more ways than one.
Philedelphia, USA 2014
Valparaiso is a picturesque and colourful port city. The majority of its population is situated high up in the hills, where it appears snugly nestled.
A good job is done at providing the medium class with just enough, while the poor are hidden one on top of the other in quirky but dangerous compositions further and further up the cerros where not even ambulances go it’s so unreachable. The higher you go, the less you know about what awaits you. Beware the summit, it’s nothing like the base.
Valpo, as it is affectionately known, lies an hour and a half North-West of Santiago and despite the lack of attempts at providing for all of its socio-economic classes, it is one of the most atmospheric, down-to-earth places I have visited.There is art everywhere and it does not turn its nose up at you. The city is always punctuated with tourists yet the locals are accommodating and friendly. Even Valpo’s constant cool coastal breeze is inoffensive.
They seem initially reserved, but once you get to know them, you find out that Chileans are in fact really lovely people.
Not to generalise, you will run into the odd ass, especially when it comes to service- franchise restaurants to be particular, they have an awful reputation-but there is something genuinely friendly and helpful about the people here.
I hear that the south, which I have not yet visited, is warm to the touch while the North does no one any initial favours. I find myself in the middle where things happen in a matter of time. The youth is particularly active and opinionated; and homosexuality, a rising un-macho facet to the culture, is increasingly becoming accepted in big cities. There is a palpable presence of a general counter-culture which (contrary to what by definition a counterculture should do)- exists harmoniously parallel to the conservative standards that otherwise reflect what the people are about.
I feel that it is evident here that still waters run the deep.
Santiago, Valparaiso 2013
I have been in Santiago for about three and a half months now and things are just beginning to take shape. In my own head that is.
Santiago has nothing particularly stand-out about it, which initially had me feeling regretful shortly after I’d moved here. Now however it’s starting to grow on me. The city is quite pricey, you have no real opportunity to save, but it’s also very liveable. The underground is reliable and runs until 11pm besides that there are taxis at your beck and call the streets are safe to walk in even at night; what’s more there are parks at every turn. Santiago is actually quite…nice.
I have learned a lot about the culture here from my students and new friends and acquaintances and it seems that it is (what they have narrowed down to) classicism and conservatism that ruin what Chileans ultimately believe to be their satisfactory society.
Things here seem ostensibly muted and drab, but I am surprised when everyday I gain perspective from which I can observe my new home-base .
So much of Mozambique is in ruins. Cities and towns and villages showcase hollow buildings reamed with the wounds made by the bullets of a people in conflict. I decided not to take too many pictures of the shocking meagreness that ironically overwhelms the landscape, but to focus on the fleeting moments of magic.
Excluding the hotel staff and the people in the photos, I was treated really badly by the locals. They called me names, gave me intimidating stares, refused to communicate, swore, sniggered. I think it’s because they are not used to seeing black travelers and mistook my curiosity for something else… negative… I cannot imagine what but I hate to think that Mozambicans are in fact the people they showed me to be.
XaiXai in the South is a lesser known beach town, which is now by the way devastated by floods. This is where my family and I mostly were
It comes down to the question: Would I return?
Yes. Everybody needs a second chance… Mozambique was harmed by civil war; has healed and is now simply limping along.
2013 Xai Xai
Mention South Africa overseas and Mandela comes first to mind, the world cup will probably linger until Brazil outdoes us, and the there’s Cape Town, for most, the only city they know.
Cape Town deserves the excellent reputation it has as a must see. The Western Cape is really quite the sight for sore eyes. The people are generally as lovely as the Cape Town lifestyle promotes.
I’ve always dreamed of living in the Cape especially because of the great time I’ve had the two times I’d been before. But after spending a very immersed week and a half as a non holiday-maker and going between its various parts, I realised that it’s something I’d actually not consent to.
Cape Town feels behind, like it hasn’t caught up to the many revolutions our country has undergone because it simply feels that it doesn’t have to. The social dynamics are completely warped. Contrasted to its bully sister Johannesburg, CT is the spoilt bratty sibling that everyone dotes over because it’s so damn cute and one just can’t help oneself. Then again, South Africa is the conflicted parent unable to treat them as equals.
Cape Town, Stellenbosch 2011
Although I would always take the opportunity to enjoy and photograph arbitrary glimpses of splendor, and though it is a city of artists making art everywhere and all the time, Firenze for a while was simply home.
I was one such artist, unwavering in my quest to make make a living in analogue contemporary photography. But Firenze is a classical city that supports classical ventures, not ideas of some bright eyed African girl trying to pass her stuff off as art. Being turned down, turned back, turned inside-out trying to measure up, quite simply fueled my undertaking. I never gave up. Until one day I’d given everything, too much, and could give no more. It was then that I realised that I’d still never been thanked, acknowledged, or even noticed.
Thanks to Firenze, I’ve suffered more than I should’ve and consequently grown more than I’d thought possible.
I speak Italian fluently and have traces and of the culture forever embedded in me. My friends there are still as dear to me as the city is, even if it now seems further than it’s ever been.
Firenze, La sua belleza smentisce la sua crudelta’…Firenze, thy beauty belies thy cruelty
Vietnam is now a closed chapter in my life.
Absolutely sick of the concrete and uniformity of the Saigon city landscape, I convinced my boyfriend to move. Leaving good jobs and weather behind, we made our way up.
I was certain we had made the right choice as soon as we arrived because of the instant geographic beauty Hanoi had over HCMC. Lakes and trees, ancient architecture and a busy and dense city centre easily attracted us. There were also many more expats that seemed to integrate well with the locals.
And then it soon became apparent that we were in communist county.
The last months in Hanoi were really trying. The Northeners are colder like the weather. It is also much more cultured than the South, to a point where it is far too traditional. There are plenty of educated people and they balance the ignorant ones out perfectly. The men are harder and the women are more conservative. Once the people in the workplace and neighbourhood opened up, reluctantly so at first, as I left them with no choice by virtually killing them with my kindness, they revealed their own, and their complex ideas to me. I realised how a people, once bitten, will remain shy for even generations thereafter.
It’s not too different from my own familiar South African past. Wounds may heal (and great big wounds they survived) but they always leave scars.
Hanoi June- Novemebr 2012
Lesotho is a kingdom.
Because it has a king. A royal that has lost his executive authority. His people are hungry. Supermarkets in the scant city centre are now owned by the simply unaffectable shotgun- weilding, empty-eyed Chinese. I could not document them in the fear of being shot dead if I was spotted. Lesotho’s government needs to be shaken awake. The well-natured citizens need to have their best interests taken to heart.
It’s cold, it’s mountainous when it’s not just prairie and it’s beautiful.
Lesotho is situated inside South Africa with the Drakensberg mountains bordering it and the special Thaba Bosiu that anchors the capital city Maseru.
I loved Lesotho and hope to return
Roma, Maseru, Morija 2010