So much of Mozambique is in ruins. Cities and towns and villages showcase hollow buildings with the prosperity shot out of them. I decided not to take too many pictures of the shocking meagreness that ironically overwhelms there, 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. That is where I spent most of my time with my family.
It comes down to the question: Would I return?
Yes. Everybody needs a second chance… Mozambique was wounded 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. It’s just so beautiful in the Western Cape and especially its capital. 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 absolutely warped. Contrasted to its bully sister Johannesburg, CT’s the spoilt bratty sibling that everyone dotes over because it’s so damn cute and you just can’t help yourself. Then again, South Africa is the inflicted parent unable to treat them as equals.
Cape Town, Stellenbosch 2011
Although I always took the time to enjoy and photograph a new glimpse of splendor (because it’s a city of artists making art everywhere), Firenze for a while was simply home.
I was one such artist, unwavering, in vain, 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, around, back added fuel to the process. I never gave up, until one day i’d given too much and realised that I’d still never been thanked.
Thanks to Firenze, I’ve suffered more than I thought possible and grown more than I’d even hoped.
I speak Italian fluently and have traces of the culture forever instilled in me. My friends 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’
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
My impression of Dublin was that it is poor, but pleasantly functional (and then some)
It’s the kind of poor that does not manifest in begging, shivering hands pushed into one’s face or the sight of the hardened ashen feet of a homeless person like I’m used to. Everyone’s eating and looking fashionable . It’s the kind of poverty that makes you feel like there are limited opportunities for the best and for the worst of the city’s inhabitants. Most of the youth is living on the dole and readily spending it on consumerist crap
But! the Irish are always friendly and it doesn’t seem put on. The landscapes are to die for and discrimination seems scarce. If the people can keep looking up despite the low-hanging ceiling of success, then I guess poor is not the word to use for quaint, polite Dublin after all.
May, June 2010
Sicillians attest to be more North African than they are Italian. While many are open as a result, plenty others are unwilling to slacken the ties that carry the pride of being a unique mix of first and third world islanders.
On a more general sense, I found them to be very hospitable and very special
Siracusa, Italy 2010
In the beginning of 2012 My boyfriend and I spent a much needed weekend away to Cambodia. It was not nearly enough time to understand it though.
We were in Siem Reap, the town that has the likes of Angkor Wat in its repertoire.
Though a playground for every sort of toursit and traveler, the locals have free reign of their own heritage site which is a consolation for their dire poverty.
The people are used to begging, you can tell by their tenacity and the eventual melody of the repeated phrases “Please madam one dala (dollar) just one dala. yes madam one dala, just one dala”. Even so I found the Cambodians to be meek but aware, kind but careful. I’m sure it’s another story in Phnom Penh where chancers are at every dark corner, but Siem Reap for which I can vouch, was very enjoyable.
Salutations: Ho Chi Minh City
my last month in Saigon had me feeling sentimental about the place. while I wanted to leave because I was so frustrated by the way things ran, I started to find charm in the everyday sights I took for granted.
Now that I’m in Hanoi which is definitely a better city only in terms of looks, I miss the friendly faces and good attitudes of the people of Saigon.
The Mekong Delta: My Tho, Ben Tre and inbetween islands.
It all feels like its being run by a tourism cartel. With not much room for deviating off the beaten path, greedy agents and pushy hotel staff herd tourists from one commercial spot to the other. It’s actually beautiful down South. One must pay a higher stake for a glimpse of the better, more unrefined environment secretly kept only metres away from the grid.