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ABOUT AFRICASIAEURO

On this page you will find multiple articles and images, videos all are sequences of real life experiences and activities. To watch and read more, simply scroll down the page.



AFRICASIAEURO LANDING

This page : 'a blend of the present and the past.'

chinese  chinese saying

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lhasa  giant buddha statue china

From AFRICA and ASIA, hence our name: AFRICASIAEURO

VIETNAM AND MORE

OUR GOOGLE GUIDE 8 OPINION ON RESTAURANTS, HOTELS, BUSINESSES

HEALTH WATCH

WASHING DETERGENT CHOICE; IT'S FOR YOU TO DECIDE, IF YOU DON'T WANT THIS CHEMICAL ?

THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE

ABBA SO LONG

ABBA - SO LONG

JOURNEY TO NIANI
HARROWING DETAILS OF AN ADVENTUROUS JOURNEY

What is our interest
AFRICASIAEURO
ART IS OUR PASSION

THE BEST OF ART

IMAGINE THIS

STRANGE


CELEBRATIONS OF BOAT LAUNCHING
On Isle de Los, Africa

CHECK THE VIDEO

GHANA


boti Ivory coast


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T-SHIRTS AND JEANS

Tshirts and jeans insights

TEXTILES KNOWLEDGEBASE:
HOW ARE THEY MADE - JEANS AND MORE
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OUR INTERESTS
AFRICASIAEURO


ONE OF ABBA'S FIRST HITS :

ABBA Ring Ring was our absolute dancing hit. It carries lots of memories from a time that I thought stood still - or rather I wanted..  
ABBA with RING RING

RING RING

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CHINA MAGIC


CHINA is different. If you have never been - do not comment; it simply does not give credit to an incredible country. The worst thing one can do is to assume wrongly.
china  china  china

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA


This city of art and beauty unfortunately has turned a grim reality by now. Due to Europe's uncontrolled migration, SALZBURG is not like it's former glory. One notices in the old town graffitis which have been put indiscriminately on old buildings, some dating back to the Middle Ages. The city has lost it's lustre. Local politicians are to blame. The conservatives OVP have had the majority together with Social Democrats for decades. It is sad to see the decline of this otherwise wonderful city of SALZBURG. No wonder other parties like the Freedom party and Communist party are pressing for change.
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SEE OUR FOTOS BELOW


Salzburg city  Salzburg city  Salzburg city  

How to make an impact

AFRICASIAEURO BIZ

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ILAN, TAIWAN

On a day trip with An: ILAN 's Mr. Brown's castle

View from Mr. Brown's castle ILAN TAIWAN  MR. BROWN's Castle ILAN TAIWAN  taipei  taipei

Mr. Brown's castle

River cruise in Thailand Laos China

High speed yacht cruising on the Mekong river with rapids and currents galore. Not the usual Tourist boat cruise

High speed yacht on mekong thailand

THE BEAUTY OF AFRICA

The scenery here showing the coast on Accra - Tema beach road. The picture dates back to 1994. The ocean was cleaner then, Tema beach road was flooded on many oaccasions before.

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GHANA'S TOP MUSICIANS


GYEI DU BLAY AMBOLLEY



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View of coast Accra Ghana near Tema  View of coast Accra Ghana near Tema  View of Teshie coast road ghana  View of cape coast road Ghana

View of ghana upcountry  View of ghana upcountry  View of ghana upcountry  View of ghana upcountry

TIBETAN JOURNEYS


TIBET AND KHAM hold a special part in my life's journey. TIBETAN people are warm, welcoming. Tibet is a land of magic

from our Fotos

Tibetan student

Tibetan young lady in traditional attire  Tibet  Tibet  Tibet  view from the oldest Tibetan temple which houses a printing press  potala palace lhasa  view of lhasa streets  view of lhasa  potala temple lhasa  people on pilgrimage in lhasa  

TIBET HIKE

The hike has taken all my strength. Overcome by exhaustion - I relax while in the kitchen the grandfather is preparing dinner. An old man of nearly 80 years, his leather tanned face radiates much warmth and kindness.

He is genuinely proud to have a foreigner as guest at his home. His wife herds YAKS still further up the mountain, a 3 hours walk from where his house stands, barely noticeable from here.

I notice in spite of the warm jacket I am wearing my body starts to shiver, and decide to draw the warm blanket up to my chin. I sense the deep exhaustion now overcoming me. With every minute the shadows are getting longer now , my friends calling me to watch the spectacle that follows.

Sparrows give their last concert, the Eagles have long disappeared; the whole area is shrouded in twilight, a breath taking scenery. My companions have tended to the horse, and other animals on the farm. We stand on the porch overlooking the whole mountain range , truly a majestic view. One forgets time here, a soul searching contest with oneself has begun. And here time has stood still, no materialistic goals, no work related stress, no human misdemeanor, no misunderstanding, no crime, just pure, basic human values. One can not but feel comfort in such environment.

Dinner is ready, Chinese cabbage, Xiaobaicai, steamed round rice, chicken with vegetables. An excellent meal, the old man proofs his cooking skills. After dinner we converse, many questions are asked about my home and what it was like. Mountain folks retire early and for a good reason: they must be fit in early morning. We take a stroll in the now dark surroundings and shoot some photos in the dark. Everyone senses the tranquility that has engulfed the mountains by now. A real heaven under the sky. Then the house falls silent, no sound is heard.

Tibetan mountain dwelling
AMAZON BOOKS


I dream of a friend who has passed away, noticing I can converse with him freely here. On frequent occasions did I have such experiences, in serene and calm surroundings in Africa, Asia and Europe. How I wish I could have shown this heaven to those who needed it most. Yet, it is not for everyone to reach such divine places. As one friend put it : "You are blessed to be able to discover this Tibetan secret". One may believe it or not, reality speaks for itself. And the night embraces us amidst a divine calm, with the stars as our guardians.. Next : The day break - and descent ... Dusk to dawn at 5000 meters altitude amidst alpine meadows 2011-02-23 06:40:06 2011-02-23 11:40:06 24 2010-10-30 10:00:31 2010-10-30 15:00:31



Train crossing in Kanpur, U.P.

22010-10-30 10:21:25 2010-10-30 15:21:25

06.00AM, Airport Mumbai. I made it in time, driving from the Hotel in Worli.

Mumbai is one of the largest cities on the globe and leaves an unforgettable impression behind. In daytime the streets are bustling with activity, the stench of car fumes, the ever present pollution, the traffic jams, are all but pleasant surprises in this overcrowded city.

Jet Airways, always late, Modi-Luft has just taken off to an unknown destination, I observe the frantic activities inside the airport. People rushing, uplifting their Ego in front of the Airline counters, a normal sight in Indians airports. Everyone is a Tycoon, everyone displays a show of force to attract attention. In a country of 1,3 Billion, a vital technique of survival.

After a mere 3 hour delay our plane finally takes off, in India 12 hours delays are common.

The plane is a 737-300 extended version, on the way to Lucknow, U.P. En route we touch down in Delhi, taking on new passengers. We reach Lucknow airport around 3PM.

My contact in Kanpur has not shown up. Lucknow airport is not an International airport, its facilities are limited. Bring your own Rupees, there is no Bank to change your foreign currency. Taxi touts swarm around me. Hello Sir, Taxi to Lucknow Sir. I decide to wait show lack of interest. I will only gain using this tactic. When all the passengers have left, after haggling with their drivers, I walk out of the terminal and find quietly a Fiat cabby, who agrees to take me to Lucknow for a decent fare. After years in Africa I find the same rules apply here when it comes to negotiating. I ask to stop at the first communication center, ISD, or IDD telephone center, to call my contact.

It appears the driver would not come and instead he asks the Cabby to take me to Kanpur, 150 km from here. The first impression of Lucknow is, a market with street side shops in which Sarees are being sold. The craft of Saree making here is known throughout India, and represents an important part of business. We pass the streets of this city, the usual scenery with cows strolling through the streets, people respectfully giving way to them. Nobody would touch a cow here, a clear taboo. Donkey carts, with the driver asleep in the carts, are plying the route towards Kanpur. The immense afternoon sun radiates a melting 45 degrees I notice by a thermometer located on a public building,it comes as no surprise to me. After 3 hours drive we reach Kanpur, my destination. The driver takes me to my hotel as instructed, after paying the fare, which is reasonable I am shown into my room.

Thirty floors high, the hotel is the best lodge in the city, and stands out from the low level buildings around. I notice the large numbers of red kites circling above the hotel, using the thermals to their advantage. Still the afternoon sun is high, the air condition helps me to cool down a bit. At 18.30 PM I am to meet Mr. Rakesh the rep of the company who I will visit.

A very pleasant man, he apologizes for the inconvenience of not being picked up. We leave for dinner in his car, the obligatory Fiat, in immaculate condition.

Kanpur - The Railway crossing We pass through the now darkened city, as everywhere we see whole families moving by scooters, bicycles. Cars are still a luxury here, the traffic mainly consisting of scooters and bicycles, and by passers on foot. The heat now subsiding, Mr. Rakesh explains the various sights of Kanpur, its history. We enter the restaurant, and the following dinner is a delight. The baby Naans (tiny flat breads baked in the Tandoor), Navratan Khoorma, (Nine Jewels), Rogan Josh (Lamb Stew), various Indian dishes I savour frequently. If one thing strikes me of India, it is their cuisine. The Indian kitchen is one of the best this world has to offer.

A visit of the famous Hindu temple in Kanpur is on our next Agenda. The temple is known amongst Hindus for its unique design . We reach the railway crossing, just when the barriers move down, accompanied by loud ringing of the warning bells. People rushing through the barrier, lifting up to cross to the other side, crossing from both sides of the tracks.

No one cares about the oncoming train, as Mr. Rakesh explains, each year people are being killed by the trains. As the minutes pass on, and no show of reduction of human traffic across the rails follows, I am getting anxious. Yet the people still no sign of stopping to cross. The tracks are now vibrating, the trains whistle blowing hysterically, not far, there, one motor scooter with family, man, woman and child, cross with their scooter. I want to close my eyes, and there yet another type with a bicycle enters the danger zone. Then, in a flash the train speeds through the crossing, at great speed, well over 100 mph. I can't see a thing in the dark, almost I am certain those people have been hit by the rolling train, well over half a mile long.

When it is all over, the train has passed, I notice the bicyclist, who holds his bike across his chest, as he stood there, only inches away from the train's carriages. An unbelievable experience, one thing will stay in my memories forever. I was breathless so to speak, not being able to comprehend the situation. Yet, my guide was unimpressed, noticing this is an everyday experience with the resulting consequences for those who can't make it. If something ever struck me about this country, it must have been this incident. The feel of Kharma ever present. The show of disrespect for life is over, we carry on to see the biggest Hindu temple in Kanpur.

White marble from the onset, every one removes his shoes, and I am thinking if I should leave my pair of Moreschis or not. The temple entrance is a haven for rats, these rats are everywhere in here, crawling and running around in masses. The temple worships rats, they have a sacred status and are fed and looked after by the temple's keepers. Donations are accepted for their upkeep. Apart from the rat infestation, the temple is a complex of marvel.

Built to the highest standards, with no expense spared white marble throughout, I look stunned. In contrast to the outside world, the Kanpur temple represents the most lavishly built structure I have seen. The stark contrast of everyday poverty visible is amazing. And as it is Friday night, people are streaming to pray, lighting their brought incense. The scent of exotics, the scent of India is all present wherever you go. Mr. Rakesh has completed his prayers, and we leave, these impressions linger with me till this day, and Kanpur will be in my memories forever. A travel to India, by HR

Alarm on Pyla plateau

2010-08-06 15:20:48 2010-08-06 20:20:48

Ever Ready on the Pyla Plateau, Larnaca District, Cyprus

By:

Pyla, Plateau, Cyprus

The shift starts 12 midnight exactly, our comrades woke us up at 11.45, and we struggle to our feet, sleep drunk, exhausted. Outside our 'Nissen hut' (Alu built structure, half-round shaped, used for accommodation and command), the wind is howling over the plains, it makes me shudder to think to be on patrol after midnight. In January the icy winds blow from the Anatolian highlands across the Cyprus strait and covers the island with a blanket of chilling cold....

2010-08-06 14:55:51 2010-08-06 19:55:51

The following nights, days we keep to our routines, 6 hours duty 6 hours readiness and sleep. If there is no problem we can rest within the six hours, though community service is still asked of everyone, and that includes scrubbing floors, kitchen, bathrooms, etc. Although not much physical activity is required, one begins to feel exhausted, mentally, the close space living together with others creates tensions.

Pyla, Plateau, Cyprus, cont...

Radio communication is set at every full hour, just as my colleague takes his seat the control call comes in 'Nicosia to all report'. I grab my FAL NATO rifle, full gear, recounting what I wear, for the exterior is chilly , at winds reaching strength 10 at some points, the cold creeps up fast. Cotton undershirt, warm long sleeves undershirt, Cotton over shirt, Army issue, pullover 1, alpine pullover, wind jacket, 7 PCs of clothes protecting me from the freezing wind.

I relieve my colleague from his post, and the sub-zero temperature gust hits me straight in the face. This must be the coldest night experienced on the plains.

I am fully awake by now, and climb up the ladder that leads to the look-out sentry. Trying to get accustomed with the darkness I grab the binoculars to survey the area under our scrutiny. Nothing unusual I gather, the wind is pulling on the trusses and supporting steel cables, making it squeak and moan. I can not remember when such a storm has blown here before.

In my six months of duty I find the cold has gone worse day after day, and in the H.Q. as here we use Kerosene heaters in our sleeping wards to keep warm. The resulting fumes are still in my nostrils, and I can't help thinking that the fumes are a health hazard. No one cares, as we have no choice, if you don't want to wake up frozen stiff..

All my life I remember this to be of a unique, moist cold that cuts to the bone and marrow of one's body. I think of my life ending up in these remote parts of Cyprus, what made me enlist to the service. And the wind rattling goes on and its howling is eerie at some stage. It is 12.30 AM past midnight, a loud voice cuts through the storm, the shadow below I recognize to be that of the Sub-Lieutenant.

He asks me to come from the observation post at once. I follow his order, take up position and salute 'report no incidents, Sir'. The unbelievable happens, here, at 12.30 AM, in the middle of nowhere, he asks me to quote the 'duty paragraph's, including specific rules. Thinking to myself the man has tilted over, I nevertheless stumble all the points he refers to, leaving out some. He lectures me for 30 minutes giving me the focus of his career, how he intends to bring sanity in this platoon.

A moron I think to myself, what a moron. He wants to make a point, so let him. After he finishes, he abruptly turns back, asking me to return to my post, and vanishes back into his hut.

Talk about mental issues ..

Man of Steel- Walter Lukesch, Hptm

April 10th, 1975, Kaisersteinbruch Garrison, Austria 0600 a.m., sharp call : Tagwache ! Everyone's up in a second. 15 min later, the last sleepers are thrown out of their beds.

Morning toilet, fetching breakfast by the corporals of day, 07.30 we are ready. Standing in formation, the captain appears. He has returned from his daily 1 hour jog in the woods of the Blue quarry, the Emperors quarry, where granite was broken for the famous Vienna Ringstrasse in Imperial Austria.

When he appears, the company is quiet. No-nonsense expression, a man of steel, he won't demand more than he can deliver himself. Problem - it's a lot. No one i have ever seen with more a will of iron, a massive amount of stamina.

One shout, plain and clear, comes out from 140 recruits : "Good morning, Herr Hauptmann ! "When the jog begins, we all sigh. The more we pant, the more he gets agile. Never ending strength, a bear, almost animalic, a real soldier. After 1 hour, we are near exhaustion, the daily astronautic exercises start.

12 x 12 standard exercises, NASA style according to him. With maximum effort we make it through this morning.

With every day passing, our stamina improves, our bodies get harder and more durable. Each muscle hurting, we have been turned into physical powerhouses. He leads the company to the 'Pannonian plains', marching through the night, through forests, trancelike we follow, he is right ahead of us, and seems to knows each stone in his territory.

Explaining from History, Huns, Mongols and other armies invaded these plains in the past. He shows remarkable historic knowledge in his quest to make us better soldiers. Trained by Walter Lukesch, a statement that carries weight in our Army's chronicles. Hauptmann Walter Lukesch, the longest march Man of steel- Walter Lukesch

Mann aus Stahl – Walter Lukesch, Hptm

10. April 1975, Garnison Kaisersteinbruch, Österreich 06:00 Uhr,

Ein scharfer Ruf: Tagwache! Jeder ist in einer Sekunde auf. 15 Minuten später werden die letzten Schläfer aus ihren Betten geworfen.

Morgentoilette, Frühstück holen durch die Korporale des Tages, 07.30 Uhr sind wir bereit. Während die Kompanie In Formation steht erscheint der Hauptmann.

Er ist von seinem täglichen einstündigen Joggen in den Wäldern des Blauen Steinbruchs, des Kaisersteinbruchs, zurückgekehrt, dort wo im kaiserlichen Österreich Granit für die berühmte Wiener Ringstraße gebrochen wurde.

Als er erscheint, herrscht Stille im Unternehmen. Geradliniger Gesichtsausdruck, ein Mann aus Stahl, er wird nicht mehr verlangen, als er selbst liefern kann. Problem – es ist eine Menge. Ich habe noch nie jemanden mit einem stärkeren Willen und einer größeren Ausdauer gesehen. Ein Ruf, klar und deutlich, ertönt aus 140 Rekruten: „Guten Morgen, Herr Hauptmann! “Als das Joggen beginnt, seufzen wir alle. Je mehr wir hecheln, desto beweglicher wird er. Unendliche Stärke, ein Bär, fast animalisch, ein echter Soldat. Nach einer Stunde, wir sind der Erschöpfung nahe, beginnen die täglichen Raumfahrtübungen. 12 x 12 Standardübungen. Erschöpft schaffen wir es heute Morgen. Mit jedem Tag verbessert sich unsere Ausdauer, unser Körper wird härter und belastbarer. Jeder Muskel schmerzt, wir werden zu physischen Kraftpaketen.

Er führt die Truppe in die „pannonische Tiefebene“, marschiert durch die Nacht, durch Wälder, tranceartig folgen wir, er ist uns voraus und kennt jeden Stein in seinem Revier.

Erklären Sie anhand der Geschichte, wie Hunnen, Mongolen und andere Feinde in der Vergangenheit in diese Ebene eindrangen. In seinem Bestreben, uns zu besseren Soldaten zu machen, beweist er bemerkenswertes historisches Wissen. Ausgebildet von Walter Lukesch, eine Aussage, die in den Chroniken unserer Armee Gewicht hat. Hauptmann Walter Lukesch, der längste Marsch - Mann aus Stahl – Walter Lukesch | Ich : Dreißig Jahre Asien, Afrika. Leidenschaft für das Leben, Abenteuer, Schönheit, Laos, Thailand, China.

Thirty years Asia, Africa. Passion for life, adventure, beauty, Laos, Thailand, China.

JUNSHANDAO-ISLAND OF THE LOST SOULS

2011-02-15 06:09:22 2011-02-15 11:09:22 Green are the lawns, overhanging shadows of a 1000 years gone by - the Island covered in thick, impenetrable fog, so deep, almost mystical - hiding the deep secrets of the lost souls of the two empresses. Perhaps one should leave them to rest. Venturing out on the Island is not for the faint hearted. Except a few villagers gathering around their usual Temple place, engulfed deeply into their daily Da-Mahjong games, no other soul in sight.

An eerie feeling overcomes me ; in solitude I wander down the path in the sunken jungle of thick, dense Bamboo forest, no sound but the cracking of undergrowth, and branches above the rain saturated soil. At an instance I pause, was there not a faint sound, almost a whisper I hear ? I stand in silence, listening to the distant whispers. Spoken in an unfamiliar Mandarin, I cannot make out. I am in the middle of the Bamboo thicket that stretches from one side of the island to the other. The rain is drizzling down on me, leaves scratching, as I move towards the sounds, slowly, trying to avoid to create any unnecessary noise.

Meanwhile I realize that I have lost track of my direction, with all the lush green forest around me.

Flashes of images from a time gone by come to my mind, sedans and people, dressed in ancient attire, with guards marking in front an back. Tiny, yet immaculate, faces of the past, could they be Ehuang and Nvying ? Suddenly, as it came, the whispers have stopped.

Shivering, the cold, wet surrounding, some miles away from all human dwellings, stumbling across the thicket, lost in thoughts – lost in time. For a second – a faint shimmer of light filtering through the foliage. No trail, no footpath, still hearing the faint sounds, far away in the hills that surround the Bamboo, junshandao the Island of the lost souls.

Bamboo forest of lost souls

I return to the spot where Emperors landed thousands of years ago, Dongtinghu, its waters come into view, its shores stretching 100 s of square miles, far away the Imperial Fleet guarding the oncoming vessel carrying Emperor Shun and his entourage.

Faint the silhouettes of Ehuang and Nvying, in vain attempt to make out their husbands, who were left on the island. Almost visible sadness, heartache overcoming the imperial concubines, giving in to fate.

Lake on island of lost souls  Bamboo forest of lost souls  Bamboo thicket in forest of lost souls  Bamboo forest of lost souls

Bamboo forest of lost souls  Bamboo forest of lost souls  Bamboo forest of lost souls  Bamboo forest of lost souls dragon temple  Bamboo forest of lost souls  Bamboo forest of lost souls  Bamboo forest of lost souls  Bamboo forest of lost souls

Dongtinghu, tales of the lost souls Junshandao Green are the lawns, overhanging shadows of a 1000 years gone by - the Island covered in thick, impenetrable fog, so deep, almost mystical - hiding the deep secrets of the lost souls of the two empresses. 2011-02-15 06:05:11 2011-02-15 11:05:11

Laos - Kingdom past and present

Mist shrouded mountains surround the village in the morning, a slight chill is in the air. During the day temperatures reach to the 40 C centigrades. I sip a cup of "Lao" coffee, and relax. Mist shrouded mountains surround the village in the morning, a slight chill is in the air. During the day temperatures reach to the 40 C centigrades. I sip a cup of "Lao" coffee, and enter a second. The French left their legacies in form of "Cafe aux lait", milk coffee, and an added surprise, baguette (French white bread for those who are unfamiliar with the word).

Sitting on the Veranda I order a Vegan baguette, it comes with a variety of garden fresh vegetables. Amazingly good, served by the proprietress of the guesthouse I live, the hearty smile adds to the beauty of the morning.

Elefant Cave  Elefant Cave  Laos scenery

vang viang  vang viang  rice paddies

The sun rises, with it comes the heat. The jungle surrounding us is now steaming. I rent a bike for the day, and set off to my discovered place, "MY" private jungle pool, a few miles from where I lodge. A cave that was discovered long ago, a Buddhist temple adjacent; the hermit Buddhist monk who passed away years ago, his skull has been placed into the cave for those who want to admire it.

A small paradise in a foreign land, amidst lush tropical foliage. The daily plunge becomes a ritual, an experience that leaves me refreshed and invigorated. My thoughts wander to Hungary, Budapest, where I spa in a five star property. In stark contrast to the daily underwater massages, the mud packages, the Bio Sauna; here I have it all, and for nothing. I would not exchange with Acapulco, nor with Biarritz at this moment. Tiny fish swim curiously around me, the bottom is a few meters deep, and I set out to explore the cave underground. Deep from inside the mountain the spring has its beginning, and rushes out in powerful force. Difficult to overcome its current, swimming against is difficult. I manage into the dark, unknown cave, grabbing on the rocks that protrude from the side.

Not being exactly a cave explorer I return when it gets darker. You never know what you may encounter here.

Many years in Africa have taught me many lessons, and one them is not to take unnecessary risks. Challenging nature is unwise, in any form. I enjoy the sight and return to my fishes companions, who are playing in the current. I could stay the whole day here, enjoying the wonder of god's creation, for it is nothing less than a wonder. So I lay back, float in the pool till lunch time.

I notice by then that my body temperature must have dropped significantly. I step out finally sit on a wooden bench nearby the cave, and drench myself in the sun. I cycle back through rice paddies, the farmers waving friendly towards me, standing knee high in the paddies. Water Buffalos plough the fields, an unforgettable scene. Laos with its many surprises ....

Lychees, Longans and Pagodas

June 08, Travel to Southern Guangdong, China - When the Southern China Airliner descends for landing in Guangzhou's International, we see myriads of glittering lights below us. The time is early evening 1900 hours.In summer days, the air stands heavy and polluted in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong. A center of industrialization, the immense amount of manufacturing units add its share to modern days plight of greenhouse emissions. We sigh when we leave the Airport, nearly melting in the humid, stifling atmosphere that has engulfed the city.

Guangdong,  Guangdong,  Guangdong,  Guangdong  Guangdong  Guangdong  Guangdong  Guangdong  Guangdong  

When the Southern China Airliner descends for landing in Guangzhou's International, we see myriads of glittering lights below us. The time is early evening 1900 hours.In summer days, the air stands heavy and polluted in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong. A center of industrialization, the immense amount of manufacturing units add its share to modern days's plight of greenhouse emissions. We sigh when we leave the Airport, nearly melting in the humid, stifling atmosphere that has engulfed the city. Millions of people work here, like in the other big centers across China. Guangzhou is a showcase for the industrial revolution, its International Fair held twice a year draws Billions of foreign capital to the Chinese Economy. The official figures claim 10 Billion Dollars are received in orders during 10 days of Spring fair, and the same happens 4 times a year.

Our contact man Mr. Wu is expecting us at the Exit with a signboard exhibiting our names clearly. After an initial welcoming ceremony we tend to the waiting cab and speed off towards the main bus terminal. We will continue the journey to southern Guangdong without a rest in the capital. Buses in China are plentiful, we depart from the southern terminal near the railway station.

Along the highway the familiar sights of China, as in every province the huge signboards lining the roads, to lure customers to displayed merchandise, the modern capitalistic features of are everywhere visible. I wonder how many times I must have seen the "HAIER" advert, written in huge letters on the billboard that we pass. Familiar scenes cross my mind. China, a gigantic country by all standards, a society which is diverse, unique in its size and its achievements. Nothing will stop China from achieving superiority status, there is no other nation where people work as hard as in this progressing Nation.

The bus speeds through the night, leaving the capital behind us, turning towards the southern parts, our destination unknown except for the name. We are anxious to see where we shall end up. Along the road huge Banana plantations which cater for the whole of the Chinese market, Guangdong's climate is ideally suited for the growing of fruits.

Where we will end up this night? We wonder, and Mr. Wu tries to elaborate on some scenic spots along the road. Since months have we prepared to reach this part of China, and now the time has come to see the 'fruit city', famous for its Longans and Lychees, throughout the dynasties Emperors in Beijing demanded the best fruits from here.

After four hours of ride we finally reach, the Terminus looks typically provincial. Lots of characters linger around here, which I dislike. One should be careful at night, always watch ones bags. A Taxi in form of an 'Wulungxie' the Chinese version of a Minibus takes us to Mr. Wu's residence, he insists he wants us to stay at his home. Mr. Wu is a teacher in the Gaozhou 'Normal school', a Middle school with approx. 5000 Students. His residence is far outside, we cross rice fields, typical Chinese village like structures, and I regret not having insisted on staying in the city center. When the house is reached we recognize the residential structure of an apartment building, the ones covering China from North to South, East to West. Simple with basic utilities, enabling millions to live in an affordable home.

Through the dark staircase we reach the third floor, carrying our bags and start to sweat from the physical effort. As always I don't like to carry much baggage with me, this time I blame myself for not being persistent enough. Always revenging itself, a heavy load of baggage adds to your inconvenience when going to distant places.

When we enter we realize that we made a mistake to follow Mr. Wu's advice and lodge with him. The place is Spartan, to say the least. Our bedroom features two beds, hard wood as the source of a mattress, and a straw mat. There is lots of personal junk from the owner lying around. We decide to make it through this night, (anyway we do not have much of a choice). Mr. Wu is in high spirits, and he wishes us a good night before retiring. No one can find sleep, we are too tense, although very exhausted from the trip. When we doze off it is close to 0500 hours in the morning.

We awake to sounds of birds singing, the windows open and we can see rice paddies in front of the building. It's a lovely scene and we feel better than the night before when we arrived. Looking for a bathroom we find a basic, bare concrete floored shower and toilet room, enough to make you run back to where you came from. We look into the kitchen and see a heap of unwashed dishes, signs of Bachelor's life, and a rice cooker. Beside it a note, inviting us to have our breakfast consisting of rice congee. Two bowls and 2 pairs of chop sticks lay beside the rice cooker, the congee is hot, the cooker was left on 'warm'. We are hungry and taste some congee, the common breakfast in China, 'Xi Fan' as it is called.

The note also says he had to attend to his class and will be back around 10 AM. We have made up our minds, we will leave at the earliest opportunity, trying not to offend the host. Hard to understand without knowing the mentality of Chinese People, they offer you their home and you do not want to accept it.

When Mr. Wu finally arrives we are ready to leave, he looks surprised. He is of the opinion that his house is more convenient than a Hotel, however he agreed and calls a Taxi. Again I carry the unnecessary weight of our luggage down the stairs. Do to the remote location it takes almost 30 minutes till the 'Taxi' arrives. A Motorcycle with sidecar, and the luggage is all stowed away. Rattling through the suburbs, we now fully realize how far the place is from the center of town.

A hotel is quickly found and we now settle into a somewhat more familiar surrounding. Mr. Wu has accompanied us and helps us to settle in, with instructions to the chamber maid the 'Foo Yuan' in Pinyin. We need rest, for the night we spent without much sleep and ask to be excused for a few hours. Mr. Wu leaves and promises to return in the afternoon.We drift into a deep sleep and I wonder, like so many times before, what will wait for us here...

A ROOM WITH A VIEW - FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE

We touch down at Lunghi International Airport 5.00 PM late afternoon. Our contact is present, and they usher us through Immigration, Customs. All happens at an unusual pace, considering the location we are.

Our Chauffeur and car are awaiting us in the parking lot. We have to cross the lagoon that separates Lunghi International to Freetown city. Once we arrive at the Hovercraft Ferry Hovercraft docked at the port, we take seats in the reserved space.

During boarding I catch the striking image of the young kids sitting on the craft's deck. These kids sit sideways from the main passenger cabin. One can sense the sadness, the endless misery, the emptiness in their faces. The pain that those kids had suffered is undescribable. They are victims of Fodeh Sankoh's Rebel Militias.

A senseless, barbaric horde of brutal criminals. Those who enjoy the sufferings inflicted on the little kids. maiming and injuring those for life. I recall the looks in those eyes as if occurring today. An lasting impression one cannot forget, for those kids were without arms or wrists.

Freetown  Freetown  Freetown  Freetown

Freetown  Freetown  Freetown

Fodeh Sankoh, the Rebel leader who never admitted to his crimes, his guerilla fighters would ask his captives the gruesome question: 'Short sleeve or long sleeve ...'. Any comment would be superfluous. To describe the agony suffered by those who fell into the hands of their captors will be imposible.

After the Ferry ride, we continue to Freetown city. Another car awaits to take us to our Hotel, the Cape Sierra Hotel. This is the only decent place run by the Italian businessman, Paolo.

During the war the Hotel became a command post for the Rebels. Afterwars it was HQ for the troops of the O.A.U. Now the C.I.A., the U.N. staff cram in the Hotel.

Upon arrival at Cape Sierra the Italian owner welcomes us. We are here to negotiate a business deal with an International Company.

The room is what one would call 'a room with a view,' overlooking the Emerald sea, about hundred meters below us. Magnificent to see the waves breaking below your window.

After dinner at the Continental Restaurant, we meet other guests. Amongst them one who purportedlyworks for the U.N.H.C.R. . We also get to know Soldiers of Fortune. Those who are present, some ex-French Legionnaires who now do covert operations for the C.I.A.

One guy, in particular, arises my interest. A Helicopter pilot and French Legionnaire, and his actions show he seems a crazy guy. French, in his mid-forties, you can see that he is different from the others.

He appears with a Jute sack in his hand and removes the thread that is tight around its neck. The bar dames are all too curious and come all to see the what's in the sack.

Reaching into the sack, he withdraws his hand out fast. He gives the impression something bit him, like a snake was in the bag. All the girls present scream and run in all directions.

He repeats the whole show a few times, much to the amusement of all present. The spectacle ends when he empties the sack, and nothing appears.

They smack him on the back for the scare he put onto them. We retire late that evening and sleep with the waves beneath us battering the shore.

--------------------

CAPE SIERRA HOTEL, FREETOWN - NEXT MORNING

I wake up by a strange noise, originating over the sea. It is dawn, before 06.00 AM, and I hear a distinct whining sound approaching the Hotel fast.

I am up at once, a relict of my Army training. I rush to the window in time to see a Bell Military Chopper approaching fast. Flying low over the branding sea at full speed, towards the Hotel on the cliff top.

The whining sound of the Bell howls in my ear. A mere 200 m the pilot changes its course, ascending at 90 degrees and turning left sideways.

I can make out the pilot's face as clear as the night before, by now he seems right in front of my room, hardly 100 m in distance. It all looks like a big stunt.

Flying sideways like a swing in a Fun park, the Chopper hovers almost idle in the air. After its fast upswing it then drops back to its former altitude only to disappear in the sea mist.

The Turbines high pitched whining still in my ears, I see the face of the Pilot. I immediately recognize the daredevil I saw the previous night at the bar. A stunning display of Piloting skills. Dangerous but done with a precision that leaves no room for error.

When I walk down for breakfast, other guests tell me this is his way of waking up the other guests lodging at the Hotel. Good morning to you all.

The Coup

February 06 th, 2009 at 11:12 AM

December 31st., lest we forget

First a distant, dull explosion. it seems from another world, I try to shrug it off.

The same Flight Lieutenant who has handed over to a Civilian government before, is the Coup plotter.

The fighting raging between the various factions keeps on. People are cheering the return of the Flight Lieutenant, he still is the hero of the people, the defender of truth, the protector of the poor.CONTINUE READING ...

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