... my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,--
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
(Alfred Lord Tennyson, 'Ulysses')
So many places...
I've become an expat living in Indonesia. I'm also now married to Deasy who is Indonesian. So, I won't be returning to Britain anytime soon to live. There are some blogs which I still need to write...
(My You Tube Channel is: http://www.youtube.com/user/Berbera1234 )
June 22nd 2011
An old man who was wearing just a hollowed out Penis Gourd and a few feathers caught my eye, said 'pagi' and stretched out his right arm in order to shake hands. I stopped and put my right hand in his hand. He smiled, I smiled and he shook my hand, moved his hand and thumb around in my hand and kept shaking, shaking and shaking. Five or ten minutes later I managed to disentangle my hand, hoping I wasn't being rude by breaking off the greeting too quickly! The people of the Baliem Valley are a friendly lot. I'd been looking forward to this break. It seems a long time since I was able to take some time off work. We've been busy with a total rebuild and relaunch of the school in Cirebon. Papua ... read more
September 13th 2010
He was very nervous. Something was different. He'd been led by the nose many times but this time there was a large number of people watching and an overwhelming smell of blood. So, when the man staked the rope to the ground he bucked, reared up and pulled on his leash and tried to get away. But, the man reassured him so he stopped protesting so much. Minutes later there was a sudden flash. A knife slashed across his throat and blood spurted out of the buffalo's throat. He felt weak. He staggered a few steps but his strength collapsed as the blood surged at high pressure from his throat. After a couple of staggers the buffalo collapsed with a thud but he wasn't finished yet and tried to get up again. It was in vain, ... read more
December 25th 2009
You'll notice on this blog some photos of tigers being led around by Monks at the so called 'Tiger Temple' near Kanchanaburi. This is a deeply controversial tourist attraction. Personally I found it quite disturbing and unsettling. Tigers are wild animals - its really not appropriate to have tourists queuing up to have their photos taken in close proximity to them. So, why did I go? I suppose I wanted to see the place for myself but I refrained from having my photo taken petting a tiger. Serious accusations have been made about the place and a number of tourist websites such as Kanchanaburi-info.com no longer recommend that people visit the place. Very serious accusations have been made about animal mistreatment and illegal trading and breeding programs. Care for the Wild International carried out an investigation ... read more
December 14th 2009
First, an apology. I know it's been almost two months since I left the Philippines. My excuse is that I've struggled with writers block. No matter how many of these blogs I've written it doesn't get any easier. In fact, in many ways the more of these I write the harder it becomes because I'm looking for some way to dazzle my reader(s)! There's a lot I've already said. It's not just you the reader that I'm worried about, it's myself. I'm looking for something new to say, as much to entertain myself as anyone else. Next, whatever else I may say in this blog, I love the people in the Philippines, which is why this was a return trip to the country. Philippinos are lovely, hospitable and friendly. Strange Days “Strange Days have found ... read more
September 27th 2009
On Wednesday 16th of September when I paid my house maid her monthly wage I also gave her the THR (Tunjangan Hari Raya) as well. This is a one month bonus which is commonly paid to household staff and employees in factories and offices at the end of the fasting month of Ramadhan. When I paid her the bonus I also told her that she didn't need to come again till the 28th of September because I wouldn't be at home in Cirebon. Lebaran or Idul Fitri is a very important festival and holiday in Indonesia. My language school closed on Friday the 18th of September and didn't open again till Monday the 28th. It's an exciting time of year when Muslims travel around the country to visit their families. It is particularly exciting for children ... read more
July 24th 2009
I wrote the words, Eclipse of the Sun on the whiteboard. "Can anyone tell me, what the word 'eclipse' means?" "Sir! Sir! It's when the Moon eats the Sun!" I'm back in Indonesia teaching English after a brief holiday in China. There were two highlights of my trip to Hangzhou - seeing my brother David and witnessing the longest total eclipse of the century. It was night time in the middle of the day for five and a half minutes. ... read more
December 27th 2008
It was 8.20 am. Music by Philip Glass was being played very loudly through speakers attached to a laptop computer. I was sat in just my boxer shorts in the front room of my new house in Cirebon, working on my lesson plans for school. I was disturbed by the sound of loud noises from outside. I turned down the music, wondering if the neighbours were objecting to my taste in music. Then I twitched back the net curtains and looked out of my front window. Standing outside my house was a little woman who was shaking the locked gate. So, I walked to my bedroom and got dressed. When I finally emerged from the house, the woman at the gate was holding up a piece of paper which had the words, “I work here”, written ... read more
April 28th 2008
Despite all the far flung places I've visited, I had never been to the Czech Republic. So, I've finally joined the millions of other Brits who fly over every weekend. During my brief stay I visited Prague, Ceské Budejovice and Český Krumlov. The tourist centres of Prague and Český Krumlov were packed with tourists. I was impressed by the fairytale beauty of the buildings and landscapes. Whilst spending a whole day walking around the ground of Prague castle I was forced to queue on many occasions. One of the queues I joined stretched up a long flight of steps and didn't appear to be moving. St Wenceslas and the Crown Jewels Finally and hour and a half later I got my reward when I finally entered the Palace building. I had arrived in the week when ... read more
April 20th 2008
A relatively new tourist destination, Dubai has gained in popularity in recent years. It is essentially a desert city with superb infrastructure, liberal policies (by regional standards), and excellent tourist amenities. Just 5 hrs from Europe and 3 hrs from most parts of the Middle East, the Near East, and the sub-continent of India, Dubai makes a great short break for shopping, partying, sunbathing, fine dining, sporting events, and even a few sinful pleasures. It is a city of superlatives: for the fastest, biggest, tallest, largest and highest, Dubai is the destination. Wikitravel. I spent just 3 nights in Dubai, the most liberal of the Emirates in the UAE. The city was a huge change after 4 months in the Horn of Africa. I flew into the city via Djibouti and Sana'a in the Yemen. ... read more
April 17th 2008
"You are from Britain. You are welcome. You are my brother. This is your second home!" Abdul (also known as Little King Kong). Somaliland (Somali: Soomaaliland) is a de facto independent republic located in the Horn of Africa. The Republic of Somaliland considers itself to be the successor state of the former British Somaliland protectorate, which had an area of about 176,210 square kilometres (68,040 sq mi), which became independent on June 26, 1960, and united with Italian Somaliland five days later to form the Somali Republic. On May 18, 1991, the people of Somaliland declared independence from Somalia. However, it was not recognized by any other country or international organization. (Wikipedia) I was made to feel welcome in Somaliland, even if I sometimes felt like the centre ... read more