In Congo’s Shadow: A Memoir so false it is almost funny

This.

eyewoke

So…this is me breaking out of poetic character to talk about something that I saw which made me confused, angry, and laugh out loud all at once.
When I first saw Louise Linton’s story on how her dream gap year in Zambia had turned into a nightmare I couldn’t believe what I was reading. She’d described 12-inch spiders, rebels taking over the country and the war in the Congo being between the Hutu and Tutsi people. At first some people thought it was satire (this isn’t a Zambia any of us recognise), but then I found out it was actually far worse – an excerpt to promote the actress’ new memoir.

There are enough untrue, harmful stereotypes out there about Africa in general without her latest contribution, and I’m fed up of seeing Zambia and other African countries misrepresented in the press. Apparently, a lot of other Zambians agree with…

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5-5-1 and growing>

Another edition of celebrating distances and our world minus the borders! It’s so amazing to see how different each picture is and how different life is and yet so similar!

Classical Gasbag

After an initial 2-2-1 (two people, two places, one time) and two subsequent 3-3-1 (three people, etc.) we are once again expanding. The original concept was that all of the participants would take a picture simultaneously; then write a short piece about the picture. It worked. But with the addition of more people, in more time zones, it became apparent that either some people would be taking pictures in the very early morning, or the very late night. We didn’t want that. So this time around we decided that we would all take a picture on Saturday May 28th at 10:30 a.m. local time. What follows is the result. We’re starting with The Girl Next Door in Bangalore, India.

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This is the view that I get to see from the terrace of our apartment – houses, houses, houses and more houses is all that meets the eye, as far as…

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Koh Sichang

A lot of people warned us against going to this island as there was nothing to see or do. It is a quick day-trip for locals to spend the day at a beach without it hurting the bank and without it being a free show of the dreadful farang infestion (their words, not mine!). However, Koh Sichang blew our minds. 

Yes, it is a small fisherman’s village and in that lies all the magic. It is small, tight knit and laid back. And while there is development in terms of restaurants and roads, it still is a place stuck in a magical time bubble. It is beautiful. 

Only 100kms from Bangkok aka 2 hours by an air-conditioned bus from the Ekkamai bus station and a 40 minute ferry and you are far, far, FAR away from the madding crowd. Pure bliss. 

The ferry is at the Sri Racha pier, the name sounds familiar cause they are also a hot sauce we all love (there is a chilli factory in town that we didn’t, unfortuntaley, get to explore). You get off the bus at Robinson’s – you’ll know when half the passengers get off here. A short 50 baht tuk tuk ride away and you’re at a park that also acts as a pier. 

Depending on what time of day you come, you get to climb up or down to a boat. It’s quite adventurous navigating the tide. 

And then you reach Koh Sichang. While I can wax ad nauseum about how amazing it was, I’ll let the pictures do the talking. If I am guilty of not taking to Thailand the way most people do, I am slowly changing my ways. 

Koh Sichang (3)
First view of the island – an unused lighthouse (Unseen, billions of trade ships and barges)
Koh Sichang (2)
Shrimp boats aka the chariot that makes divine seafood grills a reality
Koh Sichang (4)
Unique ‘tuk tuks’ that are half way between a bike and an auto.
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A birds eye view of Koh Sichang
The Yellow Buddha, guardian of Koh Sichang
The Yellow Buddha, guardian of Koh Sichang
Koh Sichang (22)
The amazing views he gets to enjoy everyday
Koh Sichang (24)
My noble steed. Allowed us to explore the island from end to end twice over
A 1000 year old tree brought to the island from Bodghaya in India.
A 1000 year old tree brought to the island from Bodghaya in India.
View from the old chinese temple at the top of Koh Sichang
View from the old chinese temple at the top of Koh Sichang
You can see the end of the island from this point in Koh Sichang
You can see the end of the island from this point in Koh Sichang
A shrine to Queen Elizabeth?
A shrine to Queen Elizabeth?
And another to Septa Unella from Game of Thrones? #SHAME
And another to Septa Unella from Game of Thrones? #SHAME
Wishes hanging from the cave inside the old Chinese Temple
Wishes hanging from the cave inside the old Chinese Temple
Guardian of the wishes at the old Chinese Temple at Koh Sichang
Guardian of the wishes at the old Chinese Temple at Koh Sichang
LOW TIDE!
LOW TIDE!
Views of the 'only' beach in Koh Sichang.
Views of the ‘only’ beach in Koh Sichang.
Koh Sichang (29)
Some private beaches that require a bit of effort to find
Some paths begging to be explored
Some paths begging to be explored

Koh Sichang (19)

You are rewarded with spectacular views if you trek a bit
You are rewarded with spectacular views if you trek a bit through the volcanic terrain
Someone's been stacking rocks. A bit scary!
Someone’s been stacking rocks. A bit scary!
Another relic from India - Buddha's Footprint
Another relic from India – Buddha’s Footprint
Some private beaches that require a bit of effort to find
Another beach
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If you can capture a moment of zen in a picture, this would be it

 

3 – 3- 1, A Time And Space Experiment

Want to see what the world is like at the same time but across three different countries? Take a look!

The Girl Next Door

I will start out by explaining what 3 – 3 – 1 is. ‘3 – 3 – 1’ stands for ‘Three people, three places, one time’. It is a time and space experiment of sorts. It goes like this – three people living in three different places click a picture at the same time of the day, agreed upon beforehand. These pictures (along with a short introduction to them) would show just how different the lives of people can be, in spite of existing in the same world at the same time.

The idea of this experiment was born some time ago, when two bloggers known to me were discussing about a picture one of them posted. The two bloggers got fascinated by the idea that two people can be leading such completely different lives, at exactly the same time. Out of their discussion was born the idea of doing…

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Country-less

<rant>

It’s sort of tragic to think that since my country and that of my boyfriend has placed so many restrictions on us being together that we’ve had to ‘flee’ to a country that was not even on our Top 100 places to see before we die list. We’ve made the best of it and the country has been very kind to us but it isn’t home. 

And employment opportunities for both of us are limited aka I hate my job and his 5-4 teaching job leaves him with no energy for anything else. 

You may say I’m nitpicking but when you’ve moved countries to be with each other but only get to see each other for 3 hours a day, it sort of defeats the purpose. It doesn’t help that we only came here to buy some time before we moved somewhere more permanently. Time, unfortunately, doesn’t change visa rules and no matter how much I beg the universe, my passport isn’t likely to transform itself into a free-pass to the world. 

For the sake of doing something, and this time in a more desperate rage, I am shamelessly sending out my CV to every country/agency/recruiter. Gone is my fear of rejection because after a few degrees of it, you stop feeling as disappointed. 

I’ve also been spending hours day-dreaming about giving up everything and becoming a volunteer recluse in some island or forest where visa rules only come in the way once a year. 

In the growing intolerance in the world, I wish countries would view people genuinely in love not as a threat but as people who could genuinely make a difference. Happy people are less likely to spread misery? 

Sigh.

</rant>

P.S. If anyone knows anyone who will hire a third world girl with mad skills, willing to relocate ANYWHERE in the world that will have me, let me know :)