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Archive for January, 2011

Ederlezi – the Gypsy Spring Festival

Posted by dan on January 26, 2011

Scene from the film ‘Time of the Gypsies’. Click on link if video doesn’t play. The film was made into an opera and performed at the Milan Cathedral and Opéra Bastille in Paris. See scenes from the opera: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUQCNlHYDBo

The Gypsy exodus is very beautifully presented in ‘Latcho Drom’, a film by Tony Gatlif. It shows the journey from India to Europe through music and images only, recorded in Roma  (Gypsy) communities in India, Egypt, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, France, and Spain.

Different in style and focus, ‘Time of the Gypsies’ by Emir Kusturica is another classic on the life of the Roma people. Set in Yougoslavia and Italy, it gives a good insight into petty crime and how the Gypsy are victimized by their own people. Music, composed by Goran Bregović and based on traditional Serbian Roma melodies, plays an important part in this film as well. A famous scene is the Spring festival of Ederlezi, also known as Đurđevdan.

About the festival:

Ederlezi: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ederlezi_%28song%29
Đurđevdan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%90ur%C4%91evdan

About the films:

Latcho Drom: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latcho_Drom
Time of the Gypsies: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_of_the_Gypsies

About the opera:

NY Times: Opera With Attitude, Guitars, and a Dose of Mayhemhttp://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/28/arts/music/28emir.html?_r=1

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Matopos – the place of benevolent spirits

Posted by dan on January 25, 2011

 

Charles Dume Sana - meaning Praise the Lord - and his family

Charles Dume Sana - meaning Praise the Lord - and his family

It’s been called the place of benevolent spirits, and Cecil Rhodes, as he wished, was buried there at Malindidzimu hill. Today Zimbabwe is off the main tourist path, but even when it was on the main route few people visited the Matopos region – also known as Matobo Hills. Much of the area is a national park – the Matobo National Park -and it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is close to the town of Bulawayo and shorter or longer safaris and treks can be organized locally. The local people belong to the Ndebele tribe, which is split into a southern and northern branch – first live in South Africa, the second in the southern part of Zimbabwe and parts of Botswana. The following images were made in 1996 in a small Ndebele settlement just outside the national park, where I’ve spent a week staying at Fortune’s family with two fellow travelers, Mark from Holland and Ian from Scotland. People are almost self-sufficient – if the season is good – and earn a little cash from making carvings or working in town – and would love to receive visitors in their homes. It is a magical and sacred landscape – as powerful as the Red Center in Australia, the Sinai mountains in Egypt or Hampi in India – and could develop into a trekking, cultural and retreat destination, if things were going better in the country. The locals would definitely deserve it – let’s hope things will get better one day.

More about the Ndebele:

Northern Ndebele people, located in Zimbabwe, and Botswana
South Ndebele people, located in the South Africa

More about the Matobos National Park:

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matobo_National_Park
Matobos National Park official website: http://www.zimparks.org/?option=…

Useful link:

Matobo Conservation Society: http://www.matobo.org/

 

Posted in Africa, Destinations & Sights, Zimbabwe | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Australia – the Red Center

Posted by dan on January 25, 2011

Uluru

Uluru

The Ayers Rock, or Uluru as it is known today in the language of the traditional owners, is the symbol of Australia. It is a sacred place and visitors are discouraged to climb the rock to show respect, although it is not forbidden. Nice walks can be made around the base, where there are several ceremonial places. The Olgas, known as Katya Tutya, is a stunning range a bit further away from Uluru, which can be visited in a day from the small settlement at Uluru. Smaller in size but again a very powerful site, the Devil’s Marbles, or Karlu Karlu, is just off the main Darwin-Alice Springs highway. Camping is allowed in the area for a small fee (to be dropped in a locked box) and there are clean facilities. Even if you do not have your own transport, these places can be visited by coaches, they drop and pick up people at all important sites.

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Snapshots – Hampi, India

Posted by dan on January 25, 2011

Silence that speaks...

A popular destination with the Goa crowd, Hampi is indeed a magical place. The little town is cute, but the surrounding natural setting is what makes it special. There are ruins of an ancient kingdom, temples, sacrificial places amongst incredible boulders. It is a big area, you could explore it for several days – or just chill out in a nice cafe overlooking the river, like most people do.

More about Hampi: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hampi

 

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Ozora festival, Hungary

Posted by dan on January 25, 2011

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The festival was born on the total eclipse in 1999 – some twenty thousand people descended on the little village of Ozora in southern Hungary to attend the Solipse Festival. Locals have never seen anything like this before, but were impressed how peaceful the event was. It also boosted the local economy, with farmers selling  their produce and locals working on the event. In 2005 the festival, under the official name O.Z.O.R.A. Festival, was reborn and became an annual event, still presenting the best international artists and attracting visitors from all over the world. Close to Austria and Slovenia, but many people arrive from much further afield, either by car or on budget flights – direct party buses are provided from the Budapest airport.

A full confirmed lineup has been announced for the 2011 event.

O.Z.O.R.A. Festival official website: http://www.ozorafestival.eu/

Read the rest of this entry »

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Snapshots – Calcutta downtown

Posted by dan on January 22, 2011

The first time I went to India was in 1991, arriving in Kolkata – then still Calcutta –  from Bangkok. My friend and I said we’d never come back again to India – we were so shocked, even with South-East Asia and China behind us. Yet, a year later I was back, and then again in 2001. Most of the photos here were taken on the last trip, except the one of the beggar who buries his head in the foot path. That was taken in 1991, in front of the Indian Museum. The other images are also from the area (Chowringee, New Market and Sudder street) with the exception of the last one at the train station. Beggars were absent on my last trip; they were pushed out of the city center, although surely didn’t vanish. I wonder how much the city has changed in the last ten years. Massive and run down, I still love it – as much as any other Indian city, it has its own special flavor and vibe.

See also: Kolkata attractions pictures & videos

Posted in Asia, Destinations & Sights, India | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bangkok – the world of the khlongs

Posted by dan on January 15, 2011

Dragon boat at Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn

Dragon boat at Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn

Bangkok – or as locally called, Khrung Thep, the City of Angels – was built on the banks of the meandering Chao Phraya river. Much of the land was crisscrossed by little channels – known as khlong – and houses, even all neighborhoods, were built on wooden poles. Most of the waterways in central Bangkok have been filled up, but just across the river from the Khao San road area there are still larger areas intact. The fleet of the Royal Barges is also housed here, which is open to the public. Getting around on the water, even for longer distances within the city, there are several options from cheap public boats to water taxis, and there are also organized cruises.

You can get to the Royal Barges from the Khao San Road area by a little ferry. The pier is in a little lane, off the major road that runs parallel to the river. From the same pier you can board a regular ‘water bus’ to all the way to Silom Road – faster than on the road by a regular bus for the same price.
There is also a frequent little ferry between Wat Po and Wat Arun. The pier is bigger and more obvious, with several Thai restaurants and vendors around.

Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn, looks different than Wat Po and the temples around Wat Phra Kaeo, as it was built in Khmer style. Its massive stupa looks  impressive from the base, and it is covered with carvings and sculptures with obvious Hindu influence. Well worth taking the ferry ride.

Posted in Asia, Destinations & Sights, Thailand, Travel tips | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Those were the days – Finland, Paris or wherever

Posted by dan on January 12, 2011

Probably it is a bit late, but I am just realizing it is he 21st century. Not that it really matters or that it was anything easier before 2001 – but I still love those days.

In memory of Allan who I was thinking of when making this post, without knowing he has just left while I was drinking alone and singing ‘those were the days…’

I know a guy – he’s not Finish though -who went all the way from Germany to Jordan with a donkey-cart. He was refused entry to Israel because of the donkey, so he took the ferry to Egypt and got stuck there in a small town. He built a house and lives happily. I will try to find his website and post it here, he makes amazing photos. Let there be free spirit.

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YES WE CAN :: NO WEEK END

Posted by dan on January 12, 2011

yes we can - no week end. Image: Marina Nacamuli

yes we can - no week end. Image: Marina Nacamuli

This is a new millennium and everything is possible. In the USA the president is of Afro-American origin – in France the president is the son of an Eastern-European emigrant. Welcome both. But their approach and agenda seems to be somewhat different…

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marinanacamuli/5346965651/

See also blog posts: tagged graffiti

 

Posted in Paris, USA | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Muddy water taking back the land

Posted by dan on January 10, 2011

It is very saddening to watch the news of the floods in Australia. While other people celebrated the new year around the world, residents of Queensland were left homeless in one of the worst disasters in Australian history. It’s been weeks now and it’s still not over, with more rains hitting the region. My heart goes out to all the victims of this – or any other – terrible natural disaster of which there are so many these days. Maybe they are the acts of God, but we are all responsible at least a little bit.

In the video images of the floods that stroke the city of Genova in the 70s.

Nick Cave: Muddy water

“Mary, grab the baby, the river’s rising
Muddy water taking back the land
The old-frame house, she can’t take-a one more beating
Ain’t no use to stay and make a stand

Well the morning light shows water in the valley
Daddy’s grave just went below the line
Things to say, you just can’t take em with ya
This flood will swallow all you’ve left behind

Won’t be back to start all over
Cause what I felt before is gone

Mary, take the child, the river’s rising
Muddy water taking back my home
The road is gone, there’s just one way to leave here
Turn my back on what I’ve left below
Shifting land, broken farms around me
Muddy water’s changing all I know

It’s hard to say just what I’m losing
Ain’t never felt so all alone

Mary, take the child, the river’s rising
Muddy water taking back my home

Won’t be back to start all over
Cause what I felt before is gone

Mary, take the child, the river’s rising
Muddy water’s changing all I know
Muddy water’s changing all I know
Lord, this muddy water is taking back my home.”


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