The next few weeks will probably see a flurry of posts about Africa and Asia. You’ll have to forgive me if that kind of thing doesn’t interest you — but this blog’s about what interests me! I’m sure I’ll throw in a few delicious curve balls to keep you on your toes anyway.
Unlike the Faroe Islands, a grand tour to either Asia or Africa requires a lot of planning. The Faroes, by virtue of their Danish owners, are one of the most developed nations in the world. The Asian countries rank higher on the ‘Quality-of-life’ index, but that might simply be because most of Africa hasn’t been ranked yet. I have a nagging feeling that Asia is probably safer… if it wasn’t for the earthquakes and tsnuamis and suicide bombings…
Only Mozambique and Tanzania are on the ‘least developed countries’ list (and Malawi and Madagascar, if I visit those) — and even then they’re doing better than the central African countries, with regard to GDP per capita and disease and genocidal maniacs. Malawi and Tanzania are both meant to be very safe. Madagascar has some really funky rules/customs incidentally, called ‘fady’ — in some towns you’re not allowed to wear specific colours, or eat certain foods. They’re handed down from the ancestors, or something like that.
Language-wise, most of east Africa speaks English. It’s not the ‘common’ language — more the stuff reserved to those that have been to college, or work in a modern sector. Short of learning Swahili, there isn’t really a better option though. I imagine most touristy folk speak English too. Over in Asia, the islands (Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and I think Singapore) speak very good English. Not so great in Korea, Thailand, Cambodia — but if you wave some cash around, you can probably get most things simply by pointing. Including women (incidentally, you can get jailed for a looong time if you sleep with the wrong girls in most of Asia — not such a problem in Africa, but they’ve got HIV instead.)
Now, because I’m a photographer, I should probably highlight one ‘beautiful vista’ each time I make a post like this — first, so that you can whet your appetite; second, so that I can plan how best to photograph the landscapes of Africa… or Asia!
Because it’s easy, I’m going to start with Tanzania and their world-famous, omg-it’s-the-prettiest-place-in-the-world, Ngorongoro Crater — aka The Cradle of Civilization (hominid remains from 3 million years ago have been found there). With a name like that, it better deliver, right? Well… it does:
Within the crater there are zebra, gazelles, wildebeest (never understood why it’s spelt ‘beest’…) — even some rhinos and hippopotamuses!
The crater is a caldera, (102 square miles), created by a giant volcano that exploded and then collapsed in on itself. A pretty frackin’ big volcano. The fact that the crater is so ‘closed in’ apparently causes problems for some of the animals there — the lion colonies there are inbred! It’s just like the deep south…
There are tons more photos over on the Wiki page, and I’m sure on Flickr too — go have a look, if you can’t wait for my TOUR. I almost want to go purely because it’s called Ngorongoro — get this, the name comes from the sound of the drums used by a group of Masai warriors called ilkorongoro. They conquered the crater back in 1800, apparently.
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Anyway, with all the research (and some really pissy-grey weather that needs to stop already), I haven’t had a chance to take any pretty pictures this week. Unless you think a knife-wielding psycho is pretty (what were the chances?) — in which case you’re in luck!
(Black and white version over on Flickr. I like my eyelashes in the B&W one…)
(Stick a knife in me, I’m dun…)
(I’m holding a knife up! But you can’t see it, so this just looks like a stressed profile shot. Don’t think I’ve shown you my profile before, so… ta’da!)
Now to plan some kind of African safari slash/fan-fiction for TMI Thursday…