Trails of Mauritania: The Train and I

The most disturbing thing about the train, is that it exists. That hundreds of Mauritanian workers and freelance merchants have to take it on a regular basis, like this, covered in dust and dirt. What for me was a one-off adventure, stuff to write stories about, for Mohamed and his family was just another commute to work.

Trails of Mauritania – chapter 2

I don’t know what bothers me more: the fact that more than half of these people, who navigate across the bay daily in decrepit wooden boats, cannot actually swim, or that I just saw a godzilla-sized rat lurking between the rocks by the water.

Trails of Mauritania – chapter 1

Assane and his two travel companions are driving an old pickup truck from Spain to Senegal. It is a lucrative business, for those who like extended road trips and do not mind a bit of bureaucratic hassle here and there. The pickup is loaded with all sorts of stuff, but they find space for my backpack on the top, and squeeze me in on the back seat.

Wanderings of Coffee Junkie and Tea Enthusiast Around the World

If you ask me whether I am a tea person or a coffee person, I will hesitate to answer. Mild obsession with both teas and coffees comes over me in interchanging waves, and if this month I may be making coffee every couple of hours and maniacally insisting that you drink it with me, then…

Art Lessons From the Land of a Thousand Hills

What’s bizarre, peculiar and fantastic about East African art, is the way traditional motifs are intertwined with absolutely modernist approach, folkloric patterns are sewn into the fabric of surrealism and imagination of the artists, and many installation are created with the recycled materials. All this is even more surprising if you consider that almost none of the members of the art community ever attended a formal art school – simply because those are non-existent in Kigali.

1 Place to Visit Before You Die (or Reach Nirvana)

You will find one bazillion articles telling you about ‘X places to visit before you die’. I’ll tell you a secret: places do not matter. Obviously, one place can cause completely opposite feelings on your first, second and hundredth visit. I hated Manila for the first 10 visits. Still hating it. Berlin made me ‘meh’…

Sounds

Sounds follow me. From the endless highways of Iran to the highest Himalayan plateaus, from the mountain villages of Pakistan to the Buddhist temples of Taiwan, from the pointy pagodas of Burma to the rural churches of Kenya, from the desert of Somaliland to the crosses and crescents of Ethiopia. Sounds of footsteps: bare feet…

How to Eradicate World Poverty and Homelessness

Everyone expects you to write about poverty if you travel to Africa. How do people live there, having no food and no shelter? How is it, washing your clothes by hand every day? How is it, having to fight a monkey over every precious banana? What does well water taste like? How to get rid…

Somaliland: guns, germs and happy meal

Everyone who is heading to Somaliland puts him/herself in great danger. The danger of sounding like an arrogant asshole in all subsequent travel talks: ‘Somaliland? Yeah, been there, rode a camel and ate Al-Shabaab for breakfast!’ Al-Shabaab is not a local variety of kebab. It’s a terrorist group in Somalia and a boogeyman of East…