Saturday, January 15, 2011

past : Encounter at dusk

Encounter at dusk, Odienne forest, border Guinea

The Renault truck was loaded to the brink, with no room left to spare. 30 tons of merchandise - consisting of packaging materials and other goods had crossed from Gonokrom, Ghana towards Ivory Coast, Agnibilekrou . On the first night they slept at the border, in order to complete formalities transit documents, a cumbersome affair.

They had made friends with the border customs officials in order to facilitate the process faster. The wife of the customs head at the border point invited them to dinner, consisting of Fufu (mortar pounded Manioc, plantains and yams), and a delicious peanut butter stew.

The days that followed were in stark contrast to this. The vehicle transiting Ivory Coast from the north to the south, just 150 km before Abidjan, and then turning right towards Yamoussoukro. It took 3 days before Yamoussoukro was reached, and heavy rain poured down on them in the center of the metropolis built by Houphouet Boigny, former president of the West African State.
They slept the night in their vehicle, the crew of 4 and the woman in charge of the goods. It was cramped, uncomfortable, and sticky hot, but they had managed all through out their journey the conditions were similar.

An attempt to inform their whereabouts was futile, as no telephone line was available to contact me who was waiting for news.

Next morning the truck moved north towards the regional capital of Odienne , and the driver took the decision to cross the rainforest into Guinea, without knowing the road and its condition.

Being on African roads is a danger in itself, with vehicles parked in broken down condition during nightfall, blocking roads, without a warning triangle as the norm. Many people lose their lives this way, from passenger cars ploughing into those trucks on the road. Thousands of people die as a result but nothing is being done to alter the situation. No government since 50 years has ever been able to control this number one cause of road accidents.

The road through the forest is unpaved, a stretch of 50 miles of green, impenetrable jungle awaits them, only cut by a narrow, laterite road that serves as the main route to the border with Guinea. So narrow is the path that no two vehicles would be able to pass each other would they meet. On some areas the road is wider, and this would be the only way to allow two trucks to pass side by side, leaving only inches of room.

The truck could not move at more than 10-15 mph due to the bad condition of the road. In the afternoon the torrents pour more water on them, the jungle becoming a morass.

Visibility was reduced to a few meters. The driver doing his best to control the situation, he was aware of the many dangers that lurk in this thick, green hell. They must make it to the border post. Rain still gushing down on them, he was crossing a creek overflowing its embankments.

Floods, dark red painted by soil of the rainforest, the driver could not see the huge rock that was laying in the middle of the torrent, covered by the floods. All he feels is a heavy jolt on his truck, he forces the car to move out from the creek to stop on the other side in order to inspecting his vehicle. He had unwittingly damaged his radiator whilst running over a big bolder of rock hardly noticeable because of low visibility and the dark brown floods.

Desperation overcomes them when they see the damage. No way could they continue till the water tank had been repaired. They decide to stay over the night and remove the tank the following morning.

It was late afternoon close by the time they had crossed the flooded creek. Tropical rains happen to be a regular menace to drivers and as fast as they come they will go. At 6 PM all was over and the forest was getting dark, quickly.

They prepared for the night in their cramped vehicle once again, only this time in the middle of the jungle, and without knowing their exact location.

After the rain the canopy over them turned into a lively neighborhood with green monkeys jumping from branch to branch, amidst loud screams they were protesting the human presence below them.

Night fell and the jungle voices rising, myriads of mosquitoes descending on them. Windows could not be closed completely unless they would suffocate, so they fell prey to the blood sucking insects. It was real hell, no food except some bread with them. A negligence, as they realized at that moment.

The night creeping endlessly, with the occupants feeling prisoners in their tiny cabin which had two bunks infested with another insect, fleas. In addition to their already dreadful condition, the fleas attacking them in the bunks and menacing them.

When daylight comes they are relieved, move out from their vehicle and disappear in the bushes behind. The creek is now at its normal level and the rock can be seen clearly. Nobody will move it except by nature's force. After a meager breakfast of a few chunks of 'tea' bread, water from the creek, the driver and mate remove the radiator, a task of two hours. It is near 10 AM when they depart back to where they came from, carrying the heavy tank on the drivers head, the African way.

No one knows how long it would take them to return. A pathetic thought in the middle of nowhere, only a breakdown in the desert could be of similar magnitude. So they wave goodbye and pray to return safely.


The day passes slowly, the jungle steaming with the day heat, the sun now over the canopy they melt in this near 100 % humidity environment. They watch the monkeys over their heads, and pass the time with telling their own problems to each other.

The owner of the vehicle was a laborer in London, UK and saved up in many years to be able to acquire this truck, enabling him to make a living back home. Many tales are told on this day, for there was no other means to beat the time.

They wonder where their companions may have reached, their hopes are dim, knowing the condition of the road.

Afternoon brings again the daily rain. Everyone is waiting for the storm to finish before preparing for the night once again. A bucket of water is carried for the only lady, to the rear of the cabin in order to take her shower. She has no choice and uses her African printed cloth to wrap it around her big bosom and cover herself from the view of the others. Sitting on the back on the top of the spare tire, she manages to take a shower.
The water is fresh and invigorates her after the hot day. Proceeding with lotioning her body, using a perfumed body lotion to smoothen her skin, she suddenly hears a growling sound from the side of the road behind her.

She calls the attention of the vehicle's owner and points to the shadow that moves slowly towards her. As dusk has set in she is unable to see clear, yet she notices the abnormal size of the shadow coming towards her. She tshouts to Paul in the front to look at a 'large dog'. When the remaining mate sees it he is shocked and calls in a quiet voice, she should move into the cabin, as this was in fact a lion.

Her Adrenalin rising in a flash, her 240 pounds of flesh moved as fast as in no time before. She jumps to the cabin like a 14 year old schoolgirl, slamming the door behind them. They see the Forest Leopard standing behind, whacking his tail nervously, confused, with a deep growl. 

 At this moment no one could figure out, why the Leopard did not attack, our believe is the the strange scent of perfume, was an unknown odor to him, and this saves the life of the woman. They see him and hear him clearly, a few meters away from the vehicle, expressing his annoyance with a deep growl,  its spotted skin  visible in the now dark surrounding.

They had crossed the path of a Forest Leopard, and escaped his attack by a margin. The margin was the body lotion that sent the Leopard into confusion. God was on their side. The Leopard still standing, and growls more time in a deep, catlike outburst of dissatisfaction, till he finally disappears back into the jungle.

more  :

Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Past the New Year

Hi folks, we 're at it again. Festivities behind us, sumptuous dinners, brunches, lunches. No more Mistletoe, 'Away in a manger', Silent Night', etc. Till ending of this year. All very cool, still - it has turned all too commercial - in my opinion.

23rd we were invited to a wedding of close to a thousand invited and another hundreds of uninvited guests, all set in the garden of a local 5 Star Hotel. Cost per head was a cool 100 $ for food, not including the Dom Perignon flowing in hundreds of liters (and bottles).

All in all, the money spent on the dnner alone was near to 200000 $. Sure, one would say, that's not a lot comparing it to Donald Trumps wedding.

In a country, where average incomes hover near the the 100 Bucks a month mark, some would say, this sounds extravagant.

The bride looked lovely, the groom very handsome, and both looked relaxed when they marched down the aisle. We wish you Y. and  Y. all the best for your future.

Sometimes, things go wrong on a Notebook, or PC for that matter.

I bought a new NB as a gift for a friend of ours. When configuring my old NB, I realized there was a bug that had affected my OS and I needed to revamp my system.

Backup, format, reinstalling, restoring took some time. It was frustrating, inspite of all backups one can possibly imagine, like Macrium reflect, Titan, Genie, WD backup 1 TB disc, and Windows Backup.

Best solution in my opinion : Windows Transfer File Program. I found it the best to use.
It gave me no headache to reinstal my mailaccounts, restoring my Documents, my settings.

All others work, but if you want to restore to a Windows based system, I recommend Windows File Transfer App. It does the job well enough.

Have you ever experimented with a RAM disk (for those with enough RAM at least 2GB should be good, and if you have DDR3 MEM you are set for some surprises.

Put all my Internet Temp folder on RAM disk, and pages are loading in a flash.

So, leave a comment if you need some advice of how to install your own RAM disk.

Till next time, wish you all well and Happy New Year 2011,



Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chicken Wings - eating, risk - or not ? judge yourself


Chicken Wings - Its Dangerous 

Avoid eating chicken wings frequently - ladies, especially; a true story...

A friend of mine recently had a growth in her womb and she underwent an operation to remove the cyst. The cyst removed was filled with a dark colored blood. She thought that she would be recovered after the surgery but she was terribly wrong.

A relapse occurred just a few months later. Distressed , she rushed down to her gynecologist for a consultation.

During her consultation, her doctor asked her a question that puzzled her. He ask if she was a frequent consumer of chicken wings and she replied yes wondering as to how, he knew of her eating habits. You see, the truth is in this modern day and age; chickens are injected with steroids to accelerate their growth so that the needs of this society can be met. This need is none other than the need for food.

Chickens that are injected with steroids are usually given the shot at the neck or the wings. Therefore, it is in these places that the highest concentration of steroids exists. These steroids have terrifying effects on the body as it accelerates growth. It has an even more dangerous effect in the presence of female hormones, this leads to women being more prone to the growth of a cyst in the womb.

Therefore, I advise the people out there to watch their diets and to lower their frequency of consuming chicken wings!

Regards, Sharon How
Singapore Medical Association
Tel: (65) 6223 1264 Ext. 22
Fax: (65) 6224 7827
Email: sg
Website: http://www.sma/.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Santa Claus - 5th of December

Hong Kong - Scenes from Ocean terminal entrance near Star Ferry

seasons greetings everyone !

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Laozi - Tao te ching

The reason that can be reasoned is not the ever-one Reason
The name that can be named is not the ever-one Name,
Nameless, it is the mainspring of the Cosmos
Named, it is mother matrix of Nature.

So be without desire 
to behold its inner enigma
And be within desire 
to behold its outer image.
The two are paired: enigma, image
Emerging the same,
Diverging in name.
Their sameness is the riddle
Riddled dark with riddles,
The entryway to outright enigma.

Tao te Ching

Credits: A.Z. Freeman - translations
Photography: Africasiaeuro

Saint Antonio of Padova

Just then, we are minded that Padova was a university town, and that the University of Padova was built in 1222, the second oldest learning institution (the oldest is the University of Bologna) in the world. It could count numerous thinkers and scientists in its roster of students: Dante, Donatello, Copernicus, and Galileo, among others. 
The Via del Santo - leading to the world-famous basilica― the Basilica di Sant’Antonio, a pilgrimage site for Roman Catholics, and especially on June 13th, his feast day. The basilica was the hallowed place where the bones of St. Anthony were interred, and parts of his body, some of them incorruptible, were placed in reliquaries for the faithful to pray to and contemplate. 
The basilica was built in several stages over 70 years, so that aside from the church proper, there are three large domes and several turrets when seen from the piazza. Inside the basilica, a long queue of pilgrims leading to the high altar at the center. Many chapels on both sides consecrated to saints and the Blessed Virgin are also found here.
One of the chapels contained the saint’s tomb where his bones are laid and many requests, folded papers, and postcards of petitions placed on his tomb. We kneel in this chapel for some time, praying for personal requests and also for the intentions of family and friends, especially close kin that were so far away.

Joining the queue to look at St. Anthony’s relics, I note that the reliquaries are so intricate and so ornate: they look like chalices with gold crowns. According to our guide book, St. Anthony was known for his eloquent sermons and drew so many people in his lifetime to hear him speak, after his death the Church fathers removed his tongue, lower jaw, and vocal chords to be venerated as religious relics that could produce miracles.