Tag Archives: africa

Berlin and junk

The old Berlin Wall and a pair of Reebok kicks.

I’M sitting in a kitchen in an apartment Berlin with nothing to write about. Well there’s a bunch to write about but I’m short on time – my girlfriend and another mate will be back with rations for dinner and some beers in the next 10 minutes so I gotta be quick. We’ve been here for a few days now and haven’t done a lot. We’ve had plenty of sleep because technically our bed is in an attic of sorts. You can’t stand up in the room and I’m hesitant to even call our mattress a single. But its super dark so you can’t tell what time it is, which results in wake-up times of about 11am on average (apologies if you’re reading this and are currently employed). We visited the East Side Gallery (a stretch of remains of the Berlin Wall that have been painted over), the memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, a museum-y kinda place regarding the Nazis and their dirty deeds (which is appropriately situated on the former site of the Reich Security Main Office of the SS – the organisational centre of most of the Nazi regime’s heinous crimes and terror), and the Reichstag, among other touristy places. Other than that I’ve just been taming mega coffees to beat the cold, drinking longnecks here and there, and eating a bunch of sushi, which I’ve been lusting after for the past few months (Portugal, Spain, Morocco, South America etc. are lacking in the Japanese goodness). Continue reading

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Skunked

Taghazout.

MY week of surfing in Morocco is coming to an end, the wetsuit is slowly drying outside my window, my board leans against the wall waiting to be packed into my bag. It’s pretty safe to say I was skunked for surf during my first visit to Africa. I didn’t ride a wave over 2ft and I only pulled into two tiny tubes on the knee, both of which I didn’t make it out. One of the funnest sessions I’ve had was with the babe, standing up tandem on an 8ft foam surfboard. It was always going to be a gamble rocking up a little early in the season and hoping to score, especially since I didn’t research Moroccan waves whatsoever before I rocked up here in Taghazout in the country’s south. If my brain was screwed on properly I would’ve found out there were some better bodyboarding waves further north, near Casablanca and Rabat. If I had any sense I would’ve maybe visited Morocco in November instead to maximise my chances of scoring. And if I wasnt a complete dumbass I may have been checking the swell on the daily, only jumping coastal when I knew there would be waves. But hey, coulda, shoulda, woulda. Next stop is the Sahara Desert for a few days. I skipped the Amazon a few months ago, so this should make up for my world wonder street cred. Catcha. Continue reading

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Secret lives

Not our mate from the apartment but a local lass I spotted on my first visit to the beach in Morocco.

YOU might not know exactly what they are but I bet you’ve heard of burqas, ḥijābs and niqābs. But have you ever seen a Muslim woman de-robe then pound a shit-ton of hash?

There’s a lot of talk around the place about what Muslim women wear. Burqas (usually understood to be the woman’s loose body-covering, plus the head-covering and veil) aren’t that prevalent in Oz, yet – similar to many places in Western Europe – there are all these controversies with politicians saying the veil should be banned. Last year Aussie liberal senator Corey Bernardi labeled burqas ‘un-Australian’ and called on them to be banned. In 2009 French president Nicolas Sarkozy said burqas were “not welcome” in France, “In our country, we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity”. I’m not going to weigh into the debate here – I can see why some people see the veil as a symbol of the oppression of women but I also see no reason why they should be banned – people should be able to wear whatever the fuck they want as long as it doesn’t harm others. Continue reading

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First impressions

SO FAR Morocco has been: more sketchy than South America, the sound of prayers being played through the speakers of mosques throughout the city simultaneously throughout sending scores of birds dashing through the sky, tajines and cous-cous (Morocco food is epic), dryness, heat, dust, claustrophobic maze-like labyrinths of medinas (old towns, medieval old), the jarring stops of Arabic and the soothing flow of French, old men who aren’t very fond of homosexuality walking the streets holding hands with their buddies, cats roaming the streets but very few dogs, the thick scent of hasish drifting from corners and crannies unseen, more rorters than you can shake a stick at (try more persistent annoying folk hawking their wares than that of Bali or South America but without the jokey funny-guy demeanour), beautiful mosaics everywhere (every wall and floor should have mosaics I’ve decided), and classic animal abuse (I saw one dying sheep being tied to some guys roof racks, and two minutes later I saw a dude pull open the under-carriage door of a bus to reveal a lamb in its stinking hot confines. I’m sorry I don’t have anything more to give you, I’m still trying to work this place out. It’s been an eye-opener going from the wealth and glitz of Europe to…here. Africa. Islam. Yesterday we got accosted and cornered by two aggressive drug dealers, demanding money from us in a cramped tacky restaurant, their faces turning from welcoming smiles to twisted snarls. A couple of other shitty things, though not as dangerous or interesting (I won’t bore you) happened during our first couple of days which has been a bit of a bummer but with three weeks to go in Morocco, things can only get better. Bad shit happens in threes, so the saying goes (sorta). We’re holed up in a sweet little pad in a pretty place called Chefchaouen, in the country’s north. Waiting in the south for me is some Moroccan juice, like this:

Pic courtesy surfing-africa.blogspot.com

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