onsdag, september 19, 2007

A few shots from a recent trip to Banfora...again... :)


I thought I should add a few photos too - more pics from yet another trip to the waterfalls of Banfora, but the best ones are taken from the car. The girls are street vendors, who always tend to lay siege to the car, when we are waiting at the toll gate...

Enjoy :)

A brilliant view on travelling...

Dear All,

Well, it seems that I'm to lazy or busy to keep the webblog updated - something quite a few people have objected against (thanks for that :)). Thus, I have had to find another way to keep you entertained, my dear reader.

A dear friend of mine called Emma has written the following text about travelling - and being a tourist. I hope you will enjoy it - I know I did!

Thanks for letting me post this, Emma!

The 10 advantages of being a tourist on holiday.

The first advantage of being a tourist; You are free to go and see whatever you wish. Sure, you’ve made plans, but you can change them. (This will also be listed under ‘The 10 advantages of being a human being’.)

The second is that you are allowed to be silly and ignorant. Let’s face it, we all know a tourist when we see one. They are to be recognized by maps of the city they’re in, camera’s and even more plainly in sight; the universal backpack. The male and female variety of the tourist are very much alike and only differ in the amount of luggage they carry. Now when a tourist accidentally does something wrong or stupid in a foreign country they never feel silly. You’re a tourist… how are you supposed to know? You can ask where the toilet is when standing right in front of it, it doesn’t matter. You can use the keycard in the hotel in exactly the wrong way, complain about it at the reception, get a new card, have the same difficulties, be accompanied by the receptionist leaving other clients to wait while she patiently shows you how it ís to be used and not feel silly at all, why on earth should you? After all you are a tourist who is unfamiliar with the ways and habits of the country you are in. You cannot help being ignorant and maybe a little stupid now and then. It is, of course, up to the inhabitants of the country you are visiting to make everything crystal clear.

In your own country you don’t want to look silly and therefore feel silly after making even the tiniest cock up; like not knowing that the escalator starts automatically when you step on it and therefore walking up the stairs when, almost reaching the top and not moving faster than the average octogenarian, you are being overtaken by tourists who are loitering about on the escalator.

Some people don’t cherish warm feelings for tourists. Tourists make the cities people live in commercial and expensive places. And sometimes you can see just that in the way they look at you, while you stand in the subway after you’ve ran over just about everybody’s toes with your suitcase trying to find a seat only to find one just before realizing that you have to get out at the next stop. However, when you ask for help you will meet with friendly smiles and ready explanations. People are proud of their cities and will help you to show you where you’re going. Obviously the sentence most often employed is ‘Excuse me, do you speak English?’, closely followed by ‘could you show me where I am on this map, please?’ and ‘How much?!?’. Now for the second and third question the answers are easily given, a simple pointing at the map and repeating the price will suffice, the first question however is of a more difficult nature. The answer can never be a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. After a ‘yes’, the native will have to exhibit his knowledge of the language by understanding the next question and also answering it. Just saying ‘no’ and avoiding all that may sound like an easy way out, but it implies that they did understand the first question, which was in English, and also that they know the English word for ‘no’, a little knowledge of the language must therefore be suspected and so you can try to ask the next question by making strange gestures and using odd sentences, which are not in fact proper English at all. And now for the third advantage of the tourist after this introduction for it; there is no third advantage; it’s difficult to move yourself about in a country where you don’t know the language and the only thing you can hope for is people who will try their best at explaining that the few columns right behind you are in fact the temple of Zeus and you should not try to find another, more complete temple


The fourth advantage is seeing things you’ve never seen before. To give but one of a thousand examples; You’ve seen the Sistine chapel in books and on tv. You know the most famous part; the pointing of God towards Adam… that is what you will look for and upon finding it you will leave the chapel to find more recognizable items of interest.

The fifth advantage is that you get to spend money on things you don’t normally wish to spend your money on. This is your holiday after all. Examples are ice creams that cost 8 euros per scoop, postcards that are 5 euros each and peaces of string made to look like bracelets that are varying in price between 10 and 15 euros. Of course you get the more expensive one because you wouldn’t want an inferior quality.

The sixth advantage is procuring a tan. Unless of course you’re an albino or visiting The Netherlands in the summer. In most other cases tans are unavoidable as you’re bound to be outside more than during the bustle of your daily life.

The eighth advantage is tasting food you’ve never had before. Apart from acquiring a more varied taste it also, in many cases, gives you renewed appreciation of the use of a toilet within 100 meters from where you are at all times of the day.

The ninth advantage is the sheer invisibility you are cloaked with while visiting main attractions. There are only tourists where you are going. Everyone is going to look at whatever it is everyone has come to look at. No one will be looking at you. While staring in full awe of whatever is the attraction, you will hear faint sounds of admiration around you. The American ‘oh, my Gods’, the Chinese and Japanese clicking and zooming of camera’s, and the silent admiration of people who are not at leisure to give way to their utter amazement to anyone or the silence of people who do not know what everyone else is so impressed with. You do not have time to look about you at the people who are so struck, because you have also come to be struck and are far too busy showing everyone who is not watching you that you are likewise confounded by such a sight. The advantage of invisibility only can be trusted upon when you’re actually at the place of the attraction, for getting their by way of public transportation or having a drink in a café afterwards means that yòu will now be an attraction to your fellow tourists, and they to you, as there is nothing much else to look at.

And for the tenth and last advantage of this list of obvious advantages of being a tourist, I can only mention the joy of coming home again. The joy of telling everybody where you’ve been and what you’ve seen. The joy of making calls on people for whole evenings just to show them your wonderfully taken pictures of which you are sure they’ve never seen the like of in their lives. The joy of that first morning back at work, when the colleague who has been taking over for you hardly has composure enough to tell you what has to be done urgently, because that very afternoon it will be his turn to go on holiday to a far and as yet unknown place full of eminent pleasures. And, of course, the joy of visiting your own, normal supermarket again where you won’t be bothered with having to say ‘bonjour’ or ‘bon giorno’ or ‘buenas dias’ in a particularly cheerful manner, but where you can just go about your business and be as snappy to the check out girl as she was to the customer before you or ignore her altogether as she does you.

And there I conclude the advantages of being a tourist on holiday. I hope it has not been a tedious read. I realize these advantages are widely known already but I felt obliged to make them yet clearer and even more widely known to induce more people to venture from their comfortable homes into unknown worlds which are no doubt beyond their understanding but never beyond their reach.