Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dedicated to Evi

I mentioned the occasional people I meet when traveling. 
Most famous are Mr Rubarber and Mr L'Oreal ;-). 

I met Mr Rubarber coming back from Hong Kong through Finland. He was in Business Class next to me and came from China. His job: to buy and sell frozen fruit. He inspects the crops, buys the fruit before it is even existing and sells it before priced on the market... purpose: trying to beat the market. He had just SOLD 4 ton of Rubarber (sorry don't know the English and too lazy to look it up) without having a clue where to buy it and at what price! You have to have steal balls... especially because the money invested in this business was his and another wealthy men's! Bon, the guy was Flemish and funny so we exchanged some mails... however, when I made it clear I wasn't "interested", our premature email relationship died an early death... don't blame me, he was rich but too old for me, and not cute enough ;-)

Mr L'Oreal was a whole different story. I was still working for BNPP IP and coming back from Paris by train, I had just had some time to get some take-away food with me to survive. I decided to eat it at the bar and upon opening my soup I spilled it all over me, the floor, the table... with the most phlegm I could pull out at that time -I didn't blink- I went to the bathroom for paper, cleaned it up and started eating... knowing several people were watching me. Mr L'Oreal was amazed by my calm and started a conversation. We realised we both were traveling the world and decided to try and meet up somewhere. For several months after that, I sent him mails (and he did too) with my schedule, but we missed an opportunity to meet each time. I would be in Hong Kong or Tokyo one week, and he would be the other. One time we set up to meet in Paris, meeting he cancelled for personal reasons... It wasn't meant to be ;-) A pity though... he was even older, but could have let me in on all the beauty tips a director of L'Oreal group must know!

Flight delayed...

Time to reflect on my life...

Not that reflecting is my strongest quality, after all, I am a real blond!

Watching people is actually more fun, especially when stuck in airports. First of all there are people from many different places and I love to guess where they are from. Only thing is I the have to sneak up to them to hear the language they speak to know if I was right. Or try to see their passport... tricky without looking like a freak! 

Secondly it is so easy to separate the occasional travels from the frequent flyers... wondering about, obstructing anyone who knows their way around. One advise to you dear tourists: follow the guy in the suit... he'll get you where you need to be! 

Funny also to watch those who have difficulties managing their stress, yelling at their partners, screaming at the kids, all over the place with pick-nicks... or just sweating (also good to watch people's faces during take off and landing). 

Usually the same people who set off the beeps on security control, do have a large bottle of liquids (don't the read?) and want to go to the bathroom during taxi-ing... really!

Luckily I am flying European, 'cause when it gets to Africa... OMG; but that's another story!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Kizomba? NO.... Tarraxinha!!

In my series of African music - dancing, I give the floor to Kizomba. Developed in Angola end 80's - early 90's it is one of the most popular genres of dance and music created in Angola. Derived directly from Zouk music, mixed with Semba, sung generally in Portuguese, it is a genre of music with a romantic flow mixed with African rhythm. The kizomba dancing style is also known to be very sensual ;-) Hence why I like it so much?

However, I prefer the even more 'sensual' derived music and dance.. it's limit sexual and called 'Tarraxinha". Tarraxa means 'nut bold' and Inha is the diminutive, so Tarraxinha is a 'little nut bold'. That's the sexual innuendo with the word: little nut bold wrapping around the screw:
I don't like it because of the sex :-) but because of the BEAT. Listen carefully!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Dark side of my Traveling

Tuesday morning... early. I take my car, drive to the metro station, leave it there, take a metro to the train station, take the Eurostar. In London, I make my way through the tube and walk to the office. Later that day, I take a taxi to Paddington station, a fast train to the airport and a plane to Geneva. I arrive in Geneva around 22h, walk to the train station, take a train into the city and walk to my hotel: check in time 23h15. You tell me if traveling for business is fun, or glamourous... 
I mostly experience it as exhausting and lonely (and diner-less). 
But sometimes you get lucky and you have the opportunity to meet very special people... randomly. 
Or experience very different situations... unexpectedly.
This little post is dedicated to the random people and situations that brighten my day. 
Details do matter. 

Every time I am in Geneva, I walk across the Pont du Mont Blanc to go from my hotel to the office.
It is gorgeous, the picture was taken with my phone, and doesn't render the beauty of the scene.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


1978. On the cover we see a big-eyed black girl looking around her... Aya, and the book is about her. Aya lives in Ivory Coast in a neighbourhood called Yopougon of Abidjan that used to be the capital of the country. She's a teenager, and through her eyes we experience the daily lives of the people around her. Of course, her world - together with her friends Adjoua and Bintou - is essentially about being in love, seducing, clothes etc... that's what teenagers are all about! Aya however is the most serious one and aspires to be a doctor.
Striking is the light and fun tone of the book. For once Africa isn't depicted as the underdeveloped helpless continent we sometimes see on TV. Aya is a self-conscious teenager who has her mind set on studying. While her friends are looking for the easy way to money and try their luck at the disco, Aya has her nose in the books.
There is a lot of sex in the book. Not only Aya's friends secretly fuck around, even her only father has a few mistresses of his own.

The writers of the book know what they are talking about. ClĂ©ment Oubrerie, who has a fantastic loose drawing style, is a recent visitor to the Ivory Coast. Marguerite Abouet is from there, and although she denies this might auto-biographic, the story could have been about her own teenage years. 
The events could have taken place in Western countries too. The girls go out, have secret dates, one gets pregnant and has to get married. What is different in this book are the habits of Ivory Coast: the big families, the open-air dance parties, the secret encounters between boys and girls and the ever beautiful weather. Aya is merely a witness.
There are already 6 parts... and I am longing for number 7!!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dieuf Dieul - you reap what you sow

Ibra Fall founded a sub-group of the Mouride bortherhood called the Baye Fall (Baay Faal in Wolof). Many Baye Fall substitute hard labor and dedication to their marabout for the usual Muslim pieties like prayer and fasting.

The members of the Baye Fall dress in colourfull ragged clothes, wear their hair in dreadlocks or ndiange ('strong hair') which they decorate usually with homemade beads, wire or string. Women usually are covered in draping coverings including their heads and occasionally are known to wear decorative handmade jewelry made from household or natural items. In modern times the hard labor is often replaced by members roaming the streets asking for financial donations for their marabout.

Several Baye Fall are talented musicians, such as Cheikh Lo, and Youssou N'Dour recently come to Belgium with yet another talented Baye Fall singer called Carlou-D... and I was there (thanks to Tschombe!). Enjoy... this is a piece of the dancing part (look up the music on internet ;-)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I am going to Heaven...

... 'cause I am such a good girl ;-) I am going to Heaven and take with me: Reggae music! I sometimes get side tracked by other great music, but I seem to quickly remember that Reggae is what makes me groove most. Brings back my youth I guess, my great times at the beach of Point aux Cannoniers, the smell of gandja, Couleur Cafe, sun, ... my first sex (hope my parents don't read this ;-)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Contemplating Life

I am such a spoiled, lucky girl! I would like to dedicate this little post to all the people with whom I get to share this crazy, fantastic life: among them Lais & Mila, the crazy single girls I hang out with - girlpower! (zotte Cecile, tante F, Amely I can Fly, Jojo), the stable married couples showing me to have faith (E&J, V&G, N&C), the gay enriching my life (nonkel R,  S&S), the delicious men (toudou, doudou, SH), my fantastic neighbours, colleagues (old & new) and my family of course... Don't forget that life is short!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

V2 - Could I live a "menage a trois"? ;-)

I have to tell you about one of the most important people in my life today. She is not family, in the sense that she is not blood related, nor married to me LOL. She is not like my dear sister neither... I don't tell her I love her, but I do. She is my neighbour. She is my friend. She takes care of me. She takes care of Mila.

High of her 1m50 you would never guess how strong she is. Cycling her bakfiets loaded with 2 kids and all their gear up the hill. Discrete usually and always thinks before she speaks, you wouldn't guess how smart she is. On top of that she works in the social sector!

Last year I was supposed to go on a trip with a man, who chickened out last minute (yes and I know you will read this - shame on you!). So I took Valentine to New York. Not sure how that was supposed to end, since we have diametrically opposed characters and would have to spend 1 week in 1 room. January in NY -10°C and we survived both the weather and each other's company. In fact, I fell in love with Valentine and New York at the same time ;-)

So we have decided to take each year 1 week off, away from our kids, away from our work, and escape. This year we went to Cyprus and for those of you who follow me on Facebook, you will have seen the pictures... I am already starting to think about next year: Istanbul?

Now Valentine, has 2 little boys, Alexis and Olaf, whom Mila calls 'buurbroertjes' (or neighbour-brothers). Valentine is the 'buurmama'. Valentine is married to Gregory who always works. Gregory is the male alpha of it all, so one night, around a nice cup of tea, we were laughing and decided:
Gregory is M1 (male 1) - Valentine is V1 (female1), which makes Alexis V1.1 and Olaf V1.2 (yes I have been working in technology too long). Last but not least this makes me V2 and Mila is V2.1...

I can tell you that Gregory is a lucky bastard!

Sunday, April 3, 2011


I need a pair!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I missed the Gazelle African prints (still crying about those) and now I am about to miss out on these too. Tomorrow I will call Colette in Paris and ask them if they still have a pair -highly unlikely that they still have any and that they take phone orders- anywhere between 38 and 41 will do ;-) I am in Paris on 12/4 so I could pick them up then... how much would they cost? I am going to dream about these... ahh if only I had the right connections to create my own :-( So many good ideas, so little craftsmanship and not enough time to develop any of it!