Monday, 11 July 2011

Moment in Africa (Rom & English)

Aseara, la Freetown, Sierra Leone, am fost la plaja si am facut baie in valuri si am inotat si apoi m-am plimbat pe plaja pina la un promontoriu foarte frumos, stinci si iarba si cocotieri si ma preagateam sa ma asez pe o stinca si sa meditez la cele profunde ale vietii privind marea ...cind am vazut ca sunt inconjurat de cacati. La propriu...umani, proaspeti, cu toate atributele lor relativ la forma, textura, miros, etc. Aceasta constatare a avut darul de a ma scoate din starea de pre-meditatie si m-a adus intr-o stare mai pragmatica, incercind sa "ies din cacat" la propriu. Dupa ce am reusit chestia asta, sarind din stinca in stinca ca o capra neagra carpatina supraponderala , nu m-am putut totusi sa nu remarc simbolismul acestui episod. Asta e Africa adeseori: un loc superb, care te fura, numai ca sa realizezi ca e plin de cacat de fapt.

Last evening, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, I went to the beach in front of my hotel. I played in the waves, had a swim, and then I took a walk along the shore up to a beautiful rocky promontory reaching out in the sea, with wonderfully green grass and palm trees and spectacular granite outcrops…I looked around for a place to sit and meditate about the more spiritual side of life, while looking at the sea. And I realized that I am surrounded by shit. Literally - human, with all its attributes regarding shape, texture, smell, color, etc. This realization pulled me out of the pre-meditation stage into a much more pragmatic state of mind, prepared to get out of the shit hole I was in. I succeeded in the end, without any “accident” jumping from rock to rock like a graceful chamois…an overweight one…Looking back at the incident I could not avoid realizing the symbolism of it all. This is so like many places in Africa: a magic place which charms you only to realize it’s full of shit …


  1. Where does one stay in Freetown these days? I used to stay at the Mammy Yoko until it was overrun by the RUF and then by the UN. I used to love it for its location on the beach and the serious effort the manager put into making things work. I understand it has reopened. Be sure to check out Paddy's beach bar, which used to be the place to go on a weekend evening, with Vietnamese food, reggae music, plenty of beer, and too many overly friendly girls! I wonder what Freetown is like 15 years later.

  2. Mark, I didn't stay long enough to visit those places and I can't compare today's Freetown with your experience. But with few exceptions I didn't find the place very attractive. Incredibly crowded and with every small place between buildings filled by slum. I stayed at the Family Kingdom, a rather kitch decorated "resort". At least it was clean, hot water, average to bad food and I could stay four five days there. There is a new modern hotel nearly finished that I saw in the distance and the ruins of some places that must have been wonderful as location. spirit of the people, however...see above.