Category: Contrasts

Back to Ibiza (2013)

Voluntarily not having a place to live for a while (like me) expands the possibilities to move around. Logically.

Yet without the money of a millionaire it isn’t logical to just move around like another millionaire, thus the options decrease. Either way, as both V and I have a history with living on Ibiza – and loving it -, we thought going back for a month could do us good romantically, familiarly as well as professionally.

bright-ideaTherefore we decided to go back straight after the Sonar festival, but this time the situation from last year has changed. We don’t have our own house, so we depend on:

A) renting a place, B) friends’ hospitality, C) a cheap hotel/hostel

I suggested living in a camp or something, just taking it to the hippie-level for once, but V wasn’t too impressed by the thought of it. Besides the heat could be an issue in the morning. Also, I don’t even know if there is a campsite on this freaking island?

To solve the housing situation we found out that renting a place fairly central is out of the question as the prices are completely mental. When you consider yourself a local and know what an apartment can cost on this island, you don’t go ahead paying 1800 euros for a month all of the sudden. The holiday rental prices are obviously what we would be competing with for only a month stay.

So, we had to go for option C, as option B somehow didn’t turn out viable either.

Therefore, we are currently residing in a hotel in freaking San Antonio where we know a guy that manages a 3 star hotel in the middle of the craziness! And my friends, I can tell you: This is a completely new experience and quite frankly, not in the worst way we would imagine.

I’ll write a post about a local’s eyes on San Antonio asap, but here some shots of the area to warm you up.

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A gem, right.

Our Congolese doormen – meet Lefills.

Like I told about some months ago, I started chatting with the doormen of our building soon after moving in to our flat in Green point. To my surprise all of them are from Congo. Over the last months Ive become found of this guy, and today I took his pictures and asked him if I could share his story on my blog.

Meet Lefills (33).

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One morning in January, the door bell rang and it was Lefills from the doorway. He asked if he could come up to talk to me. At the time I hardly knew his name, so I got a little worried. His voice sounded disturbed, and I asked what it was. He said that he was hungry, and asked if I had some food for him. He hadn’t eaten anything since yesterday, and still had many hours to work.

My heart fell to my stomach.

Of course, I said. But don’t you have to stand there in the doorway?

He confirmed. If you would be so kind to bring me something? I’m so sorry to ask about this.

Its not a problem at all. Hold on, Ill make you something right now.

I ran down with a glass of juice, two sandwiches with avocado, tomatoes and an apple. He received it very timidly, and I understood he felt embarrassed over the situation. I convinced him it’s not a problem at all, and since that day we’ve become friends.

Interestingly he told me that he had waited to see my boyfriend leave the building in the morning before he dared to ring the doorbell. I told him that V is not dangerous and that he could ask us anytime he’d like to for food. Later V and I spoke about it, the fact that these men probably see more women being nice to them, than men.. We agreed that women probably come across as more caring in general.. Perhaps it is a simple and global fact that most people (girls and boys) have grown up with more caring mums than dads?

I asked Lefills about it too when he felt more confident with me, and he laughed and said “women just tend to be nicer”. Especially in your country, I thought to my self, well aware of the tragic situation of physical and sexual abuse on women and children in war zones in Congo.

Throughout the coming weeks we had many quite long conversations. As his shifts are from 6 am to 6 pm, Lefills is more awake while working than Costa – the other doorman I told about – thus we’ve been able to talk more. Like Costa, Lefills also says he doesn’t think doormen are treated overly fairly in the area. And like Costa, he’d never complain about the salary or working hours because he knows people can get fired over it.

Besides, Lefills told me that the salary he gets is better than many others’, and that he is proud of having worked hard over the least 3 years to achieve a reputation as an honest man among employers. An honesty that made him admit through our conversations that it’s very tiring to just stand like this for 12 hours and watch people passing by…

Lefills says that he sketches when he feels inspired to make the days shorter and keep his mind focused. It is clear to me that he deliberately chooses to see the positive in things and believes that this period too will pass. As the situation is very bad in Congo at the moment, he feels he just have to wait and see.

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Moreover we’ve spoken a little about Norway VS South Africa. As he didn’t know anything about the country part from it being modern and cold, he asked me about many things. And I admit that I’ve had to bite my lip more than once. How do you explain a poor guy from Congo about Norway, if he hasn’t heard anything about it?

Once I asked him how life was for him in Congo, if he had had to go to war etc. He smiled and said:

No, no, no. I’ve been lucky, Ive studied and have a healthy family. My life in Congo is okay, but there is no job. And the conflicts are stressful. I can’t plan a future there. But I know I’m fortunate as my family is safe and not starving or anything.

With little knowledge about Congo, part from it being a mess, I’m curious about the place and have asked many questions. Lefills told me that he preferred the food and the women of Congo. But he thought that it had to better for a country to be an English colony as opposed to French.

How so, I asked.

Because the French heritage we have is so chaotic. People love discussing, debating and making a mess of politics. Nobody ever agree on anything, and partly the conflicts today are to blame for that, he said.

I would of course like to stay with my family in Congo, but the situation is very gloomy. And no African cities can compare to Cape Town. It’s safe and modern here, he says.

Interestingly Lefills isn’t obsessed with the imagination of moving to Europe the way so many seem to be. He says he loves it in Cape Town, that he particularly loves the liberality and possibilities.

Cape Town is Africa’s New York and Id love to create a good life for myself here, he said. Though it’s also very difficult to find a proper job for us here.

Not at difficult as in Congo apparently, because Lefills – like so many others – bussed a long way to get to the more prosper country South Africa. He quickly got a job as security personnel, with the position as a doorman in our building being the last. Although he still hasn’t got a proper residency, he has a temporary working permit.

Which in practice means that while he is waiting for a residency and the right to have the same labour rights as South Africans, he is being exploited as cheap labour, just like other Congolese doormen I’ve got to know. And like Costa, Lefills is aware of this status too.

Another thing the two gentlemen have in common is being proud of their education. Lefills holds a Bachelor degree in Marketing from the university of Kinshasa and means that the French based education system in Congo is much better than the currently offered in South Africa. Although he laughed at the irony that the good education system in Congo is useless as nobody gets a job. And here in South Africa they don’t have the language nor enough permits to actually get a job that is relevant to their education.

When we’ve talked about these topics, I’ve tried my best to inspire him to hold on to his dreams, motivations and to believe in himself and feel confident that hard work will pay off. We have for instance agreed that the most important thing he can do is to study English and continue applying for a residency and better jobs from here.

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Overall Lefills is more interested in talking about other things than the challenges he meets in life. He loves to speak about topics like movies, music, Europe vs Africa, racism, my impression of him after he got that sandwich, how we meet a partner or marry each other in Europe..

Not that this was meant to be a Man-seking-woman-add, but you never know what it can serve to. Hah!

(Lefills has agreed to have this text posted about him).

(Media) issues with slum tourism

As media coverage about slum tourism is increasing there are reasons to believe more and more people get aware of such a thing even existing. However after reading many of the news cases myself, I often fear that they give people a way too polarised picture to a very complex phenomenon.

Se link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19546792

See the full article here

See link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/patrick-mcginnis/is-slum-tourism-education_b_920520.html

See the full article here

See link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/09/travel/09heads.html?_r=0

See the full article here

Yup. A media article often ask “Is it ethical to visit a slum, or is it not”? or “Is it exploitative poverty porn, or can it actually benefit the poor”?

The answers to all the four questions above are yes. Yes, slum tourism can be ethical, yes it can be unethical. Yes it can be exploitative poverty porn and yes, it can actually benefit the poor.

It really depends on many factors, right? As much as it depends on the tourist’s behaviour it depends on the company with whom you’re traveling with for slum tourism to be ethical. The same goes for when it’s not ethical. And logically, it also depends on the eye that sees: Two slum resident families may perceive tourists coming into their neighbourhood very differently, regardless of whether money from the tour goes to a school near by or whether the tourists are smiling and acting respectfully while they pass by.

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Tourism per definition is highly complex. It’s a floating phenomenon taking place within places, hihgly dependent on human beings’ behaviour, choices and imaginations: Thus it’s constantly changing and developing and able to both improve and demean the lives of people, the various regions and the trends it impacts upon. But to understand it or judge it, it’s simply impossible to break it down into yes or no questions.

So.. To understand more of different tourism issues then, who do we ask, who do we trust and how do we find ways to travel as ethically as possible ourselves? In tourism overall, communication of this has only recently started to take off. Fortunately there is a trend in many major industries to talk about stakeholders’ social and economic responsibility.

I guess most would agree with the statement that tourism to any area should impact positively in terms of benefits to destination areas and their residents. Thus I guess most would definitely agree that tourism in typically impoverished areas should be a powerful tool for poverty alleviation.

However, the relationship between poverty and tourism is rather controversial and tourism is often regarded as being more harmful than beneficial to poor communities (wherever), and that is actually the main issue with tourism in the world today, and the very reason why I personally chose to go for a career in the field of Responsible Tourism.

When traveling I had started to see myself in the eyes of the locals, as just another tourist, one out of many.. Then I thought more and more about the immense impact we obviously have on places and societies. I got aware that travel is an extreme luxury product for the ones that can afford it, and saw myself as extremely privileged to even talk about my next holiday surrounded by people that don’t even use that word.

Just think about it: Traveling in the modern world represent the purchase of a product which takes wealthy people from the modern world (and poorer countries) out of our daily lives to somewhere else (more and more commonly to developing countries) in order to see new places and live new experiences far away from home. It undeniably brings an unbelievable added value to our lives.

No wonder this quote has gone viral on Facebook & Instagram lately:

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What we often forget however, is to think about how our travels add value to the lives of the people in the destinations we visit. Is it really enough with us just arriving in their countries? Is it enough that we spend money on eating fancy dinners and sleeping in local hotels?

Well, it’s not of course. However, I could go into the it depends– arguments again, because it obviously does depend on various factors.

But when it comes to slum tourism there are many issues and controversies, and although it’s good you read whatever the media presents about the topic, it’s important to grasp the more profound debates about the complexities. And hopefully in the future more suggestions for actions and improvements to such a phenomenon.

Therefore I’d like to share some subtracts from my academic research report about the issues with slum tourism. To cut a post short, Ill post it separately here.

Our Congolese doormen

Soon after moving in to our flat in Green point, I started chatting with the doormen of our building. To my surprise all of them are from Congo.

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When I say surprised, it´s due to the fact that I know South Africa struggles with a high unemployment rate. Thus I find it interesting that the land lord of the building I live in only hire Congolese men. Now, surely I know Congo is a country in a much worse state than South Africa – especially considering the seemingly never ending conflicts there. However, the reasons for why there are so many Congolese men working in our building, has probably not so much to do with their boss´ concern about their situation, it has to do with greed, as most wrongful situations in this world.

The doorman Ill tell about today is called Costa. One of the nicest and hardest working persons Ive ever met. A young, good looking man with the softest skin and friendliest eyes. Eyes that normally are open when ours are closed, as Costa mostly works night shifts in our building. Although occasionally – when I’ve arrived home late – I’ve caught him asleep on his blue plastic chair next to the entrance. As much as I’ve then tried to sneak in and pass him silently on my way to the elevator, he’s always quickly lifted his head and sat up straight (on that clearly uncomfortable plastic chair of his), and stared firmly into the wall in front of him.

When that happened in the beginning, I normally looked his way while waiting for the elevator and said things like Hello, or Good night, or Hi, don’t worry, it’s late, yet it struck me that he hardly ever looked back at me while replying hello or goodnight back. He just stared into the wall or at his MP3 player.

Honestly it made me think he’s ashamed for having slept while on duty. As if he’s afraid of me telling someone about it. I don’t know. Either way, these encounters made me feel sorry for him as I can only imagine how it’s like sitting on that blue chair for hours with nothing to do or nobody to talk to. Part from that I got very curious about his life. One morning when I was on my way out for a run, I decided to talk to him. After we’d exchanged names and I’d told him who I was and that I simply was curious about his life and job, he softened up and seemed comfortable with my questions.

It turned into a chat for over an hour.

During that time, these are some of the things Costa told me: He’s worked night shifts in the building for 10 months. Each shift lasts for 12 hours and sometimes he works daytime somewhere else. How that’s even possible both mentally and physically, we can only imagine, but just for the record I tried my best not to react like a shocked naive Norwegian by the things Costa told me.

One of the most interesting lessons learned is that thousands of Congolese men work as security guards in Cape Town. Apparently. According to my new friend, all of them are exploited by (white) land lords in the sense of getting paid below the national minimum wage and working too long shifts. And hold your horses: All of them knows they are. Thing is, they feel like they have no other choice.

congoflagFair enough I thought, although I couldn’t resist suggesting that they should protest about it, create a movement or take it to the media or something. Costa meant that is out of the question, as most of them are here illegally. We just have to be fine with whatever we get, he repeated.

Albeit his gloomy situation, Costa seemed happy that Congolese people are welcome in South Africa, claiming they’re overall respected as hard workers. Most of his new friends in South Africa were people from his home country and he was clearly proud that luckily all of them had a job. Nevertheless, he doesn’t think the South African government does much to improve the situation for immigrants so that they can get equal contracts and salaries as South Africans. For that, he said, it’s too much chaos and unemployment here already.

Do you consider yourself as lucky though? I asked him. Because of this job?

No, not really. But there’s nothing else I can do. If you mean, compared to others living on the street, of course. But this situation isn’t human, it’s not right. I have an education from Congo, I could work as a professional, but with this situation it’s very difficult. We all just know that we have to work with irrelevant stuff like this to survive in order to get anywhere in this country. Or anywhere else for that matter.

Do you dream of living somewhere else? Or to move back to Congo?

I would love to go to Europe, of course! Everybody wants to go there! But it’s very challenging to get there. It costs a lot of money, and is a long journey. I’m hoping everyday that I suddenly find a way to go… As for Congo, Id never want to go back there. It only represent a sad chapter of my life, that now is behind me.

Don’t you miss it?

I try not to. I try to live here and now. My family understands, and they want me to have a secure job here rather than living in Congo with no future. I speak weekly on the phone with people back home. And well, my mother cries, like all mothers, but she is a very strong woman.

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We also spoke about politics, the history of conflicts in Congo and the music culture. He told me to check out two old artists called Papa Wemba and Tabu Ley, one of which also apparently played in two of Costa’s favorite Congolese movies La vie es belle and Kinshasa kids. The latter is a must see he said, apparently it was made recently. When I said I don’t think I’ve seen it he looked at me as if we were talking about not having seen the movie E.T!

Clearly I had to watch the trailer on Youtube and I must say it looks amazing.

 

So. I really enjoyed talking to Costa. He’s such an updated guy with a good sense of humor and a good soul. He’s just one of the many born in the freaking wrong place on this planet. Or better put: doomed because of the ongoing wrongfulness in the place he’s living in, with few possibilities to move somewhere else.

Some days later I asked him if he wasn’t very bored of starring in the wall. He had already told me his mp3 player was going him on the nerves, thus had the headset more hanging around the check than on top of his head. I said I could try finding him some new music, or at least something to read. Before going to bed I lend him a book on tourism as it was the only literature I had in English. On my way out the next morning he had left it by my door with a note on the cover: Merci Jeanette.

Next time we met he told me he actually loved the subject, and that in all honesty his old dream had been to go back to Congo and work with tourism development (!) His opinion was that Congo actually is perfect for tourism, just like South Africa is. That it’d be perfect if it wasn’t for the wars. He told how beautiful and green Congo is, with the richest wildlife and interesting cultures. And the nicest people.

Recently we spoke about how important a good level of English is for his improved future, and especially if he wants a position in the tourism industry here. A fun fact is that Costa has a degree in Business and Administration and thus thinks he could have good chances in consulting work, – if only his English improves.

When our eyes met and he talked like this, I tried my best to picture that all my energy and love, and best wishes were transportable. I wanted so badly to give it all out to him, to give him hope and strength… I wanted to inspire him to believe in himself and the situation, and to get the hell away from this exploitative job that only tires the young shit out of him.

And so I told him, with my eyes. Some days later I gave him this book called The Monk who sold his Ferrari. the-monk-who-sold-his

He seemed very surprised, stood up from the plastic chair and timidly shook my hand. Then he shared his concern about whether his English is good enough to read it, so we agreed that if it isn’t or if he didn’t like the book, he could just give it back to me. Either way, I said, it’s crucial to read more English in order to get better. Just underline the words you don’t understand and keep a dictionary close so that you can translate as you go.

Shortly after I never saw Costa again.

When I asked one of the other doormen about him, they said he got a new job in another building.

Luckily I had left a note inside of the book. It said:

You are a beautiful soul Costa. I hope you’ll keep and nurture your bright opinions – and more than anything  your dreams. Trust that they will give you the strength to continue fighting. The way might be long, but that’s part of living and part of achieving whatever and whoever we want to be. I hope this book can inspire you.

J.

Slum tourism in Jakarta

Another piece about slum tourism’s development was recently published on Youtube. This time it highlights the phenomenon in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Though I don’t like the typically polarised opinions about slum tourism’s issues of concern, content like this helps to raise awareness about the phenomenon.

The video description is:

Poverty tourism is gaining ground in Indonesia with more tourists looking to “experience the real Jakarta”. But while this brings more funds to the city’s impoverished slum-dwellers, accusations of exploitation are not far behind.

Visiting a monastery

Yesterday I promised to write about the monastery visit in Gran Can. Here it is:

To get to the monastery you can’t necessarily rely on the signs around the village of Santa Brigada, and should rather ask some people on the streets. Most people know about it and eventually when you start climbing a hill nearby (google it first, or go with a map) you’ll see a small sign.

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The road up to the building takes you three minutes in a car so for the brave it’s possible to do it walking too. The moment you step out of the car you’ll notice an appealing silence only interrupted by the cliche-like reality of birds singing from all angles.

We didn’t have any appointment to get in or anything and all of the sudden we got a bit worried it may be inappropriate to just step up at a monastery like that as curious tourists. However, although I didn’t have a personal agenda other than visit a monastery for the first time in my life, I was in this case together with two people working for a Christian organisation on the other side of the island. They might know about us, the island isn’t that big, Hilde said while we were waiting at the doorway.

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After knocking twice on the massive wooden door, two young monks dressed in black appeared with calm faces (just the way I would expect a munk to look like). Hilde presented the reason why we wanted to visit them, and before she even finished they welcomed us in with an arm move and whispering voices. After introducing us briefly inside of a small what looked to me as a waiting room with paintings of Maria and crosses on the walls, the monk named Valentin asked us to join him on a tour.

Valentin was born on one of the other Canary islands, but had moved here at the age of 17 to develop his life as a monk. He constantly talked with a whispering voice and held an impressive amount of details about the monastery, its history, how to become a monk, what kind of people that apply to become one, monk life, the suit and their study rituals.

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This is a picture from the ‘patio’, a small garden in the middle of the building, where the monks often walk around in circles praying, or meditate. On the picture is one of the (currently) older monks of this monastery.

After an hour we felt a very good connection with the guide, he told us to take pictures whenever we wanted to and ask questions of any kind. Just like big-eyed kids we went after him from room to room asking all kinds of “myth related” questions.

At 6.30 the bells rang and he told us he had to go to service. That service is one of the many different sessions where the 9 monks, the ‘father’ and the priest gather, sing, read and pray together in church. We were invited to watch it and grabbed some bibles from a book shell. A lady that apparently wasn’t there for her first time told us what pages to look up. Personally it’s a while in between each time I’m participating in a service, whatever the religious institution, but somehow I understood by now that this was one I couldn’t miss.

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Waiting for it to begin

The nine monks entered the room separately and gathered around the alter where one monk was standing lighting up the candles on top of it. Then one monk after the other moved forward and lit up more candles before they sat down on their chairs towards the walls, facing each other with a distance of 1,5 meter. One of the younger monks suddenly started halfly reading/singing a verse from the bible, soon accompanied by another monk or the whole group according to how they’d learned the various texts.

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The sound of it instantly gave me goosebumps and when I looked over to Hilde and Arild I could see they were in the same state as well. The monks took us on a spiritual journey that for a while felt like lasted forever, but never in the sense of getting boring. I was stunned by the feelings that ran through my body during the time I sat there listening, and my eyes went wet on several occasions.

Though they are hard to explain in written form, I will never forget the sound of their voices. Due to the acoustics in the room it also sounded very loud, yet perfectly tuned and I promised myself I’ll look into monk music from now on to listen to whenever I feel like I need some extra peace. And that was what they all had, and that was what they explained through their singing: Peace. Just like that.

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Picture of the alter – taken before the service

I know now that each and every of them had their specific task throughout the ritual and that it clearly wasn’t the first time the monks were singing together. And thinking about all the time and effort they put into these simple rituals every day, really stands to me as something admirable. Although I’m not religious I’ve never doubted that when it comes to love, hope and dreams we are all the same as human beings. And soon Valentin was going to show us more of the monastery’s work in this very respect.

Because straight after the service he wanted to show us more (eager guy)! And by then we could tell he is of the cheerful types, from how he highlighted details about what monks do to have fun and ‘loosen up’ after the long days of studies, prayer and work. He also repeatedly mentioned how social and family alike it is in the monastery and used the words solidarity, democracy and community.

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Sometimes it was a handful to take in all the details of monk living in Spanish before trying to translate it correctly to Norwegian.

We were invited to see the kitchen, where two monks came out and laughed at themselves due to the aprons over their monk suits. Kitchen duty is part of the monks’ various ‘work tasks’ on the monastery for it to go round. Valentin introduced another monk as the organ player of the service that day, while another instantly said that what we’d heard under the service was recorded, and not live.

Everybody burst into laughter and the organ player said we could get a glass of wine. Valentin cut him off with a smile: “I’m trying to do my work showing these people our house”, and took us with him. Giggling at the whole incident and going up the stairs Valentin said “be careful with that guy (the organ player), he’s very passionate about life, when he starts, he’s on forever”.

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View from one of the rooms people stay in

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Where the guests at the monastery have their meals.

By the end of the tour I admitted to myself my ignorance of not ever having thought much or doubted the ‘myths’ related to monks’ lives. Or better said, Ive hardly thought about it, but Ive definitely somehow assumed they all live in silence and pray all day long, hardly laugh or see their families, nor talking to people from the outside. Fail!

The tour turned out to be not only educative meaningful, but social and friendly, and thanks to Valentin, very funny in a cute way. Before saying goodbye we stood on the parking lot and one monk came out searching for the monastery’s cat. Valentin asked him to take a picture of the 4 of us. Before hitting the trigger the photographer monk had a shy looking expression on his face. As if he had a confession to make, he said it was important for him to tell us that “the joke about the organ play not being live, wasn’t true”.

Ah. Sweetheart! I went straight over and kissed him on his forehead (in my thoughts).

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When leaving the monastery we’d been almost 4 hours with the monks, and had to open the windows to get out some of the energy we filled the car with. We were amazed by the experience, our guide, the feeling around them all and of discovering how our old presumptions changed. Besides I was thrilled to have discovered the monastery offers rooms for a very cheap rent. Apparently they’re very popular among poor students. So, as a student and as I’m here I thought to try it before traveling North. If not, it’s a good mention for others to know about.

A visit to the monastery in Santa Brigada, Gran Canaria is highly recommended!

Bye bye for now, Ibiza

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Then it’s time to say goodbye to Ibiza again. The 2011 season is over and gosh I don’t even know how it happened. Time flies when you’re having fun.

Living life in contrasting periods like this makes life rather uh.. periodic and divided, but that’s me I guess. And I do like it. I don’t like the packing though, or the organisation of what clothes to take and what to leave behind with all the uncertainty in my life of whether Ill be back or not.. This wee question that goes on in my head like if ever…?

But hey, then I think that’s me too, isn’t it?

My whole adult life has been like this so I’m starting to think this is how I’ll live my life. And why not?

I’m thrilled to have started the Master course in Responsible Tourism so I have that to focus on this winter, compared to last year when I was broke and felt kinda lost on my way to London, despite of the internship I had in that NGO I’m still so passionate about. Yet, I can remember getting inspired by that uncertainty as well.

So who am I?

Well, I’m certainly found of Lebanese chicken.

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Word!

Argh.. Leaving Ibiza feels hard right now. I just had my mum over and we’ve had so much fun. In fact she is going to London with me as she has her connection flight there between Spain and Norway. Big V has already left and perhaps that’s why it’s sadder leaving the island now than last year. This year is different in many ways as my man is not coming with me to London and we have no plan whatsoever of when to meet during this winter… Is that normal?

We’ll just meet whenever we are not traveling or staying in separate cities. I guess I see how I need to start focus on myself and make the best out of the Master’s program, and I’m very excited about the place Ill live this winter! Together with this cute little and seemingly amazing family in London that are so kind to even offer me a room in their house for whenever Ill be around.

These things inspire me and make me want to live like this forever, hah! No, that might be exaggerated, but you get the picture. That’s me isn’t it? Suddenly living in the attic of a cool family surrounded by other families, taking part of their everyday life, trying to imagine whenever Ill – if ever – will have a family on my own..

Back to Ibiza: This little island has definitely got a bigger and bigger place in my heart the more time I spend on it outside of the party season. Yes, I love the high season, but the island is completely different then. Which is also why many people (local and the ones working here over summer that year by year choose to stay longer and longer) love this island. Cause it’s so full of contrasts.

I will really miss the calm beaches of October and November…

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Also, I haven’t told you how great of an experience Ibiza Energy week in October (EWI) was. To work with the founder of that project is truly inspirational and I believe it can grow big in the years to come. In fact, it is a very good week to go to see the island after the party season and at the same time get some extra tourists and events going on, this time focusing on health though. 😉

Besides, its often still nice and warm in October and not all beach lounges are closed.

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Whenever I get my writing acts together I’ll publish more posts about Ibiza that can be helpful for travelers. And I’m very keen to investigate what, if any, there are of Responsible Tourism initiatives here.. The Gipsy Giraffe on Responsible partying, haha, BIIIIG topic coming up! But seriously, a greening of those monster clubs could be a damn good idea. I think the Ibiza clubbing industry has a huge potential to take a grip on that.

Well well.. What a summer this has been..  Ill miss our little house, not to mention the garden.

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I’ll miss the smells of salt sea outside of my window and our little street that we share with all kinds of random people working in Amnesia. I’ll even miss the bloody dogs barking when jogging through the neighborhood.

And my mum: She will miss driving around in this treasure:

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Peace & love, J.