February 29, 2008

Acrostiche n. 1

There is little to say today, I
Am exhausted, bewildered, burnt.
Kindly have patience with my poucing
Instincts, with my broken limbs and my
Negations, my abnegation, my wanton
Guile which is only self-protection.

Think of those days of summer,
Hear your heart break asunder,
Elate yourself for your own joy.

Have you not found that you missed her, the
Elegy to lost dreams, the muse to madness, the
Anti-heroin who incessantly, madly, relentlessly,
Tries to keep the flame of hope alive with her loyal heart.

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

Balakot - Earthquake aftermath Bird's eye view

I was just toying around with my Flickr account, and realized that this is my most viewed picture. Interesting...

I guess a bird's eye view of an earthquake sight isn't something you get to photograph everyday....

February 28, 2008

A quick dip in Cotonou

So I'm quickly reappearing before I go back to the bush.

I just spent four days working in a place (completely lost place, I promise you) called Lokossa, in Benin. I was assessing an NGO for a grant - the same kind of job that I do, though with a different finality. I usually audit for audit's sake. This time, there's a carrot at the end of the stick, for the people I deal with.

It was just a bit more airy than Cotonou, which was nice, though the place where I stayed was VERY depressing. Food? Not bad, but richer than I'm used to. I feel fat.

On the way back, I took pictures of lake Aheme, lovely place which BH refered to as the "Ozarks in Benin". Photos are here.

Lac Aheme (1)

We also made a quick detour through Ouidah, the home of voodoo and a slave trade historical site, as long as colonial city. The streets had something of Antigua, I'll admit.

Ouidah (26)

To visit Ouidah through my photo set, click here.

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

February 24, 2008

Slalom is not only for skying


I'm in Benin, at last. How is it, you ask? It's HOT! Hellish, horribly, monstruously HOT! But... the Beninese are very nice, calm people. Peddlers don't insist when you say no, and smiles are readily offered and returned.

I don't have pictures yet, but here's some from Trek Earth.

I arrived on Friday night - I was exhausted, to be honest. For starters, my inflatable neck pillow died during the MTL-CDG leg of my flight, and that, to be honest, was terrible. In CDG, I actually paid a fortune for a back rub in the hopes of getting my stiff neck some relief.

I'm happy to report I'm now back to a normal state of suppleness as far as my neck is concerned, and that adventures have already started.

You see, my friend and colleague (Bleeding Heart, a.k.a. BH) likes her sunday morning worship, but had no clue where to go. Helpful as I am, I decided to investigate it, and got the local guardsman to show us to a place that may suit her needs. So here we were, in the hellish Cotonou traffic on a pair of Moto-Taxis (also known as the yellow shirts).

Thank you http://www.ik1pmr.com/ for the pic.

We didn't find the object of our search, but at least it was fun, sort of. The best part, for me, being to watch BH actually gnaw her hand in anguish over the experience har har har. (Having been raised in Burkina Faso, which is the kingdom of two-wheelers, and having slalomed in such traffic myself on my bike at the age of 13, it didn't really freak me out....)

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

February 22, 2008

On the road again....

So I had a short interlude at home (completely unplanned, mind you,) and now, I'm waiting for my flight to Cotonou, sitting on a hard chair in Charles-de-Gaulle Airport.

Thanks to Boingo, I'm connected, and so I can update.

Honestly, I have little to say, save for the fact that I am alive, and hungry for some happiness. I'm realizing I've been living in a state of emotional death for the last few months, and that it's not the way I should be.

Unfortunately, absence of strong emotions is starting to become a rather comfortable place to be.

Thoughts, anyone?

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

February 16, 2008

On the mend

So my homelessness found a cure. I'm currently in Miami, waiting for my flight to Montreal. I won't lay if I say that I look forward to getting home, even if its' only for a few days, even if I'll have to work from home to justify this escapade before Benin.

I'm breathing, I'm alive, I'm dying to get at long last to Europe. Madrid, Lux and Londond beckon, as does Paris. (Mickelino, STFC, ca va etre le moment de le faire, ce cafe!!!)

Countdown: 90 days to fulfilling my ever unsated need for freedom!

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

February 14, 2008



An email from my boss goes out. The war in Tchad is overflowing the office in Cameroon, and the Cameroun team therefore cannot go visit. The assignment starts next Monday, she has three extra staff. I get re-assigned from South America to Africa because of my language skills. This is still unknown to me at the time.


In the morning, I hear about this through the grapevine. During the day, we rush to finish our reports. The boss arrives and we take her to dinner. The same night, my boss confirms verbally the change, and I get the ball rolling.

At midnight, I email my counter part in Africa to get budget details to pay for my flight, and the travel agent to get them in the loop and have them research flights ahead. I need to cancel my flight to Bolivia as well, this needs to be done quickly.


Morning email: the travel agent says she can’t guarantee she can work on this the same day, and requires that I submit a formal request, then whichever agent can get to it first will. Problem is, I don’t have the budget info for the formal request.

I email my counterpart in Africa to get this information, along with info pertaining to the visa requirements. Unfortunately due to timezones, they won’t reply until the next day.

The BFH is onsite and advises me not to cancel my flight until budget info has been obtained, just in case. I rush to modify my instructions to the travel agent.

At the same time, my mother, well connected, contacts the diplomatic representation in Montreal and obtains visa information. Throughout the day, I file all the necessary information with her, but put her on hold until budget info is obtained.

All the while, I finish my last tidbits on my report, and in the evening, take the BFH out for dinner.


My Africa counterpart advises me that I cannot get a visa at the airport. Apparently, immigration takes travelers’ passports and the visa is obtained the next day. Despite her assurances that all will be fine, I remain wary – I am unpleased with the idea of parting with my documentation, and have had past experiences where the local office didn’t show at the airport. I opt for getting the visa home, with my boss’s approval.

Later in the day, budget information is obtained. I file my formal request for a new flight and give the go ahead for visa.

At the end of the workday, my travel agent holds a ticket for approval. Due to timezones, once more, we have to wait until the following morning.

That night, I stay in. I’m exhausted.


I receive an email from my counterpart in Africa contesting my dates… apparently I should be staying two more weeks. Impossible, for I have a planned leave and a plane ticket. Both the BFH and I scramble to explain this. An agreement is reached that one of my colleagues will fill in for the two missing weeks.

Half the day is spent out with the BFH, first escorting/translating for her in a charity visit, then at art galleries in Antigua.

Upon my return, I find out that my flight is finally approved. I have a flight out of Guate to Canada for my visa purposes on the following morning. I receive this at 2PM. At 3PM my flight out of Canada into Africa is in my inbox. Meanwhile, the BFH is getting her nails done at a nearby spa.

At 4:55 PM…. I get notification that my flight out is cancelled and rescheduled for Saturday. I go to pick up the BFH at the spa and share this information with her.

At 8PM, the hotel informs me that they don’t have a room for me.

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

Close enough....

Last day in Guatemala 011

Some girl in my building is blessed because she is loved madly... but she's going to have to remove some of them so she can get home.

Poetic Justice.

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

February 12, 2008

Love’s Eulogy…

On the eve of St-Valentine’s day, some beaver sour grapes on the matter of love….

Don’t buy me chocolates today,
Don’t take me to the Cinema,
Don’t bring roses to my doorstep
Or tell me sweet unordinary things.

Don’t pretend to love me today
Just to be like all the others
Love me yesterday, or the day after
Love me without presents or bleeding red hearts.

Don’t protest that we are perfect
Don’t take me to that romantic place
Rather, hold my hand in silence
Kiss me, hold me, want me, choose me.

Say nothing, do nothing,
Let what you feel be true and real,
Let your heart be sincere
Let your smile be my only, my unique…

My beautiful Valentine.

P.S. This is me, trying not to be cynical on this ever commercial day, despite my notorious bad luck in the affairs of the heart.

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

February 11, 2008

A Whirlwind Update

So.... Antigua was positively awesome. First, it's a lovely town, very colonial, inhabited by locals, of course, but also by many foreigners who go there for the lovely, laid back lifestyle it affords. In the park, people sit on the floor, play the guitar. It's not uncommon to come across a giant blond rasta-endowed European.

Here are the pics. No blond rastas, though. I'm including a teaser pic below.

Antigua 004

I went there using the local transport system, against all prescriptions I'd been given, and have no regrets. It was dirt cheap, remotely comfortable, and the people were nice. I spent Saturday night at a backpacker hotel that was absolutely horrible, but in truth, I didn't care. It was nice to be out of the bounds of work. I think I'm getting tired of those fetters. I shall break this glass prison, and descend from my ivory tower, she says decisively.

My return to reality was harsh, though - mostly because.... horror.

I'm not going to Bolivia. Instead, I'll be cooking in Benin and Niger. Joy unbound. Sure, I'm at ease in West Africa. Sure, it's French speaking. BUT I LIKE LATIN AMERICA. And well, the amount of time I spend in this area of the world is directly disproportional to the amount of time I've overall spent in Africa in my life. Oh, the irony.

I had dinner with the BFH tonight, and my cute childish pouty lip was ignored, so it seems I have no choice but to abide.

I feel cursed.

The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

February 09, 2008


Well, I'm off to Antigua for the weekend to hang out with some backpackers. I'll be back soon with some stories, but in the meantime, let me celebrate the return from cyber-silence of a few rather missed bloggers:

Tina's "Just Breathe" blog... her "release valve on life" as she puts it. She's considering resuming her writing, and I think it's a great idea, so let's welcome her back!

Amias' "Liquid Plastic" blog, thoughts about the human condition, and beautiful poetic thoughts. She's a published writer, and we can never be thankful enough.

G's "Library Bitch" blog, the world of a next-gen librarian.


The Beaver
My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !

February 04, 2008

Is this how it’s going to be?

Just a little ditty I scribbled to pass time. It's hard to rhyme in English, so it's an exercise more than anything else.

You will smile and I will melt,
My heart will skip at your sight,
You will talk and I will listen,
My body will respond without a fight.

You will laugh and I will grin
I’ll enjoy every thing you do
I will follow your every whim
Without thinking a thing or two.

I will belong to you always,
Feeling ever so miserable,
Because I will count all the days

Whether or not I am able
To stay away from my loved daze,
Only dreaming up this fable.

A Nights' Tale (I still got it)

I had a mind to travel to Antigua this weekend, but I had work to do, and well… I was feeling a little bit lazy. So instead, I stayed home and did a few things, though I promise myself to go this coming weekend, since it will be my last occasion to go.

On Friday night I went out to dinner with my colleagues. Our leader’s husband came to spend the weekend with her, and it was lovely to meet him – though I kind of felt like I was out to dinner with parents, seeing as everyone was twice my age.

To shake it up a little, I decided to go out for a drink at the Irish pub on the corner, and ended up chatting with a legal assistant and her friend, a business man. All this of course happens in Spanish, but it goes well, until they leave and a man starts chatting me up. Not that I mind, actually – it’s nice to have some attention once in a while. But it turns out he is an auditor for another organization, and though he wasn’t unpleasant, it was a bit blah to be (again) with auditors.

Saturday was spent working and lazing away, though I did take a long walk in the afternoon in the hopes of alleviating my ever painful back ache. My idle feet took me to a shopping mall and I ended up buying a white sweater and a black shawl, and reserving a pair of black ballerinas. I need those for Bolivia anyway – my standard packing habits don’t take into account colder climates.

Later on in the day, I opted to go out for a drink again, and ended up chatting it up with a high-ranking French official and his wife. I daresay that aside from the fact that they were charming, it was nice to speak some French. Later on that night, I decided to scout a club, just to see what was happening on the night scene, and ended up being pursued by a young man who was 10 years my junior... and a pleasant dancer. To quote one of my good friends, “You still got it, girl!”

It’s nothing truly yeehaw, but it’s nice to know I can still be pleasing to the eye.

February 02, 2008

The Ballad of the Wandering Soul

The sunlight struck my face today.
It wasn’t a slap or a kiss, it was a smiling greeting,
Gentle like the touch of a million rose petals
On a clear morning sky.

I slipped on shoes and roamed the town.
It’s not pretty, or even interesting,
But smiles were returned as I threaded in my dream,
As I let myself walk off the strangeness of my days.

They are spent in idle attempts
At fulfilling empty dreams and shallow goals
They are lost in waiting or in fancies
In hoping and in sketching...

The mad designs of my complicated thoughts
The insane views of my lonesome soul
The solitude that plagues me
The freedom that lifts me.

It’s not a song from Elton John
Or something by Philip Jeays,
But it is what I can write
Original and personal

To tell you, again and again,
My patience knows no bounds
My fickle mind battles my loyal heart
But if you ask if I still, I will tell you,

Unabashedly, sincerely, madly,
With all the strength and energy of my entire being
That I never stopped.
Yes, I never stopped.

February 01, 2008

Cut me, I bleed

Just a little poem by yours truly....

I am not made of stone, or wrapped in sky-spun fantasies,
I am not the one who carries naught but phantasms of lost prayers.

I am the wind in the galleys
Where dancers breed perfected graces

I am the heart and the pulse
Of the ever changing cities of the new century

I am the beat the drummer makes
With bleeding sticks that reflect no more than his own fury

I am the tempest that cleans
The storm that rebuilds, I am the hope that refuses to die.

I am not the solution to your idiosyncrasies
I am not the messiah come to thread unbidden in your stagnation

I am a free horse in the pampas of Chile,
An unknown stranger offering help unexpected,

I am the lovely brush of a sensual hand,
Waiting to give a caress of love to skin divine, sublime

I am wilderness uncaged,
Whose heart belongs to no-one and all, open and innocent.

I am the prayer and the request
Of a little girl in a silent church, believing against all odds in what may come.

Cut me, I bleed.
Love me, I live.

The Beaver

My guest map is wonderful ! And you'd all be wonderful to post, all of you lurk mode readers!
Thanks and may the winds of Fate blow your way !