Friday, 31 December 2010


Short update:
End of September: a Russian passport was issued to me, first in my life!
Beginning of October: flew to Russia, Voronezh, where I am staying now with my mother.
Will stay here for a couple of more months.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

La Palma, Canary Islands

La Palma is the furthest island from Africa. View on Los Llamos:
Panoramic view of the opposite direction:
I am standing here. Bananas plantations are everywhere. Very well developed system of collecting rainwater in winter and storing it in huge reservoirs.
Bought local sim-card in post office, with difficulties: one has to be able to speak Spanish - or else.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

On the road again

After 6 weeks here I left Düsseldorf in heavy rain, took three pictures within 5 minutes while flying over Biaritz, South of France, Atlantic coast:


Spanish side of the coast:

After arriving and settling, a view in front of me:

And behind:

Where am I?

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Germany, Neuss

Neuss is not a bad place. River Rhine is between Neuss and Düsseldorf:
Park in the center of the city:
Occasional celebrations:
People take care of health and pleasures of their pets:
They have even foreign tourists here. This one comes from Belgium, probably:

Friday, 2 July 2010


Wow! I am impressed. It is better than I expected. European standards or higher. Unlike the rest of SE Asia - tap water is safe, clean streets, efficiency... It is almost as expensive as in Europe. No homeless people - every Singaporean has, if needs to be, subsidised flat. And a free wi-fi with 100% coverage (foreigners have to pay though). All in all - the beauty of a small state, which does not have to run big projects like bombing other states (aka - peace keeping :) or sending a man to the Mars.

United we are big and strong! Divided we are small and happy!

You do not see trains coming and going (too dangerous, you might fall :) Instead, you wait in front of a glassed wall, and when a train is there - doors in a wall and of a train open simultaneously.

Panorama view of a bay area:

Flight to Bangkok, then to Düsseldorf. Back to my village - something is strange here: it is 8pm on Saturday - and not a person in sight! Very un-Asian like...

Sunday, 27 June 2010


It is raining here, surfers don't mind it, 30°C:

Same spot several hours later:

I was quicker with my camera than this rat:

Notice overcrowded bemo (minibus) and hight-tech horse:


I was happily sitting on a beach watching an old woman and a boy dragging a huge sack, thinking, "What a good boy helping his grandma" when she suddenly emptied it right in front of me, it was household rubbish. Although by now I hardly notice this kind of things in Asia, I was caught unaware and felt offended, took a picture of them and walked away.

On the same topic: I saw a dried out river several km away full (20-30 tons) of rubbish, to my question who is going to deal with it, reply came: waiting for a big rain.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Leaving Lombok

James from Bristol, finished school, secured his place in university (soon to be a star architect!) and went travelling (already 8 months on the road), mainly in India and China. Respect.

We've got guns, and they - horses:


Tomorrow am heading to the south of Bali, Kuta, to spend last three days of Indonesia's visa. Expecting loads of tourists, great night time - in short: not my thing :)

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Lombok 1

This is a huge wedding procession with musicians and dancers. The bride is under the first umbrella, the groom is somewhere under the second one:

A local village in a picturesque settings, zoom in into lower part and you see a common Asian problem, and I am not talking about that boy there :)

An eccentric (as Lonely Planet calls him) New Zealander, Husin Abdullah (in previous life: Gavin Birch) has been living here for the last 25 years and fighting for the environment ever since. Losing battle, if you ask me...

And around tourists a sort of mafia style infrastructure has emerged. In other parts of Asia you have to fight for a fair price if you want to go from A to B, but if they realise that you know the price - they will give it to you. Not so in Lombok - either you pay what they demand or you are not going to get to B.

My neighbours, a Spanish couple, had this experience: on a ferry here they got to know a local man who offered to take them to Singigi (50km) for free. As they were navigating out of parking lot they were surrounded by a group of angry men demanding Spanish out of the car and making threats to the driver. In this particular case they managed to drive away safely. I paid.

If you want to clime the highest mountain here, Rinjani (3726m), regulations are (or so they claim) - you have to have a local guide. Who only available to you if you pay $100 per head, and there are usually four of us in a group. (Remember Hita from Lake Toba, her husband, a fisherman, is earning $50 per month). If you talk privately to a guide (who is getting a small fraction of this bonanza) he would have loved to do it for us and charge us much less, but it is not possible. Is it against regulation? - No. Why don't we just do it then? - Not possible. Indeed, nobody wants to upset that big fat guy...

Unrelated story: a Swiss guy buys two hotels, hires two managers and goes back to Europe. A year later when profits stopped showing up he comes to investigate and finds that he does not have any hotels. His ownership has been transferred to other people. He is still around, fighting his case in courts, good luck to him...

But all that is under the bonnet. The façade, and you have to agree with me, is beautiful :)


Took a ferry to 25km away island Lombok. View from Lombok at the Bali's highest mountain, Agung (3142m):

Rented a motorbike and did some sight seeings:

Two lines of fishermen are pulling a net out of a sea:

This one is trying his luck on his own:

This is real life, not a tourist attraction:

Bali, on the road

Children flying kites, quite common picture:

Family business. Mother is serving customers (I am the next in line), the girl is doing dishes, the boy is sticking pieces of meat on wooden sticks, everything is not very hygienic but one gets used to it after a couple months

Eleven live pigs:

Sunday, 6 June 2010

North-East of Bali

Only south of Bali is overpopulated, the rest is beautiful.

Rice Fields:

Black Beaches:

Around this bat cave is built Goa Lawah Temple:

North of Bali

Hired motorbike for 3 days and went around the island. Lake Batur:

Similar origin to lake Toba, water sits in a part of a crator - not all around the central caldera as in Toba.

Besakih Temple:

Biggest temple in Bali. View from above:

Just one of numerous roadside temples:


When on Lake Toba I noticed that the Sun behaves "oddly" - to follow it during the day I have to be turning anti-clock wise, not clock wise like I was doing it my whole life. Aha, I thought, that is what you get when you are below equator - except that I was not, I was still a couple of degrees above it.
I looked into it and learned the relevance of Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, I was aware of their existence and the place on the map of Earth but did not know what they were all about. Now I do :)

If you are curious - click on Wikipedia article.

Now that I am below equator - at night I see above me Southern Cross, not Big Polar Bear.

Friday, 4 June 2010


I didn't do my home work, as usual, and didn't know what to expect to find here. I was pleasantly surprised. Miner inconveniences: lots of tourists (I have been warned) and rain (which I learned to appreciate with the time). The rest is just wonderful. The whole town is a living museum and an art gallery. How can a small place like this have so many temples? And art galleries? (Well, the answer to the latter could be: tourists). All this drives the quality up and the whole thing got its own momentum (inertia) - a new building has to be fancy, even a cheap guest house has artfully finished doors and windows, garden layouts is given a thought...

Enormous tree:

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

From Lake Toba to Bali

It took me just over 24 hours (two flights, one boat, 7 buses).

Last look at the lake from the bus:

And inside the bus:

This little fellow had a beautiful voice, his songs reminded me of what I often heard in Philippines, tunes sounded a little bit sad, and when asked what a song was about - their reply usually confirmed the connection between a content and a form.

It is normal picture here: evening, 10-15 men, light alcohol or grass, 2-3 guitars and songs non-stop till midnight.

Quite different to what a group of men do in other parts of the world, my imagination flies high :)

Friday, 28 May 2010

Lake Toba

Climbed on a mountain, panoramic view from there:

Village Tuk-Tuk is on this peninsula:

View from my hotel:

View on my hotel:

Sunset with Tuk-Tuk on foreground:

HP, Vadim, Veronica, Erny and Steve live here:

Waiting for a boat right now to fly to Bali. Will be on the road for about 24 hours. Till then!