Archive for French Guiana

birds of Kaw [jatp]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2022 by xi'an


a journal of the plague year³ [lazy we]

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Travel, University life, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2022 by xi'an

Had the opportunity [Xmas gift!] to visit the Botticelli exhibit at the Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris. Besides the sheer beauty of the paintings, while is timeless, I was also impressed by the activity of Botticelli as an entrepreneur and designer, declining his signature on different media and delegating part of the realisation to employees. Read the beginning of the third volume of Raven’s mark, Crowfall, but could not complete the book as the story was terrible and the main character mostly disintegrated (both literally and scenario-wise). Too bad that an initially great if grim universe construction could not keep up till the end. (Involving deities is always risky in this branch of the literature!) Also read another BD taking place near Cayenne and other places we visited, if in the 18th Century.

Watched over a lazy weekend two several admittedly terrible movies whose only appeal was watching in the vernarcular, Major Grom: Plague Doctor, and Minnal Murali. Also was rather disappointed by Don’t look up, because I found the satire too heavy-handed. And hence failing to engage readers about the sloth pace of governments and influencers to face the climate crisis, favouring futile or immediate concerns (as shown by French gilets jaunes putting la fin du mois above la fin du monde, or UK media cycling on BoJo’s partygate when Russia is about to invade Ukraine!). I also presumably missed most of the US-centric undercurrents.

a journal of the plague year³ [beginning of the end?]

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2022 by xi'an

Made my first trip to Warwick this year despite the travel restrictions imposed by the omnipresent Omicron version. My flights got repeatedly cancelled, meaning I had to fly through Schipol (thanks for the Gouda cumin cheese and stroopwafelen!) and leave at more-than-early hours (even by my standards!). But had more conversations than usual, plus delivered my lecture masked-face-to-masked-face to 19 Warwick students, the first time in 709 days!

Read [in French] the two BDs of Milo Manara on Michelangelo [Merisi or Amerighi da] Caravaggio, which was a Xmas gift!, with as always great in the large scale and character drawings, if not Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro, but less in the scenario, esp. the second part and even more esp. given the agitated life of the artist. And another BD taking place in Cayenne, in 1742, whose drawings also appear in local guides.

Watched 14 Peaks: Nothing is impossible on Netflix, following Nepalese mountaineer Nirmal Purja [of Everest jam fame!] and his team as they manage to climb all 14 eight thousander peaks over 6 months. Including Shishapangma in Tibet, with the added hardship to procure a climbing permit from Chinese authorities for that mountain. The documentary focuses a wee bit too much on Purja’s persona and not enough on the team of sherpas and on the climb itself. Except for the summitings there is very little about the technical difficulties of each summit and the hardships and failed attempts. For instance, the amazing feat of first installing fixed ropes for all 14 summits is only alluded to. Despite reservations about the use of supplementary oxygen (without which, as stressed by Messner, the attempt of climbing all 8000ers in one season would have proved truly impossible and suicidal) and heliporting from one base camp to another, the enormity of the achievement of this team of sherpas remains a monument in the climbing world. (Even only considering that Everest, Lhotse and Makalu were climbed in two days total!)

Guiana impressions [#2]

Posted in Kids, Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2022 by xi'an

As in other oversea French territories, Guiana is a mix of reproduction of some metropolitan features (e.g., the postoffice, the gendarmerie, the signage, the large malls with French brands like Carrefour and the same products as here, the many boulangeries) and of local specificities or idiosyncrasies (e.g., very well maintained roadsides, haphazard garbage collection, convenience stores overwhelmingly operated by people of Chinese descent, hardly any regulation on guns, hunting, or bushmeat for non-protected species). Car wrecks are left along the roads, while the driving code there reminded me of the 80’s! Meaning risky overtakes, moppets with no lights and moppet drivers with no helmet. I also drove there possibly the worst ride of my life, over the 50km between Roura and the harbour on Kaw marshes, as the formally (or formerly?) paved D6 road is littered with potholes that are rarely avoidable and often quite deep. The drive back in the night, the rain and the fog was a nightmare!

We visited the launching site of ESA, Kourou, an impressive structure over a huge territory. But missed the James Webb launch by six hours, only catching the exhaust fumes of the rocket when we were approaching Cayenne (after a rather uncomfortable flight between a massive and man-spreading left neighbour and a reclining-to-the-max front neighbour). And missed a jaguar crossing the road by being in the “wrong” ESA bus! (Unless this is a usual line of the tour guide.)

As Amazon France does not truly work in French Amazonia (another idiosyncrasy!), for obvious cost and delay resaons, bookstores in cities like Cayenne and Kourou are terrific and hopefully standing a better chance of surviving. When we spent an hour in La Case à Bulles, the place was crowded! (As I forgot my regular Olympus camera at home, I would have loved to get Amazon delivery. Instead I bought a basic Kodak camera from the local supermarket, which returned most of these blah pictures before the batteries prematurely died.)

in the marshes of Kaw (2) [jatp]

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , on January 22, 2022 by xi'an

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