• Nairobi for a while August 16th, 2011

    When a nervous voice at the other end of the line said he had my stolen hard-drive I thought I was on the road to recovering it. That was two weeks ago, shortly after arriving in Nairobi. Well I left yesterday and there is still no sign of it. The anonymous caller, whose name I managed to confirm, put the phone down on me after I told him where it could be safely deposited. I explained the reward (a substantial amount and far more than the hard-drive could ever be sold for) would be paid if it was still intact. He thought I was trying to set him up. When I called back the phone was switched off. It’s been that way since. Deeply frustrating. I sent text messages to reiterate my word. Still nothing. Perhaps when I’m long gone something will surface.

  • Lost Jungle: Into the interior August 28th, 2010

    ‘If you cross this line you may be engaged by fire’, read the sign behind the barbed wire fence. It was almost dark and I had no idea where to sleep the night. “Salaam Aleikum”, I called out to a soldier looking down at me from a watchtower. “Aleikum Salaam” came the reply.

    I was outside a Pakistani UN compound some 120km from Monrovia and looking for a safe spot to pitch my tent. A short distance back down the road the overweight proprietress of a roadside restaurant had refused me permission to camp, preferring instead that I take a room. The place had no electricity or running water. She wanted $50 and wasn’t very interested in bargaining.

  • Poolside in Monrovia August 12th, 2010

    “To the casual visitor at any rate Monrovia is a more pleasant city than Freetown. Freetown is like an old trading port that has been left to rot along the beach, it is a spectacle of decay. But Monrovia is like a beginning.” (Graham Greene: Journey without maps)