Archives for category: Travel

Black-Crowned-Crane-flying-700x3501.jpgJust arrived home after a three day safari at the Pendjari game park in the north of Benin. Lions, elephants, hippos, crocs yes, but the highlight for me was seeing a flock of 97 black crowned cranes – a threatened species – soaring overhead.

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Just got back from Tanguieta (Benin) where I was staying with my good friends Carl and Ursula,  and researching the best way of writing contour tones in Nateni with Esaïe, one of the Bible translators. After 25 years work, the New Testament is now complete and will be dedicated later this year. Spot the African grey parrot in the background.20180125_162214.jpg

… the security guard at Gatwick Airport greets you with “Hello, my darling!”

Down here in Cornwall, you’re more likely to be addressed as “my lover” or “my hansum”. And all this in a culture with a reputation for being reserved.

At the port in Lomé looking for second hand cars…

Me: This car has a higher mileage than the other one you just showed me.

Salesman: That’s not a problem, I can easily set it to zero for you.

Nagoya to Kyoto is the same distance as London to Bristol. The journey by bullet train takes 30 minutes and there’s a departure every ten minutes.

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This retreat has been partly prompted by reading a couple of books about the Life of Tenzin Palmo, the Englishwoman who became a Buddhist nun and spent twelve years as a hermit in a Himalayan cave. Game-changing books that, among many other things, helped me understand that Buddhist meditation techniques do not presuppose any particular belief system.

Tenzin Palmo

 

Writing from Kyoto this time where I’m enjoying 3-day retreat at the Myoshinji Daishin-in Buddhist temple. So much of what goes on here is familiar to me from my experience in Benedictine monasteries: prayer at dawn, sparsely furnished rooms, silent meals, generous hospitality, well-tended gardens, encounters with like-minded guests, space to listen…

Daishin-in

… having crossed the Sahara, the Mediterranean, the Bay of Biscay and the Channel in brilliant sunshine and blue skies, the plane begins its descent into a thick England-shaped cloud that exactly fits the contours of the coastline. Bill Bryson called it our tupperware lid.
But the fields of Sussex are green like nowhere else.

This article accurately describes one aspect of life here in West Africa.

 

After five long months of paper-chasing, form filling, photocopies, telephone calls, photo booths and waiting rooms, I’ve just been awarded a three year Togolese residency permit. No more visa hunting until I’m 60. Yippee!