Blogs of the World

Suzanne et Pierre à Paris blog

View of the Grand Boulevard by Suzanne Levasseur

Suzanne Levasseur and Pierre Richer are originally from Abitibi and Montreal (Canada) although they lived in Toronto for 25 years. One day they decided go on an adventure and start a new life in Paris, France. They started their blog as a means of communicating with their friends and family and documenting their new life. Suzanne et Pierre à Paris is a bilingual blog. Each post is written in French and in English for the benefit of their family members and friends who speak those languages.

The Suzanne et Pierre à Paris blog is divided into five user-friendly categories:1) Vie à Paris / Life in Paris, 2) Les quartiers / Districts, 3) Les Environs / Ouside 4) Voyages / Trips and 5) Preparation. They help the reader navigate the blog and follow Suzanne and Pierre’s preparations for the big adventure, know about their daily life in Paris, go with them (virtually) on the trips they take and get to know the beautiful city of Paris: its quartiers (neighbourhoods) and beyond. They also publish beautiful photos on their Flickr account.

 

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Neha: from Mumbai to Zagreb

Brazilian Paradise blog

West of Buenos Aires blog

 

 

 

 

October 23, 2012 Comments disabled

From our contributors: week of October 8

Curious to read what our contributors write on their blogs? Here’s a few examples.

A view of the river Krishna at Wai

Mike, our contributor from Japan, muses on the nature of islands on Photo and a question: what is an island?

This photo was taken today, on the northeast coast of Okinawa, Japan.
There’s way too much information on the world wide web.
Some folks say an these things have to be at least two acres in size, to be considered an island .
Otherwise, they are just a rock.
Liz, our contributor from Australia, shares her impressions on a neighbourhood cafe: Brunch with a twist at Runcible Spoon, Camperdown
I have fallen in love with Runcible Spoon, a cafe hideaway with a quirky name taken from a whimsical line in Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussycat (‘they dined on mince and slices of quince which they ate with a runcible spoon’).
Anu, our contributor from India, describes her visit to Wai, its river and its temples on Wai – An image of Kashi in the heart of Maharashtra
Our first visit to Wai was by chance. We were on the way to Satara, to attend a festival at the temple there. I was then pregnant, and my tendency to throw up on the road was higher than normal, which led to frequent stops on the highway. One such unscheduled stop found us near a board that said, ‘Wai – 10Km’. My father-in-law suddenly remembered a visit he had made to the area almost half a century ago, on his first job in the PWD
We took a cruise around Lake Buchanan (pronounced buhk hăn uhn). Our guide, Miss Candy, a retired teacher from the area, helped us spot some local wildlife, such as egrets or ospreys. She shared very interesting information about the history of the manmade lake. We hopped off the boat to visit the ruins of Bluffton, a town that was submerged in 1937 when the Buchanan Dam was built. There wasn’t a lot to see; however, her narration was captivating.
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October 9, 2012 Comments disabled

From our contributors: week of September 24

Anu, our contributor from India, wrote about the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Mumbai:

The ten day Ganesh Chaturthi celebration is one festival celebrated by one and all, at least in Mumbai. Rich or poor, the devout bring the Lord home, and spend the ten days immersed in the festivities – offering prayers, enjoying the offerings, or maybe just taking in the sights and sounds of the festival.

DeeBee, our contributor from France, published a post about the Journées du Patrimoine – Heritage Days in France.

The Journées du Patrimoine were created in 1984 by the Ministry of Culture and are since held annually during the third weekend of September. More than fifteen thousand historic sites and monuments are open to the public for just two days. This is a wonderful opportunity to discover places normally closed to the public.

Ski, our contributor from Hong Kong, wrote about a visit to the Kowloon Walled City and the feelings it conjured.

On my very first visit to Kowloon Walled City Park, I thought it was nothing more than a man-made garden. However beautiful it may be, it felt fake and commercial. Compared to the streets across, where old buildings and memories of the old Kai Tak Airport remain, Kowloon Walled City Park did not seem to be a place that was worth spending time on.

It was not a well-planned trip as I had no idea what to expect and hence did not know what to look out for. As ignorant as I could be, I knew absolutely nothing about the history on Kowloon Walled City, apart from the fact that it used to be a Chinese Fort, following British’s occupation of Hong Kong Island.

Ana, our contributing editor, posted a photo essay about the Japanese Gardens of Buenos Aires (Argentina)

 

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From our contributors: week of September 4

From our contributors: week of August 20

From our contributors: week of August 6

 

September 25, 2012 Comments disabled

Rewired and Retired in Nicaragua Blog

 

Debbie and her husband made a life-changing decision: they chose to leave the United States and retire in Nicaragua. Quite  adventure! I asked Debbie how it came about:

Volcano Maderas in the background (photo credit: Debbie Goehring)

My husband and I delivered over 500 lbs. of school supplies to an impoverished school in Nicaragua in 2003. Because of that one little act, our lives were changed forever. We had searched the world for over 15 years looking for a retirement spot that would meet our individual needs. People have always come first, and our quest was over when we met the generous, vivacious, and passionate nicaragüenses.

In 2004, we returned to Ometepe Island, rented a small beach shack in a local community and delved into the mysterious world of cultural immersion. Our grand experiment for a year, which I call ‘pretirement’, answered most of our questions about living abroad.

We returned to the States with the goal to become debt free, take early retirement from our teaching jobs, and move permanently back to Ometepe Island. We had hoped to accomplish our goals in three years, instead it took five years.

I was curious to know how easy (or difficult) it was for them to adapt to a new home in a foreign culture.

Adaptation…ahh…the story of our lives on Ometepe Island. We are challenged daily…the motto I have is “Expect the unexpected.” Without an opportunity to ‘pretire’ for a year on the island, I doubt that we would have been so successful in our adaptations. We returned to the states knowing exactly what we needed and wanted to make a comfortable nest on a small, primitive island, in the middle of an enormous lake, in the middle of Nicaragua, in the middle of Central America.

If I were to list the top three things all expats need to adapt to a multitude of changes they would be: 1. Learn the language of your host country 2. Take a month or possibly a year, to see if this country truly meets your needs before buying a house or land.  3. Be patient, get to know your neighbors, and always live without expectations.

It’s a learning process, take it slow. :-)

Debbie writes about their experiences and travels, the local culture, retiring abroad and a lot more on her blog Rewired and Retired in Nicaragua. Her posts are clear, informative and well researched. Are you curious to know about the cost of living on Omatepe Island? About Nicaraguan history? Or what daily life is like over there? Then head over to Rewired and Retired in Nicaragua to find the answers and   comprehensive resource list.

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A Conversation with Joan

Costa Rican Annual Pilgrimage to Honor “La Negrita”

A Polish in Love with Costa Rica

 

September 18, 2012 Comments disabled

Biking from Tunisia to China for Wetland Conservation

This article was first published on GlobalVoices on September 7, 2012

Seven months ago, Arafet Ben Marzou, a 31-year-old Tunisian who graduated from a Biological and Environmental Engineering School, gave up his job as a university teacher and decided to pursue his childhood dream - traveling from Tunisia to China on a bike.

He started his journey in Tunisia and crossed the Mediterranean sea to Istanbul. He cycled through Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. He is now in Xinjiang, China.

Ben Marzou has been providing updates about his trip through his Facebook page Tabba’ani (translated as “follow me” from the Tunisian dialect). On August 30, he wrote:

in china… alive.. i will update soon :) ))

Xinjiang, China photo via Facebook page Follow Me

This travel project, entitled Wet-bike[fr], comes within the framework of an environmental battle for the conservation of wetlands and their resources. Ben Marzou’s West Asia bike tour from one Ramsar site to another aims at raising awareness about the human and environmental value of wetlands and the dangers that threaten such areas. Ramsar sites are wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

Photo taken in Azerbaijan. Via Ben Marzou's Facebook page Follow Me.

On February, 2, the day Ben Marzou hit the road, the World Wildlife Fund Tunis office wrote [fr]:

Pour cette initiative le message transmis est principalement un message d’une dimension humaine et environnementale.
A travers ce périple, il essayerai entre autres de porter une réflexion autour des lacs et des zones humides, et ceci par le partage des photos, vidéos, le contact des gens sur place et le partage de leurs expériences…

This initiative’s message is mainly of a human and environmental dimension. Through this trek, he [Ben Marzou] will try to reflect on lakes and wetland areas, by sharing photos, videos and by getting in touch with local peoples and sharing their experiences…

Challenges

To make his dream come true, Ben Marzou came face to face with several challenges which he shared via his Facebook page. On July 26, he said:

encore la.. pour le malheur de la route qui reste :) )) , des aventures a couper le souffle.. encore en Afghanistan et encore a velo.. merci pour vos messages touchants et sympa, hamdoullah tout va bien, traverser le Hidu kush a becane etait un fort challenge, 5 jours, 120 km et 3400 m d’altitude, sinon je suis quelques part entre kabul et Mazar-sherif

I’m still here..for the remaining road misfortunes :) )), breathtaking adventures..I’m still biking in Afghanistan…thanks for your moving and compassionate messages. Praise to God, everything is fine. Crossing the Hindu Kush [a long mountain range that stretches between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan] was a big challenge: 5 days, 120 km, and an altitude of 3,400 meters. Otherwise, I’m somewhere between Kabul and Mazar Sharif

Fortunately, Ben Marzou did not fall hostage to the Taliban. He was rather welcomed to spend the night in an Afghani viallge. Photo via Ben Marzou's Facebook page

One week earlier he shared tips to follow in case he was detained by the Taliban:

Première leçon enseignée dictée et ordonné par les militaires afghans, en cas où je tombe en otage par les talibans, il ne faut en aucun cas parler en anglais, l’arabe peux être très utile, ta religion peux aussi te sauver, si tu arrives à leur faire expliquer que t’es musulman avant qu’ils te tirent dessus, t’a une chance de survivre…

The first lesson given, dictated and ordered by Afghani soldiers: in case I am taken hostage by the Taliban, under no circumstances should I speak in English. Arabic could be very useful. My religion could also save me. If I succeed explaining to them that I’m a Muslim before they shoot at me, I would have a survival chance…

On August 5, he reported [fr]:

la route du Pamir est fermee… cela complique d’avantage le trajet :/ cette incroyable route qui traverse les Himalaya a travers le tajikistan et le kyrgyzestan est temporairement fermee… des affrontement avec les talibans en cause… pour ma part je serai reellement en impasse..
des suggestions..??

Pamir road [a road which crosses the Pamir Mountains through Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia] is closed…this further complicates the journey :/ this incredible road which crosses the Himalayas through Tajikistan and Kyrgystan is temporarily closed…owing to clashes with the Taliban…for me this represents a real dead-end. Any suggestions?

On August 10, he disclosed the greatest challenge he faced during this venture [fr]:

je crois que, plus que tout, le vrai challenge dans cette aventure, c’est le fait d’affronter le blocus administratif et reglementaire de ces ex-republiques sovietiques avec mon cher passeport Tunisien

I believe that more than any other thing, the real challenge in this adventure is confronting the administrative and regulatory blockade imposed by former Soviet countries with my dear Tunisian passport

Ben Marzou cycling in Afghanistan. Photo via Facebook page Follow Me

Iran: First encounter with Shia Islam

Shia shrine in Iran

On his Facebook page, Ben Marzou shared with his fans once in a life time experiences, and lessons he learned from this seven month-long journey. As I neither have the space nor the energy to translate all of Ben Marzou’s interesting stories, I decided to share with Global Voices readers his Iran journey.

In Iran, Ben Marzou, who comes from a predominantly Sunni Muslim country, encountered Shia Islam. Some differences in beliefs and practices, between the two major Islam sects sometimes led to sectarian violence in countries like Iraq, and Lebanon.

On July 16, he published the following post:

Et c’est la fin d’une aventure persane qui a duré 70 jours, 700 km de vélo et plusieurs milliers de km de route, c’est une des étapes les plus intenses dont je me rappellerai toujours, ce grand pays plein de contrastes, plein de vie et de désir, je me rappellerai toujours de cette hospitalité inégalable, de cet amour du partage, « almousafér 7abibou allah » tel croient les descendants d’Ali…

Ce fut aussi ma première rencontre avec le chiisme, que loin de toute comparaison inutile je respecte…

«T’es chiite ou sunnite » c’est une des questions qui s’est fréquemment posée
« Je suis musulman tout court » tel était ma réponse,

Et là curieusement, et presque toujours, un grand sourire se dessine sur le visage de mon interlocuteur…

It is the end of a Persian experience which lasted 70 days, 700km on bike, and thousands more kilometers driving. It is one of the most intense stages, which I will always remember. A large country [Iran], full of contrasts, of life, and desire. I will always remember this incomparable hospitality, and this love to share. “The traveller is the Beloved of God”, that is how Ali’s descendants think…[In Shia Islam Ali is regarded as the rightful successor of Prophet Muhammad]

It was my first encounter with Shia Islam, which away from any useless comparison I do respect(…)
“Are you a Shia or a Sunni Muslim?” was one of the frequently asked questions.
“I’m just a Muslim,” I would answer.
Then strangely, and almost always a big smile takes shape on the face of the person addressing me…

 

Written by Afef Abrougui

 

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Tour de France 2012 in Souillac in south-west France

The Best Commute in the World

Bicycle culture (and subculture) in the USA

September 11, 2012 1 comment

From our contributors: week of September 4

This is what some of our contributors have been doing in their personal blogs. Have a read!

Galtaji, Jaipur

Mike, our contributor from Japan, published a post about the papaya tree: Tree Photos: Papaya the Tree That’s Good for Your Health

“Today I’m just posting a few photos of papaya trees to give you an example of the size. The tree in the photo above is too tall for me to pick the fruits without using a ladder. y first papaya tree must have been ten meters (30ft) tall when it had fruits ready to pick.”

Anu, our contributor from India, wrote an account of her visit to the Galtaji temple in Jaipur, which  she complemented with great photos.

This is not among the more popular tourist places in Jaipur. It is more of a pilgrim place, and a favourite among locals. Since we visited Jaipur as guests of a local family, they decided to give us a tour of the city… or rather; to places that they thought, we would enjoy seeing the most. First on their list was the temple of Galtaji. Honestly, I had no idea such a temple existed. In fact, I had never thought that I would visit temples while in Jaipur!! However, this temple turned out to be a surprise in more ways than one!”

Ana, our contributing editor from Argentina, wrote a post about the Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas

It is possible to walk on the footsteps of dinosaurs in Texas. Really. At the Dinosaur Valley State Park, located in Glen Rose, about ninety miles southwest of Dallas. We went there on a late summer day and had a T-Rex of a time! (Bad joke alert.)

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September 4, 2012 Comments disabled