Algeria, Jan 2014: An Account of my Two Week Sojourn in the Company of Sofian Mihoub. Part IV: Taghit

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THIS IS MY VOICE. THESE ARE MY THOUGHTS. THIS IS MY BLOG.

I can’t recall how exactly we located our new lodgings in Taghit. As I mentioned before, I was happy to entrust the logistics to the others. Apparently Mustaffa, the restaurant owner, had arranged things. We were to stay in the house of a local man a few kilometres north of the town. Like a typical desert inhabitant he had a dark complexion. He was slight of stature and it was hard to gauge from his neutral expression how pleased he was having us inhabit his home. I was unsure how much we were paying but Sofian assured me that the price was negotiated beforehand. The house was a modern structure, one of half a dozen or so on either side of a dusty street beyond which was a large expanse of dusty flat-land and the main road from town. He ushered us into a medium-sized living room where we would be sleeping. It had…

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Algeria Jan 2014: An Account of my Two Week Sojourn in the Company of Sofian Mihoub. Part III: Into the Desert

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THIS IS MY VOICE. THESE ARE MY THOUGHTS. THIS IS MY BLOG.

Whilst I can by no means call myself a seasoned traveller I think I can honestly refer to myself as a seasoned commuter. It is somewhat ironic because for quite some time I hated travelling away from home. I suppose there are reasons for that but life today necessitates travel and there wasn’t any escaping it. The first time I travelled on a commercial airliner I was absolutely petrified. That was only a regional flight between Harare and Johannesburg en route to Port Elizabeth and university. A year later I was on a trans-continental flight to visit my aunt and uncle in Singapore and I vowed it would be the last time, but a considerable number of flights later I could finally breathe easier at altitude without feeling that strange and panicky detachment from the world below. I had even come to enjoy peering out at the unfolding view below: snow-capped…

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Algeria Dec 2013: An Account of my Two Week Sojourn in the Company of Sofian Mihoub. Part II: Around Ain Oulmene and Sétif

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THIS IS MY VOICE. THESE ARE MY THOUGHTS. THIS IS MY BLOG.

Despite the determination of the taxi driver to get us to Sétif in no time at all once we were out of the main traffic around the capital I could breath a little easier and even enjoy some of the surrounding scenery. Particularly impressive were the snow-clad peaks of a range of mountains to the north which Sofian referred to as Berberland. I remember arriving in Sétif around nightfall. Sofian had mentioned something about a football match that we might try and watch on arrival. I had just nodded, quite happy for him to set the agenda. As it happened the city stadium was right opposite the coach station and main taxi rank. I was immediately aware of the dazzling floodlighting and the chanting of the local supporters. By the look of things the ground was filled to capacity and there was a crowd of hopefuls at the entrance across the…

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Algeria Dec 2013: An Account of my Two Week Sojourn in the Company of Sofian Mihoub. Part I: Algiers

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I must confess it was something of a relief to be leaving England on Boxing Day, 2013. Much of the countryside had been inundated by the incessant rain of the week leading up to Christmas. Although the temperatures had been mild for the most part, the rain literally put a dampener on most activities. It was living up to its colloquial name marvellously well: mud island. I jetted out of Gatwick Airport at a modest 0930 hrs (we had been delayed an hour by the shear amount of baggage the Algerian-dominated passenger contingent was trying to take aboard) and I took this shot with my phone – in flight mode of course – looking west along the southern coast of the UK just to the east of the port city of Southampton..