March 01, 2018

Lope National Park

I totally expected to see elephants. We drove around the park for 4 hours and saw none.  Other than the beautiful scenery, the park was basically a waste of time, not only driving around it, but also the day drive on dusty, bumpy roads to get there and return.  West African park are clearly inferior to East and South African game parks. 

Exciting town...

Game drive...

We did see this bird however. 

Beautiful scenery...

Oh yeah, we also saw this water buffalo.

And a few more water buffalo from a distance....

Kids outside the park walking home from school. 

February 28, 2018

Lope Hotel near National Park

We travel a 100k at 12k per hour or a total of 8 hours to get to Lope National Park.  The dirt road was extremely bumpy and dusty. Then it took another 8  hours to return to the main road. Basically we wasted two days driving.  The hotel near the park was very nice, but empty, mostly because the park wasn't that exciting.  Why drive all that distance for nothing? I don't know.  At least the scenery was nice though. 

February 27, 2018

Made it to Gabon

We made it to Gabon and this country is very lush and beautiful, except there isn't much to do...

It rains a lot in Gabon.

My third time crossing the equator.  Pervious countries where I have crossed it are Kenya in 1985 and Ecuador in 2008. 

Beautiful Sunset

Another "bush" camp...

February 24, 2018

Yaounde, Cameroon

When traveling with a group, the itinerary is pre-specifed and often include place one would not pick individually.  Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, is one of those places. There wasn't much here that I wanted to see, so I visited two museums. 

My tour guide was excellent. A larger portion of the museum was dedicated towards politics, history and economics. I asked a lot of questions. He was able to satisfactory answer all of them.  The highlight of the tour was learning more about the current Anglophone and Francophone conflict, and it's origins. The tour took about 2.5 hrs. 

No photos were allowed in the museum, which was very frustrating. Photos were allow outside only. There was barely anything outside, except a few brass sculptures. 

Blackitude Museum was okay, nothing great. 

Blackitude limits the number of picture one can take. Only two pictures are allowed. WTF?

The Blackitude Museum is a private museum created in 2000 by Her Majesty Queen Nana Agnes who is the founder after receiving the important part of the collection from her father who was the traditional ruler of the Western Region in Cameroon.

February 22, 2018

Kribi, Cameroon

River trip...

Visiting a local pygmy village with Stefano and Conall. Like really? A human zoo?

A local pygmy (yes, the visit was a bit weird!)

The Chinese built this huge four lane bride about a kilometer from the historical pygmy village.  Yup really. 

Where freshwater pours into the salty ocean: lobe waterfalls. Tourist attractions are in West Africa. More evidence.

Before (above) and after (below)... They suggested we order the freshwater shrimp. We wouldn't order them unless they proved it was alive.  

a bottle boat

February 20, 2018

Pierogi Dinner Night

Since all four grandparents emigrated from Poland, we still keep the Polish tradition of making and feasting on pierogies every x-mas eve.  This year I miss that tradition because I was traveling.  Instead, Marijka who also traditionally make pierogies every year with her friends at home, decide we'd make them for the group dinner. 

The big difference was we make them over a campfire. It took about 4.5 hrs to make 100 pierogies. We needed the assistance of the other group members, otherwise it would have taken a lot longer.  They turned out well. Everybody, especially those who like potatoes, enjoyed them.

The Economic Cycle - It's Fairly Predictable

  • approaching full employment (4.7% January 2018) 
  • wages raise
  • tighter job market (if immigration is limited, even tighter job market)
  • economy begins to overheat
  • inflation rises over target rates 
  • higher interest costs 
  • stronger dollar 
  • decrease exports (plus abandoned TPP and NAFTA)
  • cost of foreign goods increase
  • more inflation
  • tax cuts and increased spending (plus positionally infrastructure stimulus) - never appropriate for a strong economy
  • more inflation and overheating of the economy 
  • fed increases interest rates sharply 
  • economy heads into a recession 
The hard part is the timing of this cycle, plus anticipating and including any unforeseeable exogenous factors. 

Why I don't watch films anymore

There was a time in my life when I would watch as many as five films in a single day. Now I rarely watch them.

Why I don’t watch films any more...

1. The internet has stolen the elements of time and space once limited to film and TV.
2. Watching films was a form of escapism for me, but now I escape through my travels.
3. Learning the formula for films, ruined watching films for me.
4. Long form TV is superior to films.

Travel Musings

Aren’t you afraid you’ll ruin your career by taking time off to travel? Nope, I don’t want a career. I’d rather travel.

I purchase T-shirts from placed I visited, so people will see them and ask "Did you go there?". And I can responded "Yup?"

I'm almost always 99% happy when I travel. So why not travel.

Traveling is spiritual.

A predisposed genetic proclivity for happiness and optimism is priceless

Life makes a lot more sense when looking back and reflecting  on it, than it does living it.

Why I travel?

Why do I travel? To falsify my personal "conventional wisdom".  Historically, falsifying my "conventional wisdom" has been enlightening.  I enjoy being enlightened.

Granted, falsifying "conventional wisdom" isn't for everybody. Toppling some peoples’s beliefs can topple them. It can destroy them. If you were told as a child that God exist and he dictated the bible to humans. Then later come to realize that humans wrote the bible themselves and created a God to believe in. It could be devastating.

Falsification is the basis of science.  As a student of science, when I first read Karl Popper’s “falsification theory” it resonated with me profoundly. Falsification is synonymous to testability. He simply illustrates the concept by stating "all swans are white, until a black swan appears". In retrospect, the statement "all swans are white" is not true. It hasn't been falsified. Falsification strives for questioning, for falsification, of hypotheses instead of proving them. I feel the same way about my beliefs. They aren't necessarily true or correct. They just haven't been falsified yet.

Falsification is also a great way to understand yourself  The pivotal points in my life have always been centered on falsifying. Falsifying my prior belief and establishing a new belief motivates me. The new belief always rings truer. Always. It must. Otherwise, I would maintain my "conventional wisdom" or prior belief.

When I’ve told people that I believe nothing is true (they just haven't been falsified. They've told me that I’m “cynical” or  “very negative”.  I always respond with "nope. it just means I have an open minded”. This philosophy always avails me to change, new ideas and beliefs.