Mosi-oa-Tunya, Thunder Smoke, Victoria Falls, Zambia

FALLS FRONT.JPG

Explorer David Livingstone is said to have first seen the splendor of Victoria Falls, a massive waterfall at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe in southern Africa from a tree. This tree has since been outfitted with steps and a platform where visitors can climb up for their own view of the falls. Different seasons yield different views, often only the “smoke” (mist) of the falls can be seen.

LIVINGSTONE TREE.JPG

RAINBOW OVER FALLS.JPG

The local name for the falls, Mosi-oa-Tunya literally translates to Thunder Smoke. The roar of the falls sounds as loud as thunder and the Zambezi River water that ricochets back looks like a giant smoke cloud. Crossing the Knife Edge bridge at the falls, it can be hard to see from one end to the other with all of the water raining and re-raining back down when water is in high season, February-June.

FALLS TOP.JPG

The drive from Zambia’s capital Lusaka to Livingstone is about 6-7 hours. This takes you nearly 500km along the T1 two lane highway, which is paved. Speed bumps and potholes are the biggest dangers as you pass through multiple small roadside towns and villages. There are also a few larger cities on the way, Kafue, Mazabuka, Choma, and several random police checkpoints with radar to make sure drivers aren’t flying at twice the posted limit.

RAINBOW INTERSECT.JPG

Whether you’re hunting for rainbows or monkeys, you’re likely to find them at Mosi-oa-Tunya. A short hike down to the boiling pot yields a picturesque view of the bridge to Zimbabwe, wildlife and jungle-like green plants thriving in from the mist of the falls. If you forget to bring your raincoat, you can rent a poncho or crocs before exploring because with high waters, you’re sure to get wet.

Book Review | Malafemmena by Louisa Ermelino

malafemmena

Malafemmena is a collection of Ermelino’s short stories, some previously published, focusing on female protagonists in untraditional situations. The sixteen pieces are of varying lengths and take place at different times, on different continents, over the past few decades. From women crossing borders abroad, to drug fueled relaxeés on permanent holiday, to the delusional and victimized, Ermelino has incorporated tales for all depraved readers to relate to.

Ermelino’s distinctive writing style is both easy to read and picturesque. The reader will be able to envision two naked women described sharing a bed in a rented room in India and other scenes. Tastefully written, some of these stories are particularly thought provoking. Though sex, drugs and violence are incorporated into the stories, none of them are overdone. Some of the character’s delusions are quite impressive, and some of the stories are much better than others. This book is a quick read, great for commute or travel. Check it out from a library near you.

Book Review | 100 Nature Hot Spots in Ontario by Chris Earley and Tracy C. Read

img_0335For those interested in exploring nature, be it conservation areas for flora and fauna, hiking, camping, biking, canoeing or cross county skiing, this book offers a wealth of information about places worth visiting in Ontario. Divided into geographical sections, Earley and Read give a brief history of the hot spots and their highlights. Photographs from each place are included along with general spot information about dates open and applicable activities. As the book says, it will appeal to “birders, botanists, wildlife lovers, rock hounds and naturalists”.

100 Nature Hot Spots in Ontario serves as a great introduction for parties interested in visiting wild Ontario. From seeing the Northern Lights to exploring caves or finding rare species, the authors spell out where to go and when. It would work well as a starting point for trip planning purposes or for Ontarians interested in better exploring their own province. The included photographs are very helpful to get an idea of what one might see in the named hot spot, but in some places photo quality is a bit lacking on enlargements. The book offers a wealth of information, and would be best digested in small chunks or as reference material, though it is very clearly written for all audiences. Helpful area maps are included, but the whole of Ontario with all hot spots is not. Check it out from a library near youI received this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

Book Review | How to Ruin Everything: Essays by George Watsky

how to ruin everything cover watskyI was late in hearing about this release from one of my favorite Hip-Hop artists. How to Ruin Everything is a collection of 13 essays by Watsky. These essays are not reminiscent of traditional essays and the book reads more like a collection of true short stories about events in Watsky’s life. The stories are all around 20 pages and fairly easy to digest. The topics range from Watsky’s childhood education, to his travels in Spain and India, through epileptic episodes and to his poetry and hip-hop tours in the US. Some essays are more interesting and memorable than others, but all are well written.

Due to the varied topics of the essays, readers should be able to find something of interest in this book. Watsky fans will enjoy personal details the author shares during the stories. This said, the book took me longer than expected to get through. I found myself wanting to take a nap during a few of the pieces. Though I was glad to finally finish it, I’d give it a solid 3/5 stars and recommend it as a way to pass time during public transit. Check it out from a library near you! It is dedicated to librarians =] A special thanks to Goodreads Giveaways for bringing this book to my attention, even though I wasn’t fortunate enough to win a copy.

Pictorials | Lucknow, India – market month photo 31

IMG_2203.JPG

Amrood Walla / Guava Man at Aminabad bazaar. 2015. Lucknow, India.

Pictorials | Otavalo, Imbabura, Ecuador – market month photo 30

IMG_4069.JPG

Tub of berries and Imperfect corn. 2015. Otavalo, Imbabura, Ecuador.

Pictorials | Chinatown, New York City – market month photo 29

ny 027.jpg

Fish market in Chinatown. 2005. New York, New York, USA.