Assimilation in action

[Written in Africa]

I have written before about how local work culture varies from our own, and that the best thing to do is to adjust our expectations accordingly.

Since then I have noticed an odd but, I suppose, fairly predictable phenomenon: Read More

The Chinese in Africa

[Written in Africa]

The Chinese in Africa are ready to run.  Like the Chinese in Indonesia who have a plan for their family in the event of the next riot, or the Spanish in Latin America who have a second passport and keep their wealth safely out of the country, or the Jews in Europe who kept cash or jewelry sewn into their clothes for whenever they were kicked out or forced to flee.  Such is the life of an economically dominant minority.

The old Chinese embassy here used to be right next to the US ambassador’s residence.  One wonders if Read More

Mental health snapshot

[Written in Africa, March 2019.]

At the time of writing I have exactly four months to go in this country.

I’m curious about those studies of mental well-being around the world where people give themselves a subjective score out of 10 to rank their happiness.  Colombia always does well.

From about age 23 I’ve consistently assessed myself as having a baseline happiness, or contentedness, level of about Read More

Your taxes at work in Africa

[Written in Africa]

Most of my readers are American.  This one’s for you!

There is an American embassy here.  Why?  I don’t know.  These are not a people you can reason with.  The US no longer issues visas here because Bumfuckistan refuses to accept returning deportees.  The locals got quite irate about that.  Why?  Ah, see three sentences ago.

The US has what they call a Read More

True Believers

[Written in Africa]

Some time ago a wrote a post about my joyless life, and commenter Vincent referenced a blog post by some tourists who came here and painted a brighter picture of our existence.

It was the wrong country due to my deliberate misdirection, but it makes no difference.  You’d no doubt find similar posts about the actual country if you went searching, because some visitors really love the place.

We have a term for those kind of people: True Believers.

There used to be lots of True Believers, back during the separatist struggle and, most especially, in the early years of independence.  There was a lot to be positive about.

Unlike so many other African independence movements, this was a genuine Read More

Mornings polluted

Very early in the morning the city looks how it did ninety years ago.  In the dusky light the cracked concrete and peeled paint are less noticeable.  Recognizably European streets and buildings begin to materialize in the gloaming.  The only sounds are birds and the very occasional car which itself is almost ninety.

What a wonderful place this was!  Such perfect weather.  A town laid out like a work of art.  Every second house is listed by Unesco for its unique and innovative design.  The swaying palms and jacarandas that were planted way back then, now mature.  One can squint and imagine Read More

You don’t like me, do you?

I’ve noticed something.

Every so often I’ll suffer a burst of positivity.  Life is alright, I’ll think.  I’m riding to work, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, there’s no trouble, it’s quite safe, the urban scenery is marvelous – what have I to whinge about?  I smile at kids and cluck at dogs as I ride past.  I notice the pretty ladies.  Sometimes I start humming.  I’ve even whistled.

And within twelve hours it all goes to shit.

Perhaps this is a case of the statistical phenomenon known as Read More

Reverse racism! >:0

My boss’ car was dirty and someone scrawled on it, ‘Equatorial Guinea for Equatorial Guineans’.  Ha.  That little Immigration Patriot will receive nothing but virulent support from me.  If he’d similarly like to get all the Equatorial Guineans, and other Africans, to leave the West and go back to their own violent and poverty-stricken homelands, so much the better.  Perhaps he might start by calling around his overseas cousins, of whom I’m sure he has stacks.  In keeping Equatorial Guinea Equatorial Guinean, keeping the Equatorians in is the main challenge.  Keeping foreigners out is the easy part.  There are hardly any here.  Jesus, I know most of them personally.  Don’t worry, mate: foreigners don’t want to live here any more than you lot do.  Because of what you’ve done to it since the Spanish left.

But one can’t argue with an anonymous window scrawler.  I very much doubt he reads this blog.

I’ve lived overseas most of my life, and my experiences of racism have been Read More

Societies gone mad

On a post about the success of African adaptation, Comrade Luisman commented:

Isn’t it funny that a European invented the term Evolution, but to this day the Europeans don’t understand it. Africans have usually no clue about the theory of Evolution, but they intuitively understand it. Fuck, make babies, get at least two of them to adulthood. Let them fuck, make babies, etc.pp.

I’ve been turning this over in my mind.  Upon consideration, our maladaptive behaviour (invade the world, invite the world, turn sex roles upside down and inside out, and bear no children) is not unique.  One does not have to look far to find other cases of societies that have, from an evolutionary point of view, gone mad.

The classic case is that of Read More

The escapee

People often do runners from my workplace.  This is most common for locals.  There’s a weekend, or a holiday, and when we come back there’s someone missing.  Usually they’ve been long planning it and have pissed off over the border the moment they sensed an opportunity.

Good luck to them.

It used to happen a lot with foreigners, too.  After a break one would often be missing.  I know that feeling.  When the time comes to board the plane for the return flight, I Read More

A radical change of plans

Well, there have been some developments.  Some changes in my circumstances, some changes in my thinking – in short, my life has changed dramatically.  For the better.

I thought at first that I should start this post with the explanation, then the news, such that it would be easier for my beloved readers to absorb.  But, no – you can take it.  So here it is.

Though I have not always been fulsome in my praise for my present nation of abode, nor the culture of its inhabitants, it seems that one thing has led to another, and I am happy – no, delighted – to announce that Read More

‘What do you think of Equatorial Guinean culture?’

I’d been out of the country.  I’d fallen out of practice.  I wasn’t even consistently doing the ‘Equatorial headcheck’, i.e. the instinctive glance behind one to check for plainclothes police before making a negative political or social comment.  And we were in the bush, I was relaxed, and I was still in easygoing SEA mode.

This is not South East Asia.

There was a woman on our hiking trip who had long lived in Germany and had recently returned home.  She asked me, ‘So, what do you think of our Equatorial Guinean culture?’

I hesitated.

Then I Read More

How many paragraphs until they admit it?

From The Age: ‘Beachgoers attacked, robbed, glassed at Chelsea as teenagers run riot’.

Even foreigners would have picked the keyword in that headline, but let me fill you in on other facts: Chelsea beach is renowned for occasionally being a bit rough as it is just south of two high-immigrant suburbs, Springvale and Dandenong.  Just how rough it is at any given times depends on who’s living there – Vietnamese, Afghans etc.

Second, the nature of the attack is a dead giveaway – Read More

The Incapable Continent

While hiking up in the hills, a JICA guy pointed out a new groundwater and irrigation project in a valley far below.  He explained that it was to improve the water supply in a nearby village.

“Who did that for them, then?” I asked cynically.


A remarkable feature of this country is just how little the physical infrastructure has been improved since distant colonial times.  After decades of independence there are still only the old European buildings lining the streets.  There are no Read More

Africa wins again

There’s a saying here.

A Norwegian resources company finds rare earths in a remote part of the bush.  They try to set up the infrastructure to extract it.  They dig the hole, build the accommodation, and get almost all the permits.  Then they try to build a road to the port.  The road would go through the President’s friend’s hobby farm.  Permission is denied.  No alternative is found and the plan is Read More

Why a country is as it is

Recently the government here decided that the precarious water situation was under control.  City water had improved so much that they decided to ban private water truck deliveries.  After all, that water is more expensive.  It must be a scam.  City water ought to be good enough for anyone.

My canny reader wonders, why on earth would residents pay extra for unnecessary water anyway?  Do we really need a law against it?  You might as well ban staring at the sun or poking broken glass up your urethra.

TIA, mate.  This Is Africa.  Some houses are supposed to be Read More

Empathy and the rabbit incident

For some time I have puzzled that mothers and fathers here do not kick up much of a fuss about the enslavement of their children.  Their only way out of national service is to get pregnant (not an option for all), to sneak across the border or to just get lucky with some sort of medical or family grounds for release, which is not easy.

I know a guy who was forced to Read More


So Trump may or may not have called African countries ‘shitholes’.  It caused a bit of a stir over here in sunny Bumfuckistan.  I happened to meet some US diplomatic staff at a pizza place shortly afterwards and I asked for their reaction.

“Well, it’s true, but it’s not helpful to say it,” was the most common response.  I asked one fella what he’d say if directly confronted by local officials about it.  This was the speech he had prepared: Read More

Uptick in Crime

There’s recently been an increase in crime here.

This used to be one of the safest cities in Africa.  Perhaps it still is.  However, various factors are leading to the breakdown of old certainties.  Let us first look at the nature of crime here, then examine underlying causes.

But wait – should we not first consider why this place was so orderly to begin with?  Because that demands some explanation.  This is Africa, after all.  So let’s start there.

I am not a criminologist so I don’t really understand the details, but religion certainly plays a major role.  The people here are about evenly split between Read More