Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Rudolph was here...

source : http://ovpf.univ-reunion.fr/article.php3?id_article=206

The last few days have seen some weather reminiscent of Europe and more like Wales in summer...

So, who is complaining? Me? No never. Yesterday evening the first snowflakes fell upon the volcano and one would think that Christmas has arrived. As it never snows at Christmas anymore one probably wouldn't be thinking that; but it is bloddy cold anyway and not quite the idea of the tropics one has in mind ;-)

I would have liked to have been there as the first flakes fell but having just sold my car this was not possible. However, those very nice people at Image Press Réunion have come up with a jolly photo...

... and the volcano? Well it is still erupting if only with the energy of a fairy light.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

High tide - the fish speaks

Over the weekend we have experienced an awful lot of wind, rain and some rather large waves. This is all very excitng especially as I chose Friday to return to the volcano and get wet. According to "meteo france" the waves have been averaging between 4 and 5 metres with rather too many at some 8 metres. Jolly exciting what?

Well, that is what I thought, but it seems that I am somewhat in a minority. The journal for today, Sunday, has decided that all this rough weather merely serves to indicate that we are not prepared for a tsunami. Some of youse will remember that I noted the article in the "Quotidien" the other day proclaiming the end is nigh with tsunami type warnings. So, whilst strolling up and down the beach at Etang Salé enjoying the force and majesty of a Nature untamed, I got to thinking...

You see, of course you do, what this scare mongering is all about, is money. The authorities just love dreaming up new ways to get money for developing useless projects so that they can enrich their already fat and wobbly buttocks. After the chikungunya was the publicity plague, after the shark attacks we now have the "marie" of St Pierre pondering the feasability of installing shark nets. Obviously, somebody's brother's, uncle's, aunt's minah bird needs employment, so now we have the TSUNAMI SCARE!!!! Strange, one does not find this money driven doom laden prophecysing (is that how you spell it Andrew?) on Mauritius. Maybe it is because they "know" that they are living in the tropics and are not trying to pretend that it is some cosy French province. Ouch!

The tourist office try to sell Réunion as "the intense isle" and yet, when it is intense everyone is running around griping that we need money for projects - everyone must have a project. Bollocks! The attraction of the intense isle is just that, intense. People come here because it is nature being intense - and not in the student bar, existentialist, angst driven pre-eclamptic, philosophical sorta way -in much the same way as one would visit a game park and not a zoo.

Fortunately, there are those who understand this and treat Nature with respect and humility. It is only when we treat her with our petty hubris that we need to be afraid - and no, I have not been ingesting Whitman, Lawrence or Gide, just walking on the beach and talking to fish.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

flash, bang, thssspppp!

Judging by the above photo of talc grenades found in the last remaining coastal forest of Etang Salé one would be forgiven for thinking that I was going to have a rant about litter, the military and the general abuse of the environment. No, I am saving that for later.

The flash-bangs are merely a symbol of the current state of tourism on the island and the pathetic attempts of the administration to promote the isle - or to be more cynical to profit from the millions of euros being pumped in to advertising and the like. Last week saw an "exposition" of La Réunion at Paris which cost the tax-payer some 330,000€. Some 150 persons were flown to Paris to sell samosas and gyrate a bit. The result was that the event attracted almost 2000 visitors, 80% of whom were ex-pat Reunionese! We are also infomed that the region et al are to be pumping 3 million euros into a billboard and internet advertising campaign in order to attract tourists after the Chik-Shark fiasco of this past year.

I am not too sure if the administration is really serious or is just looking to find jobs and profit for its lackeys and relatives. Where does all this money go? Can I have some? Still, it would seem that some are content to hijack this guilded publicity campaign by dreaming up even more disastrous scenarios. The Quotidien yesterday published on its front page a "report" that the island will be hit by a giant tsunami one day (tomorrow, next week, ten years etc etc) when the volcano falls apart and we shall all be swept to oblivion, or beyond. Seemingly, if the chikungunya doesn't kill you, the sharks will and failing that the good Lord will rip asunder the Earth and those that aren't to be swallowed into the very bowels of hell will be drowned...

...shit! I'm off to build an ark. Mind you it won't need to be very big coz there do not seem to be many creatures left on the island. No wonder I thought that Butlins was boring!

Flash Bang? If one is looking for a reason to visit the island and a bit of publicity the biggest noise is the island itself...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Lava Flows 2

Not much more to add really! Leaving home at four thirty this morning found me up the volcano with a following wind and an apple. However, it was all well worth it and the cone has now tripled in size and although the projections are seldom seen the lava covers some forty percent of the surface of the crater and is constantly evolving thanks to a "geyser" like eruption some thirty metres from the cone.

I'll post some more photos on my site over the weekend if anyone is interested.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

New broom?

What with all the excitement of the volcano, I had forgotten to share a little piece of optimism with you. Not that I am generally of an optimistic disposition and would prefer to share my petty rants. The "openning" of the volcano has certainly given reason to smile even if it appears strange that the Prefécture, CTR (tourist bureau) and the usual bevy of regional government lackeys have failed to do so for several years following the death of an "imprudent" visitor during the August 2003 eruption.

The explanation given in the "Journal" as to why the padlocks on the access gate to the Enclos were unopened was because they had become frozen! Yes, it is possible, but at 06:30 the three padlocks were certainly not frozen and I doubt that there was even a frost at that altitude that night. The Journal suggests that someone should have pissed on the locks - Seems to me that someone is taking the piss...

Enough. Yesterday in the same "Journal" I was pleased to note the inaugration, by one of the island's noted botanists, of an association dedicated to maintaining access to the volcano within 24 hours of an eruption. The association is called LAVE (Liberté d’accès au volcan en éruption) and Roger Lavergne rightly compares, as I have done, the attitude of the Prefécture towards the volcano and the sea. With all the recent shark attacks (come on let us not exaggerate!) no one is suggesting a ban on bathing, or padlocking the beaches. Better off if they banned cars, Mc Do, Coke and rampant consummerism which are far more responsible for far more deaths. Lavergne points out that presently, there is :

“Une véritable porte de prison obture le Pas de Bellecombe. Si vous vous hasardez à l’escalader, vous risquez de vous retrouver au poste de gendarmerie de la Plaine-des-Cafres et d’être condamné à payer 60 euros d’amende.”

Methinks the Ramblers' Association could help here ;-) Good luck to Mons. Lavergne.

...and on the same day I note in the blog of Pierrot Dupuy that he too is thinking of associations. His is one to expose corruption and nepotism on the island.

Sounds like a jolly good idea and I think that he'll have plenty of work to do. His blog is an excellent source of political "gossip" and his exposé certainly has my support. Of course, I could question his motives, but then that would be too cynical...

... and what, one might ask, am I doing? Actually, I have developed moaning as a form of psychic mantra. The constant resonating, irritating, penetrating hum, when properly focused, has a accumulative effect on social archetypes. Once the "moan" has entered into social consciousness it promots acceptance, and in certain individuals, provokes action relative to the frequency of the "moan". I take it that the two case above are proof of the efficacity of this form of psycho-social evolution.

Of course, it is not infallable and I have had little success in manipulating the social consciousness of two generations of unfortunates who insist on wearing baseball caps the wrong way round.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Candy floss and fireflies

Having set off early this morning I was quite surprised at the number of cars overspilling the car park at the beginning of the path to the volcano. Even at 0600 there were many, too many? The sky was all but clear and the couple of hours walk to the crater was only marred by the fact that the "entrance" gate was padlocked shut; the sight of lava crazed siteseers crawling under and over was nearly as amusing as the explanation that "someone" had super glued the pad locks! Of course conspiracy theories abound but, this time, nothing was going to stop the masses from reclaiming "their" volcano.

The walk was well worth it and the fascinating natural spectacle was just that. The groaning and spitting of the cone was enticing enough and the lava spewing forth from some hellish candy floss machine had my little camera weeping.

By eleven o'clock the cloud had started to come in and the eruption started to increase in magmatude to such an extent that the candy floss was flitting around more like a swarm of crazed bum burnt butterflies. Time to evacuate - And thanks to the ONF for treating us all as rational human beings.

More photos can be found on my web site - just click on a photo.

Better than beer and more to follow - enjoy!

...rushed up the volcano early this morning and all who made the effort were treated to a jolly show. For those interested I'll publish the rest of the photos on my site and a link here in the next few hours.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Free beer?

Well that got your interest... Actually, it is only wishful thinking but if things continue as they have begun with the new prefect who knows what might happen? I might even get to be milk monitor! The slightly unexpected eruption of the volcano two days ago brought about the usual excitement and the closure of the "enclos" to the public. Today, however, the prefecture have announced that the "enclos" is to be opened to the public from 06:00 tomorrow and we can once more participate in a great natural happening in a great natural setting. So I must say thanks to the new prefect for being resonsible enough for allowing us to be responsible for ourselves - which is a great deal of resonsibility.

It is also further proof that money is not going to rescue the declining tourist industry, but common sense will.

I will be off at the crack of dawn so had better start preparing by having a beer. Free? No, not yet, but that would bring the tourists back.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Chicken comb soup

Yesterday, a bodyboarder lost his flipper and a part of his right foot to a shark. Two weeks ago, a surfer lost his life after suffering the loss of an arm to a shark. Needless to say the press are enjoying winding up the masses and pointing fingers. This time it is the fault of the chickens. It would appear that terrorist chicken cells are organising suicide missions and flinging themselves into the waves to attract sharks to nearby humans. The African Press agancy, PANA, sees it differently and suspects it is due to the ritual sacrifice of chickens and the deposing of carcasses on the shore. The observant will have noticed that finger pointing is always at minorities, sects and people who don't think like "us". Maybe, just maybe, the sharks are just doing what sharks do and one should remember that 700,000+ people produce an awful lot of rubbish.

The African Press Agency said :

"The site of Pointe du Diable which recorded three shark attacks is reputed dangerous due to the remains of chickens Reunion inhabitants will leave as they hold some ritual sacrifices on the beach."

Of course this is not very good news for the tourist industry despite the vast sums of money the government are pumping in to keep it afloat after the Chikungunya crisis. Has the money helped? I am not sure, but there are an awful lot more sharks up here on dry land ruining a lot more lives than there are beyond the beaches.

Back to chigunkunya, and the worries of the coming wet season : "As far as officials of Reunion are concerned, the disease if far from being under control, for the virus carriers, i.e. mosquitoes, are developing in uninfected areas and are growing at a steady pace, adapting to their climatic environment." APA

Could it be that they are also adapting to warm showers of larvacide and insecticidal fog? Send in the chickens!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sakifo - Sarkifo

This past weekend saw the third Sakifo music festival come to St Leu and it all passed off without too much of a to do, but...

... but, you thought that I wasn't going to have a moan. If only music festivals could be like Glastonbury used to be (which means it never really was like that and only ever existed in the dark woodstock of our imaginations). The interesting thing about the latest Sakifo music festival is that it managed to embrace several diverse realms of thought and politic between the crochets and the quavers. Sakifo is "run" by Orange - the phone people - and as such they offer discount tickets to their faithful; a discount of some 50% if you have the misfortune to buy your tickets on the night or during the week leading up to the festival. Much ado in the local press about the price of the tickets - 30€ on the night, 22€ before, but 15€ for Orange subscribers and Sechoir card holders. The interesting thing here is that Orange have managed a discriminatory coup of which Sarkozy would have been proud - Mmmmm! Maybe he has shares in Orange?

The ticket price is a polite way of saying, "Keep the riff raff out!" We only want nice, middle class, over-paid functionaires at our concerts, or those who have embraced the faith and subscribed to Orange. Isn't this a bit like saying that one can come to France if one has a jolly degree even if you just happen to come from Africa? If not, tough, listen to the radio.

I went to see Ziskakan and Susheela Raman on Sunday (and yes I did pay 22€) the concert was good - Ziskakan excellent even if a little cling film wrapped - whatever happened to protest songs? However, the strangest and most bizarre event of the evening was the confiscation of water bottle tops at the entrance. I was most perplexed. Why confiscate water bottle tops? Naw, even I cannot be that cynical - they are not trying to force you to buy "their" water? Perhaps, it is all due to security, afterall, three year old children could choke on a bottle top; not that there were that many three year olds there. Funny that they actually sold bottled water + the tops in the venue. Funnier still that on leaving the concert I passed a pile of bottle tops disgarded by the confiscators so it cannot have anything to do with protecting the environment.

What we are witnessing is a fine example of how milti-nationals are taking over from the state in controlling our lives and determining the rights and rewards. French neo-colonialism is not dead, the borg will assimilate us all and those found wanting will be assigned to clearing up the mess after the faithful have departed.

The future is definitely not bright, but the future is Orange.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

after the rain and the hail...

... not one to be put off, I went back to the volcano yesterday and spent a jolly evening in the company of a dozen onlookers and "ole smokey". The magma output of the volcano has increased somewhat but it is all very "controlled" and even the prefecture is thinking of letting us plebs get a bit closer - if you must know, the view-point is some 2300m from the oozing cone.

Even so, it is rather spectacular at night and yesterday one was thoroughly indulged with clear skies and sunshine...

... the only thing that spoilt it was an intriguing, and retrospectively amusing, case of reincurring dysentry - but I've no photos of that.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Little light of love

...went back to the volcano last night and, although there was plenty of drizzle, cloud and cold, here is proof that there are moments in life when one just needs to sit and ponder.

Trouble being that it is all noise and bleeding progress this side of the rainbow.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Oté la volcan a...

After a couple of weeks of waiting, nose-picking and gazing forlornlessly at a clear sea and cloudy sky the Piton de la Fournaise has once again announced its presence by erupting; and proving to the world that politicians, "prefets" and all are skummy, lying and manipulative - but, Hey! More of them later let's get back to heat, fire and flowing magma...

I went to the crater yesterday and arrived to find the viewpoint of the "enclos" in full cloud with an accompanying radio interview with one of the prefets minions saying that the weather was awful, one wouldn't be able to see anything and, besides, only people rich enough to have helicoptors have the right...

Of course this was all bullshit and I spent a jolly afternoon walking along the crater of the "enclos" an enjoyed lots of sun and a splendid view of the small but beautiful eruption. I was even happier today to discover that the "Journal" had also been listening to the prefet and came to the same conclusion as myself - link. And now, I must say that agreeing with the "Journal" is not something that I do lightly...

Whatever, I stayed by the eruption ( but not near enough that one didn't feel the cold) until way after dark had fallen and the sound, sight and smell made for a rewarding volcanique bbq even if the only nourishment was a thermos of hot soup that awaited patiently in my car - talking of which, on returning to the car I discovered it was ice shrouded - talk about out of the frying pan into the fridge!

If your optic tastebuds desire more - as if my photos weren't enough Ummmpf! Try my site, or, you can always try the "Journal", Image Press Réunion, or the Observatoire - Well, what do you expect, they pay people for their photies ;-)

Oh! And apparently the seismic activity, along with the eruption has diminished today so I'll just have to stay at home with a bottle of wine and whine - more of that later, have a jolly weekend.

Monday, July 10, 2006

World united?

I was thinking that I could get away from talking about football and the world cup if only because it doesn't interest me in the slightest. However, even living 10,000km from France the support for the national team has been inescapable. The islands' two main newspapers have written about very little else these past two weeks and, of course, this was all to culminate in a huge party late last night. Well, youse all know what happened even if I don't see what all the fuss is about - and I thought that hysteria was a supposedly female infliction? Hysteria, histrionics and bad acting seems to sum up the world cup, but then how would I know if I didn't watch it?

The point of all this dribbling drivel is that the rolling surf of nationalism that necessarily accompanies international sporting events has brought a seemingly odd surfer to these parts. Seemingly odd because one would have thought that on an island where the majority of the population are "metisse", and proud to be so, would not attract those from the far right of French politics...

...Marine Le Pen - she who be the daughter of the father, arrived amidst the blue football fever to encourage the faithful and probably have a bit of a holiday. What is odd, and strikingly so, is that to an outsider "La Réunion" is the melting pot of seventies pop songs and lacks the racism (so I am informed) of other French departments such as Martinique and Guadeloupe. If so, how does one explain the 8.1% of the vote to the FN in 2002? I dunno! Yet Marine was given an hour of air time on Radio Freedom when she found time to escape the Creolia Hotel and avoid the thirty or so demonstraters who had decided that there are more important things in life than the footie!

photo source Imaz press Réunion

Of course, there were certain comparisons to be made between her visit and that of the recent chikungunya epidemic - “Non au virus Marine Albopictus

photo source Imaz press Réunion

All this must have something to do with the presidential elections next year and although one might argue that it is best to keep politics out of sport, (or is that sport out of politics?) they do both have their fair share of theatricals, tis only a shame that there ain't no red card in politics. Still, not one to always demand the last word, I'll leave that to Marine - Marine Le Pen : “Zidane a bien réussi”...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Winter woes

The last few days have seen the weather taking a turn for the tropical worse with lashings of rain and enough wind to bring a smile to the face of the capitain of the Cutty Sark - Ah if only we lived in another sea-faring age. With all this wind gadding about one could be forgiven if the first 0° C of the year went unoticed the last two days. Yes it is now Winter and the "Hauts" are settling in for a cold snap with a light frost appearing in those regions over 1500m.

Of course, this is all relative even if the papers have started the ritualised "La Réunion s’enrhume" and if any of you are concerned the minimum temperature ever recorded at the gite near the volcano was a spectacular -5°C.

La Réunion s’enrhume? Well it is a bit much really if the main headlines are reduced to creating and perpetuating crises. If the Chikungunya wasn't enough! Well, actually it would appear that the Chik is not enough. The latest figures from the beginning of June this year showed "only" 100 people infected between the 05/06 and 12/06 - a long way from the 40,000 in one week in February of this year. So what is the problem? Apparently, the authorities conducting research into the Chik are having trouble finding enough people infected!!!! Perhaps, they should have come sooner...

La Réunion s'enrhume? Or should that be "Rhum" - rum to you and me? The authorities are always at pains - however tentatively- to address the problem of alcoholism on the island (some 12 - 15% of the male population are chronic alcoholics) and earlier this year announced the phasing out of the "pile-plat", or little plastic bottle of rum. They have now obiously realised that this would only encourage dipsos to buy rum in larger quantities and so have proposed the reduction in the strength of rum from 49% to 40% from 01/07/06. Of course, the price is not set to be reduced by the same amount. For those of you interested in figures - 3 million "pile plat" are sold on average each year *.

Me? I am off to find a jumper before I catch a chill, and other things my grandmother used to say before going to bed with a hot toddy...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Apart from a brief sejour to the other hemisphere last month - a jolly time had by one and all despite the "chik" and the "grippe" - nothing of any relevance to la belle Réunion has occurred within the periphery of my ever so blinkered vision.

However, since my return I have managed to reaffirm my faith in the island by passing some pleasurable moments in the company of the landscape and some good folk.

Quite often, tourist places suffer from an overdose of superlatives and hyperbole - last weekend proved the exception (which proves the rule etc). Passing the weekend at Cilaos I descended on Sunday to "la chapelle", a "grotto" in the cliff face far below Cilaos which provides a supplementary cascade to the "Bras Rouge".

Perhaps some images would help to purvey the sense that this chapel was more a cathedral and the lack of photos of the cascade at the "altar" is only because getting there involved a 20 metre swim through the all but icy cold water in the grotto - beautiful, I almost forgot to be miserable for a moment there!

... Ah!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

...and where was i this weekend?

I do not think that executives, politicians, criminals and pimps should have all the fun, so I went to the beach and partook of a few beers. I really wanted to say something sleazy about the visit of Dominique the PM this week but a friend and confident informs me that he is really a nice chap and will be president one day. Besides he has just promised 4.5 million € to boost tourism on the island following the CHIK fiasco and I am wondering if he could see to it that a mere few cents would come my way for continuing with my anglophone website - unique and probably up a digital evolutionary blind alley, but then given what wanton development is doing to the island maybe tourism is not exactlly the future...

I had slaved for hours over a rather astonishing (to my small and twisted mind anyways) photo of the PM's visit to be found on the Réunion wanadoo site and had produced a scathing satire of post colonial life, but...

... but another close friend tells me that many expats here wouldn't like it, or worse. Not that I am one to be intimidated (oh yeah?) but I thought I would leave it up to your imagination and publish here the original photo...

... please feel free to add you own comments or quotes and I'd love to see if you are as cynical as I am. An added bonus could be that as no-one got the brown-noddy I have plenty of my unique, trendy and half stupid "Chiracagunya" t-shirts left and will send several to the best entry as chosen by the three judges - Myself, Bishop and Mrs jones. The last two are cats so there might just be a little bias..

Back to the photo, and just who are the couple on the left engaging in small talk? Looks like something out of an ad for Renault or Piat D'Or.

Have fun.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

i may be some time

... it has all been far too long, and if I were searching for an excuse, it would be upon the greasy shoulders of France Telecom that I would place the burden. Having waited one month and five days for the phone to be connected one can probably understand my rancour...

So, enough of that and back to life on the rock. Yesterday was the newly instated (is that a word) "fete" for the abolition of slavery, a day to be aware of the fact that slavery has not really been abolished and a day that Mons Chirac wants seemingly to make his very own as though that would atone for "everything.

Strange also, that Mons Sarkozy chose the same week to give his speech to all - my impressions of that speech are as follows :

Now, quite what this has got to do with the hot rock time will tell. Myself, I disappeared up the volcano at five this morning and crunched along cinder paths in the fag and rain to my little heart's content.

Sorry about the delay in posting and I can assure you that I haven't stopped dribbling and this will continue...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Eyes only

Friday, "Le Monde" published a report by the WHO into the handling of the Chikungunya epidemic on Reunion. This is strange in that it has yet to be made public, but then, some of us are more public than others. Whatever, it doesn't make that interesting a read and its recommendations could be put forward by anyone over a glass of beer and a packet of crisps. All we need is what was called in my old seafaring days as a bit of "common dog". For example it points out that diurnal mosquitos are not usually about between one and four in the morning when the mossie busters are about spraying willy nilly. The weekend before last I was returning from a delightful "soirée" with my friends to be confronted on the road by a 4x4 awash to the gun'ales in pesticide. One week and a bit later there are no mossies and my week long asthma attack was in no way linked to the toxic fog which enveloped the neighbourhood in the wee hours.

However, the report did comment on the perseverance of the health and allied workers and the remarkable way in which statistics et al were gathered and how the great administration performed well even if it was not well co-ordinated. No doubt come the next epidemic we shall have plenty of statistics and lots of brochures just as long as there are enough victims.

Not surprisingly the report also focused on the fact that the epidemic was often seen to be the fault of the poor as is all too often the case the world over :

The poor "were stigmatized by certain sections with the population" and were shown "to generate diseases like chikungunya" .

I quite like the way it is all in the past tense as though it is all but over! Nay, the trend is down but there were still approx. 8000 new cases the week before last.

Latest figures released by the "Institute de Veille Sanitaire" indicate that some 236,00 people have been infected and there have been 181 chik related deaths since the beginning of the year. Figures relating to other parts of the Indian Ocean can also be found here.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

oil change?

I should apologise for the delay in submitting something to this blog, but...
...as nobody reads it anyway, no one will have missed anything.

Besides, I have a reasonable excuse. I have been moving from up there to down about and across. Unfortunately this is only a temporary stop but then so is life. More on the new mantis abode later if I should ever get the phone connected. However, moving has become rather a strain as I managed to explode my sump - not that I am one of a prestigous sump, but an exploded sump is worse than useless. Now, I can admit to being responsible for the great oil slick of 2006 and I was not hiding underneath my car but trying to repair it.

Nobody wants to know about any of that but my search for a second hand sump and oil pump has led me to previously unknown parts of the island. I could waffle on - yet again - about chikungunya (174 dead 230,000 infected) but frankly, it is all becoming a bit boring, even for those suffering.

The coast road is still closed to traffic due to the great land slip of 2006 which pushed my great oil slick off the front page...

... I am off back under my car, if it works after all my fumbling about I'll finish moving then get the phone connected and continue writing this dribble.

Oil change? No all change, its time for a revolution.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Chirac eats his hat... if only.

"Nothing, with the exception perhaps of the occasional cyclone, disturbs the charms of Reunion, where tropical disease is unknown."

...and who writes this stuff? I would very much like to encourage people to visit the island. Reunion is beautiful and the mix of cultures is a breath of fresh air after the stuffy monoculturalism of Europe. This is a tropical island and I do resent the lying hypocrisy of those who would have it be Margate or the Costa Brava. The above is from the web site of the French govt.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Diwa - the figures

Diwa may not have risen to the lofty heights of a "real" cyclone but she did manage to produce some remarkable statistics concerning rainfall :

At Commerson crater, up there by the volcano, some 1.528 metres of rain was recorded in 24hrs. This is not that far from the 1966 record of 1.825 metres during the passage of cyclone Denise.

Over three days the total rainfall at Commerson was 2.720 metres (the record being 3.240 metres during cyclone Hyacinth).

If all this is meaningless the annual rainfall for the UK in 2005 was 1.0786 metres, and yes, I did say annual.

However, it has all gone now. Back to the sea to be stirred up, carried up and thrown down again at some later date - such is the great cyclical nature of Being.

... wait a bit, I haven't droned on about chikungunya for a while. So, the latest figures for the viral storm whose passage is slower and more deadly than Diwa's, are that to date some 204,000 people have been officially infected and there have been 125 chikungunya related deaths. The good news is that the infection rate for the week ending the 05/03 is less than the previous weeks - nothing to do with Diwa?

No, of course not. I am just a cynical, miserable pessimist and according to the "préfet" :

L'épidémie de chikungunya "en phase descendante"

'épidémie de chikungunya à La Réunion se trouve en phase descendante", a annoncé le préfet, Laurent Cayrel, vendredi 10 mars.
"On est en train de gagner, si ce n'est la guerre, du moins une bataille", a-t-il déclaré. Laurent Cayrel a noté lors d'une conférence de presse des "signes encourageants", mais a reconnu qu'il fallait "rester prudents"."

What is it with politicos and all this talk of war and battles - and could I just add that it is my belief that the war is an illusion - perhaps Mons. Cayrel should go and study the nature of epidemics and the art of equilibrium in Nature. He should also take account of the weather before making such silly, yea SILLY, pronouncements. Or maybe he doesn't read Reuters?

INDIAN OCEAN: Rain slows Chikungunya - temporarily

Perhaps, we shouldn't be exaggerating, at least not if we are to believe the WHO this week :

"I think it is exaggerated. It is less alarming than what is being painted in the media," WHO director general Lee Jong-wook told a news conference late on Tuesday. "If it was a real issue, we would go in the hospitals and see people are dying."

Back to statistics, and if we worked on the assumption that because 85% of my aquaintances have had it, then ipso fact 85% of the population have had it then...

... then it is all a load of bollocks.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

by the seaside...

This evening multitudes of some very familiar flying insects have taken to the air with the calm, and a little sunshine, after the passing of tropical storm Diwa - sorry it just was not mature enough to make a cyclone, better luck next time.

Yesterday, I went to the beach, it was most exhilarating and has left me with no breath for a rant so enjoy the photos and I'll seeth again tomorrow...

... anyone who can identify the little brown bird will win a free "Chikungunya" t-shirt - so get writing as I am not often that generous ;-)

... and I seem to have lost my way home!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Dit wah!

I have not slept too well these past two nights. No, it is not due to a quilty conscience but the fact that living in a shed with a tin roof makes a good "tambour" for the elements. Diwa, has now been and gone, we are no longer on "alert orange" , the kids can go back to school and I can get around to clearing up the garden...
... but it is still mighty windy and the rain just keeps on raining. And, no, I do not have any figures but it rained lots and most of it is now on its way to the bottom of the rock carrying along with it all the rubbish which has been ditched into the ravines since the last cyclone. It is probably taking a few mosquitoes and gallons of insecticide along with it as well.

Apart from the effect on my garden and the gloom of days of rain the only other noticeable result of the tropical storm Diwa is the emigration into the house of countless numbers of slugs and snails. This is not the sort of thing that immediately springs to mind when one is thinking "tropical", but there you go.

I went for a walk yesterday morning, the wind was windy, the rain driving, the ravines full and water cascaded across the road yearning for the sea. Amidst all this the toads where busy, and not quietly, making love in the culverts. This illustrates a great difference between toads and humans. The toad sees the opportunity to stay in doors and celebrate the joys of existence, we...
...The Journal of the Isle yesterday saw fit to headline with, "beaten by Chikungunya, knocked out by Dina". I sincerely believe that it is an Althussian statist ploy to depress the masses (that is us) and make them totally, economically, socially and, more importantly, morally dependent on the State.
When I was in Africa - Oh! Jesus, he is off again...
In Botswana it very nearly never rains but each year the govt. deem it necessary to declare a "drought". You should be able to see where this is going. Back to the rock in the tropics, it is just that, "in the Tropics" hence it succumbs to tropical things. The people know this and yet the insidious, imposed dependency deprives us all of the right to control our own lives and hence to go home and make love when a cyclone hits...

...for a further, in depth explanation of this theory please feel free to contact me, or go commune with a toad or a prince.

Meanwhile, back in the "real" world the UK and France have agreed to build great aircraft carriers together whilst our president is off flogging arms to the Saudis. If only cyclones and diseases were our only problems. ;-)

PS meteo france are on strike - but I can tell you that Salazie had 1.2m of rain in 24 hours, you won't get that in the UK in a year so stop griping!

PPS it is still raining.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

time and tide wait for ... qui?

The arrival and departure of the Pm has done nothing to stop the tide of CHIK and the tropical depression, metaphorical and real that is swirling over the island.

But let us think of the poor Mons Villepin and the great risk he took in coming here :

"De Villepin at risk of illness after trip to epidemic isle"

633 squadrons fly-by for the PM

...apparently he got stung on the hand, once. Ohhh the poor lamb and what with 300 hundred or so police etc to protect him. Sweet Jesus! Get real!

To date 186,000 thousand people have "official" contracted the disease - those who have contracted it unofficially will no doubt be fined. There have been 93 CHIK related deaths, of which 53 directly. Of course the papers are having a jolly time spreading rumours, statistics and complete gobbledygook like strawberry jam on a sandwich for consummation by a population that is already suffering from gorging on the saccharine words of politicians and their fizzy pop platitudes.

Make the comparison between Europe’s' preparation for bird flu and its (well France's) total lack of preparation and understanding for CHIK - or is it now Dengue+CHIK? Granted we have now been offered lots of money, but for what? It would seem that it is to promote a publicity campaign to inform the masses against the threat of Mossies etc. As "Le Monde" rather cynically pointed out in its editorial last week, as 30% of the population are illiterate it would seem rather pointless. However, I do not trust their stats. and the sight of all the buses with huge mosquitoes on their butts declaring "Together against Chikungunya" is certainly cause for a smirk.

It is enough to turn one into a radical independentist. Come to think of it where are all those independentists? The "Lonely Planet" guide rather lamentingly complains that even the communist party is "pro-colonist". This talk of neo-colonialism could lead to a very long rant, but as it is Sunday and it has been raining for 48 hours I shall point you in the direction of the only pro-independence journal on the island that I know of -

It is still raining and all this rain will probably wash all that insecticide into the lagoon - this of course will be a relief to some, especially those poor kids who were intoxicated at their primary school earlier this week due to an "error of communication". It is probably not very good news for the environment, and in case you haven't worked it out yet, we are part of the environment...

the lagoon this week before the arrival of Diwa

Mind you, at last, someone has come out and said that the "lutte contre le moustique" is a complete waste of both time and money :

Démoustication inutile | Jeudi 2 mars 2006
Le déluge d'insecticides en tous genres délivré sur le département est inutile. Les larves de moustiques sont contaminées sur cinq générations. Les opérations de lutte anti- vectorielle s'apparentent à “de la politique cosmétique”. René Le Berre, entomologiste de renommée internationale, met les pieds dans le plat dans une interview de l'agence de presse Destination Santé !

Now, why can't I write like that?

Mme. Le Berre goes on to say that, "Là on est en retard. C'est de la politique cosmétique. Il faut montrer qu'on est là, agir (pour agir), donner de l'argent. Par exemple, le gouvernement va distribuer des répulsifs. Or dans un climat chaud et humide comme celui de la Réunion, ces produits ne vont agir que trois heures au maximum."

"La seule chose que l'on puisse faire et que l'on fait très bien d'ailleurs, c'est d'empêcher les moustiques de se développer. C'est-à-dire qu'il faut assécher tous les gîtes larvaires créés par l'homme".

You can hear an interview with the above thanks to "Déstination Santé by following this link to their site - http://www.destinationsante.com/sounds/mp3/chikungunya.mp3

Which brings us all back to where we started from - it is out fault!

It is still raining. But then in order to lighten the load, let us talk of of merrier things. I went to a murder party last week and unfortunately for you I was not to be the victim. It was all jolly fun even if my esteemed friend described my performance as "enthusiastic" which makes me think more of Tommy Cooper than Hugh Grant... Pahf, but thanks to Andrew and you can find my site of the evening here.

hot rock mantis