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 -

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