I had a house in Africa. Not Karen Blixen’s farm. Just a house by the sea. On the western coast of Africa, near Conakry, Guinea. Growing up by the sea, for my sister and I, meant a wee bit of home-schooling and most of the day spent in the water. Swimming, fishing, playing pirates with an inflatable dinghy. Fighting jelly fish. Watching dolphins go by. Even a shark once! We stopped swimming just a couple of days. And went back to the sea, to watch the African boats passing by. The odd race by Ghanean canoes, paddling with golden oars.

The Equinox signals the highest tides of the year. Twice, in spring and autumn, the sea would swell, rise to the first steps of the house. Storms would bang the terrace. And we would go out, drenched (why do children love to play in the rain?) and face the high tides from a safe distance of a just a few yards. Magic. Pure and simple. Well, Africa was – and still is a bit – sheer magic.

This blog is about Magic. Fiction. Art. Africa and other places. Like I said: Magic.


Note: This is intended as a multi-language blog. English, Spanish (readers have been spared French so far!) I will try to publish one english and one spanish post every week, around thursday/friday. So if you don’t speak spanish, you’ll get an english post and vice-versa. Speak both? Get two posts. 🙂

Thanks for visiting. Gracias por visitar!

176 thoughts on “About

  1. I remember the Crows story. It left me transfixed. Just read it again. What you have here, my dear, seems like a memoir you don’t want to write. One might even call it a spiritual memoir in the way of Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. Anyone who knew Karen Blixen, whether from living nearby, or meeting at some odd chance, has a story to tell. The land speaks. I went through an Africa period in my reading, as I went through a Russian period and a British period, but Africa, whether with Blixen or Lessing or Achebe or Coetzee captured me.

  2. What an intriguing About page. It has certainly sparked my interest and filled my head with amazing images of the west coast of Africa and children frolicking in the sea. I’ve been to north and east Africa, but not to the west. Posts about Africa would really draw me in. But, then again, so would Magic.

  3. I sure am enjoying your blog a lot so far. Thanks for wonderful posts. Since I do read English and Spanish well (though I cannot say I necessarily “speak” Spanish that well), I look forward to more of your fascinating posts!

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  5. Just came from a blog where I was reading you lived for 3 years in Amsterdam! I didn’t live there, but in that country, and went for a year to the Free University in Amsterdam, before I moved to Los Angeles to continue studying there. Since I read here you speak Spanish and had a house in Africa, I wonder to which ethnicity you gravitate most towards?

    • Haha! This is the opportunity to say it: I’m a Paki Frog. Born in Pakistan from French Parents. My father was Air France and we moved from country to country every 3-5 years. I was raised in Asia and Africa mostly. With an “interlude” in Holland. Bl..dy weather! Went to Grad school in the States, and we have now been living in Mexico for close to 30 years. So, ethnicity? A “Paki” Frog. 😉
      (In what blog did I write that? Jenny’s?)
      Tot ziens meevrouw.

  6. glad to connect in blogosphere. I like your culture-rich posts and side note – the info on the baout page – well one line really says so much…
    this one:

    “Just a house by the sea.”
    such a nice way to grow up.

  7. Hi! I love reading your childhood memories. What a pure bliss! Such a joy to remember those gold old days.

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      • It sounds like a lot of the beauty is gone. Is that do to development? Here in the Northeast US we don’t have that much land anyhow. In Florida where my father is it is almost all concrete!

      • The answer is demography. Concrete is winning over because of too many people. When I lived in Kenya, (late 60’s) the population was 9 million if I recall. Now they’re 51 million. Multiplied by 5 or more. So the farming land has multiplied by 5, encroaching every day more into wildlife land, the “bush”, cutting forest to plant corn… Sad. (Total African population now is 1.5 billion if I’m not mistaken) And development it’s not. Average income in Africa is still the lowest in the world.
        And it’s not really due to development,

      • Wow, that is a huge jump in population. It is so sad to see that everything keeps killing the natural areas. When there are so many abandoned buildings and open lots, I don’t understand why more has to be built. I understand that people do it for economic purposes. It is just so sad. Our whole earth is being destroyed for food that gets thrown out anyhow.

      • I don’t understand it! I mean if you are going to throw it out, just leave it or something for someone to take. I always think about all the children who starve. I used to work with kids who came from squalor. One little guy used to take so long eating and one time my assistant took his food away because he was taking so long eating. I got so angry!

  9. “J’avais une ferme en Afrique”… J’ai souvent cette phrase en tête quand l’Afrique s’y invite…. I had a house in Africa too. Back to France now, I still host Africa in my heart…

    • Ah. C’est une maladie incurable. 😉
      Je suis reparti après dix ans à Paris à cause du film “Out of Africa”. Novembre à Paris. On est sortis sur les Champs. Un petit crachin typique. J’ai dit à ma femme: “On s’en va”.
      So you’re a “mzungu” too? Where was your house in Africa?

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    • Thanks for the tip. Though my about page might need updating. I orginally posted in several languages, then decide against it. Not very workable. And I deleted my posts not in English.

      • That sounds las if you were extremely busy in the past. I’ve got the translator on the sidebar of my blog. If anyone has used it is still unknown, though.

  11. Hello – I recently got back from a work trip to Conakry and part of me is still there. When I got back I started writing poems again after a period in which nothing was coming out, and my latest posts are sentiments from Guinea. Ofcourse, trying to find related blogs, that is how I stumbled on yours!

    I saw the picture of you and your dad on the rock on Governor’s beach. I have a photo of that same rock from 1 month ago if you would like to have it I could share, but I couldn’t find a way on Wpress to message you directly.

    Really enjoying reading you – thank you for sharing! Africa is magic and I am under its spell for sure.

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