An African* childhood, part 3

The magic house, Conakry, Guinea, West Africa, c.1962. I’m sitting on the table, pondering the day’s next play. Little Sis walks down the stairs with her cast on her arm. Keep a safe distance lest she clubs you. The house may be long gone, the African village at the back has been replaced by rows…

Pot-Pourri two and soixante

Tiger hunt with the Prince of Wales. c.1905. First row, 2nd from the left, holding a stick, Rao Scindia, Maharajah of Gwalior; dressed in a dark suit, the Prince of Wales, future King George V; last from right, with a colonial helmet under his arm, my great-uncle, Frank Onraet, Chief-of-staff of the Maharajah, and organizer…

An African childhood. Part 2*

En route to the Islands of Los, off the coast of Conakry, Guinea, West Africa, c.1960. Far left, my mother. Centre, Mme Lips, with her braided hair down to her… I remember she had very long hair for the time. Far right, Dominique and Claude Millet, who much later, would be my host family in…

In search of the lost Buddha

Siem Reap, June 23, 1866. “Garnier is seriously ill. Caught the fevers again. Not doing too good myself. It has taken us longer than expected from Phnomh-Penh. The river, the jungle, the unbearable heat… are taking their toll on the expedition. Carné and Delaporte seem to be all right. They take this expedition as an…

An unexpected trip. The end

Previously on “An unexpected trip”: my mother Renée has joined the French Air Force at the end of WWII. A captain orders her on a mysterious mission. They are to board a military plane, taking off from Paris, destination unknown. “And you took off?” I asked. “Just like that?” “Just like that.” My mother said.…