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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

I cannot keep this up much longer, I fear

Brisbane, Australia. January 2010.

Batam, Indonesia. January 2010.

Singapore. January 2010.

Hanoi, Vietnam. February 2010.

Malacca, Malaysia. February 2010.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates. February 2010.

Valença do Minho, Portugal, March 2010.

Baiona, Spain. March 2010.

Rijeka, Croatia. March 2010.

Rzeszów, Poland. April 2010.

Lviv, Ukraine. April 2010.

Paris, France. May 2010.

Salamanca, Spain. May 2010.

Sierra Nevada, Spain. June 2010.

Constanta, Romania. July 2010.

Tiraspol, Transnistria. August 2010.

Bender, Dniester Valley security zone. August 2010.

Chisinau, Moldova. August 2010.

Düsseldorf, Germany. September 2010.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. October 2010.

Vung Tau, Vietnam. October 2010.

Luang Prabang, Laos. October 2010.

Bangkok, Thailand. October 2010.

Metz, France. November 2010.

Bad Wimpfen, Germany. November 2010.

Luxembourg City. November 2010.

Namur, Belgium. November 2010.

Plovdiv, Bulgaria. December 2010.

Skopje, Macedonia. December 2010.

Pristina, Kosovo. December 2010.

Kotor, Montenegro. December 2010.

Dubrovnik, Croatia. December 2010.

Belgrade, Serbia. December 2010.

Budapest, Hungary. December 2010.

39 comments to I cannot keep this up much longer, I fear

  • Dunno, for 2011, switch to C.

    Chicago, Casablanca, Chenai, Croydon…oops!

  • Yet again Samizdata’s one man global warming machine does us proud…

    To paraphrase that great Australian sage Crocodile Dundee: “that’s not a carbon footprint… this is a carbon footprint.”

  • Devilbunny

    How on earth do you have enough time off to go to all these places?

  • Singapore has ‘flirting points’…?!

  • I cannot keep this up much longer, I fear

    Yes, must be a hell of an effort showing off this much. You may need a break to recharge the old batteries.

    Still, at least thanks to the internet we’re not stuck in the dark in your living room desperately praying that you’re nearing the end of the box of slides.

  • PeterT

    I don’t know what seem most exhausting. This trip or reading through an Ian B rant (or a NickM rant for that matter).

    Merry xmas. I’m going samizdata cold turkey for a while. In fact I might have some on boxing day.

  • mike: The photo is actually of the grounds at the front of the Singapore Art Museum, so it is museum officials and curators having a little fun, I think, rather than any government imposed flirting scheme…

  • I think Ian B’s comment is one of the few times I can actually say I LOL…

  • harry Powell

    Going anywhere on your holidays, then?

  • “…so it is museum officials and curators having a little fun…”

    … or trying to perhaps!

    Ian B – I think we all like you, but it is Christmas eve you know, so

  • Midwesterner

    Every time I start to get jealous of Michael, I remember my encounters with TSA. If you have a photo blog Michael, maybe you can link it for us people that actually stayed awake during vacation slide shows? What is the story on that hydrofoil looking thing?

  • I probably should have a photoblog, in truth. I took a lot of interesting photographs, and my self-imposed rule of one photo per visit to a country does mean a lot of interesting pictures get left out of postings like this. I obviously am showing off, but I am actually trying quite hard to not turn it into Uncle Fred’s holiday slide evening.

    What is the story on that hydrofoil looking thing?

    I haven’t the foggiest. It was sitting on an empty piece of land next to a road near the Dniester River in the ceasefire zone of the 1992 war between the Moldovan and Russian armies. And, for some reason, people were standing on it.

  • Midwesterner

    Well I look forward to it if you find the time. With maybe a little commentary. I remember your description of North to South transiting the Korean DMZ checkpoint. You do go to some very interesting (sometimes in the Chinese proverb sense) places.

  • RAB

    Jesus! All I managed this year was Crete.

    You are a hero Michael. But how do you manage to stay sane in that many airports? I love travelling, but I hate airports!

    And Ian was just joshing in a genial way, weren’t you Ian? 😉

    Happy Christmas one and all.

  • Jade

    Is Ian B always that much of a prick or is it just a seasonal thing?

  • It sounds like a monthly thing to me…:-P

  • RW

    What do you actually do, Michael, that takes you to so many diverse places? It can’t all be fun…

  • Re Bender, Dniester Valley – is that a beached tour boat?

  • Midwesterner

    It appears to be one of this model (or something close to it). Here that one is at speed. I’m not quite sure what process one would chose for beaching one of those things. 😛

  • I just figured that this time, Ian is joking, trying to put one over on us.

  • Actually RAB, Ted, etc, no. I was just being a cunt.

    I wish there was some context to the rolling Jennings slide show. At least at Uncle Fred’s you get, like, “and this is the wife and a couple we met in Torremolinos, he was called Bill, he had a bad case of ringworm”. But Michael Jennings, man of mystery; who is he? Why is he visiting all these places? Why does it say, “Michael Jennings (London)” when the one place he never is is London?

    Is he on the run from the Mafia? Is he on a charity thing to visit every country in the world? Is he a drugs or gun runner? Or a truck driver? Why does his itinerary suddenly leap from South East Asia to Southern Europe to Eastern Europe? It makes less sense than Paul the Apostle’s.

    Michael Jennings… who is he? Why is he here… or, more to the point, why is he not here? Will he lose the wager because he forgot he crossed the International Date Line…?

  • Was a good chap after all, that Ian B. I would visit his grave if there was one…sigh.

  • And a Merry Christmas to you too, Alisa. 🙂

  • Babinich


    What kind of camera do you rely on to take these beautiful pictures?

  • My “good” setup for the year was a Pentax K-100D DSLR, and the three lenses I normally carry are a Pentax 24mm FA* F2.0, a 21mm DA F3.2 Limited, and a 50mm FA F1.4.

    A few of the photos were taken with a Fuji FinePix J20, which has the advantage of being a cheapie compact that one can carry in a pocket for occasions when one doesn’t want to carry too much gear and/or be too conspicuous.

  • Kim du Toit

    Fuck me… and I thought our trip to Montreal was exotic. Other than that, I seldom left the parish.


  • Kim: Apart from the trips documented in the photos, I can recall only one occasion all year when I left Greater London, and that was only to Portsmouth. I should see more of England, because there are many beautiful things in England, but the rest of the world is so tempting. And air travel is so incredibly cheap. God bless capitalism.

  • Paul Marks

    Actually Ian B. was just be humourious – it is standard British humour of the cut-a-friend-down-to-size type.

    Being Australian (who have a similar type of humour) Mr Jennings would have understood it perfectly.

    Although (I must admit) I have sometimes have trouble with it – I suffer from literal mindendess and have trouble with irony. In fact, in spite having been born here and lived all my life here – I do not really think in an English way at all.

    As for the photographs:

    A lot of interesting places – some as I would have expected (Salamanca is, by all accounts wonderful – so I expect any photo of it to be interesting, and Montenegro is famous for its dramatic views).

    However, the picture from Portugal pulled me up short – that seemed like a nice place to be (at least for someone of my tastes). And it was a town I would never have heard of – had you not shown it.

    An interesting fortification – a nice town, the sea, and the hills.

    What more could anyone want?

    As for Brisbaine – well if the money runs low and you have to head back to Oz. Michael (one interpretation of “I can not keep this up”). You could do worse than settle in Margate (not far from Brisbaine – and nothing like the Margate in Kent, famous for boarded up shops and not much else, Margate Queensland is actually a nice place).

    I was just talking to my old friend Jeff Taylor today – he lives in Margate. All your travels (you are the most travelled person I know) would mean that you could explain what you have seen and its context (what Ian is after) to people

    Jeff teaches (informally – not in a government college) Classical Civization (including Greek and Latin) and on the Anglo Saxons and Norse (language, history and culture), but talks on the wonders of the world (and they are wonders) would be popular with many people I think.

    They certainly would be with me.

    Not that I would advice settleing in Kettering though – Good God no.

    No offence meant to those I hope will reelect me in May.

  • Paul Marks

    Actually (now I look again) that water in the picture from the Portugese town looks more like a river than the sea.

    It is just that I am not used to rivers that look like rivers – we have a river in Kettering, but it is just to dump things in. Although it is not officially an open sewer.

  • Paul: The name of the town translates as “Valença on the Minho”, implying it is a river, not the sea. The Minho forms the border separating Spain and Portugal, and Valença (facing Tui on the Spanish side of the river) is at narrow point in the river about 25km from the ocean: an important crossing point since Roman times. Also, of course, that makes it a strategic point, and hence the fortress (or more correctly two fortresses) on the Portuguese side and in the photograph. Between the completion of the first bridge across the river in 1879 and the bridge further downstream at Cerveria in 2004, Valença was the furthest downstream crossing point between Portugal and Spain. This led to the fortress evolving into an enormous market in which Spanish people crossed the border to buy goods (mostly clothing) in cheaper priced Portugal. It is still a huge market, although I doubt there is much difference in prices between the countries these days.

    That whole area is very beautiful, on both the Portuguese and Spanish sides of the river.

    Update: A photo of Valença gives me a nice connection with one of the other photos, too, although I didn’t realise it until now. That 1879 bridge between Valença and Tui (which is not in the photo, unfortunately) was designed by, or at least based on the designs of, Gustav Eiffel, as was the Long Bien Bridge across the Red River in Hanoi, which is visible in one of the earlier photos. That bridge was badly damaged in the Vietnam War, and has a rather unwieldy, patched up appearance these days. The French are apparently now assisting the Vietnamese in a project to restore the bridge to its original glory.

  • Jonathan

    Thanks, Michael. How do you like the FA 24/2?

  • The FA 24/2 is gorgeous – absolutely the finest lens I have ever used. It’s really stunning in low light in particular. The one disadvantage is that it is a physically large lens and the non-glass elements are all made of metal, so it is quite heavy. Worth it though. The DA 21/3.2 is a contrast – not optically quite as good, I think (although still very good) and a little slower, but a touch wider and extremely slim and lightweight. It’s the lens of choice if you are going out in the daytime without too much kit and are not quite sure what you are going to photograph.

  • Paul Marks

    Many thanks Mickael – so my second look (not my first look) was correct.

    A river not the sea – indeed I should have understood the name.

  • Paul Marks

    A friend of mine used to live in the Spanish Portugese border area……. yes I know it is a very long border – so the chances are low that he knows the place.

    However, I will ask if he knows the place – if not I think he would like to go there on his next visit.

  • Paul Marks

    I see just over the river from Galicia – that would be why things are green.

    Still even the famous oak forests of Galicia have, in part, been burned.

    The landed estates have been undermined by taxation (the death tax and so on) and by egalitarian notions in inheritance law.

    Progressive ideas, in the end, produce a desert.

    After all that is how so much land was destroyed in the Islamic world – the undermining of private estates.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Besides work trips to Switzerland and Austria, a wedding in Ireland, and Xmas in Germany, all of three other trips I did in 2010 were in Malta, with family and for work. And I thought I did a lot of travelling.

    I’ll be in Asia in 2011 for at least one visit to Singapore or Hong Kong for work. Never been to Asia before, so this should be good fun.

    For those who don’t know, Mike J. has the freedom to travel as much as he does and frankly, good luck to him in that. I am envious. A lot of the writeups he does about where he has visited – such as to the Ukraine – are among the highlights of this blog.