Sunday, May 27, 2007

Ack, I'm really not a good blogger these days, huh? Today, all I can manage is comments, sorry.
  • Rosa has been finished for quite some time actually. But I'm afraid I just can't be bothered to model her, let alone wash her before I took this picture. She's a pretty girl, tho'.

    Pattern: Rosa from Rowan magazine no. 35
    Yarn: 5 balls of Gepard Cotton Baby in colour 187
    Beads: Gütermann washable seed beads in colour 8061. Dunno how many. Lots!

  • My mother's getting married (for the first time) in August. This is my bridesmaid's dress. Pretty, isn't it? Fingers crossed that it doesn't mean bad luck for anyone to see that one.

  • There's a lighthouse outside my living room window. A crane came Thursday and put it into place. I'm still confuzzled, but hey, it should make drunkely finding my way home a lot easier!

  • A Milky moved into my house. Unfortunately, no Graham Coxon came along with him, but maybe I'll make him a Miss Milky, so he won't feel so alone. Light yellow polymer clay might be trickier to find, though? I dunno. Templates at Milky Fan, if you want your own.

  • I was watching 24 Hour Party People the other day (or actually, just the first half, it's just not entirely as good after Shaun Ryder's killed those pigeons, is it? That scene, however, is one of the funniest, ever) and today I just saw the trailer for Anton Corbijn's Joy Division-movie Control (it looks fantastic, by the way) and I was just thinking; which Joy Division-single do you prefer? I say Transmission, it's one of the few songs that just keeps getting to me every time.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Angola revisited

Right, it's been nearly three weeks since I came home from Angola - it's pretty damn feeble that I haven't been able to get my shit together until now. Anyway, it was a great trip. Unlike last time, where my dad had to work like normal and we, consequently, couldn't go very far from Luanda, we wen't on a small African roadtrip this time and it was pretty good stuff.
Also unlike last time, it was (late) summer and thus really, really f***ing hot! As soon as we got off the plane, the greenhouse-like heat just smacked me hard in the face and I honestly think that I got more of a tan last time 'round - this time I spent most of the time sitting indoors shouting for the air-con to be turned on and/or up.

But actually, the fact that I haven't written anything about the trip until now look even worse when I tell you that I have in fact already written most of this post while I was still in Angola, but as I didn't bring my laptop with me on the road, I had to type it and I just couldn't be arsed. Anyway, here goes:

Friday, 30th of March
Arriving in Luanda. It's warm! Or hot, rather, the heat is absolutely stifling and very, very humid. If I'm outside or in a room without aircon, I break a sweat in 2 minutes. Ick.
But it's good to see Angola again, there's just something about it that makes me... happy. I already get my camera out on the way from the airport, dunno why, last time I was pretty wary to take pictures with people in them, but when lack of sleep has done something to my brain and seeing a children's guitar in a tree makes me giggle, so I decide to snap a shot. Bad idea! The guy in the picture gets really, and I mean really, royally, pissed off and no matter how much I try to mouth "I'm sorry!" or "Desculpe!", he just proceeds to make rather obscene gestures at me. When he picks up a rock and comes closer, Maiamona from my dad's company goes over to try and calm him down, but still, I'm pretty happy when the traffic unclogs and we can get the hell out of there!
My dad's house is pretty much the same as last time. I shower, play Bop-It and sleep. Then we go out to a restaurant called Baia at the harbour. The place is really cool, very cosmopolitan, but without losing its roots. We have lovely food, while downstairs they're having a poetry slam.
When we get back home, I ponder what to bring on an African road trip apart from your malaria medicine. It's tricky, but I go for my knitting, my iPod and my deodorant.

Saturday, 31st of March
Day one of our road trip. We leave rather late as the guy with whom my dad needs a meeting before we can go is stuck in the airport. This means we arrive after dark in Kambala, an old military base protecting the dam that supplies Luanda with electricity. Our rooms look a bit like there's no cleaner and we practically have to beg to get pillows, but we sleep ok despite incessant frogs and some birds nesting on the outside frame of our door.

Sunday, 1st of April
Day two: We leave from Kambala after an early breakfast and after seeing the church in what is left of the fortress of Kambambe. Apparently, the place has had some military value since 1604 and it's also one of Angola's nominations for UNESCO World Heritage. Now that it's light, it's also pretty cool to discover that the architecture of the base is very Bauhaus-ish, not really what you'd expect from Africa. Today's trip, however, is far from cool, in fact, it's positively awful.
I guess that I've never really stopped to consider the difference proper infrastructure makes, but it's definitely one of those things you miss when it's not there. To be sure, the road has seen asphalt at some point, but it just has so many holes and bumps and... argh! Sure, going somewhere far can be a bit of a pain, but traveling like this is actually hard work! The shitty roads make you bounce and bump up and down and combined with the fact that you have to reach your destination before nightfall, there's hardly any time for breaks, let alone rests. At one point, I'm just so worn out and sick of being unable to take even the tiniest of naps that I just start crying.
We drive for about 9 or 10 hours to get to Malanje, the capital of the Kwanza Norte province. It's 230 kilometres away.
We'd booked rooms at Hotel Gigante, but it just can't be found and when we drive by Hotel Palanca Negra, no-one feels the need to keep looking. Air-con, swimming pool, clean sheets and Italian furniture - again, it just feels odd to reach this in the middle of this vast area of disarray. But I don't dwell on it, instead I fall asleep straight after dinner, I'm just that tired.

Monday, 2nd of April
Day three: Our bathroom smells pretty damn foul - imagine a sewer stuffed with cheese. We ask for another room before we're on our way to see the Kalandula falls. Proves easier said than done. We drive to the top of a hill where we can see this, which, if you can't tell, are the falls in the distance.
But the road seems to turn in the opposite direction so we go back and turn down another road which seems slightly overgrown.
Some women are making tapioca flour by grinding the cassava on the asphalt and they seem rather surprised to see us, but we just drive on until we meet a particularly grassy patch. At first we just want to drive on, but suddenly Elisabeth, my dad's girlfriend yells for us to stop - a pretty good call 'cause behind the pretty tall grass is this:

Hm, seems that we can't get to the waterfalls this way either although from here, we can hear them.
We go back again and turn down what is basically a slightly oversized goat path leading to a a village where some kids with machetes stare at us as if we're from another planet. This obviously isn't the right way either. Eventually, we end up going up the first road again - evidently it turns back towards the falls and leads to this miradura. It's just wauw.

We spend what seems like half an hour, but is in fact more than two at the falls. They're just so pretty. I take Rosa out to show her the falls as well. Neat, eh?

When we get back to the hotel, they've changed our room. Instead of a stink we now have:

Ta-daa, a shittily installed electric showerhead! To me, it just screams hairdryer dropped in bathtub, so I go for cold showers...

Tuesday, 3rd of April
Day four. We can't figure out how to get to Gambele as was initially planned, so we go back the same shitty road to Kambambe although, to be fair, it doesn't feel entirely as bad the second time around.
We eat at the local greasy spoon for people who work at the dam (and again makes me think about the fact that I told my doctor that I'd be in Angola for two weeks under good conditions. I'm not entirely sure that sitting outside at twilight - mosquito peak hour - eating food from a country kitchen I haven't seen, constitutes what she'd define as "good conditions") - it's pretty great, even though I see the biggest spider ever and nearly manage to make a local boy cry.

Wednesday, 4th of April
Day five. At first we want to take the shorter road from Kambambe, south-east of Luanda, to Cabo Ledo at the Atlantic, south-west of Luanda, across the country that is, but when Elisabeth asks the hotel manager about this, he nearly wets himself laughing while spluttering "não possível!", so we go over Luanda instead.
We stop by the hous to have lunch, but are quickly shooed back into the car when we can't get a hold of the hotel in Cabo Ledo and have to be in the national park of Kissama within two hours. It's probably not more than 70 kilometres away, but with Angolan roads and Luanda traffic combined, making the trip within 2 hours is actually pretty hard. The last 30 kilometres into Kissama consists of a dirt road and contrary to last year, it has rained this time so this part of the trip is a 4 wheel drive mud fest. Good stuff.
At the hotel, I ponder how weird it is to see Orion when the temperature isn't sub-zero and then we drink G&T's and caipirinhas (and I remind myself to bring som cachaça home) to celebrate Elisabeth's birthday.

Thursday, 5th of April
First day of just chilling out we've had since I got here. I knit in the sun and at 5PM, we go for a guided tour around the park, but in my dad's car instead of the park's this time. The guy seems like a nice guy, although I'm not too happy sitting with his AK-47 between my feet. I see a gnu and some antilopes, but overall, the trip we had last year in the park's Unimog was a bit more exciting.

Friday, 6th of April
We've planned to go on a river safari and hopefully see some crocodiles, but the diesel for the boat hasn't come in from Luanda yet, so instead we go to Cabo Ledo to swim, say hi to to the monkey and eat some seafood.
When we get back to Luanda, we go to Bob's for burgers, slightly lame-o-tourists of us, but hey, sometimes you just need a freakin' burger. Also, if you ever get past a Bob's (apparently they're big in Brazil and there's one in Lisbon as well), try their Ovomaltine milkshake, it's pretty damn yummy!

Saturday, 7th of April
Ahh, proper bed, no shaky car, lots of aircon - it's good to be home. We go to a supermarket called Fresco to shop for our barbecue night. It's pretty weird, somehow you don't expect all sorts of special vegetarian food or the remedies for sushi to be found in Africa, but they're they are and really, why the hell shouldn't they be?

Sunday, 8th of April
Today is the day Kathrine and I are going home, so nothing big is planned. We get lunch at a restaurant at the beach called Caribe - if you ever get to Luanda, their mojitos are worth a shot!
The airport is a breeze, we don't even have bribe anyone this time and we're there early enough to get a Death by Chocolate Magnum before we leave. Yay Africa!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

She's not dead

Neither is the blog, is' jus' restin', while I knit on on Rosa and try to pull myself together to write an Angolan post. Pretty pictures, I swear it.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Oh, and ever so by the way...

This is what came out of the wet and smelly mess below. Looks good, no? It's a birthday present for a friend (I reckon that if home-dyed, self-striping cashmere sock yarn isn't enough to turn someone into a wool-head, nothing is), but I almost don't have the heart to give it away. It reminds me of late august, blackberries and raspberries giving colour to the whipped cream by which they could be surrounded - I almost want to eat it! Fortunately, I can just dye some more...

And here is what a huge relief looks like. Last time I went to Angola to visit my dad, there was nothing but trouble with the tickets and we (me and my two travelmates whom I hardly knew) had to catch a later flight because of it and yadayada-f*cking-yada! So when I saw these babies in the mailbox a stone just fell from my heart. Good stuff - Luanda, here I come!

Do you remember this fella? That was a picture of me getting Lucky. Lucky from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation that is. Not bad, is it? Only trouble is that is has a nasty habit of falling from my shoulder, but I think I can fix that with some hooks and eyelets in the inner side seam. I made it with 9 balls of Blend Bamboo from Hjertegarn. It's dead nice and soft now that it's knitted up, but jebus, is it a pain to knit with! It splits like absolutely crazy to the point where I wondered if it was actually yarn or just a random collection of threads.
Next sweater project? A green Rosa from Rowan Magazine #35 made with free work-yarn. Oooh, the joy of threading 4,000 tiny beads onto string!

Oh, and a last thing. By now, it's hardly news that DR2 has started sending The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, but can I just express my joy anyway? I'm beginning to think that I have a thing for that guy, so much that when I saw this YouTube-clip with him talking about his kids, it made me think "Mmm... procreation is hott!"

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Just a few things...

On working in a yarn shop: Pretty good stuff, so far at least. Free yarn for 2 work sweaters every year, plus damn nifty discounts. Nice people, both staff and customers. Good coffee from a weird machine. Yarn! Mmmm!

On the Nørrebro-riots: This has to be the coolest picture taken during the demolition.

On dying your own yarn: Addictive! Smelly, but addictive.

On how life is... Not bad, I think! Did I mention the yarn?!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

She got the clap so many times, it amounted to applause

Or, actually, I just finished my first Clapotis (this here being and unblocked version), so no standing ovations just yet. But I had to do it sometime, no? All the other kids are doing it n all...
The yarn is my own handpainted single-ply silk, knitted up on 5mm needles.
I really liked the pattern, there really is something strangely satisfying about dropping stitches on purpose. However, I don't really know about the yarn. Especially the colour. I don't know... it's just very colour-y and I'm not sure I'm a colour-y person! Also, it sheds all over the goddamn place and with the amount of black I wear that's just not a good thing.
But anyway, my mother says she wants it, so it's not the end of the world.

By the way, don't you just looove easily satisfied urges? Like today, when I woke up and all I wanted was buttered toast. I mean, that's ace! When is buttered toast not easily available? Excellent, I say.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Let's start! Let's start a riot!

Right, if you've been living under a rock (or got hit by one), you might not have noticed that the users of Ungdomshuset was evicted by the police yesterday. I've written about this before and rest assured, bricks or no bricks, I'm still on the side of the squatters. I'm generally pretty damn sick of listening to people droning on and on about how the squatters don't respect the laws of our society - what part of "revolutionary" is it that you c***s don't understand? It's absurd to expect people recognise the rules of the society they want to throw over, to expect them to play by these rules to change the society they don't respect. And the worst is when I hear the argument "But these rules are the base of our society! If everyone did like you, society would crumble!" - that's sort of the entire point, see?
Essentially, the argument comes down to that you want people to act according to your rules because you say so - and you have the police backing you up wielding guns, batons and Mace. That's fine by me, if only you'd admit it; it not about justice, it's about power.
Also, I'm looking forward to see what the police means when they say they found a flamethrower in the house. If this time is anything like their usual way of handling the truth, when you see flamethrower, you should read "we found a lighter next to a bottle of hairspray".

On a lighter and more bourgeois note, I just got a job in a yarn shop! Yay!