About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

26 November 2008

Downtown Jozi

I have said it before - downtown Johannesburg is facinating; and together with the urban renewal projects, it is regaining some of its old glory. Unfortunately, in the weekend it's not really a very vibrant city - it is quiet and everything is closed up. Which is a pity - because it does not really encourage people to come and walk around. And it is really a stark contrast to what it is like during the day. The photos are primarily taken in and around Rissik, Symonds and Harrison streets - streets I have driven a number of times during the day, shuttling to and from client offices. I never really have time to admire Jo'burg from the driver's seat, and for that alone I really enjoy walking around Jo'burg.

Byers Naude Park, from the City Hall looking at the Library. It looks very different during the week, full with people. Next time, maybe I should walk around and take photos during the workday.

Old Mining equipment, on Main Street. Main Street is facinating, and gives a great iverview of the mining heritage of the city, and the key people involved. It is also very pedestrian friendly.

One of the many adverts adorning the Jo'burg skyline

A kwaito group was filming their music video on the streets (it is not to dificult to close down a street over the weekend). Not sure who they were - but the miming was fun to watch.

Movie: Quantam of Solace

This is not much of a traditional Bond movie in some respects - no Q, no gadgets, no dumb villain leader. But there are still beautiful locations, baddies to hunt down and beautiful women.

This is also the first Bond movie I have seen that is a sequel - rather than a stand alone story; and going forward, the ending suggests that the next movie will also be a sequel. This in itself will be a departure, and not such an unwelcome departure in my opinion.

The movie itself was quite action packed, although somewhat convoluted at times (a lot of hand-to-hand) - but personally, I really liked the scene in the Opera - I just don't remember Bond movies being artistically inclined.

24 November 2008

The Wisdom of Whores

I am normally a very fast reader - but due to various circumstances, I never really got round to finishing The Widom of Whores until recently, even though I started in late August! And it is definitely a great book!

A lot has been written about HIV and AIDS, and in some ways this is another book to that pile. It is however, possibly the most honest book I have read on the subject. The author, a journalist turned epidemiologist has spent a long time in the field of HIV and AIDS research - and her insights are facinating, and sometimes brutal. It is a frank account of not only how HIV and AIDS epedimics are badly managed in terms of response (not only in South Africa) but also of the politics, the ideologies and most of all the difference in cultures that are seemingly not understood.

Fundamentally, HIV is spread in two ways - unprotected sex and blood transfusions. But most HIV response teams do not tackle either of the core issues directly, largely for moralistic grand standing. Unproteted sex? People are not supposed to have sex before marriage. Or most people do not have multiple simultaneous partners. And drug abusers - why should they get more sympathy with clean neadles? The fact that some cultures do not consider multiple partners immoral - or that some prostitutes do not consider their work cheating on the partners have just not permeated up to the powers that be.

More than anything, the book exposes the flaws in the standard research practice of boxing things into neat categories. That, and the gross ineficieny of ideology driven health care support - even when the ideology is not religious.

While the book is centred largely in South East Asia, the lessons and discussions raised are just as relevant in South Africa. But, whether the book has any effect in fixing the world, that probably has a very a expected answer ...