Monthly Archives: April 2020

Helicopter Cape Town – outskirts and downtown.

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

As promised in my previous post, herewith, a continuation of my Cape-Town-tourisms text and pics for your visual-curiousness-educational pleasure. Time for a chopper ride. A nice clean shiny bright red one at that…

First off – what we saw earlier, but from up in the sky. The Cape of Good Hope:

Read on…

The Cape of Good Hope – 2020.

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

Once upon a time, long ago – in the spring of 2011, I found myself in the glorious city of Cape Town, the southernmost city of the continent of Africa and the country of South Africa. And it’s an amazing city! The Cape of Good Hope, penguins under palm trees, and the main thing – Table Mountain, which rises up above the city. We took the funicular that goes up it back then, but we were in a real rush with just half-an-hour to spare. This is way too short a time. You need hours to stroll around up top, and then to descend back down on foot (the path is only 700 meters long). This year, we had more time – but still not several hours! Oh well, at least I was here for the second time: I’d been dreaming of returning for a full nine years. So here I was. And I did manage to walk back down!…

I was in Cape Town, of course, not primarily for Table Mountain funicularing and strolling. I was here on business: our annual META-region partner conference (META = Middle East, Turkey and Africa) (though, technically Turkey is a Middle Eastern country!). As per, it was meetings, presentations, Q&As, formal dinners, partner awards, interviews, non-stop ‘cheesing’ for the cameras, and all that. And all that over and done with, also as per – micro-tourism!

Read on…

Flickr photostream

  • Beijing
  • Beijing
  • Beijing
  • Beijing

Instagram photostream

Madagascan habitation.

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

Madagascar. You probably don’t know all that much about the place, right? (Well, apart from what you’ve learned here in my recent series of posts on the country, that is.) But what’s life like for Madagascans? How do they live? Do they have it good, or bad? How much do they earn? All that. Well, to give you an idea – herewith, a short photo-excursion around a few Madagascan urbanisms. First up – in the city of Andasibe.

Read on…

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Madagascan karma chameleons, geckos, tomato frogs, and more…

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

Woah my gosh! Finally – our January 2020 African holiday-expedition (Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Madagascar) was coming to and end. Boo!

Our final African port of call – central Madagascar. Hurray! For they say it’s full of lemurs, chameleons, geckos, frogs (and also mosquitoes)…

I’ll start with the lemurs. Delightful little animals. Rather daft too! They react positively to… bananas. And negatively to… their tails being pulled (not that we put this to the test!). They seem totally uninterested in humans – unless they have bananas!

Next – chameleons…

Baobab, chameleons, and the three bays of Antsiranana.

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

The destination we were heading for along the Badagascan roads was the ‘northern capital’ of Madagascar, Antsiranana. Nothing too much to tell you about this small city, apart from the fact that it’s possible to spend a pleasant day on its outskirts. The main thing is not to forget to lather on the hi-factor.

To the east of the city there’s a peninsula with various interesting sights and scenes on offer (though its very name escapes me), and next to the peninsula is a beautiful bay – Baie Andovobazaha – with a wonderful volcanic installation right in the middle of it ->

A little further, at Anosiravo, hillwalking is offered, but we figured it was just a little too hot for enjoyable strolling…

Read on…

Don’t come here.

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

Onward we drove – further along our Madagascan excursion around its ‘best’ nature reserves. And since, not far from the country’s main northern city Antsiranana, we were passing Montagne d’Ambre National Park, which the internet told us was super duper, with amazing views, with lakes and waterfalls, and with many a big baobab too, well, of course we turned off the road and drove toward it. But it turned out that the pictures the internet shows aren’t of the place at all! Admittedly, there was plenty of the usual exotic Madagascan awesomeness, but still, overall – a bit of a let-down…

Read on…

All in the same boat – staying remote.

Hi folks!

You’ll know how I normally write here about fun stuff like far-away travel, but today I think I really do need to touch on a business topic. Not doing so would be like… not noticing the huge (green) elephant in the room. And we don’t want any of that…

Here’s what I mean:

The company that coincidentally has the same name as moi is now working almost completely remotely. Not that this affects anything negatively: all processes are functioning fine as usual, we’re still going after – and catching – the cyber-scum, our products all over the globe on home computers and at businesses are providing protection round-the-clock as always, and updates are being sent out as regularly as ever. In other words – it’s business as usual, only… with a difference ).

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting things to go as smoothly as they have. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the 4000+ of our K-folks all around the world were able to swiftly and painlessly switch from office-based working to home-based, and carry on with all their job duties without any loss of productivity with increased productivity. So, to all our K’ers – but especially our IT, R&D, and HR folks – major kudos + applause standing ovation!

Of course, there were – and still are – a few difficulties here and there, mostly of a psychological nature: our guys and girls getting used to working remotely. Not everyone has been able to move to this unusual working format easily. Working from home every day (if never/rarely done before) means totally new daily routines and planning that require a certain acclimatization period – especially if at home there are children and/or pets (actually, being at home alone every single day I’m sure also takes some getting used to). Faced with these trickinesses, we’ve been sharing accumulated experiences and lifehacks on how to manage better given the new reality on our blogs. Have a look there: practically every day there are new interesting, useful and unexpected must-read posts.

You may ask how I am getting along with this ‘new’ remote working thing.

Well, actually, it’s nothing new to me. I’ve been working remotely for the last 15 years almost as much as I’ve been in the office, since nearly half of my working year is spent on business trips. What is new to me is certain technical wizardry that makes ‘telecommuting’ a lot more convenient and interesting; for example – video conferencing. I never bothered with it before as there was always the possibility of meeting with customers, partners, journalists, ministers, rock stars, and so on in person. So, at least that’s one positive, for me at least, to come out of this dreadful virus-and-lockdown situation. I’ve now started taking part in the weekly live online broadcasts given by our senior management in which we update all the K-folks about the developing situation and answer their questions. Just last week I took part in two such online broadcasts:

So yes: all in all everything’s ok. The crossover to the new daily reality has been completed. Well done everyone!

Wishing you all the robustest of health, here’s hoping you continue to act wisely given the current extraordinary, unprecedented situation, and to use your time in isolation at home as best you can: time to dust off those projects on the rainy-day shelf and get on with them!…

PS: This post is part of the crypto-quest across my social media accounts. What? Well, this is just a teaser; I won’t say more. Ok, I will say more – but just two words: shamir secret. Come on then – on with the quest!…

Mad, bad Madagascan roads.

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

After being spoiled driving nearly 3000 kilometers along Namibia’s super-solid highways (super-smooth, super-signposted, super-high-speeds-possible, super road-markings, and so on and so forth), the contrasting road situation in Madagascar was all the more striking. Some ‘highways’ leave a lot to be desired, to put it diplomatically. This, for example, is Route Nationale 6, which connects the north of the country to the south:

Some stretches are decently asphalted, but not many. Often it’s a potholed mess ->

Read on…

A marvelous Madagascan thingy called tsingy.

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

Next Madagascan theme – a rocky one. Particularly – a tsingy one!…

Madagascan tsingy refers to the country’s rather unique rock formations that cover some 1500 square kilometers. And they look like this:

Quite how these unusual forms came about the internet gives various versions of, including one that claims they’re from acid rain caused by a volcanic eruption.

Read on…

Lemurs, snakes, chameleons and chilled locals – in Madagascar.

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

After a quick fast-forward to the corona crisis, herewith, a quick rewind back to southern Africa, since I haven’t finished telling you all about it yet!…

After taking in Namibia’s dunes and the Victoria Falls (in both Zambia and Zimbabwe) next up for us, as per our long-ago pre-planned route, was… Madagascar! Which, it turned out was to be my 99th country in the world I’ve visited, after Namibia (98th). I’ve already told you about my hundredth

Our first two days in the country, however, were somewhat off-piste – unplanned. For, after several days of ‘tourism till you drop’ (up early, late to bed, and non-stop concentrated travel-cum-tourism in-between), we decided a few days ‘off’ were in order. And so we did order them, and were granted them… on the Madagascan island paradise called Nosy Be, just off the northern shores of the country.

But first we had to get there. By boat. It’s about 30 kilometers across the sea over to the island – to a town called Hell-Ville (actually, it used to be called that (after Anne Chretien Louis de Hell!); it’s now called Andoany).

No problem, surely. Thing is, just as we were setting out across the sea a storm took hold, with thunder and lightening even. So, nervously, we ask of our ‘captain’, if it might be dangerous making the trip right now. His answer: ‘Yes, yes. Is dangerous!’ ‘Then what the actual *#@! were we doing even contemplating it?’ we all thought. He then asked us if we should turn round. Er, but I thought he was the captain, not us. ‘Yes, we turn round’, came the chorus from us lot!

It was just one of those things – where we needed to remember we were in Africa and the… approach to certain situations by locals can be quite different to that of tourists visiting from afar. We simply took a deep breath, made no sudden movements (much like if you encounter a tarantula in your bed in the middle of the night:), and realized things will work out fine in the end. Which they did…

…For next morning it was a clear, calm, sunny day. So we set sail – in the same boat, with the same ‘captain’! – over to Hell-Ville…

Read on…