Flash news – ሰላምናችሁ Africa

Salamnatchu ሰላምናችሁ!

Since approximately one week we are in Ethiopia and therefore left the Arab World to enter the real Africa. The first days were quite difficult. There are very few cars so it’s very hard to hitchhike, many people ask us money, especially the kids following us on hundreds of meters, and one often tries to make us pay the “white man price”. It’s the rainy season so it rains a lot, impossible to camp, hard to be hosted, and we end up paying for hotel rooms. We just arrived in Mekele where we find a bigger, more welcoming city and people apparently more used to strangers.

Since several months we are getting late on our articles. Every day from 11am to 5pm Internet doesn’t work, from 5pm to 9pm there is a general electricity outage, which only leaves us the 9-11am time span to have fun charging 38 times the same pages waiting for a stable connection. Comfortable places to write with an electrical plug are rare, so we opt for the “chic” hotels where we drink delicious Ethiopian coffee.

After months of desert, we are happy to cruise through the green mountains of Ethiopia, to have seen monkeys (no dad, no elephant yet) and to have trade tea for cheap and good beers. It’s what we drink now when the rain is too strong, no other option.

But the articles will arrive. Be patient, we send you a lot of telepathic coffee meanwhile.

Ciao!

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Jordan Gallery

Pictures of Jordan, three weeks spend with Marie, a French friend.

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Israel Gallery

Here is the picture selection for Israel.

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Israel, Palestine 3/3 – Can I have the hummus?

Here is the third and last article on our reflections about Israel.  We hope that you carry on and that at least one or two of you will read until the end. If you missed the last episodes here are article 1 and article 2, easy!

« I realized I was not only defending my country. » a friend that signed a 10-year contract after his military service tells us.

Invoking self defence Israel allows itself to replicate with huge power. The military technology and the means of Israel are by far superior compared to the Palestinian ones, like the Iron Dome for example. On the website Breaking the Silence soldiers talk about their experience explaining that often orders are not given respecting war conventions and that civilians are not spared as much as they should. The unbalance of forces is terrific, the Israeli army is overly powerful, and if it is of course normal to defend yourself from terrorist attacks, the truth is not that simple. Many Palestinians are killed while the amount of dead on the Israeli side is insanely less. Often the fault is given to the “terrorists” that are said to use civilians as human shields and to launch rockets from inhabited places (schools, public buildings, etc.). It is likely that these people use this methods and commit many war crimes, but Israel doesn’t strive all the time to protect the civilians as the international conventions ask for. While reading the testimony of these soldiers it becomes obvious that the Israeli army, considered as legitimate, is far from being irreproachable. As an example, during the last war against Gaza in summer 2014 (“protective edge” operation), there has been according to the UNO 1400 Palestinians civilians killed against 6 Israeli civilians.

But the imbalance is not only in the amount of people killed. The Palestinian people suffer, their country is not recognized and is getting surrounded by a wall, their freedom is taken away. And during this time, one hour driving away in the Tel-Aviv bubble, David is jogging and doing push-ups on the beach. A surrealistic gap that makes one quickly forget about the rest when spending a few days playing beach racket on the water side.

“Ah this is an Arab town.” one of our first driver tells us.

“Hein? What do you mean by this?” We are a little bit shocked at first when we hear about “the Arabs over there”. But actually the Israeli society is really organized like this: there are some “Jewish” villages and some Arab villages located only a few kilometres away from each other and with very few exchanges between them. An Arab village is different from a Palestinian village because it is on the ground of Israel and the Arabs who live there have the Israeli citizenship. But it is as well another world where the laws and the general organization are not quite the same as anywhere else. This ghetto-phenomenon, although happening all around the planet, seems very strong in Israel. The society is divided in a great deal of mini-groups, the Arabs in their villages, the settlers in their new barbed-wired residential cities, the Palestinians surrounded by walls, but as well the Sudanese district, the kibbutz and the Druze towns (a surprising stream of Islam). It is almost like there was a will to separate folks, it is better that people don’t meet too much. The Israeli Arabs for example don’t have to do the military service as their allegiance to Israel or Palestine is doubtful, but it actually only keeps each side far away from each other. If instead of doing nothing they would have to do a civil service to integrate the global system?

We ask ourselves about the Israel-Palestine programs that really exist. People often talk to us about the Arabs, who are like this, who build their houses like that and so on. And like many clichés there is a part of truth. “But have you been to Palestine?” “Euh no not really or I was a child.” We want to compare it to the ‘banlieues’ (suburbs) in France where people that have never put a feet in these places allow themselves to criticize them. When you only live with the same people and when mixes are rare it does not really helps mutual understanding and does not make hate vanish.

No English” answer us an orthodox man when ask him our way.

If there is one surprising community, not to say weird, in Israel, it’s the ultra-orthodox Jews, the Haredi. They are people who dedicate their lives to religion, the study of the Torah and who are strictly following the Halakha, the Jewish laws. Different branches exist in this community. The classical ultra-orthodox man walks around with a black suit, a black hat with wide edges and a white shirt. Very often he has a long beard, has some kind of long braids in pig tail shape that grows on his temples (payots) and wears the tzitzits, kind of weaved strings that hang from his pants that is visible to make them remember God’s commandments. You cannot miss them. The women also have an official clothing style, not really sexy, going along with a quite ugly hair cut. They are spending their time pushing pushchairs. Pushchairs, pushchairs, pushchairs everywhere, the orthodox Jews are making many many children and the families with ten kids and more are not rare. They live recluse in neighbourhoods or entire cities, the children are going to specials schools. They meet only people from their community and are only learning the Torah, oh yes, no Mathematics or English for these little orthodoxes. It then becomes difficult to get out of this system in which their thoughts are completely focused in one narrow direction. And the people who have the courage to get away from that end up completely lost, to find a job for example, because they lack so many skills. Hearing somebody telling us “no English” in a country where everybody speaks perfectly English is a bit weird.

With an early marriage and an immoderate number of kids by couple, it is easy to see how the Jewish orthodox population is growing and how important it becomes for the Israeli government to win the votes of this community. This part of the population that is dedicating their lives to God and the reading of the Torah is a problem that impacts the rest of the Israelis. Since they are not working they live from the help of the State, especially the child benefit, while doing some arrangement in between their very closed network. With a little signature from the rabbi, they don’t have to do the military service. But well, they already have a quite high dose of brain washing from their life style and religion, it’s maybe enough.

To the ghetto-phenomenon we talked about earlier about the Arabs, we need of course to add the ultra-orthodoxes who are a perfect illustration of it.

Don’t hitchhike with Arabs car” tell us approximately 10,000 Israelis.

The Israelis are afraid, they are afraid of the Palestinians, they are afraid of rockets. Often when we are talking about our trip and we are saying that we want to go to Palestine, Jordan or Egypt, they think we are crazy, they tell us that we are going to get murdered. Every Israelis repeat to us that we should never go inside an Arab car when we are hitchhiking, those same Israelis who have never been to Palestine.

This fear make us often laugh, and is completely out of step with our hitchhiking experience in Israel, where it’s not rare that a young women give a ride to the two bearded guy we are, at night, on a small road. It never or very rarely happens in Europe.

Today we celebrate the day when Jerusalem got captured. Should I say captured or liberated ?” “Well it depends of the point of view” we answer to an Israeli teenager not sure of his French.

Jerusalem is one of the main disagreement point of the conflict. High place of many religious streams, Jerusalem hosts tourists and pilgrims from the whole world. 1967 following the Six Days War Israel took over the control of all the city, and every year the ultra-nationalists Jews happily remember it to everybody in a giant manifestation during Yom Yerushalayim, the day of Jerusalem. Of course, the Palestinians don’t agree with this occupation. While Jerusalem could be a place where every religion live in peace, it is instead the demonstration of the inability of some men to deal with their differences.

It is when we ask a boy in the street during Yom Yerushalayim pretending not knowing anything, what the origin of this agitation is that he answers this superb sentence. During several hours we will make an indigestion of blue-and-white flags and exacerbated nationalism. Jews from all the country came to follow the procession in the street of Jerusalem. Some teenagers were throwing fliers asking the expulsion of the Muslims from the last place in the old town that they still really control, the Temple Mount. We have been warned, a package of hundreds of army and policemen is on-site, and it’s actually quite normal when we see that the march passes through the Muslim quarter yelling very elaborated slogans like the classical “Death to the Arabs!”. A little bit of originality would have been appreciated. Many altercations happen with the pro-Palestinians and their anti-protest is of course kept aside by the “peace” keepers. utds_2015_05_17-17_40_26

In all that mess, a small group of people are carrying roses and offering them to the crowd to cool everybody’s ardor. From both side of the protest, pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli, people asked for a flower with a genuine smile before destroying it petal by petal in front of their face and throwing it on them. It’s quite difficult to express the human madness that we experienced this afternoon. They were no more men, only enraged sheep going crazy with every slogan, waiting for the next friction to find a reason to hate the other side even more, and if possible to fight a little bit.

The women had a different track than the men’s that we didn’t follow, so we can not say if they dared also to destroy the roses.

Actually, it was a quite sad day for us and we got home with an heavy heart. But that being said we saw the city during more normal days and Jerusalem is a really cool city.

We made a small video of the day to give an idea what Yom Yerushalayim looks like.

The best hummus it’s here.” We still didn’t got where it was, every Israeli has a different address.

The Israelis are proud of their few specialities. They all know the best address in Israel to eat falafel or hummus, and they all have the best recipe to make a shakshuka or to prepare the tahini. In the end, they admit it, those meals are originally Arab while they integrated them to their culture. When you get to know both cultures it becomes a game to spot all the similarities between Israelis and Arabs. The language is a good example, most of the Hebrew words having an Arab origin.

“Make hummus not walls”, the solution is all found for this street artist on the separation wall of Palestine in Bethlehem.

« Hey but in France you are not afraid of the extremism rise?! » many drivers tell us.

In Israel, and even more in Tel-Aviv, we hear all the time speaking French. Many French Jews, often from Paris, emigrated to Israel using the law of return in order to get Israeli nationality. Many of them moved out because they think being more safe in Israel. We often got this same discussion with Israelis explaining us that they saw on TV that it is dangerous to be Jew in France and that the country is full of Islamic extremists and Anti-Semitics. We are very surprised and needed every time to explain that no, the Islamic extremists are not doing the rules in France, and that no, it’s not very dangerous to be Jewish in France. We still wonder because we only have a limited knowledge on the topic, but we have the feeling that the French Jewish community, closed on itself, tends to exaggerate anti-Semitism and the problems Jews could face in France.

Trying to summarize everything, we ended up with something quite long and we didn’t even speak about our experience as travellers (which was great), but it will be done in a future article.

Hummus to everybody! Arfer and Raymi.

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Israel, Palestine 2/3 – Walls again?

Here is the second article on our reflexions about Israel. If you didn’t read the first one, it’s here.

I got my car’s window broken by a kid that threw a stone at me.” a woman tells us. She wanted to stop to take a young Palestinian who was hitchhiking.

Before coming we had some trouble to really understand what Palestine was. The territories are composed of both West Bank and the Gaza strip.

Palestine_Map_2007_(Settlements)

West Bank, the biggest part, is more or less occupied by Israel that doesn’t acknowledge the existence of an independent Palestinian state. It is divided in three areas, A, B and C, and despite reading ten times about it, we could not really put a picture behind the words. But once we got there the difference became clear. The A areas are entirely controlled by Palestinians, and Israelis cannot enter it except for some soldiers once in a while for military raids and operations. In B areas Palestinians are in charge of the civil sector while the security is split between both Israel and Palestine. Israel’s army is everywhere in these places. C areas, completely controlled by Israel, are inhabited by settlements since 1967. A settlement is a small village build out of nothing and surrounded by barbed wire with a check-point at the entrance, often inhabited by very Zionist Israelis. This smart technique from the government to colonize the territory blocks slowly all chances to see the conflict ending. The settlers who come to live in Palestine consider that it is there right to live everywhere in the Holy Land, no matter the climate of fear that the extremists could create. And they benefit as well from the government’s subsidies to help them enjoy the joys of familial colonization.

The other part of Palestine, the Gaza strip, is a little region in the South-West of Israel. First military occupied by Israel, the management is given to the Palestinian Authority in 1994 with the Oslo Accord, until the Gaza strip is left entirely autonomous since the revocation of the settlements in 2005. With the election of the Hamas in 2007 and the Israeli-Egyptian embargo, the relations got worst and worst and some big fights took place. Between the embargo, the state of war and armed attacks, the people of the Gaza strip undergo huge humanitarian and sanitary disasters. Adding to the chaos, the Hamas has implemented a very strict Islamic regime where very few freedom exists and in which it is taught to children to be ready to die as a martyr in a suicide bombing on Israel.

After the recent fights Israel decided to protect itself against all kind of attacks, like the stone-throws that this women describes to us, and quickly got equipped with an entire and efficient anti-terrorist system. The Gaza strip was completely surrounded by a wall stopping all communication with the outside world, which lead to the traffic tunnels that were dug year after year. The cities considered as ‘A-areas’ are similarly isolated with little consideration for the children that come back from school and find in front of their house a 12-meter high wall. The roads with risks are surrounded by a wall anti stone-throws, and Israelis are not doing things gently when it is about fences and barbed wire. A bit everywhere in Palestine check-points grow and decorate the landscape.

« Can you open your bags ? » a soldier asks us at the entrance of every public building.

When entering any mall, university or else, cars must open their trunk, our bags are regularly opened for a rather superficial check and we go all the time through beep-beep doors.

« We need a wall to protect us from the terrorists. »

All the measures of protection and population control are justified with the anti-terrorism fighting argument. And it works! The attacks on Israelis have significantly diminished while people are always more convinced that this measures are unavoidable. However, these techniques that are undoubtedly efficient, maybe even necessary, are only a short term solution. How can you hope that Palestinians will calm down when they feel parked like animals? Does the government really believes that he is working towards peace when he limits the freedom of movement from the Palestinians?

While discussing with a friend we were questioning ourselves about the term terrorism. If terrorism is the creation and the use of terror to achieve certain goals, it is normal to ask who creates the fear. For the Palestinians civilians it is with no doubt the Tzahal, the Israeli army considered as legitimate. Because in fact Israel came and imposed itself where Palestinians lived, killing civilians to achieve their aim. As for the Israelis, this comes from the organizations internationally declared as “terrorists”. So is it really possible to talk about legitimate army and terrorist groups?

The engines of the terror and the groups that feeds it exist on both sides. In Palestine for example we see on the walls propaganda pictures of young soldiers exhibiting their most beautiful riffle gun.

« From time to time there is a cow exploding in the Golan Heights. » a friend tells us while sipping a beer. Or two. I don’t remember very well.

While Jordan and Egypt signed a peace agreement, Israel is still in war with two neighbor countries, Lebanon and Syria. The borders with these two countries are completely closed and opaque. The Golan Heights, an area in the North still disputed with Syria and witness of different fights, is full of land mines very handy to stop Syrians from passing. And from time to time a very nice and cute cow, totally lost in this conflict, gets her head blown up while she was quietly eating her grass.

« Last summer we often saw rockets above the farm. » our friends sheepherders in Nes Harim tell us.

When you travel in Israel it is easy to forget that you are in a country in war, and even with some long periods of calm, a climate of tension is in the Israelis’ minds as many details reminds you daily about the situation. We see fighter planes passing above the beach, we see soldiers shopping with their assault guns, we see armoured cars everyday, we see regular people with a gun popping out of their belt and we see bunkers in most buildings. It is not rare to hear about “last summer” when rockets were launched all the time. We were in Israel when a simulation of war was done, a day during which alerts ring all across the country to warn from a combined attack from more or less all their enemies.

Another interesting anti-terrorism project is the Iron Dome, smart system that intercepts rockets launched from the outside if they will fall on inhabited areas, and which has a very good interception ratio (with a cost going along with the efficiency).

Israel is actually some kind of island surrounded by land, hard position to keep in these times.

« What is this? You turn 18 and they put a gun in your hand. This is how you start your adult life. » a young driver tells us and she, for once, has been to Palestine.

First day in Israel we see in a bookshop a soldier with a huge gun choosing a book for his little sister. And then we see some everywhere, and after a while we kind of get used to it. Israel is a small country, but with a three-year military service (depending on the position, the unite or else, it can be two or sometimes five), almost all the citizens, including women, are potential soldiers. People that we meet are fighter plane pilot, were teaching the newbies how to drive tanks, or were serving in a submarine. Every now and then the ones finished with the military service must come back for a short amount of time. A good way to force into the mind of the 18-years old teenagers the message of the government. The argument that is used? “Seen our position, we need everybody to be a soldier”. Even if the military service is not as hard as the professional army, once finished, the young Israeli go invade India and South America to let go with the pressure.

The military service is a great tool to control the young Israelis’ mind. It is a way among many others that make that many Israelis are not aware of half of what is happening, rarely question the legitimacy of Israel, and don’t realize to what extent Israel impose its power and will to the Palestinian people.

Israel needs an army, this is now undeniable. But does it really needs everybody to be a soldier? What would happen if half of them would do a civil service working towards a peace process instead?

« They are lonely soldiers. » a bartender tells us while showing a table.

Because Jews are settled all around the world and some feel very close to Israel, young non-Israelis come as well for the military service under some social pressure, answering familial duties for example. These are the “lonely soldiers”, often American, that do the military service but have no family to spend their permissions with. The law of return, one of the principles of Israel State, guaranties to any Jew the right to immigrate and to get the Israeli citizenship. A melting-pot of cultures and opinions are thus found all across the country along with a certain tolerance.

« No but I don’t care, I prefer to give them a lot of land and that we make peace. » a young guy tells us.

Zionists will most likely not agree with this and are not ready at all to let some of the Holy Land go. However a very large amount of people would prefer that the conflict comes to an end and make two independent states. It actually is the most supported solution at an international scale instead of trying to integrate Palestine to Israel that no longer seems a viable option.

And soon, the third and last part of our article, that will transcend you, that will make you fly, if you manage to read it entirely.

Tractor love,

Us.

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Israel, Palestine 1/3 – Holy Land?

Israel is a complicated country that made us ask ourselves many questions. We decided to divide this article in three parts, because there is to much to say that seems important to understand the country. We will later write an article about our stay in Israel, where we loved travelling, and you can also have a look at our pictures in the gallery.

« Don’t worry this is standard procedure. » the immigration girl tells us.

We get out of a cargo-boat in Haifa in the north of Israel. After two hours of interrogation during which we get asked what we want to do in Israel, why we come by boat, who we know in Israel and their addresses, how long will we stay, where we are going after, but also how we pay for our travels and more, then comes the bags inspection, followed by a second person asking the same questions, and we finally have our stamp, on a separated paper as we wished to. We got it, Israel is not joking about borders and the fear of terrorism make them do deep search on the travelers coming inside the country. Even more since we are two French guys coming by boat with a non-common traveling story, we don’t fit into their boxes and they find it suspicious. We’ve been warned, Israel is a special country. Let us discover it!

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What do you think about this miracle?” a cool-looking Orthodox asks us.

“What miracle?” we answer. “But, THIS!!” – while showing the landscape – “Israel!”. Oh yes Israel, I see. To understand this country we needed a small historical refresh.

Since the end of the 19th century the Jews of Europe were undergoing a rise of anti-Semitism with a climax in World War 2. Jews all over the world had the desire to create a Jewish State while getting back to the Holy Land. Zionism is the philosophy and the political movement that supports the existence of a state for the Jewish folk on the land of Israel, where Palestine had settled in the meantime. Therefore since the beginning of the 20th century the Jewish community were buying little by little land in Palestine. After the Second World War the creation of an Israeli State was made possible thanks to the British Government that handled its mandate on Palestine to the United Nations. 1948 Israel does its declaration of independence which leads to a war with the surrounding Arabic states. Israelis win the war and many Palestinians are forced to exile. In a great movement of humanism and compassion, what will be called later Israel came and imposed itself in a place where people were living since generations, and knew it perfectly. Ben Gurion, Israeli Prime Minister at that time, said in 1938: “The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country.” (Address at the Mapai Political Committee (7 June 1938) as quoted in Flapan, Simha, Zionism and the Palestinians).

During twenty years the Israeli population doesn’t stop to grow and the economical help of the diaspora allows Israel to develop quickly. However tensions with the Arabic states do not disappear, they still disagree with the presence of the Jews in the area and bloody attacks occur inside the country. The 5th of June 1967 the neighbour Arabic countries, Egypt, Jordan and Syria attack at the same time Israel in the “Six Days War”. The Israeli army, the Tzahal, answers back and destroys the Arab offensive. After six days the war ends and Israel more than defending itself, conquered the Sinai Peninsula, East-Jerusalem, the Gaza strip and the Golan Heights, proving at the same time its superiority against the Arab armies.

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1979 a peace agreement is signed with Egypt and in 1982 Israel leaves Sinai.

1982 Israel invades Lebanon in order to stop the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization), 17,000 Arabs and 670 Israeli soldiers die. Many will later say that Israel acted against international laws and the United Nations considered the Sabra and Shatila massacre as a genocide. During this massacre the Phalange, a right Christian Lebanese party, attacked refugees camps and killed many Palestinians right under the eyes of the passive Israeli Army.

The First Intifada (“uprising” in Arabic) starts in 1987 and during six years an over-equipped army will fight with demonstrators throwing stones. 1162 Palestinians and 160 Israelis died.

The years following will be marked with different treaties according more autonomy to the Palestinian people, especially Gaza and some cities in the West Bank which are becoming independent, but the tensions with the Palestinians remain vivid and Israel continue to protect itself. 2000 the second Intifada starts resulting again to the death of 4400 Palestinians and 1000 Israelis. During this conflict Israel starts the construction of a separation wall between Israel and Palestine.

Until today different wars and military operations are taking place one after the other opposing Israel and Palestinian armed groups, like Hamas that took control of Gaza in 2006 during a legislative Palestinian election. Palestinian civilians are killed each time, meanwhile Israel is building up an always more efficient defence on its territory, assuring a huge decrease of the numbers of Israeli civilians killed. For the Zionist, just like our orthodox, everything is like a miracle.

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Israel imposed itself and the Jewish folk conquered the Holy Land. Everything is in the right place. During that time, the first Jewish migrants made many kids, who are born Israeli, with an Israeli passport and not necessarily the one of their ancestor.

So even if the conflict got stuck, one cannot send them “back home”, we need to find an other solution.

On the road, we pass in front of many buildings or parks “generously offered by …”

How Israel was able to resist so long and so efficiently, even if it was only a state in construction? In fact, Israel is getting money from a bit everywhere: many Jewish people around the world are part of really rich families, many of them high positioned in the society. Therefore Israel took great benefit of the economic help coming from the diaspora. The United-States is Israel’s number one economic partner and is a big financial help to the country. Meanwhile Israel quickly became a modern country and is now really advanced in sectors like agriculture or weapons, hereby creating a huge gap with its Arabic neighbours.

Are you Jewish?” two out of three drivers ask.

“Euh no.” One of the questions we got most asked. “Oh so you are Christian?” Still not there. In the beginning we didn’t understood well because some people told us they were Jewish but not religious at all, or didn’t had the faith. It’s only after few weeks that we got it. To make it short, being a Jew means getting circumcised when you are 8 days old and having a Jewish mother. And you cannot escape from it! One doesn’t loose his Judaism like one can loose its Christianity and one can be a Jew (being part of the Jewish folk) and be in the same time atheist.

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It’s also of course a religion, but it’s mainly a culture, with many rites and rules that people are more or less strictly following. Sabbath, the equivalent of our Sunday, is a special day when you are not allowed to press buttons, including the use of a phone, an elevator or a gas stove. You are also not allowed to move too far from your home. All these rules come with a good amount of strange things and work-around. For example around the villages you can see a kind of metal string 4m high in the air, like an eletric string, that is used to limit the village: during Sabbath you’re not supposed to go beyond it because you should not go from a private sphere (village or district) to a public sphere (the rest of the world). There is also the famous the electrical counter to light automatically the devices in the house without touching any buttons, or even the elevator that stops at every floor for the same reason.

The state of Israel is a Jewish state that respects the Jewish law of Talmud.

Following soon, the next article.

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Flash news – Where is Fil Topo?

We lost our buddy…

Fil Topo left us in Jordan. During more than six months we carried him around, to the left, to the right, promising him to bring him to see the elephants in Africa. It is a brilliant failure because we lost him just before he even touched the African continent. He was with us during the hike in Wadi Dana (Dana Valley) and all of a sudden he had disappeared.

Kidnapped? Maybe his teenage crisis made him do stupid stuff? Or maybe he simply took a Jordanian camel for an elephant and went with him?

We think a lot about him and of course we give a reward to anybody that help us finding him. Please contact us.

Ciao our buddy, the spirit of our travel group.

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Castaways in Cyprus

After having shared our impressions on Cyprus, we still wanted to make a shorter article on what we did and saw.

Two months and a half and we first wanted to stay only two or three weeks. We got a bit lost, but no regret.

Fabian, who joined us in Turkey, continued to travel with us during three weeks in Cyprus. After exploring the northern part of Cyprus, we squatted during several days an abandoned building in Nicosia. As it was a little tough to find showers and to wash clothes, we left the city to go to the mountains of Trodoos, after having found our set of good addresses (cheap beer and cheap bread) and celebrated Arthur’s birthday with a Fabian sick as a green elephant. From small villages to small villages, we stopped to taste the almond tree’s flowers that were filling the sides of the mountain. In Alona, where the streets are protected from the sun with old vines, probably very beautiful in autumn, we‘ve randomly met the old football coach who offered us a shower in Nicosia, surrounded by his childhood friends, and he would apologize that he can’t offer us more than their lunch’s leftovers. After that we meet Doria, a friend from Grenoble, who will have the chance to follow us in our adventures during two weeks and help us in the construction of river dams. Then Fabian, like usual, almost missed his flight, shortly followed by Doria. And we continued the adventure with our super friend Olex from Ukrain, who after breaking the handle of our coffee pot in Antalya, decided to go on with the lid and to burn the camping mat of Arthur when testing the revolutionary sleeping technique of the heating sand (ask us if you are really interested).

After a month without shampoo we found our oasis : four girls doing European voluntary service with a house, a shower, a washing machine, a terrace, and a gay cat. It will become our headquarters during more than a month of going and coming, in the meantime the future is building up.

After having seen a poster of trance festival in the street, we decided to be volunteer: a week of cleaning, building up tents, and three days of music with all the team of Exodus, a bunch of Israelis supported by the Cyprus crew.

Then the dear family of Rémi came to visit us, making possible thanks to « super rented car » to access some remote corners like the gorges of Akavas in the Akamas park. They also, according to our requirements, arrived with more cheese and delicatessen than clothes.

But the Cypriot adventure started to be long, two months, and it was time to find a sailing boat to get to Egypt. We tried everything, every marinas and ports, we got stopped by the police to check that we were on our way to Syria to do the Jihad, and ended up deciding to go through Israel that we initially wanted to avoid. And we finally paid a cargo ship at the very competitive price of 230€, two times more than the plane. But we resisted to the plane and its ridiculously low prices, they didn’t get us yet.

Israel, Palestine, get ready ready to solve your conflict, we are coming!

Fil Topo, Rémi and Arthur.

Some pictures of places we enjoyed.

utds_IMG_1446View on Dipkarpaz Peninsula, Northern Cyprus.

utds_IMG_1201One of Dipkarpaz’s beaches.

utds_IMG_5114Street on the Turkish side of Nicosia. A lot of abandonned buildings to squat in order for a stay in the capital.

utds_IMG_1272Trodoos mountains, here a view of Palaichori vilage.

utds_IMG_1375Squat of an old night club in Paphos. Arthur was fancying to open his new bar there.

utds_IMG_9227Beach in Akamas park.

utds_IMG_1388Pyla, one of the last villages where both Turkish and Greek Cypriots leave in peace.

utds_IMG_9196Capo Greko, North side of the island.

utds_IMG_1570The beach after Akdeniz village, Northern Cyprus.

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Flash news – Let’s get the new iPapyrus!

For many reasons absolutely independent from us (laziness, heat, people who tried to build the Internet for us, fresh cheese, etc.), we haven’t written much these last weeks. And still many things happened!

First of all we left Israel after a short stay in Palestine and we met with Marie in Jordan, a friend from Arthur’s study year in Australia. Three weeks went by as fast as a race camel, and Internet being as hard to find as water, our website has not been over flooded.

So after Marie decided to miss her plane from Jordan back to France and to follow us for some more weeks, we took the boat to Egypt. In the mean time her parents, worried about not finding her at Marseille airport, have been calling all kind of embassies and police offices to find her back. Now in Sinai we are chilling in Dahab to catch up with all the things we’ve put aside. We are still hesitating between a snorkeling lesson or a training camp with ISIS ©. The Muslim Brothers ® are offering competitive fairs as well, but we have been told that the service was not as good. We will stay a small month in an Egypt completely emptied from tourists, from what we have seen so far.
We are as well very proud to have had our first tourista.

Mariathurémi, one trip two monkeys and a nutria.

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Flash news – Dude, where’s my backpack?

Hey to all the Fresh Cheese Lovers,

We have a good and a bad news. The good one first: it had been a little while that we were telling ourselves that we should travel lighter, but we could never take the decision of throwing stuff away, and we were actually accumulating more and more. But now it is done, we have between 15 and 20 kilos less!

The bad news is that it is for a bad reason… Yes, while Arthur’s backpack was quietly sleeping at the end of a music festival on the beach, he has been kidnapped! Arthur and Rémi tried for a big part of the night to find him between the dunes, the same the next day, even going to the closest city. Nothing important was lost, only clothes, sleeping bag, the speakers, some personal souvenirs and especially the backpack itself.

After giving up the search, we went to the police station to get offered sandwiches and a sleeping bag while doing our loss declaration.« What is the name of your father? What is the name of your mother? What is your religion? ». Euh, no religion. « No, I’m asking, what is your religion: Jew, Christian, Muslim, Arab? » (You will notice that Arab is a religion for the police officer). No religion, atheist. It seemed to confuse him. « This is my name on Facebook, and if you have a problem, just let me know, or call me. Have a nice trip guys ».

Bad night of sleep, and another good suprise when we notice the day after that the screen of Rémi’s computer is broken and that we need to replace it.

A good week-end for UTDS POWAAAAA!!

For the next days, going to the computer repair places and second hand shops in Tel Aviv in Israel !

And then we will go to float on the Dead Sea.

Kikisses to you,

Raflure, Flémi, and Bill Topo.

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