Saturday, May 30, 2009

to sum up my evaporation… and Port Nolloth too…

on the N7, 750km separate Cape Town from Port Nolloth ~ vastness

I have been contemplating the ocean for a week, I just can’t produce the article that will evoke my stay in Port Nolloth, small port town located 144km north-west of Springbok. Therefore I will just publish a few pictures I’ve taken and thank Tilly for the“sponsored” article.

every night, I am blessed with a sunset, from the room in the lovely guest-house in Port Nolloth, Northern Cape - @ BedRock Lodge

You can have a look at Tilly's other contributions, and especially her court report on a case I had modestly relayed on my former blog : the case involving the filmaker Pierre Etaix and an unscrupulous production company. [for the English-speaking readers, see the full english press file HERE

still from my window, boats "fishing" for diamonds.

For the average reader who ends up here, Tilly wrote a chronicle on my "evaporation" (in French though…) : you can read it here. Even though I keep telling myself a birthday is like any other day, I am touched par the various attentions : the phone call from my parents, the breakfast in bed, the birthday cake baked by Cassie, a friend of Fred’s, the guest-house manager; the “happy birthday” chorus sung by the maids, etc. I am telling you, I won’t forget my 36th birthday*. To Tilly who wrote about me reaching thirty something, I will answer that my "evaporation" was probably the result of a huge and early mid-life crisis.

* and if I had the choice, would I do it all over again ? Non, I wouldn’t**. Yes, I have regrets. It is commonly wise to claim : I don’t have regrets, at all ! It is a lot easier to say than to do.
** with ifs…

one can admire the Wall of Expression ~ the name in mosaïque are the names of locals, contemporary people in general ~ those kids can read for instance the name of a diver, a miner, a grand-parent, a neighbour

local craftsmen learn how to do mosaïque ; it is a very long and patient work to accomplish the decoration of a wall that is winding on kilometers and separating the gigantic real estate project named Kai-Kai from the people living on the other side; a good way of making the whole project sound acceptable for the authorities… but you’ll say that I’m being too suspicious… (am I?)

I have picked up waste near the wall

Port Nolloth stadium

the (in)famous real estate project where one can make out the Wall of Expression and the 150 future villas

more basic houses, in the Black area ~ still today, people don’t really mix up : the Blacks live on one side, the Coloured live on another side, the White live on another side… and they get on relatively well. But poverty strikes everyone.

just outside Port Nolloth, a fascinating semi-arid landscape

Ninety four pictures can be seen by clicking on the flickr logo, on top of the right hand column. Or here. I am sorting out the next hundred and I will let you know when they are ready and published.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Would you like a glass of Bonheur ?

The Alphen, country house hotel, Cape Town

It is weird to be looking at job offers from the other side of the world. Learning just recently that my bank account was being closed, I decided to write my CV. But what CV for what job? Since I left, I have found some friends. Karelle, whom I had met at university approximately 15 years ago, helped me giving a few phone calls. She also wanted to fill my overdraft. Firstly I was surprised: “Oh! Are you serious?” She said something like: “I have some savings. Sometimes they are meant to help friends who are in need.” And then I thought. “Oh no! You can’t do that. My creditors will throw themselves onto it like starving predators. In a way it is helpful. But it won’t pay the metro tickets I’ll be needing when I’m in Paris or the groceries I’ll buy to cook myself a few meals.” So she sent me cash via Western Union. Money I got instantly. “Drink a glass of that wonderful chardonnay they have!” she said. Across the road, at Manhattan Café in Sea Point, they just serve sauvignon blanc by the glass, I thought I would buy a bottle of chardonnay at Pick’n’Pay. They got me with a very clever marketing name. I bought a wine called “Le Bonheur” – meaning Happiness. I drank a toast to Karelle, and to all the people who have helped me to live through this long journey. To the ones that made it special.

I was sipping a glass of Bonheur in the bath when Paul called me. He was early. Well… I would shave the day after. He and Paloma (his dog) were waiting for me in the car. We were meeting for the first time. On our way to Constantia, a lovely wine area just outside Cape Town where he was taking us for lunch, we talked. I answered the hundred questions he had in mind. He had read somewhere that when you are a survivor you are able to just take a plane and fly to the end of the world. I have to agree. Because that is exactly what I did two months ago. You see… that is how I meet people. They read my blog. Some are intrigued. They want to know more. It seems I wrote about everything I could on my disappearance but in fact I didn’t. And I am not the only one who has a story to tell. Oh, no! (sorry, but I will keep Paul’s story for myself; I don’t know if he’s willing to talk about his disappearance that easily; I write a blog, he doesn’t). Anyway. We were having the most delicious lunch, sitting on the terrace under the hundred-year-old oaks in The Alphen domaine when it started raining. We had drunk a bottle of chardonnay – Paul is also a chardonnay lover. We went inside the Boer ‘n Brit pub and enjoyed another glass of another chardonnay wine, by the log fire. “What do you want to see of South-Africa? Where do you want to go?” Paul asked. I knew that he would find a way to take me there. As a matter of fact, before driving me home, he took me to see the breathtaking view from Signal Hill - on the other side of Table Mountain stands Signal Hill where one can admire the city spreading its roads and buildings along the shores of the Atlantic ocean.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

a squirrel in Cape Town

Since I am bored stiff*, I’m entering Virginie’s "wildlife" photography contest. Here is my entry, yesterday @ Company Gardens (Cape Town, South Africa) where I was busy talking with mister squirrel who offered to collect acorns for my overdraft !

- What do you mean, I can’t say I am bored stiff ?
- Come on ! You can’t get bored in such a beautiful city !
- I am not just bored, I am bored stiff !

But fortunately, I am going to get rid of that boredom next week. I was invited to stay for a few days, free of charge, in one of the cottages my host, Frederic, is managing. Here is the website where you can admire my next stopover :, 700km north of Cape Town on the western coast.

* whoever hasn’t read or written a blog while at work can cast the first stone.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

the kindness of strangers (1)

strangers who became friends in Hout Bay

There’s a quotation in A Streetcar Named Desire, the play and film based on the play by Tennessee Williams I’ve often related to : « I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers », says Blanche Dubois, Stella’s sister in a tragic scene as she is being taken to a mental asylum. I don’t know if there’s a hospital waiting for me when I get back to France – or a psychiatrist for that matter. But I intend to have a specialist’s insight on my disappearance. Yes, I have already written about it, but I really think this disappearance is the closest thing there is to suicidal. Anyway, in this personal journey, I’ve met wonderful people who have been very kind to me. I might at times have seemed to self-indulge in depression. I left France being depressed, I don’t see how that depression could have vanished. I am sorry, Lezanne – if you ever read this – but I still disagree with you, depression doesn’t go away because you decide to get up and do something with your day. Sometimes it is beyond understanding, logic or willingness. However, your countless efforts to lift me up, to make me meet your friends, have made me more optimistic on human generosity. And should your French become better or worse when I leave this country, I will be the only person to blame.

It is amazing how quickly strangers become friends. Jonathan didn’t ask me a thing on the reasons why I was in such a despairing state – no matter how hard I tried to hide it, he knew I needed kindness. I have met his mum and dad, his friends too. They proved me that South-Africans can be warm and welcoming and… more concerned about my welfare than their wardrobe : proof is the two pairs of jeans Jonathan gave me.

Oh no ! I didn’t ask anyone for charity ! It’s just that I can’t tell I’m a regular visitor when I’m not. I can’t tell I’m just hanging around, enjoying the wonders of South-Africa when I’m on a recovery journey.

for the French version, click here !

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Only fools don’t change their minds

(Today, I bought 1,5kg of apples for 8,99 rands = 0,80€ & Mr. Muscles for 10,99 rands = 0,98€ when other products with revolutionary packagings and formulas easily cost 3 times more)

Only fools don’t change their minds.
As Deef put it quite rightly, why not publish here the newsletter I had planned to send ? I managed to get away with an evasive and unsatisfactory answer. And my basket of readers desperately empty. Let’s face it, it was a huge success… a hammering, rather.
But as time passed by, I realized that I missed writing. Having written a blog for three years left marks. All the more when it reached 30 000 pages viewed. When the reader is waiting for you behind the bush with his gun loaded with comments. A drug from which it is almost impossible to withdraw. Even when one disappears. Yes, I will come out. One thing at a time. I am now thinking of reappearing. Step by step. For I will need to earn a living (or rather, pay my debts).
Since I have my ticket for Paris, I might as well use it.
I almost kept no password, no document whatsoever. Besides my passport, some dreams to fulfill, and more practically, the access code of my bank account which desperately shows – 1300€ not including the outstanding payments, a dozen for now (twelve times 10€ of rejected payment fees = 120€) ; to the overdraft of 1300€, let’s add the 3000€ of outstanding payments to which we’ll add approximately 1500€ for May, then 1500€ for June and so on.
There’s a price to pay in disappearing. Especially when one doesn’t earn a living anymore.
To go to the end of the world is my retreat. Now that I am by myself, I can face my demons. I’m living on pasta, butter and thought. And I have decided to reappear, to take up my responsibilities, find a job, pay my debts, start anew.
What city will I choose?
Where one is willing to accommodate me.

Today, I’ve had an ostrich steak for lunch. Hmm, not good.
“Shut up and eat ! You shouldn’t bite the gardian-angel friend’s hand that filled your refrigerator !”
Well… I’ve been hanging around in this coffee shop for too long ; enough equivocating… I will go and see the ocean, breathe the open air.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I know I should update this blog more often, but I don't. There are too many things I wish I could do at a time, but I can't. Not now. A blog, a book, a life. I'm not abandoning you :o) If you're curious to know what's happening with me, click here, I'll devote some time to a monthly newsletter.

Je sais, je devrais mettre à jour ce blog plus souvent, mais je ne le fais pas. Il y a trop de choses que je souhaite mener de front. Je n'y parviens. Pas aujourd'hui. Un blog, un livre, une vie. Je ne vous abandonne pas :o) Vous êtes curieux de savoir ce qu'il m'arrive, cliquez ici, je consacrerai un peu de temps à une newsletter mensuelle.

Monday, April 13, 2009

a kiss to build a dream on

Staying in a guest house has good sides too.
When I got back the other night, there was some kind of a party going on outside by the swimming pool. I didn’t feel like seeing people. I didn’t feel like doing anything. Actually, I was a bit low. I don’t know why but I said hi. And they greeted me with a cup of wine. It was somebody’s birthday. The most handsome guy there. Fernando, alias Fer, was celebrating his 40th birthday. He could only speak Spanish. So I called my brain to summon up the little Spanish that I remembered. With a little help of his friend, Hache, who did the translation, I told himself a quick summary of my story. Oh, God! I can’t help talking. If you ever meet me, stop me before I start*. Then, all of a sudden, Fer said “give me a hug”. Hesitating, I embraced him. “A bigger hug”, he said. Everybody was watching. I had just arrived and, out of the blue, I was in the arms of the guy everyone was drooling at. When the hug was over, they looked at us as casually as possible. I said: “he asked for a hug, I gave him a hug. So what?”
But it was the warmest hug I had had in ages.
A soothing hug.

Later that night, being with Fer and Hache in a disco, I asked Fer "dame un beso". He not only gave me one kiss, but a dozen, a hundred. And enough hugs for the next few weeks. And his smile to build a dream on.

*Yes, I can be an excellent listener. Ask the friends I abandoned…

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

a glass of wine before an early night

If you have read bits and pieces of this blog, you know that I'm Thomas. But I'm not really Thomas. I have to admit I like being anonymous. The French guys who are currently staying in the guest house know my real first name - I can't always think to tell my interlocutors I'm someone else. They wanted to have a bit of a chat with me. They didn't notice that, as I was cooking my dinner, I might have wanted to stay by myself. But never mind. Since I'm polite, I said hi and asked them questions about their day. They asked about mine. And while I was starting to eat my pasta, standing in front of them - the four of them -, one almost had his face on my plate. - You want some? I asked. He reacted by suggesting we'd have a bottle of wine. - Oh, you have some manners, I said.
The one with whom I'm sharing the bathroom looked at the notebook where everyone keeps a record of his drinks: - Thomas... who's Thomas? We missed that one...

I’m Thomas but I decided to keep it for myself.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

a beer and a whale

Coffee on the Rocks, Gansbaai ; tel : 028 3842017, fully licences bistro, open today 10:00 – 17:00 (picture © Thomas Mars)

For the French version, click here

The view is absolutely breathtaking. I’m having lunch overlooking a preserved bay where whales* and dolphins come all year around. I didn’t see any today but the view is good enough for me. Even though we’re in autumn here (remember we’re on the South-Hemisphere here) it’s 33° in the shade. The car is parked just a few meters away. A car I shouldn’t drive, by the way. Because, if you remember what I wrote earlier on, I “lost” my driving license. In a way, yes, I’m a criminal. Firstly because I’m driving around without any license, secondly because I drank 2 beers – drink or drive…
Each time I took the car, I had to tell myself: drive on the left hand side, left hand side! … Oh, here they come: there are seals!!! Kids run down the coffee shop to stand on top of the rocks and see the seals. Silly me! I stay here and sip my beer.
Thank you Vanessa for the company, for the spinach and feta tart and for the lovely bird that came to visit us while we talked. I’ll be back soon.

*The Southern Right Whales come to Walker Bay every year – from July to December – to mate, give birth and play until they depart to the ice cold waters off Antarctica for the rest of the year. Some of them – don’t ask me why, I’m not a specialist – stay throughout the year ; either to keep company to the dolphins or to accomplish their duty regarding local tourism.

Friday, April 3, 2009

me and Tom Hanks

Yesterday night, Gansbaai harbour
for the French version, click here

What do I have in my luggage anyway ? Bermuda shorts, a swimsuit, four pants, three white t-shirts, a blue t-shirt, a polo, two sweaters, a cap, flip-flops, my Camper shoes I had planned to get rid of in Paris, socks, toiletries, books, a camera, a laptop, my passport and a can-opener.

In my darkest and most ludicrous thoughts, I had this film on my mind: Castaway. Tom Hanks played a man who survived a plane crash and landed on a deserted island ; I remember scenes when he got injured because he couldn’t open the cans that had miraculously beached at his feet. This is what I was thinking about when I stole the can-opener in one of the seedy hotels I rented during my Parisian week, not knowing what would ever become of me, not knowing where my ravings would lead me, not knowing if, in a fit of insanity – or lucidity – I would decide to jump over a bridge and put an end to everything. As a response to my letter, C wrote something like “you could have left in a more dignified way”. I answered that my disappearance was, in a way, a failed suicidal. In the sense that I had seriously thought about killing myself but hadn’t had enough courage to do it.

In my luggage, I even have a butcher knife (8’’ blade) – Tiaan saw it and his mouth fell open. I told you (in a previous post) not to tell me it’s dangerous to go around naked. Luckily, Jonathan’s maid didn’t put her nose in my stuff, or she would have been horrified.

Monday, March 30, 2009

two guys in a cage

Sébastien who made me meet the sharks (no, it's not me on the pic, blockhead! [to answer the e-mail of a reader, I will not publish any pic of my face... not for the moment]

For the French version, click here

So… Yes, I did see the Great White Sharks. And I’m telling you, it is an amazing experience. If you had told me, let’s say… a week ago, that I’d be out on the open sea, to do cage diving, I’d had thought you were losing your mind.
Gansbaai is a unique place – a 2 hours drive from Cape Town – a fishermen’s village that has become a worldwide attraction as far as sharks and whales are concerned; a quiet town where one can relax away from the sound and fury of the city.
Last Saturday, I got a warm welcome from Sarah and Jonathan at restaurant De la Mer. I am grateful to have met them, and other lovely people too. There was this French guy who had just arrived a few hours earlier from Cape Town. He didn’t speak a word of English and had dinner by himself. Sarah felt sorry for him and tried her best to make him feel comfortable. Jonathan and Sarah asked me to talk to him and invite him to our table to share a drink.
That’s how Sébastien and I met.
He came to Gansbaai to see the Great White Sharks. Taking pictures and videos almost every day. When he asked me: do you want to come? I hesitated. But not long.
At about 6 in the morning, I was at the shark company, feeling like a kid waiting for Santa Claus to come down the chimney. But instead of having Legos, I got an opportunity to meet sharks. (Thank you Jonathan for the wonderful, toothy present).
Once you’ve put on your life jacket, you embark on the boat and say your last prayers. The rising sun spreading its flames on a calm ocean was as unforgettable as was seeing the Great Whites. We were a dozen people who had come for the thrill of being face to face with wilderness for once in our lives.
As for Sébastien, it was not once but nine times. And each time was sheer excitement, so he told me. On a trip like this, one only needs a swimsuit and one’s eyes wide open. One does not have to go into the cage as one can see the sharks from the deck, but one can’t go back home with regrets, so you might as well get into the cage. After slipping into the wetsuit and diving gear they’re handing out, you get into the water, hold on to the red bars, look carefully at the yellow thingee at the end of the rope and wait. It’s like fishing. You must be patient.
So… what do two French guys talk about in a cage while waiting for the Great Whites to come and show their huge mouths? When I helped this woman who was freezing and had water in her mask, Sébastien had this “don’t take advantage of the situation” little laugh. I said: what do you want me to do with a woman? A seagull filled the silence with its cries. Oh, he answered, is that why you got away? Oh no, everyone knows. It’s just that I felt it wasn’t my life I was living. Then the man on the boat shouted: Down! Down! Down! Here comes a big one.
It was approximately 3 meters long. It swam so close to the cage that one could not miss it. I felt absolutely mesmerized. You’ve only seen them on television and now you are in the same waters, just inches away from this fearful predator. It came right at us, showing us its serrated bladelike teeth, took the bait it was not supposed to take, and left.
Yes, I think I’ll give it another go before I go back to Cape Town.

(the shark got stuck in the rope, but don’t worry, it managed to free itself, it deserved the lunch)
thank you Sébastien for the video

Saturday, March 28, 2009

dear mum, dad and sister

a flower in Gansbaai

Here's the letter I wrote a few days after I left

Dear Mum, Dad & Alice,

My disappearance happened without a warning. I left everything behind, with all the difficulties it implies (for me and for others); to be honest, I'd say that it had been there in my mind for quite some time and I didn't dare to acknowledge it. To go and leave everything behind is the hardest thing I've ever done in my entire life. To think about the suffering I would inflict upon my relatives didn't prevent me from disappearing. As for Catherine, it feels like betraying her. I'm afraid to say it'll be very hard for her to cope with it. And I don't know if I will ever be able to forgive myself for what I've done to her. Behaving like a coward is not "me"... and yet, it is a part of me I discovered. Each and every day that passes I think about Dad, Mum, Alice, my two nieces, Catherine, Louise and my friends. But today, I cannot indulge in guilt or I will collapse. Be assured that I want to live. I have this vital need to breathe pure air. To take the time to think peacefully and start a new life. Don't worry, I am fine, well... as fine as one can be in such circumstances. From the bottom of my heart, I ask you, Dad, Mum, Alice, Catherine and Louise for forgiveness.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

what about your Bic?

Some say they’re signs, some say they’re just coincidences. Anyway, the first sign I saw was when I was writing in the plane, deciding what shapes my journey could take if I wanted to keep my sanity. So I looked at the pen I had bought at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport, an ordinary Bic. You can’t read the inscription until you look at it very carefully. I couldn’t believe my eyes. On the side of the pen, next to the blue cap, is engraved South-Africa. I hadn’t chosen it, the seller picked it aimlessly. I was in a hurry. I didn’t have a pen. I needed one.
A few days after I arrived in Mother City, I went to a store to check if my pen was the only one to have that inscription. Imagine my surprise when I found out that all the Bic Cristal Clic were “South-African”.
What about your Bic?

Can't take my eyes off you

I was brooding over another beer when they came in. A black girl and a black boy. They sat at the counter and ordered white wine. We shared a polite smile. There was something I couldn’t quite grasp. I wanted to meet them. I had to meet her. Then the music helped us. I know it’ll sound very cliché but that’s the truth. They aired the song Can’t take my eyes off you. I couldn’t help but singing the song. So did the black girl. And she smiled her warmest smile, looked at me and sang “Can’t take my eyes off you”. That’s how we met. Her name is Afriqah. His is Ellton. She left New York City some time ago. Her friends there thought she’d come back but she didn’t.
- You know what I miss most? It’s acting. Noone here knows I’m craving for it. To be honest, I don’t know many people.
Then comes the who I am and what I'm here for part. I decided to tell them all, or almost all. They couldn’t believe their ears.
- I told you he’d be interesting, said Afriqah.
- I kept telling her “go on and talk to him”, added Ellton.
- So I guess Thomas isn’t your real name, right?
- …er … er… talking about theatre, in my previous life, I used to act and direct.
- You don’t say!
They looked at each other in amazement. Afriqah gave me an inquiring look and asked:
- Do you think you could direct me?
Silence. Smiles.
- I think I can, yes. Actually, if I ever direct you, I want to do it anonymously. You see, if my project allows me to become famous – being Thomas Mars, I mean – that famous anonymous French guy who disappeared would be your director.
- Wow! she exclaimed, eyes wide open.
Another silence.
- How do you perceive me, Thomas?
- Well… I think you’re a woman who tries hard not to show how fragile she is. You have a lot to tell and the part you’re eager to play is yourself.
- Ellton!!! Did you hear what he’s just said? Thomas, you are SO right!
Taking up my glass of wine, I offer her a toast:
- Let’s help each other. I direct you and you help me with my project.
- Okay.
Afriqah turns to the waiter and says:
- Simpiwo*, mon chéri, can we have three glasses of Chardonnay, s’il te plaît?


Monday, March 23, 2009

me and the police

That was the most insane thing I had ever done in my whole life. It is like kidnapping oneself. That’s how I felt when I called the police. Three days had passed since I disappeared and the police was looking for me. My best friend launched this avis de recherche, a search warrant. How did I know that? I called Victor because I needed help. Victor and his boyfriend Louis are the only persons to know that I’m in South-Africa. In a way, they aided me, providing me with accommodation for a week, feeding me, supporting me. Victor advised me to call the police and tell them I was all right. I had a long talk with Karine, sweet voice, a weird but comforting conversation. She thanked me for calling them. I told her that I was incapable of speaking to any of my relatives or I’d crash. That I had to get away. Try and have another life. It’s a good thing you called, she said, because you wouldn’t have been able to go very far. People were worried. We needed to interrogate you. You would have missed your plane. Oh, then you know I’ll be flying. Yes we do. We saw you. But now don’t worry, we won’t prevent you from travelling. Good luck, she said and she hung up.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


stop telling me it's dangerous to go here and there
day or night
or i'll carry a butcher knife
with me !
will i get arrested if they ever find this on me ?
i'd rather be safe than dead
and don't tell me i'm crazy, i already know that...

flickr? soon...

unforgettable, the view over the ocean (an everyday blessing)
and Tiaan (another blessing)

off to see the Great White Sharks

the route to Gansbaai (click on the pic to enlarge it)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

will you marry me?

photograph by Walter Bibikow/Taxi/Getty Images
(click on pic to enlarge - this is the scenery i admired yesterday while sipping my extra-large coffee : 16 rands = 1,21€)
Cape Town's waterfront occupies a scenic strip of land between the Atlantic Ocean and the sandstone heights of Table Mountain, known in Afrikaans as Tafelberg, so says the National Geographic.

Here are a few things i learned today :
Tiaan* told me about the beaches where i should go to, but not alone (alone, I’d take the risk of being robbed or even… killed**) ; i can open a bank account quite easily*** ; i can write a daily chronicle in a mainstream South-African newspaper (he'll ask his aunt - i'll keep you updated) ; i can write a review on the wine route, providing you accommodate me (i'm not very demanding; one night in your luxury lodge will do - thank you Mark) ; he wishes he could accommodate me but he's only managing the luxury lodge, he can't do anything as far as freebies ar concerned ... well, it's the thought that counts, isn't it?

P.S. Do you think I should ask the mayor's office for help? I found their e-mail address somewhere...
P.S.2 What happened to David anyway? No news is good news they say. Or am I being too naive? I think i'm a bit of a romantic. And don't say i'm trying to find a husband here! Oh, didn't you know that here, in South-Africa, they're a bit more progressive than the French? Gay people can get married. BUT I'm not marrying anyone (yet). I don't need a husband, i have my teddy bear for cuddling, thank you.

*Tiaan agreed on my using his real name (he didn't sign any contract, mind you)
**wow, i didn't disparear to get killed on a South-African beach, did i?
***where will my money go if i get killed?

in the meantime

click on the pic to enlarge
(city of Cape Town official website ... oh, i didn't know they were hosting the next soccer world cup ... that explains the cranes i saw ... and the new stadium too (of course! silly me!)

I'm off to the beach (not teasing you, i promise! it's my first time on the beach in a week! i think i deserved it) If you want to meet up, see you there. Rendez-vous Clifton Beach, Clifton 3, the guy with navy blue briefs, bald & a week-old beard.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Tonight, I went outside to watch the stars and ask them what fate had in store for me.
They kept silent.

real people

Appear or disappear? That is the question.
How can one want one thing and the other... well, I didn't tell I didn't have contradictions.
On the contrary.
Quite rapidly after I decided I'd vanish, I realized that I had to do something with it. Not only because I need to write and share my story, but because I need help, accomodation and all. I need this to become visible, not me but "this"... I quit my job, remember? When you happen to know me, you'll learn that I'm the ambitious type of guy. And maybe, maybe, writing this and becoming famous and earning a life with it, can help me redeem myself. Am I crazy? Well, in a way, yes... and this crazyness is keeping me alive.
So... a few days after I disappeared, I contacted an artist I knew in Paris. When I told him what I wanted to do, he was both speechless and inspired. And so we began working together. He took hundreds of pictures of me. He dreamt of my voyage and made a wonderful job, really! I didn't recognize myself... that is a good sign, I'm telling you. I invited him on my "missing voyage". I told him: we can't do an exhibition in Paris. Let's do it in Cape Town. Again, mouth open, he says, yes. It could be a whole project : my writing, my experiences, your photography, the people I met.
Why don't I give away the name of that artist?
Because I'm working on phase 1 now.
And with his photography, people will recognize me. I mean, people who know me.
I used to have a blog that was very well-read. The hundreds of people who will read this blog when I decide to publish some of this artist work will be surprised: god, is that him? what got into his mind?
My project is to write my trip, to translate it into French, to make it a book, to contact the press and all (I know how to do it, trust me... I did that in my former life... but, er... that's another story). Hence the sponsor part.
Why sponsors and/or donors?
Have a guess...
Remember the last posts?
I left France with not much money. And to be honest, I'm way into the red. My return ticket is in 3 months. How much is there in my wallet? Less than 1,000€ You can't live 3 months with this, I'm telling you.
What's sponsoring?
Accomodate me for 1 night or a week; invite me for lunch or dinner (I'll buy you a drink ^^); give me a small office for a reasonable amount of time, internet access; show me around...
What do you get? The visibility I get is your visibility. I can post a link, a logo, a review of your air company, your guest house, your restaurant. As for donating? Ask your dictionnary.
Next biggest trip: Australia. Don't look at me like that! I know I can make it! You know, in my former life, I have made some of my craziest dreams come true.
But that's another story...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

j'ai jeté mon coeur

Why did you do this? Well... er... I had the disturbing impression that it wasn't my life I was living. I had to leave and start it all over again. It happened on a Sunday afternoon. I'll always remember that awful afternoon. There were people I was supposed to meet. Friends. And it kinda struck me without a warning while I was walking down the rue des Archives. I told myself, I can't do it, but I did and I was doing it. Half an hour later, my friends would be waiting for me. They would start worrying. I must have repeated myself the "DON'T THINK" sentence more than a hundred times that day. And the day after that. So, the minute I decided that I would disappear, I started walking the longest walk I had ever walked in Paris. That night I got drunk too. No wonder. I was in a deconstructing process (even though I was telling myself I'd live another life), getting rid of my cell phone (after turning it off), throwing away my keys (in another basket), some of my papers - God! I can't believe I threw away my driving license. But again, I was in a disappearing process. I was saying goodbye to a former life and I was taking off its clothes. I didn't know I might need the car keys when I found myself sleeping on the pavement of a deserted district, in Opéra. I didn't know that I'd be in that parcel, freezing, and wishing I hadn't thrown away the car keys. I would have slept in the car. I could have saved the money I spent on cheap hotels. I could have... Well, maybe I wouldn't be here... So, that night, that awful night, I put myself into a dangerous position and I told myself I could die, I didn't care. Of course, today, I care. I want to make something good out of it. I drew cash at some ATM. Not much, cause they wouldn't give me the amount I wanted. I'd have to wait for a few days to get some more cash. So I waited. And I found a small hotel near Gare du Nord. I'll never forget how hard the base was. My back ached for a week or so. Well, I didn't have a choice. Why didn't I come back? Because there was no return possible. My mind was made up. And I wouldn't go back. Every night, nightmares prevent me from sleeping peacefully. Nightmares where my best friend would be crying, suffering, and shouting her resentment. What? No. I didn't tell anyone. I left just like that. No. Not even my closest friend. Oh yes, you can never ever know someone. Your closest friend could abandon you overnight. That's what I did. I know it is hard. For her. And for me too. Because we had plans. Wonderful plans for the future. Maybe I got scared, I don't know. A week later, I sent her a letter. Asking her to forgive me, to let me go. Telling her I didn't know if I would ever forgive myself for what I did, for the pain I put in her heart, in my friends' hearts, in my family's. I had to do it. No, they don't know I'm here. Why South Africa and not Malaysia? Well, I had to go somewhere. I drew the biggest amount of cash I could and I bought a ticket for Cape Town. I thought it'd be possible to start another life there. I could speak the langague. Even though the city is astonishingly different (you're in Africa, man! said a guy the other night), I could have a few landmarks there. Thanks to internet, I had already a few contacts. And most of all, I had never told anyone about my dream to visit South Africa. I'm telling you, you don't someone until he goes away without a warning.

Don't forget to ask me about the police who looked for me, about my last errands in Paris, about the people who offered me accomodation here in Little Karoo and got scared of hosting a stranger (I can't blame them, but they shouldn't have told I was welcome...) And now, whenever I get the chance to meet people, I ask them to read this first, I warn them: I might be a ladykiller or something, be careful of whom you meet...

Monday, March 16, 2009