Transylvania to Ozora

I know it sounds a bit cheesy, but where do you go on holiday when your in the adventure tourist business and in theory live in Paradise? A packaged holiday to Spain? Trek to Nepal? Na – we wanted a holiday. We’ve been travelling for 8 years and have seen the sites, so we decided on a festival in Hungry that would be a completely new experience. I used to go to Stonehenge every year, Penny went to Badminton horse trials. Ozora would possibly be a walk down memory lane for me and something totally new for Penny. I showed Penny the video of the festival “What do you think?” I said. “Yeah, why not, we have the camper after all.” The idea of having the hippy bus was to get us around, not to BE hippys, but what the hell. For a week anyway, we could forget about building houses, www.workingtraveller.com and the day job with www.pappics.co.uk. 12 hours of driving later we arrived, the old lady does 80kms flat out even with the wind in her sails. A sign says “Welcome to Paradise” ‘Ah bus man’s holiday after all’ I thought with a smile “ I have goose bumps on my arms” Penny said as I filmed her going under the banner driving the bus. “Wow” she said, look at all these people, they are… so…” “Like us Penny, different” Penny looked at me, and now got why I recommended here instead of a weekend in Venice. We parked up, put our table out and went to meet the neighbors “Hi” “Hiiii, welcome Ozora…you drive all the...

And they say 2012 is the big one?

A year ago I was living is Siwa Oasis, looking forward to a busy tourist season as there had been no troubles in Egypt for some time. As for Libya our neighbor… well nothing happens there. I had no idea 2011 would work out completely different to how I had planned. Penny and the kids went through not one, but two revolutions, one one either side of Siwa as I watched from Bucharest; my new home, where I spent the entire year building a paparazzi team. The kids managed to get back to Romania in March, Penny staying on for six weeks whilst Angus and Claudia lived with me in Bucharest brushing up on their Romanian before heading up to Maramures for the summer. Penny not happy with building one, built two houses this summer with the help of Maria and Nicu our team in Breb. I kept going with my projects here in Bucharest. We had 11 front pages in August and www.workintraveller.com, my travel site for people who want to carry on their careers whilst workin their way around the word, is now finally in development. It’s a huge project and will take many years to complete, but for now, at least it has started. We opened Somewhere Different – Transylvania in October and are staying in the Maramures mountains for the winter to let Angus and Claudia go skiing and to finish of another villa in the village so we have a capacity of 8 for next summer. We have gone from a building site to being a fully licensed Pension. Bookings in Egypt are now...

Three weddings and a funeral.

I was asked to cover the royal wedding for a Romanian newspaper. We arrived in London. ‘We need to meet the Cheeky girls now’ The reporter said loudly in the hotel reception ‘After, I want to see condom town’. ‘It’s Camden Town’ I said Here they come, the bride and groom. Get ready, focus and…the crowed cheered and surged forward. The plastic bollard I was standing on bent a bit. As the carriage when by I was heading for the ground, my camera pointing to the pavement. I saw the back of Diana and Charle’s heads. No pics. Ok, tripod set, here comes the kiss, no crowd is going to push me off my ladder and… the crowed surged, I didn’t budge. Thousands of flags waved in the air. Shit, flags, I… I can’t see anything. I missed Andrew and Sahara kissing. God its so sad to see this, but I guess I should photograph it and…my Nikon F3 jammed and I watched, not photographed Diana’s coffin go by. OK the plan is to find a Romanian in the crowd, get them to look at me just before the kiss so I can link the shot into a Romanian story… no chance. I decided I have the kiss of death on the subject and opted for a safe shot away from the front line crowds. I stood next to two women in Hyde Park and lined up my shot. ‘Are you official” The woman next to me asked as she looked at my camera. ‘No I am a ghost” I said and smiled ‘I am covering the event for...

The land of the Pharaohs… and the free

“Egypt, the land of the free” No you must mean somewhere else right? Surely? A week is a long time in politics as they say and well it took 18 days in Egypt, the pace of life is a bit slower here, sorry for that. As you have probably gathered by now I am a new paper guy at heart, I live in the desert and up a mountain but when a story is in front of me I see it in print. Over the years I have had a lot of stick for what ‘ the press’ have done, always negative, never ever a good word. 80 million people have put up with Mubarak for 30 years, I feel naughty writing this even now, you were (are?) legally not allowed to say a bad word about him. Every one has a picture of him above their desk in Egypt. I am now getting the picture I put in my last post called ‘Power to the People’ printed up and will have it above my desk in Siwa, I like tradition:) America with all it’s power and CIA agents, England with it’s James Bond department and the millions invested in humanity projects in Egypt changed diddly squat . A few thousand guys protested in Tahrir square, they were shot at, they were beaten, they where the good guys shown to being treated like dogs by the incumbent dictator, and he fell. He fell because those thousands of people gave their all and risked their lives. And this is the point every one misses: the camera man from CNN: the...

Power to the People

When I was a kid I used to have pictures of my hero’s stuck on my bedroom ceiling. I wasn’t aloud to put them on the walls, but the ceiling was mine. It was covered in mainly motor bikes, the Kawasaki 900 taking up most of the space. Right down in the far corner I had a small picture of Che Guevara. I didn’t know who he was, or where he was from, I certainly didn’t know he was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary who was all about controlling people – for me, he stood for “Why should we do homework, when we are forced to be in that institution all day” in my little confused world he stood for “I’m not taking your shit and more.” For the last 18 days I have called Penny two or three times a day to update her on the situation in Egypt. I normally call her after checking the news online but last night I just called and started to talk. Penny and the gang had decided to sleep out in the desert with a load of locals as there where no tourist in town and so no one had been out to the Great Sand Sea for some time. Penny had forgotten to bring the food, so dropped every one off and came back into town. I caught her just as she walked into a shop in the centre of Siwa. ‘Hey Penny, how are you?’ ‘Hi Bill, I forgot the food, what’s the news?’ I clicked on the BBC and had a huge scene of happiness come over me. “MUBARAK...

When it Rains it Pours – Siwa Oasis

‘Its day twelve or 14, not sure, its ground hog day and “Didn’t we win or lose the revolution yesterday as well?” I’m BBC Live – Egypt unrest ed out. I can’t watch any more, it’s heart wrenching to see those guys will power and then see the secret police wade into them. But they are winning the war of nerves. Mubarak has said he will be gone by September. 30 years or 30 and third, it doesn’t matter when he goes, as long as he does is the point. Obama is not Bush, he seems a smart guy and as soon as the guys in Tahir Sq have a date for elections. – that’s got to be the victory they will settle for. Mubarak stays on his thrown, handcuffed and real elections are planned and take place. The brotherhood gets 30% of the vote and do a great job of being the opposition and slating Western hypocrisy along with any corruption in the ruling party. Egyptian would be terrorists leave England and become Mp’s in Cairo, look what the IRA did. I rang Penny today to give her my daily update of what I hear in the news and “Bill, forget that… that’s the least of Siwa’s problems today!” “What’s happened” I said fearing the worst. “ It rained all night!” “ I see” I said relieved – then remembered we’re talking about Siwa. In 1929 it rained in Siwa and half the Shali collapsed. In 1953 it rained again and everyone moved out of the Shali as it collapsed into the museum it is today, well yesterday....