I hope my trip will be just as good

As incredible as it may sound, I'd like less sex in my TV shows please.

Incredible because us French are rarely against a little bit of full frontal. In fact I think the only time I wrote a comment in a forum was to defend the sex/rape in Game Of Throne because it was necessary to the story. I've read the first 50 shades, thought it was not as good as my usual erotica and laughed that they would have a Red Room of Pain but anal was out of the question :-)

But I've recently sat through all 12 episodes of the new Netflix serie: Sense8, and really started yearning for PG-Rated shows. Let's go back in time before I rant about this shit show.
Charlie's Angels: 1976 Family-style porn

Turns out in I Love Lucy in the 50's, the word "pregnant" could not be mentioned on TV and the married characters had to sleep in separate rooms. In 1976, TIME called Charlie's Angels a "family-style porn, a mild erotic fantasy that appeals about equally to men and women."

One of S.A.T.C. shocking sex scene :-)
But in the time I can remember, the 1st shocking show, the one that started it all, was Sex and the City. These women liked sex, talking about it and sometimes doing it, they were extremely shocking. At that time their sex scenes where usually brief, in the dark, and you couldn't actually see a nipple, starting this devastating urban legend that you keep your bra for sex.

Then there was Dexter and the bad bad hero, Game of Throne and the incest, and certainly some gore zombie thing I did not watch introducing us to bloody innards. And they were successful. In fact they made HBO and Netflix and other original programming channels. The shock value of these TV Shows made them more real, more gripping, more of an emotional roller-coaster.

Unfortunately with Sense8 (yes we're coming to it), you see exactly the other side of the penny. They started with the shock and forgot the show. They had a great premise: A group of people around the world are suddenly linked mentally, and must find a way to survive, being hunted by those who see them as a thread to the wold order. I mean you could do something with at, at least for 1 season, particularly when directed by the Wachowski's.

Apparently they thought that was enough and started filling the blank with what seems to be success-recipe these days: Shock. Let's include all the things in there, that will make people talk about our show.
  • Gay / Lesbian couple done: in The L Word (among others) Sense8 twist: One is actually a transsexual... Actually also already done in Transparent. Nice effort though...
  • LGBT Sex done: in... I don't know, Brockeback ans everthing else since 2000 Sense8 twist: there is a close-up on a fluid-splashing strap-on dildo... Bon Apetit!
  • Masturbation done: in Sex and the City Sense8 twist: Someone else is in the guy's mind and it's against a wooden door. It might be gratuitous, still don't want it.
  • Gore done: even in the recent and classy Kingsman Sense8 twist: some trepanations
One scene I had forgotten about.
Can't remember what that was for...
That is actually pretty mild no?
But instead of going back to the story and writing a great series, they really worked at this shock thing and they came up with... the next frontier: natural birth, close-up, full frontal, on TV. Who would not react to heads splitting vaginas on their way out? And there is not 1, not 2, actually not even 8, they managed to slip in one more.

Of all this scenes, the dildo, the wooden door charmer etc, none served the story. We just needed the 2 guys to have sex so there could be compromising pictures, and the 2 ladies (sorry I was not engaged enough to retain names) to establish they were very much in love (although I understand that with dressed above-the-waist shot almost better than with a strap-on). One of the births is needed to establish that a character lost her baby after giving birth when stuck in the mountains.

I loved the premises of the show, I liked the cinematography, but the creators thought the recipe for a good series these days is a slow built and shocking images. So they fill the air with shocking images and forget to build a story. It takes these poor people 2 hours to realize what is happening, busy that they are shagging and swimming naked. I am really very disappointed with this show, it showed so much promise. It felt so empty and desperate to be talked about.
Hopefully Masters of Sex is back on soon, a show that scored in every area Sense8 missed.

1 bag, 2 bags? 3 bags maybe?
Defining what my "bag" configuration would be for this trip has been a real puzzle, and the Eureka moment came from the best camera shop in Paris.

I already had The Big One, a 65L Rucksack, that is neither good, nor new, nor light, nor anything BUT I have it and I have not yet used it enough to feel good buying a new one. So the big one is a go!

But then I'll need a smaller one, with some space for a sleeping bag and some clothes for various 2-day trips we're going to take.
But then I'll also need a bag for my camera + 3 lenses + charger etc.
But then I'll also need this little bag to be my eeveryday on my back in all circumstance bag, whether to take a walk in the city or... well... anything really.

My 1st idea was to take a camera bag that would have enough space to hold some cloth and sleeping bag.
So I looked at the Lowepro Rover Pro 35L
Lowepro Rover Pro
Found it really not pretty (yeah I know but it counts for me...) and really not infinitely re-usable, too much of a 1-shot purchase. There are some other brands and possibilities for this kind of bags. Le Vieux Campeur in Paris has many camera bags for backpacking.

Then it's the magic men from the most fantastic camera shop in Paris: L'instané (link to the post which first pointed me there) who solved my problem.
First thing is: he sold me my new camera (took 2 visits and at least 3 hours for me to decide) and he was nice and helpful all the way.
I was talking to him about my camera bag issue and I took out the most glorious item of the store. A camera-blanket with velcro.
Ideal Solution - ID-wrap

I pack my camera in there, then drop it in any bag I like. This is how I've been able to take my camera everywhere these day and really train and get used to everything. It's a wonderful little thing!

So with this issue wrapped up (such bad pun I tasted a little bile...) I knew what I was really looking for was a backpack made for hiking / trekking and big enough to hold my camera gear in wraps.

Again to Le Vieux Campeur. I was looking at the Osprey bags, just because they are so cool. The guy showed me the Gregory J33 and it was love at first sight open from the top, from the front, very light... everything I wished for except he has only in Bright Pink and the Purple ones. I had to go online to find the grey one I picked.

So here it is. Finally found what my bags would be:
- The Big One
- A 33 L Backpack to hold my camera gear and sleeping bag and everything else.
What's this trip I'm taking and how am I preparing for it?

I realise that there is a 4-year hole in this blog that I will promptly and quickly fill later. During these 4 years of black-out I finally went to Mongolia. On my trip there I came across a bus full on nice, funny young (my young hein... 30-ish) people. There were traveling through Asia in a big bus from Dragoman.
I came back home and checked this out and vowed to make a trip with them

Unfortunately going through big continents in a bus requires some time, time I did not have as an employee. But I'm leaving my job and going back to school so it is time for me to take that bus across a continent that I have not visited for 22 years!
... I guess Nairobi's airport is a little bit bigger that the 1 room it used to be.

I'm almost fully vaccinated against all known diseases. I'm far away from having pack my bag and emptied out my apartment.

But the one thing I've bought and prepared for is my camera! So! What do I take in my Safari trip? A brand new Nikon. Which might not be the best but already is such a step up from my old D70. Here what I'll be packing

- Nikon D5500
- Lens from the Kit Nikkor 18-105mm VR (for everyday in the villages)
- Sigma Lens 10-20mm / f4-5.6 (for the landscapes)
- Tamron Lens 70-300mm / f4-5.6 (for the lions far far away)

I have been trying to take this little one out with me every time I go out to get use to the new features and buttons etc. I've messed up my back with this and my usual 50-pound handbag but I'm happy to report I love it.

In a few weeks I leave for a great trip through Africa followed by 2 years in the US. I thought it warranted a come back of the anaroundtheworld blog.
For the net few month it's certainly going to look like a travel blog.
For the next 2 years it might be a bit more like a bitchy sociological / satirical look at the US. I'm torn between moving to Boston full of optimism, willing to renounce bitching or keep on being a real Parisian even if just to offset the balance of all these hugs to come.

Here is what the next 2 months will be about
Dragoman - Nairobi to Cape Town

And here is what the next 2 years are going to look like

And Also...

Not all of it will be pleasant but I hope I'll keep the blog up and make some friends smile as I soldier on and hug some nice people.

Today is Sunday and as it sometimes happens I treated myself with magazines. I say it's a treat because I have the loveliest newspaper shop near my place.
Check it out

I bought ELLE, ELLE Déco, AD and other foolishness and then The Economist. For me it is a bit like porn you know. It doesn't happen so often, the paper is very thin and yet I make it last forever. Also reading about politics and economics makes my cheeks all rosy... what can I say.


My 1st remark is : only in The Economist do I hear so much about the Chinese one child policy. Why do you care so much? I mean no... I see why you care, it being borderline a human rights violation and shaping and molding the next superpower. Maybe later causing wars based on "give me your women!". But still I feel there is 1 or 2 big articles EVERYtime! But maybe it's just our nation's news silence on the matter that makes it so loud in your pages.

That was just a sidenote. So I was reading and my eyes got caught by this title : Bail-outs? Bof... by .... Never noticed I couldn't find any author name in The Economist before.
Why the French are relaxed about contributing to the Euro Zone rescue.

I'll spare you the details, after all you can just click on the link. I read this very good piece about how we (French that is) wanted to save our more engaged banks and Germany was more eager and alert about protecting its competitiveness gains.
Then I wondered how many French actually knew what Competitiveness Gains means (even if heard a lot about it during and after the 35-hour week debate). And then a more general wonder :

What exact pourcentage of the population have had economics classes?
What I mean by that is what pourcentage of the population understands what's going on? I am not starting a debate on elites ruling the masses. Don't care really. But at some point you have to wonder if our nice rulers for the last 50 years haven't colluded to make us dumber in matters of... what matters.

Philosophy is mandatory in France. Every single one of us had to go through it last year of HS. I remember a smelly professor, who might have been passionate about philosophy one day but lost all interest after years of talking about Socrate's, Plato's & Aristoto's thinking to a bunch of students who were mostly uninterested and certainly all frightned because they knew and everyone had told them so, that philosophy is hard and useless.

Don't get me wrong! During my real philosophy classes in the following years, I understood how important Philosophy is, liking it so much I wanted to double-graduate in it, and certainly at that time I was very proud that we, in France, make it mandatory.
Still proud! But as I was also following my first economics classes (and that was an intense 8 hours / week) I realised that only then was I starting to understand what people were saying in the news. After 2 years at this regiment I was screaming at the TV and cursing at whoever was professing unsustainable bullshit.

So! Really... 20% of high school students choose economics as their specialy. Some other will take it as a 1-hour/week option. So I'll say roughly 65% of the students who leave high school have never had an economics class (I'd love some real numbers on that if you have them).

At that point I am thinking major inter-generations government conspiracy.
I feel I'll be willing to give up philosophy-for-all if we could gain Economics in every classroom. I say their hasn't been an uprise in France about paying for another in-debt country , not because we are weighing pro or cons, but just because this debate flew right over the nations head.

Would loooove some numbers on that because I am both feeling like an elitist prick and yet still can't be sure I am wrong.

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