17 Apr 2014

Lisbon, Portugal, 2014


It’s always a pleasure to visit Lisbon. Everybody seems to love it regardless of what they are after.




Sailing in shows off its history and quaintness.



Their narrow, hilly streets make the trams and elevator in the downtown shopping area a welcome relief.

Click here to read my 2011 Jewish Lisbon blog.

13 Apr 2014

Agadir, Morocco

I was shocked at how high end and modern Agadir is. Of course coming up west Africa most places would seem like New York City.

Casablanca, the larger port city feels like a dump. Not here.

Tragically the city was totally destroyed in 1960 by a major earthquake and from that rubble this modern beauty has grown. It is now winter tourist spot for Northern Europeans.

We made our usual stop at the local Synagogue

10 Apr 2014

Dakar, Senegal, 2014

President's House

Dakar, Senegal (pop. 2.5MM) is much larger than anticipated and seems a bit less third world than the last couple of ports.

Back in the day, it was one of the major French empire cities along with Hanoi and Beirut.

The Dakar Grand Mosque.

Some think the women are among the most beautiful in the world. Due to Islamic law, however, their status has historically been terrible. Particularly in rural areas, they have been plagued by low literacy, low employment, female circumcision, polygamy and no property rights.

This century there are some new laws that have helpped somewhat.

The African Renaissance Monument, four years old, is the tallest statue in Africa. It represents the country’s 50th anniversary of it independence from France.

07 Apr 2014

Takoradi, Ghana, 2014

Cape Coast Castle is one of about thirty "slave castles", built on the west coast of Africa by European traders. They held slaves before they were loaded onto the ships.  I got the creeps and shuddered seeing and even feeling the inhumane conditions in the dungeons that held thousands of slaves shackled side by side for months. We could hardly breathe in the dungeons after just five minutes. It’s a miracle any of the slaves survived.

This “gate of no return” was the last stop before crossing the Atlantic.

Right next door is a small fishing village.

Significant oil was discovered here several years ago and there is lots of discussion, negotiation and renegotiation on how the revenues should be split. It seems as though the poor people who have no voice, have not seen any yet.

05 Apr 2014

Bom Bom Island, Sao Tome and Principe, 2014

We had a beach day at Bom Bom Island. This tiny island, in Africa’s second smallest nation, is just north of the equator about half way up the west coast of Africa.

Political unrest, economic problems, corruption, Ebola, and pirates are all nearby, but we did not deal with any of them today.

This island is not immune to mosquitoes and malaria, but even they didn’t show up this afternoon. (We are taking our pills.)