The aircraft lands at Algiers. Or does it? Perhaps it lands in Paris. Or Oran. I try and remember whether the plane rattles - The Air Algerie craft rattles down to earth, staff smiling, whereas Air France glides out of gritty Manchester and into stylish Paris with a haughtiness needlessly in excess of substance -... Continue Reading →

Flying Cat

I pass a small group, a family perhaps. The boy is clutching a scruffed kitten and laughing. We catch each others’ eyes. He throws it at his brother. The kitten lands, paws outstretched, on the boy’s chest. Everyone laughs. ‘Do you want it? ... 1,000 dinars’ 'It’s a cat from the street! It’s free, I... Continue Reading →

An awkward cigarette

'Tu fume?’ asks the waiter who served me breakfast. ‘Des fois’, I say. I don’t, really. Well, I do about once a month, as a social thing. Sometimes, especially abroad, smoking is a good way to build social connections. And with social connections comes knowledge. The waiter invites me outside. We stand facing the undulating... Continue Reading →

‘We eat nothing but sugar on Fridays’

It’s Friday morning - so the beginning of the Islamic week-end. The streets of Algiers are empty, and the architecture is mine to explore. But first, I need breakfast. Here the city’s repose is not on my side. Everything is closed, even along the capital’s historic shopping street: Rue Didouche Mourad. As I begin to... Continue Reading →

Dreaming Cat

I leave the cafe just in time for the sunshine to turn to rain. And this is not African rain. African rain is like British hailstone, only it’s made of hot pelting rain, not ice. However, African rain normally floods everything for about an hour and then stops. Today’s rain is European rain. It’s less... Continue Reading →

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