Category Archives: Africa

Odd Thoughts on Language and Climate

This question came about when I was discussing an oddity of English language on Twitter. I noted in passing that both Malay and Tagalog (often spoken in the Philippines) don’t have past tenses. Nor do a lot of tropical languages.

Image by MustangJoe from Pixabay

This got me wondering: Does tropical weather affect how we perceive time so much that it changes the need or desire to develop tenses?

Some of these languages don’t have future tenses either. It would be like speaking English this way: “Yesterday, I go to the store. Today I go to the store. Tomorrow I go to the store.” The only time markers are the actual words for the days.

I’ve been living in Malaysia for seven years now. When you live in a place without seasons, days, weeks and months just fly away. The sense of urgency is gone. (Note, I also lived in Namibia, and there “Africa Time” is a common expression for the lack of concern about urgency or timeliness.)

For those who can’t place Malaysia on a map (I’ve met a few) look at Australia. Go up the left side and keep going. You’ll pass through Jakarta and hit Singapore. Singapore is an island just off of the southern tip of the Malay peninsula.

The Abandoned Cars of Ohangwena

I used to keep a travel blog called Vicarious Vistas. It was the first site that I attempted to port over to WordPress and I was frustrated by the process so it remains far from complete. There’s a shell of it still alive – basically just a front page – that you can see here. It was mostly active from 2004 to 2009, a timespan that saw me living in first South Korea then Namibia. Some day I’ll get it up and running again.
Vicarous VistasRecently, I’ve been contemplating renewing the site – digging up the old content and posting it along with newer content from my year living in South Africa and, more recently, Malaysia.
Along the way, I’ve been going through thousands of photos. From my time in Namibia, I started to notice a theme. I had a lot of pictures of abandoned cars. This isn’t all of them, but it’s the majority. These were almost exclusively taken in Ohangwena, Namibia between 2007 and 2009.
Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce you to the abandoned cars of Ohangwena:

And one bonus, an abandoned fishing vessel north of Swakopmund, Namibia (AKA the Skeleton Coast)