London as always…

The unbearable longing for London. A hypertrophic nostalgia for every fleeting figure evading the closing doors , every worn-out sign of the  Underground , the madness , drunkendness, the unexpected kindness of strangers ..IMG_1992

When you underground travel card does not work the sign is ” please seek assistance ” rather than “you are not allowed – invalid ticket ”  .
Waterloo sunset, as per song..
The bond to London  that survives despite everything   – why ?
 London is a country  for those who have no country.
London  does not tolerate foreigners – it belongs to them.
So many people are proud to call London home – so few of them are white British…
And a glimpse of the past – at Duchess theatre; The resistible rise of Arturo Ui


Έγραφα στη δική το κασιδιαρη – “τα δυο στρατόπεδα δεν είναι οι αναρχικοί και φασιστες – ειναι οι λούμπεν μαχαίροβγαλτες απέναντι σε όλους τους υπόλοιπους¨. Έτσι τους ανεβάζει ο Μπρεζτ – σαν υπέρ φιλόδοξους μαφιόζους και σαν εφιαλτική κοζα νοστρα.
Οι έμποροι λαχανικών που παίρνουν θαλασσοδάνεια – οι καναλαρχες στην Ελλάδα
Ο σεβάσμιος ασπρομάλλης δήμαρχος –  ο  Παπουλιας
Οι προστατευόμενοι μάρτυρες  που τα ονόματα τους ολως τυχαίως ανακοινώνονται απο τους ιδιους τους δικαστές.
Τα γέλια των χρυσυγιτων στο  δικαστήριο που αθωώνει το. Καισιδιαρη   καθως δηλώνει “είμαι κατα της βίας”
Και τα τελευταια λόγια-
“Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again”



Postcard from Iceland

Postcard from Iceland


An August weekend in Iceland -



There is an Icelandic expression ” everyone has a book in his belly “, in other words, everyone has a story waiting to be told. But is also quite literal: Iceland has the biggest number of book titles per population, and one in 10 Icelanders at some point in his life will publish a book. More than 800 titles come out every year and some of the best selling crime fiction writers ( as well as a nobel prize in literature ) come from this tiny country of three hundred thousand people,

L1009558Driving around the big ring road: A road that circles the whole country; it can be done (provided you are not too tired of driving) in around 2-3 days. It means exploring what is more like a continent than a country; crossing   one way bridges and spending lots of time on gravel road – the roads in Iceland are made for 4 by 4 cars.



More than that it means crossing into the collective psyche of Icelanders, their past and their stories, reflected in their skies and their waterfalls.


55 percent of Icelanders believe in trolls and elves ” the unseen people ” – little creatures that live a parallel existence to humans. One old prime minister said that “believing in other creatures is a way to feel less lonely – we are a small nation living in a big country”.

As you drive you get often the feeling that something is strange and magical around you. We are used to warming up our water; the water in houses in Iceland comes naturally hot – it needs to be mixed with cold water to be usable.


99% of all energy in Iceland comes from renewable sources – and Iceland per capita is the biggest energy producer in the world.
Large expanses of lava fields – breath taking glaziers, amazing blue lagoons,



Night out in Reykjavik. – the Reykjavik 101 movie comes to mind.  - a very un- Scandinavian feeling of rowdy , noise and pure joy of life ..

(and , economically, the biggest success story of a country the creditors and queuing to provide loans, and which was earlier brought to its knees by an economic disaster much bigger than Greece, but chose a very different response…)

Iceland’s President  “famous” reply to the controversial question, “What is the reason for Iceland’s recovery?” is most remarkable

“We were wise enough not to follow the traditional prevailing orthodoxies of the Western financial world in the last 30 years. We introduced currency controls, we let the banks fail, we provided support for the poor, and we didn’t introduce austerity measures like you’re seeing in Europe.”

See Bloomberg, and Forbes for a surprising, unorthodox success story..

What to do when you are sick in Kampala…

3:30 am Entebbe  airport

Stepping out of the Egyptair plane – walking  on the tarmac into the night : the first thing to notice is being hit by thick dry heat, without a trace of wind or humidity. A row of expressionless faces standing next to the plane, not moving not waiting – like a sort of strange pantomime or a game of statues.  A strange airport in a strange country at night. Welcome to east Africa. Fellow travelers are only too glad to drop the traces of respectability as the make a rush for the first places in queu   for visa.  Sweet faces in the other side ” how are you sir ” ” please , wait for your change ” David is waiting for me.  A sweaty handshake and a pat on the back    – I am in Uganda, about to meet the other doctors of the mission.

Entebbe Airport, early morning hours

Entebbe Airport, early morning hours

Ουγκάντα – χώρα πάμπτωχη, με κατά κεφαλή εισόδημα 1200 δολάρια το χρόνο, στις πρώτες γραμμές  του «παγκόσμιου πολέμου ενάντια στην τρομοκρατία» –

Kampala, Uganda

Kampala, Uganda

εξηγείται έτσι το μηχάνημα για αποτυπώματα και η φωτογράφηση στο αεροδρόμιο (μηχανήματα δεν σου θυμίζουν απλώς τα σύνορα στις ΗΠΑ, είναι κατευθείαν φερμένα από εκεί ) –

και οι κάρτες στα κινητά δεν δουλεύουν χωρίς δήλωση με φωτοτυπία ταυτότητας και διπλώματος οδήγησης..

και παντού τεράστιες αφίσες που λενε «be vigilant towards terrorists –
αλλά πότε είχε τρομοκρατία στο έδαφος της η Ουγκάντα? 

Στο αυτοκίνητο του ο Ομάρ μου λέει καθώς περιηγούμαστε στην Καμπάλα – τι δουλειά έχουν οι στρατιώτες μας σε όλους αυτούς τους πολέμους? Ο Μουσεβενι αγοράζει την ανοχή των ΗΠΑ με το να κάνει το καλό παιδί στέλνοντας το στρατό μας στη Σομαλία, στο Μάλι, στο Ιράκ, στο Αφγανιστάν, οπουδήποτε του ζητηθεί…


Omar, ENT resident in his office, Mulago Hospital

Omar, ENT resident in his office, Mulago Hospital


Στη βόλτα με το καραβάκι στο κανάλι ανάμεσα lake Edward and lake George, Queen Elizabeth national park – στο είπαν και νωρίτερα – 20 με 25 % από όλα τα έσοδα από το πάρκο πηγαίνουν στις τοπικές κοινότητες – αισθάνεσαι ο τι μόλις άκουσες  ένα τεράστιο, ξεδιάντροπο ψέμα – του λες – so they must be very rich with all these money – αλλά τους βλέπεις να κατεβαίνουν την πλαγιά με τα κίτρινα μπιτόνια για νερό και την οργή στο βλέμμα τους – so why do they not have water?

Between Lake Victoria and Lake George, Queen Elizabeth National Park

Between Lake Victoria and Lake George, Queen Elizabeth National Park

A few days one of the illegal fishermen was killed by a hippo – but they keep coming back  as if they have no memory (η μήπως γιατι είναι απίστευτα φτωχοί – υπερβολικά για να φοβηθούν ακόμα και τον θάνατο?)



¨Ενα νεαρό κορίτσι – ακριβώς 22 ετών. Περιμένει να μπει στο εξεταστήριο σχεδόν παθητικά, αδιάφορα, σαν να πρόκειται για κάποιον άλλο. Η ειδικευόμενη κάνει την εισαγωγή  «Διάγνωση ιστολογική – αδενοκαρκίνωμα παραρινιών, ακτινολογικά δεν φαίνεται να έχει διηθήσει εγκέφαλο και οφθαλμικό κόγχο». « Πότε έγινε η διάγνωση?» «Ιανουάριο 2012» «Και μέχρι τώρα έχει κάνει?»  «Τίποτα. Συστάθηκε  αξονική για εκτίμηση της έκτασης και μετά ακτινοθεραπεία , αλλά η ασθενής δεν έκανε τίποτα από τα δύο. Δεν έχει τα χρήματα.»  «Πόσο κοστίζει στην Καμπάλα μια αξονική?»  «Περίπου 70 ευρώ».

(The end of )  a discussion with a British colleague:

Him: “Don’t get too sentimental …”

Me: “If we were not sentimental we would not be here !

Him: “There are moral issues involved with paying from our pocket for patients treatment- what do we do with the remaining patients? We cannot do this for everyone!”

Me: “There are moral issues with  us being here once a year. What happens to the patients the remaining 50 weeks ?”


Operating theatre, Mulago Hospital

Operating theatre, Mulago Hospital

Relatives waiting in the corridor, Mulago hospital, Kampala

Relatives waiting in the corridor, Mulago hospital, Kampala

Outside the ENT ward, Mulago Hospital, Kampala,

Outside the ENT ward, Mulago Hospital, Kampala,


You consider the statement “The value of life is less in countries  such as India or Uganda compared to the west” insupportable (why? because  you are here to prove exactly the opposite – the value of life is exactly the same everywhere , the ability to preserve it is what varies…

Kampala, Uganda

Kampala, Uganda

The tendency to focus on the corruption of the poor (true, it is there, but why don’t we start by the corrupters rather than the corrupted – and how immensely patronizing, the doctors of 10.000 euros a month to chastise the doctors of 100 euros a month for the lack of morals )