from Autobiography, Prologue: Africa Here I Come
Rome, Palermo, Malta, Tripoli, Benghazi, Harare, Johannesburg, Cape Town.
Nightflight over Africa
I look into the darkness and my eyes fall upon the wing of the plane. It
twinkles with it's lights encouragingly and I declare the stary, stary night
to be my travelling companion.
Thougths come, thoughts go, thoughts remain.
I have spent an adventurous life in Africa and had to turn to a quite
different culture. Today I consider myself fortunate to be able to look
back on these years, and I am glad to have experienced them. at that time I
was not aware of the richness attached to my life variety. Today knowing
how rapidly Africa has altered, I realize which treasures in form of
experiences and adventures I bear inside.
Although this life was not only beautiful but very often painful, most
experiences have remained in me like living pictures.
I intended to renew these memories, these pictures, whether beautiful or
painful, miserable or gay, light or dark on this journey and will hopefully
discover whereto I belong.
Because I am always homesick for the "there" when I am in the "here". Just
in the same way do I feel homesick for the "here" when I'm in the "there".
I look outside. Grey fields of clouds lie far beneath me. The sunrise
gradually appears in the east and renders night to day. The lighter it gets
the whiter become the fields of clouds.
We glide, elegantly, through the air and swing over the country which is
called Africa. The MD 111 takes course to Johannesburg. Side wings bring the
wings to vibrate. A long river from East to West, in which the water of the
rising sun reflects. It ends branched in many arms. The sunlight blinds me
a little and linders my perception of nature's amazing play. Only the river
remains visible, swings through the patches of fog and looses itself in the
Africa's dark, tempting world, since centuries constantly changing, lies
hugh and powerful below me. From a bird's-eye view it appears
fantastic.... --- back to top ---
Extracts from: The fate of Shéhrézade
"Behold ye herdsmen, traders and cameleer of the ancient city of
Marrakech the Red One, gather around me because I, the storyteller
Sidi Farid, who served the Calif of Kelaat M’Gouna will tell you tales
of other people, other places and other times. How the slave
Shéhrézade became the rosebud girl and beloved one of Hamid, the
Calif’s son. How she was covered by thousands and thousands of rose
petals, how she bathed in rosewater and what adventures her daughter
"Arise brave men of the desert, travellers of the Sahara," summoned
the old man the crowd, whose face was as wrinkled as a date with a
falsetto, forming these words with his teethless mouth, whilst his
Adam’s Apple jumped up and down his throat.
"Come and huddle around the fire, so I can lead you into the world of
Berbers, Bedouins and Nomads and becharm you with fairytales and myths."
His unveiled face looked jubilantly into the crowd. He then
thoughtfully spit out the tobacco he was chewing whilst he waited
that his servant gathered some dunghill and fed the flames with it.
The smell of camel swet hung in the air. Mighty palm fans brushed to
and fro, camels yelled, sheep and goats bleated into the becoming
night.... --- back to top ---
Extracts from: In Hemingway's Footsteps
At exactly 3.30 pm the small sea plane from Chalk Airlines drove slowly
down the ramp into the water. I sat seat-belt fastened together with a
handful of passengers in the aircraft and full of expectations I gazed out
of the small window. In a similar way to a motorboat the sea plane dugged
along the waterway and mastered the many waves on the surface skillfully
hopping over them. After taxiing for some time the plane turned towards
the wind, letting it's propellers howl up, violantly making them tremble....
[...] The sea plane quickly lost height, turned a couple of times and
then more slithering than swimming landed on top of the exquisite ocean,
in which lie the islands of the Republic of the Bahamas....
In the "Complete Angler''m" which Hemingway occasionally had used as
night's lodging and which had long ago been transformed into a bar and
museum, an amazing number of photos, books and extracts of magazines
under glass were filling the walls, exhibiting Hemingway as a writer, a big
game hunter and above all as a big game fishing angler....
I was speechless with the variety of the photos showing Hemingway's
obsession for adventure. But I understood very well what it was that forced
him to do this. He needed life as it was lived to be able to write about it!
I thought and hoped that sometimes I would be able to do something similar
in order to turn into a Hemingwayress.
--- back to top ---
Extract from Dar Karma
Ah, Asilah! My heart beats for you since the day I saw you and since I
lived for two days inside your walls, there, where green and blue doors,
heavily locked, showed the entrance to the house DAR KARMA, the House of the
I push the heavy door and step in. Suddenly the Medina is silent when I
stand within the chalk white walls of a patio, where a truly strong fig tree
spreads in all directions and with its wide, droopy branches dominates the
yard. This is the heart, the soul of Dar Karma. All the rooms on the three
floors look towards this majestic fig tree. The patio, a really charm-filled
yem, with stairs and corridors, leading from it to mezzarines and multiple
roof terraces, from where I can see the sea, is a place of maghrebinic
I stride through Dar Karma as in trance and find myself in a milieu of
1001 nights. This place radiates serenity, is an oasis of tranquility and
class, and protects me with its walls from the noise of the Medina. I cannot
believe that I have found a world like this in such secrecy...
--- back to top ---
Extract from Domes, Fortresses, Walls and Bastions
Off I am in an jumbolino of Air Malta from N. to V. and reas in the
"We promise you a rose garden and will make it easy for you to find peace
within you, whereby the sun, moon and stars will help you. God loves you
wheather you like it or not."
The butter is called "midnight sun" and the blue sea below has traces of
mediterranean cruizers in it [...]
Valetta, with its yellow sandstone houses, where on their moresque roofs
brightly coloured flags flapp in the wind, where churches steepless,
fortress walls and bastions of gigantic proportions can be seen and where
the blood fo many races, the Phoenicians, Sarazens, Arabs and Italiens
together with the odd English person's blood flows through the veins of the
Maltese, completes my impressions when I check in for my helicopter flight
to Gozo... --- back to top ---
Extract from Christmas Eve - X-mas Yves
The water murmured silently against the keel of the big powerboat,
anchored at the pier of the Big Game Fishing Club in Bimini, as I lounged
delightfully on soft linnen next to a naked man in the bow of the boat,
where the spacious sleeping quaters were. When my eyes fell on dozens of
little control lamps. I was imagining them to be the electric candles on
an artificial christmas tree, if temperatures had not been so tropical.
Yves, the naked, well-built man next to me, whom I had only got to know a
few hours ago, was lying there totally relaxed, so that I hardly dared to
loosen myself out of this tight embrace....
I wrapped the linnen around my body and hushed into the front of the boat,
opened a hatch noiselessly and stuck my head through the opening. I
listened out into the dark night. No noise, other than the murmuring of
the water was to be heard as I opened both nostrils as wide as I could and
inhaled the smell of salty sea-water deep down into my lungs...
--- back to top ---
Extract from Bonjour Tendress
One fine day in May on one of the most exclusive avenues of Paris, a
gentleman and a lady, for the fraction of a second, exchanged a meaningful
glance, almost touching one another, then each of them went their way.
A short while later the lady entered the lobby of the traditional hotel
Plaza Athenee, took one of the hotel brochures at the entrance and roamered
around the vast halls and salons in search of the bar.
"Do you know, where the bar is?" asked a gentleman politely.
"I am looking for it myself." answered the lady, happy to see that it was
the same gentleman she had just exchanged glances with.
No sooner had they found the bar, he turned to her and said: "May I invite
you for a drink?".... --- back to top ---