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Some questions and answers

> Hope you are doing fine... At the outset, I am V Kumara Swamy, a journalist > with The Telegraph, Calcutta, India... I am doing a story on the concept of > couch surfing and your friend Thomas Goorden recommended your name while > responding to my queries on the same.

How I got hold of my bag

The Bulgarian border guards didn't speak English.  They also didn't understood why I was sent back.  It gave me some courage to at least get my backpack back.  When I saw 2 more people on the Turkish side I decided to walk back and give it a try.  The baksheesh border cop was human enough to walk with me to the gathering of Turkish truckers dealing with bureaucracy.  I hadn't taken Ahmet's phone number, I just knew his truck was yellow.  There seemed to be 100s of trucks.  And I couldn't recognize Ahmet among the truckers.  The baksheesh cop said (in Turkish and body language) that my truck

Three days ago in Damascus

Whenever I set an alarm, I don't actually need it.  At 5:30 I woke up, took some food from Cocina Robino, walked to the traffic lights at the Jan van Galenstraat and smiled.  After about 15 minutes a painter with an Native American name listening to good old Gabber stopped for me.

Amsterdam - Istanbul

1.5 GB in my Aspire One

Thanks to Matt, who studied electric engineering, I now have 1 GB extra in my Acer Aspire One. Now I can finally run Firefox (and Firefbug) on my little work horsey. In the past week I hitchhiked a bit, and the longest waiting time was 20 minutes. The on-ramps were especially good and a French hitchhiker told me about a spot at the end of the Jan van Galenstraat in Amsterdam which worked like a charm.

Trash and Cash

In the past 2 weeks I've set up two new wikis. Trashwiki is a wiki about dumpster diving and anything else that's related to trash. There's already a tiny community, and I guess we'll soon have 100 articles.  We did copy some stuff from Wikipedia to get started, but do feel free to remove the dry encyclopedic stuff. After that I decided I needed some money.  Or cash.  So Cashwiki is a wiki about money.

1000 articles in Hitchwiki!

Today we reached the milestone of 1000 articles at Hitchwiki.org!  It took less than 3 years to get there.  Already before I found the then called "Hitchhiker's guide to Hitchhiking" I was sure that a wiki for hitchhikers was a good idea.  So I'm very happy that I moved the project to Wikia.com in December 2005. At some point I had been thinking to move it to hitchhikers.couchsurfing.com, but fortunately MrTweek was around.

Alta - Helsinki - Tallinn - Riga

Sorry about all the detail.  The last post has been a while now and I want to write it down while it's fresh. I can always rewrite it later when I'll work on my book. We tried leaving Alta for Tromso, but after 2,5 hours of a lot of cars and none stopping we decided to just head south.  It took another 1,5 hour before someone stopped. For the shortest ride of our trip, 2 km only, but it was encouraging, especially thanks to the strawberries we got from the young woman who picked us up.

Muy muy muy Alta (en el norte)

We didn't leave Stockholm the time we expected. It happened a couple of days later. And even on that Sunday we were very late, I got stung by a bee in the last moment. We went to a hitch spot I found on Hitchbase, which was rather bad actually. We got a ride after a long while and ended up in Uppsala. But we didn't want to stay there, so we hitched out while it was getting dark.

Amsterdam - Hamburg - Stockholm

We left Amsterdam last Friday, after 15:00 or so.  It took 50 minutes or so to leave Amsterdam at the liftershalte (which is also the longest wait of this trip!). We arrived at Julien's front door in Hamburg right in time for dinner. The third ride was great, a Danish managing director of 7 companies was happy to take us from the parking spot close to Osnabrueck.

Peer to Peer movies

The return of LegalTorrents made my day a while ago.  Now that I actually took some time to go through it my day is even better.  I'm about to watch two peer produced movies. Now just let's hope the Dark forces that are trying to ban P2P filesharing in Europe will fail.

Flying is diving into the Wind

Millions of rain drops fell down while I've been playing with Drupal and Facebook apps the past days. It feels good to be able to completely plan my own time again. I'm very positive about all the opportunities arising in many places and in many different disciplines.

A week in a flash

When you read this it's a month ago that I wrote this. I love it, how WordPress keeps on evolving. So it was more than a month ago that I attended the BeVolunteer General Assembly at the LinuxHotel in Essen. It was very inspiring, in the middle of the Ruhrgebiet and nevertheless extremely green and tranquil. And my fellow participants were amazing. A week before I had left Amsterdam. To hitchhike to Avignon, 1050 km away, to meet up with Elsa and amylin (on the occasion of her birthday).

200 articles in the Bambara Wikipedia

In 2005 I tried stimulating people in Mali to write for Wikipedia when I was in Bamako. Some articles were written, some more when I offered the equivalent of 1 US$ per article. With my limited knowledge of Bambara I added some more structure and I translated parts of the interface by asking if people understood the words I had found in a dictionary. For a long time almost nothing happened apart from inter-language bots and even spam bots and vandalism. Today the Bambara Wikipedia reached 200 articles.

The RoomWare Project

Saturday I went to visit a meet-up of Project Roomware:
The Roomware Project is an open-source framework for interactive spaces. It allows developers of multiple origins to enhance any venue or event using technologies such as BlueTooth and RFID. "Roomware" is an application running in a defined space.

bloglet

Ok, even though I've been working on Mac OS X I’m going to FOSDEM, the Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting in Brussels, the 23rd and 24th of February. For the rest, Amsterdam is treating me well.  Hyves is exciting and offering many challenges. Living with Robin is great. Unfortunately it will be over soon. He found a place through social housing (after 9 years of waiting) and I will be moving to another place myself the 1st of March.

First week in Amsterdam

In the beginning of November Robin asked me if I'd somehow be interested in renting a place in Amsterdam. I had been thinking of moving to Amsterdam after Trento, but I considered his question a bit preposterous. Fortunately he rented the place himself and now we're room mates! During my years abroad I sometimes considered Amsterdam the only place left to live in the Netherlands. Going around here on foot and by bike I learn to appreciate my own country again. The bikes are amazing, transport is so efficient (if you don't go by car).

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