12th of August

Surrendering to Kochin

I fly to Kochi, Kerala to experience the end of the monsoon. According to people it is usual for Kerala to end the monsoon season with some massive showers. The weather in Tamil Nadu was moody, and I had gotten tired of grey overcast days so I thought an escape to Kerala to experience the wrath of the monsoon would make for a nice change and for some interesting photographs.


Seems like I just missed the monsoon. Apparently the airport in Kochi had been shut down for three days because of the heavy showers so I was lucky to get there in the first place. But it seemed like this was the end of the monsoon. I stayed in Kochi for 5 days, and I only experienced very brief showers for 5 minutes or so.

Kerala is a very unique place in India. It is probably the cleanest and most calm place in India. Kochi is a melting pot of different religions, muslims, hindus, christians, you name it. Walking the streets you see churches, synagogs, temples as a testament to this mixture of religions. Although during my stay here I see a majority of muslims. I have arrived at the end of the Ramadan and lots of muslims has travelled here to celebrate Eid al Fitr. Everywhere I see muslims relaxing and enjoying, wearing their festive clothes.

People here are extremely nice. Overwhelming so. Last week I was in New Delhi and the difference in mentality is staggering. I stay at Fort Kochi, and it is such a relaxing place. Actually it is too calm for my liking. I am here to make photographs, hunting for multi-layered photographs capturing some of those peculiar little moments that I find very Indian. It is all too idyllic here for my liking somehow. I make a few photos that I enjoy, but not a lot. In Old Delhi I felt so stimulated. I was briefly in Chennai and I felt the same there.

In this sense of photography I don’t find Fort Kochi very stimulating. It is a place people come to relax. To enjoy each others company. And I am here alone. At first I get frustrated. I am itching to make photographs. I am waiting for the monsoon that never come (or rather the monsoon that I have apparently just missed by a hairline). I don’t want to rest. I don’t want to relax. Relaxing makes me loose momentum, and when I am not busy roaming the streets then there are no distractions for me to not miss Michelle so badly.

After a while I give up on the monsoon and wonder what to do. Then at last I admit defeat and realise Kochin just wants me to relax. I do the ayurvedic body massages, I eat an insane amount of ice cream, and I do something I haven’t done for a long while: I read a novel.

Having finished the novel, and with no heavy monsoon apparently wanting to show itself, I will be heading back to Tamil Nadu soon. But I have decided since I am so far down south, I want to go to the very south-most tip of India: Kanyakumari. I want to have this experience since I am here, before heading up through Tamil Nadu again.







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Categories:  India Photography Travel
31st of July

India and the Measure of a Man

After a long flight from Norway, I arrived safely and slightly brain fogged in New Delhi this morning (too much TV on the plane – and a little tip for you if you where considering watching G.I Joe retaliation – don’t!).

Arriving in India for the 7th time so far in my life, I was full of mixed emotions. Part of me was extremely excited to be on the road again, looking for adventure. Another part of me was feeling sad and guilty for leaving behind Michelle in Norway – I have just moved there a month ago, and now I am already hitting the road again! A third part of me was feeling nervous and anxious on how things would pan out in terms of photography.

Well once I stepped out of the plane, there was no turning back and the reality hit me – India is truly the place where you can only expect one thing – the unexpected. Having retrieved my luggage I excited the airport around 3AM and found myself a taxi driver – or so it would seem, but reality was rather that he found me! He asked me where I was going, and was unsure about the address so he asked for the phone number of the hotel I had booked and rang up the number for me. When I spoke to the hotel in the other end they where very sorry to inform me that my booking had been cancelled due to the ongoing festival.

I would later learn that this was in fact a very well organised scam – kudos for their execution – the first time I have ever been scammed on such an advanced level. The taxi driver entered the phone number, but apparently rang another number where his partner in crime with was pretending to be the hotel I had booked. However, as the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy states on the front page – DON’T PANIC. And I didn’t – six previous visits to India has taught me to expect the unexpected, and go with the flow.

At 4AM I was plenty awake to bargain hard, and I ended up checking into another hotel costing only a fraction of the prize for the one I had original booked online. So even if I feel slightly violated for being scammed, I still ended up saving a fair amount of money.

And this bring me to my point – India is a place where you are measured up for size constantly. There is no point in panicking about feeling violated, because trust me you will feel it a lot during your stay in India! More than a billion people live here, and the Indians are fierce tradesmen, with no time for messing about. And this is exactly one of the reasons I keep returning here. I like having to feel things again. Back home in Scandinavia everything is so organised and non-invasive. Life is very pleasant. Very easy. Very vanilla. In India your senses are constantly bombarded – ranging from the spicy food, to the spicy people, to the whole craziness of this massive society.

In a way it is ironic that I travelled to the other side of the world to test a tiny camera – the fuji x100s, which has been designed to be very unobtrusive and anonymous. Because the camera sure is exactly that. But the man carrying it is not. A white person is always more exposed to attention in India – for sure. But add 195cm height and 110kgs of body mass to the equation and there is nothing stealth about me here in India.

India is truly the place where you are measured up for size constantly

Now you might wonder why I bring up my body weight. Well I will have you know, that I was measured today – literally! During my walks on the street, taking some portraits, a crowd of people got interested in me. So sure this guy is white, and tall, and speaks a bit of Hindi, as if that was not interesting enough – let us weigh the poor guy! So some guy fetched a weighed and I was measured there and then on the street. 110kg. It did not make the locals any less curious about me.

Ahh India – I am happy being back and measured constantly. Expect to see me on your street shortly, with my tiny little camera. And for good measure here is the portrait that I was shooting that triggered the locals to decide to measure me:


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Categories:  India Photography Travel
26th of May

One Adventure Ends Another One Begins

Life has been rather hectic during the past two months – but in the good way 🙂
April 5th I returned to Denmark from Thailand and 7+ months on the road, to embark on a new adventure. Boxing and exercising in Thailand was a great experience, but I will write a seperate post about that 🙂

The day after returning I rushed off to Norway to spend some quality time with the lovely woman Michelle Ortiz!

After a happy reunion and some days packed with fun together with the Filipina mafia (aka the au pair gang), I rushed off back to Denmark to start work for my first client – no time for resting.

Yeah my first client – you heard right 🙂 I started my own company – Pragma IT at your service! My dream is to work focused for periods as an independent IT consultant, put aside some cash and then at other times pursue other adventures in life. The next adventure is definitively going to be climbing Imja Tse, 6189m in Nepal (also known as Island Peak). So besides being busy with work I try to spend a fair bit of time training for this expedition (hoping to be able to go in November this year) 🙂

Plugging back into society has gone rather seamlessly actually. I spend the first month sleeping on Dorthe and Dennise’s sofa – bless their souls and their hospitality. As of May 1st I have been living in a lovely little room in the middle of Copenhagen just a few minutes walk from the Queens palace – I don’t think I will ever get the opportunity to stay this central anywhere in the world again 🙂 The place is perfect for me. We are six people living here – 2 Greeks, 1 Swedish, 1 Polish, 1 Bangladeshi and myself being the only dane here. Very nice people, and it makes everyday life a little more fun when you have interesting people from different cultures around you 🙂

And the best part about my room – it has a bed loft! Sure you might think I am 16 again, but I love it! Sue me 😉

Besides being busy getting plugged back into society, working on the business, and training for Nepal – there has still been time for a few adventures – including a few trips to Norway to visit Michelle, and an epic trip to Russia together with Dorthe and Dennis (with a few days being spend in Estonia as well) to see Peter wed the wonderful woman Constanta, from Moldova. That trip involved me falling a sleep at the statue of Lenin at 3 am, but thats a story for another time 😉

28th of January

Norway and the Filipino Mafia

I spend a month in Norway with the wonderful Michelle Ortiz. The month was spend relaxing, enjoying the snow, eating great food and in general having a lovely time!

Now don’t get me wrong. Norway is a great country! Very nice people, fantastic nature, a calm and safe place. A nice change in scenery after the craziness of Asia. But this is not what caught my attention during the past month. It was hanging out with the Filipinos that really moved me 🙂

Michelle herself is Filipino, and she has a lot of friends in Norway that are also Filipino (I call them the Filipino mafia 🙂 ). So naturally I got to spend a lot of time with… you guessed it: Filipinos 🙂

And to cut a long story short: They rock! I have yet to see a Filipino that does not smile and laugh all the time. These people has to be the most happy people I have ever met in my life! Always so full of joy and laughter. These guys knows how to enjoy life!

And I don’t think its just me that has been lucky and ended up hanging out with some particular happy Filipinos. During my past 4 months of traveling, naturally I met a lot of other travelers, and we talked about our previous adventures. And I have met several people that all told the same story: When they went to the Philippines they where so surprised about how happy these people are!

And my amazement doesn’t stop here. Not only are they a smiling, laughing, happy bunch of people – also they show so much hospitality 🙂 Let’s just say that I was not very often hungry in Norway 😉

So here is me saying thank you to Michelle for a lovely month, thank you to Norway for providing the venue and thank you to the Filipino mafia for all your hospitality, laughter and giggle 🙂 A special thanks to Angel Salinas for her imitation of British accent: Priceless 😉

And do notice all the smileys in this blog post – smiling is contagious 😉

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Categories:  Travel
29th of December

Merry Christmas from Denmark and a Happy New Year From Norway

With flight tickets as cheap as they are – the world is really becoming a small place! So ya… I decided to surprise my family and pop by Denmark for a week – a slight detour from my India adventure 🙂

Also, I think I am becoming a softie on my old days – as there is a very special woman in my life – Michelle from the Philipines, who lives in Norway currently. Being away from her for 4 months made me miss her terribly, so what happened is that I decided to fly home to Europe and spend christmas with her and her sister, who lives here in Denmark.

We spend christmas with her sister and her brother in law, at his familys place. They have never met me before, and it was nice being reminded that it is not only in Asia that hospitality exists. Danes can be extremely hospitable as well – particular once you break the ice with them. Initially danish people can be rather cold on the surface, and typically it is the outsider that has to take the initiative to start conversation and break the ice (however this was not the case with Michelles brother in laws family!). I felt like I had known them for years already! Completely down to earth and very easy going people – who knows how to cook very well 🙂

After christmas I showed up at my fathers doorstep the 27th of December without him having any idea of me being in Denmark – he was quite surprised to see me 🙂 Michelle and I are currently relaxing at my fathers place, enjoying great Danish food (“Stegt flæsk rocks!”). Tomorrow we head off to Norway to celebrate New Years in Oslo, along with the filipina mafia (a huge bunch of filipina au pairs 🙂 ). I think it will be quite a sight, a giant danish guy – sourounded by tiny filipinas 🙂 After new years, my plan is to spend the month of January in Norway with Michelle, after which I am heading off to Thailand for two months.

Now Thailand is going to be a bit crazy – I will spend two months in a Muay Thai training camp, practising thaiboxing – but I think that is a topic for another post 🙂

So here is a very merry christmas and a happy new years to all of you!

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Categories:  Travel