Algeria – Hunting Plastic

Pretty much every weekend, husband and I go plogging in our neighbouring forest. Sometimes students are tagging along, sometimes members of the public help. We once even had a soldier from the close-by military compound giving us a bin bag and saying thank you.

This is actually what most people do – watching what we do and then saying thanks. So, somehow information about us and our hobby found its way all up to the townhall where at the beginning of April we met Oran’s mayor and some notables, who are also fighting against illegal cutting down of trees.

ceremony2

The mayor expressed how grateful he and the city of Oran were for our contribution to keep this little patch of green clean and our school’s managing director translated. We were then presented with a certificate of appreciation and a handmade tile, which was beautiful. Tile-making is a local tradition.

From the townhall we went to a near-by privately run museum about the fight for independence from France. There was a connection to our local forest too, because it had been a venue for executions of resistance fighters. There are apparently still trees which have bullets lodged in them.

It was a lovely morning and a great surprise. We’re both very happy that litter-picking is such an appreciated pastime and would be even happier if it wasn’t necessary. However, things being the way they are, in the afternoon we went for a plog and we’ll keep on doing so.

ceremony4

Advertisements

Algeria – Oran’s Fort Of Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is the place to visit in Oran and the Wikipedia article gives plenty of background information.

santa-cruz.jpg

It’s possible to walk up the hill, but be prepared for steep paths and exposure to sun and wind. Alternatively, take a taxi. The price for going up, the driver waiting and getting you down again depends on the goodwill of the taxi driver and your negotiating skills. We paid the meter price (about 800 Dinar), but people have also paid much more than that.

Santa Cruz 2

Unless you’re heavily interested in Spanish military architecture, the fort itself is not that exciting because it’s mostly empty halls and yards these days.

One goes up there for the views (and possibly the picnic area). You can see all of Oran, the Lion Mountains and Canastel to the east, the big salt lake to the south and more hills and the military port to the west (not photos of the latter though – the military doesn’t take kindly to that).

When we were there the church was still under reconstruction, as is the cable car which might hopefully be running again … soon. Things take time in Algeria, but they get done eventually. So, here’s to our next visit, including l’église and le téléphérique!

Oran – The Theatre

Former Opera House and now used for the occasional concert or play, the theatre is way too underused in my opinion. theatre outside

My students tell me that there’s only sparse information available on the schedule. So we were rather lucky because the friend of a friend was going to perform there with a famous Algerian singer, and we managed to get some tickets.

The interior is the same style as the exterior. It’s not exactly what I like in terms of architecture or design, but it’s being kept in good repair.

The singer we saw is Lila Borsali. She sings in Arabic, Amazight and French in a style called musique andalouse in French. Lots of influences from Spain to Turkey make this really fascinating – check out her youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/ekleila.