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2009 » January

Bullfight in Jambiani

January 27, 2009 by  

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I leave Uganda tomorrow, traveling through Nairobi and Doha, Qatar, and will be back in India early the next morning. Below is another saved post about our stay in Jambiani, the small beach town on Zanzibar’s quiet eastern coast. Landscape/people photos by Mattea; food ones by me. DSC_1236 On Jambiani’s white sand road, we sat in the shade and watched cows wrestle. DSC_1217 First dinner I made a green lentil dal and coconut rice and a salad of only tomato slices, very good with just lime juice and salt. _DSC0050 For dessert we saved some of the coconut rice — made with the flesh from tender coconuts — to mix with the honey-like sweetened condensed milk and have with pineapple. We made a pot of tea, Zanzibar-style, spiced with fresh ginger and cinnamon. The next day before lunch I walked along the town road with its jeep and bicycle tracks, beyond the well and the primary school, the sun very hot and baking the sand, and bought more rice and vegetables to make a simple potato

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Mobile, Social Media & What’s Next

January 26, 2009 by  

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Here are some answers to questions in a recent Moneyweb interview Mandy De Waal did with me a while back.
1. What role does social media play in 24.com’s strategy?
Social media plays a key role in 24.com’s strategic thinking. Internationally, it’s the social media sites like You Tube and Facebook that are dominating the web rankings [...] Click on headline link to visit matthewbuckland.com for full article


Turning the Big Treinta Uno in Nicaragua

January 24, 2009 by  

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Turning 31 today actually felt more like turning 30 again, if you subscribe to the belief that one must celebrate each new decade “with a bang.”  In my case, the bang was an adrenaline-fueled scream down a zip line over the Nicaraguan jungle canopy on Volcano Mombacho.  Wheeee!!! Mark, Nannette, Jeff and I were picked up in Granada and driven up the bumpiest of hills towards the top of the volcano.  Once there, we suited up and after a brief instruction and safety course, it was up to the first platform, several stories above the ground. The first zip was obviously the scariest, but because of that, probably the most exhilarating. Each subsequent zip because more and more fun and I allowed myself to look around at the amazing canopy and scenery and fully enjoy the moment. After the eighth and final zipline, it was time to go back down to earth. “How?” you ask? By rappelling all the way down! We had three options in regards to speed: slow, medium, or rapido (which translated in this particular case to “free fall”). Jeff went first and chose the last option. WHOOSH. There he was, standing facing me and within an…

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The First Day of Spanish School in Nicaragua

January 24, 2009 by  

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Our first Spanish class in Nicaragua was…interesting. We’ll be here learning for a month in what has promised to be a pretty intense learning experience. 4 hours of instruction daily, low teacher-student ratios for extra attention. And classes start at 8 am. This is immersion. There are five of us in the beginner class today and it’s clear that regardless of our adulthood, professional degrees, and perceived status, the full range of emotions that accompany the first day of school are on full display. Anxiety, excitement, fear, angst. Mari’s as giddy as, well, a schoolgirl. We learn introductions and typical responses, and then, about twenty minutes into our 80 hours of instruction, our teacher indicates that we should follow him on a walk into town. Field trip. Viaje de campo. The five of us followed our teacher, trying to stay close to him in case he tried to give our walk a purpose by bridging the Spanish words to what our eyes were seeing. Instead, we walked in a drainage ditch, mostly in silence—past the burning garbage, past the blooming native flowers, past the smoking Volcano Masaya in the distance. We ended up at the house…

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Long Overdue Post — Africa Highlights

January 23, 2009 by  

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Happy (belated) new year — and then some! Incredible how time has flown by.  African adventures, holidays, Obama administration and more positive changes on the horizon… The best way to track me these days (including all of  my African travelogues, which now seem like a long time ago) is still on my Tweetstream.  However I do plan to write a longer, more ‘robust’ narrative in the coming weeks.  No promises as to when it’ll be ready, but whenever it is you’ll be able to find it here. Quick recap since my last post.  Africa trip highlights are too numerous to list, but here’s a snapshot:
  • Meeting Obama’s grandmother Sarah in the very rural ‘village’ (read: dirt road, mud huts, smiling kids and scrappy dogs) of Kogelo, western Kenya
  • Bicycling down the escarpments of the Great Rift Valley, through banana plantations and ending up on the shores of Lake Nakuru with zebras to my right, wildebeests to my left and a rainbow overhead
  • Feeding giraffes by hand, cruising by a fabled white rhinoceros and viewing lions less than 5 meters away
  • Hiking through a Zanzibari “spice farm” and plucking fresh nutmeg, cloves, vanilla, peppercorns (5 colors),


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How Not To Market In Asia – The Importance of Time, Money, Quality and Knowing How Much of Each You Need to Succeed

January 23, 2009 by  

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Recently I had another request from yet another potential client to do something that didn’t seem realistic within the time-frame and budget. You may remember a post I did last year regarding a different potential client who needed an entire business and advertising plan for bringing a blimp to Vietnam. In that case, I submitted a six page outline with essentially questions for the agency to ask the client so that we could begin to get a handle on whether it was a good idea for the client to proceed with his (pun intended) somewhat overblown idea. Suffice to say, no one has yet to see a blimp floating the skies of Vietnam as a giant Heineken bottle, condom or sausage company promotion. It never happened – and it never happened for one particularly very good reason. The client had absolutely no business plan – and wanted the agency, along with my assistance, to create one for free – stop wait, reverse that: He wanted us to actually pay for the privilege of planning and selling his media – a scenario I had seen already in Vietnam and documented in my “Pay to Pitch” post. Don’t do it.And so, having


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The Water Queue

January 22, 2009 by  

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_DSC0032 One of Zanzibar’s few churches (above) and the architecture of Stone Town (below). _DSC0034 Arrived in Jambiani, a very small one-street town on Zanzibar’s eastern side, and rented a small cottage with attached kitchenette. It was twenty meters from the beach, which was lovely, but the kitchen had no running water (water pipes going to the bathroom sink and shower were crossed with sea water) and no stove and no light that worked. _DSC0046 There was, however, a hot plate, and we found a lamp, and we could walk to one of the fresh water wells in town and fill a pail. So we walked in town and found the best produce and spice vendors and ran on the beach and swam and went snorkeling and came back to read and cook our meals. I tested some Indian recipes, and there was always excellent mango or pineapple for dessert. DSC_1192 Masai men in their garb and walking sticks walked along the beach selling necklaces. In town we joined the people to queue up for water. The women carried the buckets back on their heads.


“I vote for black guy!” – Obamanation II

January 21, 2009 by  

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Barack Hussein Obama, Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, Garth Brooks, Inauguration, James Taylor, John Melencamp, Pete Seeger, Phatmanvisa, Presidential Disaster Area, Sheryl Crow, U2, Will.I.AmMy inauguration day began with a visit from my friend Phat who goes by the nickname Phatman in relation to his business of handling Visas and renewals for foreigners living in Vietnam. Should any of you need visa work done here in country please don’t hesitate to contact him at PhatmanVisa@gmail.com. He’s efficient, competitive and a super nice guy – So anyway, my phone rings and it’s Phat. He’s completed my Visa renewal just before the big Tet holiday and wants to deliver it to me at my house. I agree to meet him downstairs at the street coffee lady’s stall and get the day off to a positive with a brand new visa and a cafe sua da. Phat pulls up on his motorbike and what is he wearing but a colourful Obama t-shirt, made in the USA, in the same graphic theme as many of the posters you see. I ask him if he got the shirt in Vietnam and he says, “no”, a friend brought it to him from the States. But along with his shirt he has also printed out a sign that sits on the face of his bike, right below the handle bars


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