I think I saw this in a film once. Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda.

Baboons, Blue-Footed Boobies and a Beautiful Man – Piran Cafe’s Top 5 Posts for April and May 2017

I saw this once in a movie. And it didn’t end well.

That’s one of the first things that crossed my mind when encountering this scene as we were driving along the Ishasha road between sectors of Queen Elizabeth National Park in the far western reaches of Uganda.

Several dozen baboons were occupying the road and we were headed straight into them. They very much looked like they belonged, and we didn’t.

The mothers carrying their young scampered away quickly as we approached but the males didn’t, choosing instead to amble out of the way at a deliberate pace, seemingly granting us permission to pass. That brief interaction remains among the most memorable moments of a ten-day trip to Uganda in March, an account of which was Piran Café’s most visited post in April and May.

As the calendar goes, that period of April 1- May 31 began in a small hotel in Entebbe, Uganda, along the shores of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, and ended at home in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, where I was processing what I had just witnessed during my first experience at the Venice Biennale, arguably the world’s most important contemporary art fair. (More on that later this month).

In between came a five-day hop to Nassau, The Bahamas, four days in Doha, Qatar, and a handful of getaways closer to home here in Slovenia. It’s been a busy spring that will preface a busy summer, a good a time as any to reintroduce what was once a monthly look back at what had transpired on Piran Café.

So, ICYMI, the five most visited posts for the months of April and May, beginning with the latter:

5. Seventy-two More Seconds with Blue-Footed Boobies. A post that answers one of life’s most enduring questions: what to do when you come across previously unused video footage of an interaction with exotic birds near the center of the world? You put it in a blog post, obviously. Who am I to pass up an opportunity to use boobies in a headline?


4. Doha West Bay Cityscapes. I’ve visited the Qatari capital Doha 11 times since 2010, so snapping images of its continually changing urban landscape has become an almost annual tradition. This time, 17 images snapped through windows on the 20th floor of the Marriott Marquis which rests in the middle of the city’s West Bay district.

3. A Beautiful Man, Revisited. Of the thousands of photos I’ve made over the past decade, most lay forgotten. For good reason. But some I’m drawn back to over and over again. They symbolize, or even define not only the moment they freeze, but a larger moment that I hope to carry with me for the rest of my days. This series of portraits of a homeless man in Bogota, Colombia, represents one of those.

2. Happy Birthday, Ho Chi Minh. A look back at the 30 minutes I was hoping to spend with Uncle Ho at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi.

1. Chimp Tracking in Uganda’s Kalinzu Forest. An account of a very wet trek in late March when a small group of us went in search of a family of chimpanzees in a western Ugandan forest. (With some video footage, too.) Its popularity here underscores the truism that people on the internets like chimps nearly as much as they do cats.

Chimpanzee, Kalinzu Forest, Uganda
Chimpanzee, Kalinzu Forest. The oddest looking behind I saw that day.

Which serves as the perfect segue to April, when all but one of the month’s Top-5 were related to my late March visit to Uganda.

5. Kampala Portraits. More specifically, a series of candid portraits made during the Opening Ceremony of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships which was held in Kampala on Sunday 26 March.

4. Nile Tilapia for Sale, Lake Victoria. Hanging out with fish merchants on the northern shores of Africa’s largest lake. A video clip is below.

3. Nassau to Miami, From the Air. The lone non-Uganda entrant into the April Top-5, a dozen shots for the occasional Window Seats series taken during the brief flight late in the month between the Bahamian capital and Miami Dade. Along with a brief MIA airport rant.

2. Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park – Traveler’s Notebook and Image Gallery. A detailed guide and 48 images from Uganda’s most visited national park, home to some 95 species of mammal and more than 600 species of bird.

African Elephant, Queen Elizabeth National Park
African Elephant, Queen Elizabeth National Park

1. Uganda’s Baboon Boulevard. And finally, as alluded to in the introduction above. No, that’s not the road’s official name. But perhaps one day it will be. I hope so.

Looking ahead

On the roaming about front, June and July will include return visits to the eastern Czech city of Ostrava and some long bike rides and (if my knees cooperate) longish hikes in Slovenia’s Julian and Kamnik Alps for the Slovenia Day Trips series. I’m also hoping to finish up two more posts from the Uganda visit as well as an accounting of the roughly half of the Venice Biennale I experienced last weekend. It’s a massive undertaking and takes several visits (or days) to even remotely try to see the bulk of it. We’re hoping to return for the “second half” in September.

And speaking of restarts: on Sunday I’ll be re-kickstarting my weekly newsletter, The Piran Café Reader. It’ll include recaps similar to these, and some exclusives, too. (Although most people subscribe for the monthly freebie drawings, which is perfectly acceptable behavior.) You can subscribe here.

As always, many thanks for reading, sharing and commenting. Please don’t stop. :) Your interest is very much appreciated. Happy June and even Happier Summer to you.

Bloggers: What was your most visited (or favorite) post published in April or May or both? Feel free to drop the link (s) in the comments. I’d love to check them out, too.


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