"An American in Love with Algeria": The Story Behind the Allaqta Video Profile

Monday, August 29, 2016 | Algiers, Algeria (map)

"Hello Andrew, I hope you are well, are you available for an interview in Algiers? an interview about your work as a blogger and photographer."

That was the message I received on May 29 that started it all. It came from Tarik, one of three young co-founders from the Algerian production company Allaqta (the name means "the shot", as in a TV shot, in Arabic). Three friends who grew up together in Algiers, Tarik, Mohamed, and Ibrahim, had launched Allaqta in 2015 in their spare time, alongside their day jobs in the TV business. By concentrating on producing high-quality, positive content about Algeria's natural beauty, historical sites, and popular culture, in just a year they had managed to quickly build up a massive following—half a million young followers on Facebook (the only measure that counts here in Algeria in 2016).

And now they wanted to make a short video about this curious American living in Algiers. Or as Tarik put it in his next message, when I inquired about their motivations: "... We would like to produce a short or a mini documentary about you,

Uncommon Alger

Sunday, August 21, 2016 | Algiers, Algeria (map)


« Son passé est surchargé des confrontations de l’histoire. Elle est la grande métropole de la rive sud de la Méditerranée. Ni Barcelone, ni Marseille, ni Naples, dans la lumière bleue, Alger la Blanche! »

French-speaking readers, there is your mysterious, enticing introduction. English-speaking readers, let me fill you in: This week I'm proud to announce that the newly published French-language Uncommon Alger is available for sale here in Algiers. I've just picked up my copy today and it is beautiful!

Based in London, Uncommon Guidebooks publish just that—unusual guides to cities around the world that are as much travel guide as cultural artifact in and of themselves. Filled with vivid photos, unique essays, artwork, comics, historical documents, and more, the books capture and convey the atmosphere of a place.

To this new volume on Algiers, I contributed a photo (of women wearing the