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Old 12-02-2009, 08:59 AM   #61
strikingviking OP
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Namibia

Approaching Namibia from South Africa





After near extermination of the indigenous tribes, southern Africa developed from European stock in a similar time-frame, though on a smaller scale than the US. Roads, terrain and architecture look the same except that cities are further apart with less development in between.



Entering the Namib Desert north bound.





In Namibia, when I am not camping in the desert, scattered remote farmhouses established by eighteenth century German immigrants provide soft spongy beds in hundred-year-old, but polished clean wooden bunkhouses.







Overnights with old-time homesteaders are refreshing upgrades with outdoor stone bathrooms and communal kitchens to cook fresh butchered lamb chops that farmers sell.





But the repeating scenery grew old as roads toward the coast remained washboard gravel with endless miles of beige colored sand.



Then suddenly Africa erupts into the glory of geological splendor.













Approaching the celebrated Red Dunes of Sussusvlei, diesel truckloads of young European overland voyagers rumbled in for their share of tourist gouging. Prices are shockingly high. With southern Africa lacking a competitive industrial base, most goods are imported and heavily taxed while greedy merchants also take advantage by exploiting budgeting travelers who have no choice where to shop. Compared to Asia, this region is unreasonably expensive, so trucking overlanders spend most of their trips camping, with occasional evenings in Backpacker hostels for hot showers and Internet connections. Before the rampage of civil war in Sudan made it too risky to traverse, the common route for these hearty adventurers was through Eastern Africa, beginning from Cairo and ending in Cape Town.



But recently, combined with the open banditry of Northern Kenya, the new course has become Nairobi to Cape Town. (Now the genocide in Darfur can continue with fewer witnesses.)

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Old 12-03-2009, 06:15 AM   #62
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Breathtaking, Glen. Enjoying the new book, and the pics are fantastic accompaniment.
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Old 12-14-2009, 07:23 AM   #63
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Zigzagging Africa

With two thousand miles left to Livingstone, Zambia where fresh tires are scheduled for delivery, timing is going to be close. Anyway, the newly paved double-lane Trans-Kalahari Highway beginning from the coast is easier on rubber than the previous long stretches of sharp gravel road. Riding east out of the hot desert sands leads into a cool, pleasant plunge through a heavily wooded landscape.



White African cities were interesting but departure was a welcome relief as the last one, Swopkupmund, disappeared behind me into foggy ocean breezes. Once back into the countryside, among the occasional leaping gazelle and black masked Oryx, herds of three hundred pound demonic-faced warthogs stood their ground staring while grazing roadside. Rippling with thick shoulder muscles, and coarse haired swaybacks, double rows of upturned tusks make them the ugliest beasts of the jungle. With every mile, Africa now displays its wilder side.



As warnings and concerns of robbery and murder in South African cities faded, the time had come to see how simple jungle villagers live. Swirling orange-purple flares during a primal Namibian sunset signaled that the moment had arrived to seek black Africans in their tribal environment.






Riding the first suitable footpath through a tree studded thicket led to a sprawling enclave of random mud huts reinforced with wooden poles. With a worn-out sign painted in English words, one building stood out from the rest. Mbeyo Baptist Church.



At the sight of an invading alien, twenty of forty lounging natives fled as the others watched warily from a campfire. Eventually, a hesitant yet curious, tall scraggly elder approached to investigate. Holding forth my hand with a mighty Viking smile eased the barriers.











“Greetings from America. Is it okay if I camp with you tonight?”
Answering in British accented English, he sounded so proper, “Yes, of course you may sleep wherever you please, all visitors are welcome in Mbeyo.”
“So, why then have those people run away?”
“When some of us see white men, we are afraid that you have come here to kill us.”
“No, I am only a friend who has traveled around the world for one and half years to learn from your village.”
“But you are from a great country, what can we teach you?”
“We are both from great countries and can learn from each other. Maybe you can remind me of what’s been forgotten.”
“We are the Kavango and this is our church. We are Baptists but others here are Catholic and Evangelicals. Can you help us contact American Baptist missionaries?”
“Well, I don’t know any but if you write a letter, I’ll photograph the page and post it on the Internet. Why do you want to contact them?”
“Because the missionaries will come and make electricity for us.”
“Why do you want electricity?”
“So we can have computers and Internet.”
“And televisions and stereos too?”
“Yes, yes, of course, we want everything just like American people.”
Pointing to a single room mud hut, I ask, “But if you acquire those things, you’ll need a bigger house and an extra job to pay for it all.”
This confuses him. “But if the missionaries come, unemployment will end and everyone will have lots of money.”
Pointing to groups of idle men standing next to women busy tending fires and stacking wood, I ask “What do you do all day now?”
“There is nothing to do for many months while we wait for the rains. Then we will plant seed. Anyway, you are in time to hear our choir practice.”

















The Mbeyo Baptist Church was built with the same mud and pole materials as the rounded huts, only bigger and square with a hard-packed dirt floor and rows of uneven sawed wooden benches. Inside as two young boys warmed up on goatskin drums, the low humming choir began to shuffle with gyrating hips, matching the rhythm of a hollow barrel beat.

Between powerful harmonizing vibrations and subtly stamping bare feet, a fine dust filled the air, almost obscuring the undulating slow-motion dance. Clear, alternating octaves from converging voices gave me tingling goose bumps and shivers with hairs on end. Although airborne swirling particles made breathing difficult, it was impossible to rise or resist the hypnotic lure of entrancing upbeat hymns. As the Mbeyo Baptist Choir erupted into spellbinding synchronization of explosive melody, I found myself sucked into layered extremes of primordial life emerging in African song.










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Old 12-23-2009, 08:52 PM   #64
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Glen, I cleaned up some HTML code in one of the posts that was keeping the following posts from appearing (and blocked the "new reply" button).



Feliz Navidad, Amigo. Seeing your pics again is the perfect present.
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Yes, I have a Dakar problem -- that there are 50 weeks of the year without Dakar!

They don't expect you to finish. That's why it's the Dakar. -- PPiA


Get your sweet Pyndon DakARTwork here

Pyndon '13
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Old 12-29-2009, 09:55 AM   #65
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Zambia!

Exiting Namibia for Zambia



As one of Africa’s poorest countries, Zambia still holds its head up from primitive villages accepting roving strangers who happen by. Lacking the fanatical friendliness of Asia, acceptance here requires explaining this journey with photographs through fire-lit evenings winning hearts and hesitant smiles from wary natives. Histories of slave trading and genocide may be old to Westerners but not to Africans. Over the centuries, during lulls in exterminating or enslaving each other, colonialists arrived to take up the slack. Today, if not soldiers, other foreigners in Africa are aid workers living here to tie assistance to converting to new religions.
Africans should be grateful that thirty-seven separate Christian and Muslim sects landed in time to explain to them that for the last ten thousand years, they have been worshipping the wrong Gods. Yet, less populated and poorer than other African countries, Zambia’s future is promising.





Still underdeveloped in hotels and lodges, two main asphalt roads connecting borders east to west make it possible to cross the country in any weather to discover what is in between. Run by European ex-patriots, backpacker hostels continue as the slums of adventure travel with greedy owners exploiting the unsuspecting.
Cramming tiny rooms with rows of narrow bunk beds and one hallway-broken-down bathroom for twenty or more, these pitiful hoaxes appear at first as bargain accommodations for ten bucks a night. Lacking private transportation, a captive audience of trucking overlanders gets hoodwinked into paying over-inflated prices for food, Internet and laundry. Vagabond motorcyclists dodge the gouging by venturing around town to determine where locals eat and shop services.


It has been over a year since encountering another long-rider so I was surprised to meet a trio of bikers touring Southern Africa. No matter the nationality, motorcyclists share a common bond. Just as these German bikers had assisted in my parking lot tire mounting,


we noticed a missing bake plunger pivot bolt. Never mind, a metal pin dug from of their spares along with electric tape made a decent substitute.



Benefiting from Mugabe’s chaos in neighboring Zimbabwe, tourists exploring Livingstone have stumbled onto superior views of Victoria Falls and less commercial game parks much richer in animal life.



















Still on target for following the sun, southern hemisphere rains have begun with ferocious evening thunderstorms lasting until midmorning. Crossing the equator again next month in Kenya marks the beginning of dry-season and a clear, although rugged journey north. Even occasionally drenched, the ride across Zambia was pleasant with sporadic stops to chat at dilapidated roadside produce markets.



Across the road, licorice-skinned women in colorful long dresses balanced reed-woven baskets high on their heads while they chattered and bargained for shriveled vegetables. Vivid patterns of blues and reds contrasted with their shiny black skin.



After quizzing loitering truckers about their homes and families, I asked for a picture and received an unexpected reply. “How much are you going to give me?”
Surprised because cheerful natives are usually first to ask for photos, I countered, “How much is it worth for a memory of meeting a friend?”
Embarrassed with head hung low, the barefoot young man clad in ragged, brown shorts shuffled away only to return moments later with handfuls of soft yellow fruit. “I am sorry, please take these mangos and always remember the people of Zambia.” In the heat of an afternoon tropical sun, we joked about life on the road and shared sticky succulent pulp.





Unlike Asia, camping in Africa has been convenient and economical, but wildlife threats on the banks of the Zambezi River in Zambia now made that questionable. At night, the jungle is an aggressive world of predators battling up the food chain. Survival is the only given. Although strict herbivores, in Africa, more unsuspecting people are killed by hippopotamus than scorpions, snakes and lions combined. Standing between a hippo and its water refuge results in a stomping, crushing or tossing into the air. With that in mind, it was better to sleep in a farmhouse campground while deciding where next to proceed.

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Old 12-29-2009, 12:21 PM   #66
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Hi Glen

Your road trip is fantastic ! Simply amazing. Or are you just crazy ?

Have you considered offering your books downloadable for cheap skates like me ?

Keep it coming. The only bit of Africa I know is Morroco - which I backpacked in the early 80's. I bought a carpet. I was back packing & had to lug it about on my back ! They can be great salesmen I look forward to learning about your exploits there.

cheers

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Old 12-30-2009, 12:25 PM   #67
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SV,

Just ordered the book. I got away from the thread for a while.

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Old 12-31-2009, 07:06 AM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmer
SV,

Just ordered the book. I got away from the thread for a while.

Timmer
Thanks amigo. If anyone else out there reads the book, please post a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
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Old 12-31-2009, 10:32 AM   #69
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Found this book under my Christmas tree this year (maybe the blatant emails with an Amazon link helped ). I am really enjoying reading it as well as Ted Simons second Jupiter book, I had not realized you and he crossed paths in S. America until now.

Thanks again for writing it, provides great inspiration for my eventual launch South.

Saludos,

Martin

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Originally Posted by strikingviking
Thanks amigo. If anyone else out there reads the book, please post a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
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Old 12-31-2009, 05:42 PM   #70
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Hello Glenn.

I met you at a presentation you did at Cliff's BMW in Danbury CT about 4 or 5 years ago. We later went out for beers with a bunch of us FF's.

I just stumbled across this thread again, and once again I'm awed by your humanity.

It's New Years Eve and I wanted to wish you a happy one.

Peace.
Q~
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Old 12-31-2009, 08:08 PM   #71
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Great Pics of an Awesome Adventure...

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Old 12-31-2009, 09:04 PM   #72
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Happy New Year Glen
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Old 01-04-2010, 06:48 AM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryn1203
Hi Glen
Or are you just crazy?

Have you considered offering your books downloadable for cheap skates like me ?
Yes and yes.
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Old 01-04-2010, 11:13 AM   #74
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Hi Glen, Damn man it's like we're exactly the same except for the being in a biker gang, traveling the world on a motorcycle, doing martial arts, being brave, getting through being a political prisoner, being an extroverted people person, uh and wanting to get my ol ass off the couch. ...ceptin for these things it's like we;'re fuc$ing twins!!!

Great Job!! Thanks for letting me live a more adventurous life, vicariously.
Jack
Ps I'd buy the book if I could get someone to read it to me.... Dyslexic. Any plans for an audio book?
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Jax' mediocre photo thread.
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Old 01-05-2010, 02:07 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by JaxObsessed
Ps I'd buy the book if I could get someone to read it to me.... Dyslexic. Any plans for an audio book?
Ask and you shall receive. Here it is.
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