Thursday, 26 March 2009
The Mursi People
We visited the Mursi People on Sunday in Mago nat. park. We saw the wimin with a lip plate in there bottom lips. When I first saw them I thort they were fake! The people were funey and strange becos the children were naked and some girls were showing there bumeys!
We went to a Hamer village to see the Hamer people. We saw the bull jumping. There were ten bulls lined up for the bull jumping. A naked man had to jump on to the bulls backs. The wimin were dancing around the circle. I was tiyed the hole time but I had a good day.
Arriving in Mago National Park
Coming through Jinka, we met and picked up our guide Andrew and went to the Park. We found a brilliant campsite right by a river and under lovely lush trees. We saw some colobus monkeys and some very naughty baboons. It was about 42 degrees celsius so we had a nice refreshing splash in the river.
Visiting the Mursi People
The next morning we drove deeper into the park and entered a village - a Mursi village. When we got there, the first thing I saw were the mud and straw huts, then the men. The men wore goat skins as clothes and had their bodies covered in chalk. Then I saw the women....They looked odd, quite crazy and scary. Scary because of their bottom lips, which had clay plates inserted in them. All of them wanted their photo taken to get some money. They were quite aggressive with that. I didn't like it at all. We then went to the river by walking through a field of tall sorghum. Xander, Max and I swam in it whilst the dads and the local men were fishing with rods. Altogether it was an incredible day
Thursday, 19 March 2009
a couple of days in Addis, where we have been joined for the next two
weeks by Mands' sister Vicky - Hi Vicky, welcome to the Jangano
Today, we leave Addis with cars cleaned, boxes repacked and laundry
done, and head down towards the wild and extraordinary Omo Valley in
southern Ethiopia, where tribes of pastoralists live virtually
untouched by the modern world. Then south again, into northern Kenya,
around the end of the month, to Lake Turkana; and Nairobi around 4th
April, in time to meet Jake off the plane from school.
We'll update as and when we can, but contact will surely be sparse
and sporadic for the next couple of weeks.
Sunday, 15 March 2009
We celebrated Ben and Gus's birthdays this past week - happy birthday, guys! A couple of fellow overlanders, David and Bridget, from Somerset in the UK, who are travelling across Africa in a Land Rover, whistled up a birthday cake in the car park at Aswan harbour as we waited to load our vehicles onto the ferry south to Sudan.
Cake eaten, paperwork completed, and several hours spent waiting in the sun, we waved goodbye to Jambanja and Mahali, and the Landy, and watched, with some trepidation, as our beloved vehicles sailed away down Lake Nasser on a rusty barge. Then we boarded the rusty barge that masquerades as a passenger ferry, and sailed away into the sunset ourselves.
Now we are about to leave Khartoum, south again to Ethiopia, crossing the bridge between the two halves of the Jangano expedition. We've been on the road for almost exactly three months, and have the same to run again.
. A couple of days of refit and "housekeeping" in Addis, and then the next big phase of our adventure - the Omo Valley, one of the wildest places on the planet!
Apparently the white donkeys of this area are the strongest in Sudan and therefore much sought after.
In every village large pottery water jars are arranged by the roadside for thirsty travellers.
A group of brightly clad women stopped to greet us on their way to a wedding.
Friday, 13 March 2009
Im sure some people must think that endlessly going around ancient sites must completely bore most memebers of the Jangano Team. But it doesnt. Even the three younger boys never complain. They seem to possess an amazing amount of energy that just isn't dimmed by sightseeing.
And Luxor is one place where you have to be in the mood. Pretty much the first temple we saw was the Temple of Karnak which is a brilliant complex. Massive, 64 hectares of columns, statues and obelisks. It really lit the fire for all of us and showed me that there is more to the place than the tombs in the Valley of the Kings.
The city of Thebes was the most magnificent in ancient Egypt and held the strongest dynasties. Rameses II, Rameses lll, Tutankhamun, and dozens of other mighty Pharoahs were based there. They built like beavers. Temples of Amun Ra here, statues of themselves there and millions of other monuments. It's just incredible what is there and what is still being excavated.
The mayor of Luxor has said that he wants to make his town into the greatest open air museum in the world. And if there is one place where that is possible then Luxor is that place!
Monday, 9 March 2009
Sunday, 8 March 2009
When the children need a bit of a run around, we stop the cars and hitch them to the kids for a tow. It also gives the engines a chance to cool down.
A perennial favourite on HarfordAdams/Le Breton expeditions. Our rule is that we play until we lose the ball. Some of our recent games in the desert have been very short indeed!
5. Graffiti in the sand. An unconventional but effective means of exercising some of the junior team members.
How it was written.
Not sure what this was supposed to be, but fortunately no mechanical recovery equipment was actually required to get Mands out of it, although the winch had been primed......
I know that this is a little late but a trip into a Gizan pyramid is worth a write up.
The entrance of the Great Pyramid of Khufu is a little unprepossessing, just a hole in the wall. A short climb up the wall brings you to the beginning.
From there the adventure begins. The first corridor is wide and high with a sandy floor and feels like more of a chamber than a secret passage.
After that it becomes more intrepid; the second passage is dark and narrower and I had to stoop to get through. I can get claustrophobic at times and I began to feel the first stirrings of it there.
The massive causeway comes next, 84 metres long, 12 metres high and 5 metres wide. My sense of awe compounded by the 45 degree slope. You actually feel like it points to the heavens. It was there that I first felt the weight of stones on top of me from the atmosphere and I imagined it all collapsing.
This is not a good idea and I don’t recommend it to anyone as it is sure to excite claustrophobia. But I pushed it out of my mind and continued.
The heat levels are rising from the moment you step inside but only become unpleasant at this point. Only 150 people are allowed in every day and without this limit it would be unhealthily warm. Even with the restraint my mind was cast back to Hugo Fircks’ tobacco barns where 78 degree heats were used to dry tobacco. It wasn’t that bad at Giza but it was rather stifling.
At the top of the causeway there is a short but extremely low tunnel. I was bent double going through. And as I can’t even touch my toes this was rather uncomfortable. Fortunately it didn’t last long and rather abruptly opened up into the burial chamber. This climb had brought us to about two thirds of the way up the pyramid.
It was hot in there, uncomfortably so and we shuffled over to the giant stone sarcophagus. The only memorabilia left inside. There were some inscriptions on the walls but I didn’t hang around to study those. I was baking in a massive oven.
The route out was exactly the same but slightly quicker, everyone looking forward to the (relatively) cool air outside.
This is how I felt inside but once I was outside I finally appreciated the greatness of the ancient Egyptians. Their knowledge, their belief and their grandeur! Will we ever see anything like it again?
Xander heading off with a spade and loo roll.....
Saturday, 7 March 2009
A question almost everyone surely would love to ask, but dare not for fear of being too personal?!
There is not a lot, however, that escapes the “too personal” when travelling in close companionship with others.
Especially when you’re on the road for 6 months together!
And especially when camping!!
Camping, under any circumstances, generally breaks down most of the “too personal” barriers. We in the Jangano team have most assuredly passed into the realm of sharing personal information about our bodily functions. Many a conversation around the campfire has been inspired by a noisy release of gas from one of us – I mean, from one of the children.
Peeing is the easy part. Well, if you’re male, that is. It has been somewhat more challenging for Nicky and myself, but we have been creative in our use of kikoyis (so long as we can persuade someone to stand by dutifully holding the cloth up, whilst looking away!) But we have managed admirably, though I say so myself.
The more tricky aspect of ablutions – the unmentionable – has actually proved to be quite a source of fun and amusement. One has to be prepared, however, for there are a few essentials that one cannot complete the exercise successfully without. These include the obvious loo roll, a small shovel (optional) and a box of matches or a lighter (compulsory). One can then confidently march out of camp to find the nearest -or furthest- bush, tree island or sand dune to hide behind. It’s always best if you can find a spot with a view, of course, such as atop a stunning sand dune, or amongst giant wind-sculptured boulders. It can often be a glorious moment! We can usually gauge the level of success by the facial expression of the returnee. Smiling: good; glum: not so good. If there has been a couple of days without success, we have discovered the perfect recipe: a handful of those delicious fresh dates that can be found at any Egyptian souq.
Yes indeed, us Harford-Adams/ Le Breton campers are really getting to know each other at a new level!
Naturally I don't expect the handbrake to work (functioning handbrakes being, to my mind, an entirely superfluous cosmetic attachment), but I'd rather they didn't screech and howl like a banshee. When this one started doing that, it had to go. Just as well. When we opened it up, it was in many more pieces than it's manufacturer had ever intended....
Last week she took delivery of a brand new laptop, over which she is slowly starting to assert a small degree of control. By the time we reach Cape Town, she'll be an old pro for sure! In the interim, however, there will inevitably be a few glitches. The e-mail below, which she meant to send privately to Robert but inadvertently posted on our blog site instead, may, I suspect, be one of them!
Personally, I take it as a sign that she's doing her utmost to become a technohead like the rest of us. But perhaps it's her way of subtly telling me that I won't actually be getting a Volcano stove for my birthday this year! Oh well, I have a few birthdays ahead of me yet.......
Jambanja got extremely stuck at one point, when we were coming over a steep dune and it got stuck on the top. We had to dig not only under the wheels, but everywhere else also.
It can get very hot and on one side of our car the window is broken, so we can’t open it. But when we do open it, it can’t close again and then it gets very cold because it’s very windy. Daddy is a good driver in the desert, because he’s experienced this kind of sand-driving before. The desert sand is sometimes hard and sometimes soft. We can go fast on the hard sand, but we go slow in the soft sand.
Friday, 6 March 2009
Little Max: I thought they were very good. You have to climb up a lot inside the biggest, the actual Great pyramid. We climbed ladders up through teensy tunnels. We didn’t get to the very top, but half way up there was the burial chamber. It was hot in there and a bit hard to breathe! We saw a sarcophagus with a broken lid, but it was empty.
We didn’t have time to go to the small pyramid, but we did go to the Sphinx. It wasn’t as big as I was expecting and I thought you could go inside it, but I was wrong. Two sarcophagi were just behind the feet of it. I loved the Sphinx and the pyramids! I would like to go back some day.
Ben: I felt really happy that we went there and grateful that we are able to go there. Around the pyramids, there were lots of tourists and guides and camels and a lot of plastic bags flying around in the air! At Giza, there were the 3 great pyramids. They were probably the biggest I will ever see in my life and they are very famous. They’re magical.
Inside the biggest pyramid, I felt happy, excited, scared and annoyed. Annoyed, because they took our cameras away and we could only have them if we had a guide and we didn’t want a guide. It was really steep going up to the middle of the big pyramid, which is as high as you can go. In the burial chamber, it was really hot; I felt as if I would collapse and there was a massive stone coffin with half its lid off. There wasn’t anything inside, though. It was a bit disappointing to come all the way into the pyramid and up and up and up and being worried that we might fall, and then getting into the room full of tourists and finding an empty stone coffin! They should have left the body inside, but taken all the treasure, to make it more realistic and more exciting!
We got stuck about ten, twelve times. Once we got bogged so badly we
had to get the Hi Lift Jack out and lift the car up and dig. We also
had to use the tow rope to tow the car out.
We found a Long Range Desert Group truck which me and big Max slept in. It had a machine gun holder and six ammo closets. We played a soldier game in it. The underneath was in brilliant condition. The top was OK but rusty - I mean RUSTY. The bonnet was missing and it was very deeply dug in.
The dunes are so smooth and they moved so fast and the edges were so sharp they were brilliant. The tops were like snakes and you got sunlight on one side and shadow on the other. The longest dune line in the world is 120 kms long and we drove along it!
We saw a desert fox. He ate one of out sweets. He or she was beautiful. It came to our camp and drank water from one of our cups. And he wasn't at all afraid of us. It looked a lot my my Granny and Grandpa's dog Pippin with long ears and a long bushy tail.
We sometimes slept out under the stars and on some nights it was warm, some cold. My Dad taught me how to use Orion and the Plough to find the North Star.