Showing posts with label africasiaeuro. Show all posts
Showing posts with label africasiaeuro. Show all posts

Sunday, March 20, 2011

where eagles dare - Qinghai plateau


Qinghai Lhasa RoadLhasa Qinghai Road
What was worse than three days two nights on the road was, nobody knew exactly when we would reach our final destination.
Lhasa Potala PalaceImage by Africasiaeuro via Flickr
The day before leaving Lhasa, we were contemplating which form of Transport was the most suitable. After experienceing severe altitude sickness when I flew into Lhasa, I decided not to repeat the same mistake again. Altitude sickness can be deadly. I was terribly ill, the sudden pressure difference between near zero sea level and a rapid decrease of pressure at 3800 meters did not go down well with me. It took me days to recover, a visit to the TibetanHospital included. —-
Barkor Street in Lhasa, TibetImage via Wikipedia
———————– 
Here we were, at this godforsaken place in the middle of nowhere, at three a.m. now driving through an unknown deep forest. The fellow passengers were all anxiously gazing out of their window expressing their discontent. 
No matter how we all thought, the driver carried on till he reached a tiny hamlet in the forest, shrouded in total darkness. Within minutes, he grabbed a box of Alcoholic drinks and disappeared in the night, leaving all passengers behind. It was another passenger who overheard the driver saying he will be back in 15 minutes. —- 
The scenery could have been from ‘Frankenstein‘, the movie, since outside looked all eerie and ghostly. No soul, no light, no movement. A Ghost town ? 
Some of the passengers took some courage and ventured outside, in the dark, chilly air, still light, yet different from Lhasa. We had, after all travelled for two nights and two days and made over 4000 km by road on the Tibet plateau. 
The fresh cold air brought back some life into us. And this moment I felt the slight touch on my face; snow flakes dropping down on me, within seconds the sky was full of them. Somehow these scene always returns back. 
The falling snow somehow dampened our frustrations , voices started to fade, with snow acting as a filter. Thick, heavy now fell, covering all the ground within minutes. Waiting for an hour without a sign of the driver, everyone got nervous. 
We decided to honk. Another funny thing, awkward feeling, standing in the middle of a hamlet, inmidst of a forest, honking the horn of the vehicle, passengers voiced out their frustration over the delay. 
Nothing happened, absolutely nothing for the next two hours. In the meantime temperatures were dropping more now, we started to shiver.cont. 
next episodes
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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tibet dreams




Hiking in Tibetan heartland.

africasiaeuro

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Xmass Sales items - africasiaeuro

Xmass Sales items - africasiaeuro


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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Amazing Ghana - Ewe music - MusicAndSoul

Amazing Ghana - Ewe music - MusicAndSoul

This ethnic performer rocks. Her dance movements combined with ethnic rhythms are outstanding. A talented, young performer captures her audiences.
Seeing her is believing in pure, African soul and rhythms. For Connoisseurs of African music, this is imaginary music.

From Thumbs-Rss




Monday, June 21, 2010

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.

YouTube - aheneghana

Kwaku Blues - Ghana most outstanding Blues Harmonica player accompanied by Jackson.
New Morning Accra.
Copyright : New Morning Accra / Heinz Rainer
We bring you music from around the world on Youtube.com





Saturday, June 19, 2010

AFRICASIAEURO - causes Facebook


Link to RSS   635 Members WOM !!! 


 Cause Bulletin

Heinz Rainer

Message from WOM

Posted by Heinz Rainer on Jun 19
Hi everybody,



It's been some time.

We have been in touch with the Elizabeth Taylor foundation who promised us
they will look into our plight.

We are preparing our Audited accounts and will post it to them as soon as it is ready.

We also have a NetworkedBlog on Facebook which we would like you to join :
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http://bit.ly/workNtravel - http://apps.facebook.com/blognetworks?m=d7a8d320

Join us !





















BlogNetwork - FACEBOOK - sister page

NetworkedBlog on Facebook - Work, live, travel 
Join our NetworkedBlog, stay up-to-date. 
You will find a post almost every day from somewhere in the world.
We are constantly in search of interesting sites, informative, trendy,
and worth our time looking at.
Look out for an artist site of intrinsic value to come.
(Personally I never saw a better site, look out for next posts...)






Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Netvibes - different kind of vibes

Using Netvibes is a good way of saving your RSS feeds.
You can save widgets, Rss and Atom feeds at a customized page,
chose to publish it or keep it private.
I found Netvibes a versatile ways to read Rss feeds of interest.



NetworkedBlog Facebook

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Night in the Bush - Sankarani, Mali, Africa

The night in the Bush – Sankarani close by cruising
I continued the dark road along the Sankarani. Present on my right I could sense the mighty NIGER tributary, which flows majestically, a mile wide.
Always alert to meet some new surprise, gazing towards the end of the high lit beams radiated by the vehicle into the heavy, damp air that surrounded the Bush.
The sheer, never ending screeching sound of Cicadas filled the night, adding a peculiar sense of solitude in this vast wilderness. Not sure whether I was close to Mali, or perhaps in Mali;
My uncertainty grew as the road got more and more invisible. Suddenly it seemed to turn, then got lost into several tracks. I stopped, attempting to visualize the unimaginable vast stretch of Savanna around me.


It was futile to get carried away in this situation. It became almost painful to think where I was, at what time, at this moment. Nobody at home would have had the slightest idea of my location, left alone the surroundings.
I shuddered at the thought of how to reach the next settlement. To continue to drive, slowly, trying to make out landmarks, tire tracks of vehicles that passed before me, became even more difficult.
Amid all the tracks, several of them, I had lost my way. I made out the dark Silhouettes of Cotton plantations which are frequently seen in these areas. I had no intention to sleep in a Cotton field. Yet, the need to look for a shelter for the night had become apparent by now. The time was going, it was close to midnight, and my reserves were going down faster than I thought.
My road, it turned out was going to nowhere. The Bush closed in, no more passable, the tall grass surrounding the vehicle almost completely.
I had lost my way. Thinking of where I could be at this time, perhaps at a cocktail party, enjoying dinner with friends; Why did I chose to be in a deserted place like this, 5000 miles from base, worse : I did not know when – or if – I 'd return to home.
I was desperate. Where to go; it was hard to maneuver the car in the thick Bush,
reversing was the only option. Sure, it would take me time to find the right path.
Not to end up in a ditch, I slowly inched back and forth till I had turned completely, and started slowly, careful not to miss my own tire tracks.
Tedious and painstakingly slow, always stopping to verify I did not miss the point where I got lost.
I must give credit to the makers of my vehicle, for any defect now could mean a real disaster. For days I drove on the worst, unimaginable roads, thousands of bumps, potholes, water puddles. And my car just performed miraculously well, except for a exhaust pipe break, it gave no complications.
As I inched on, I noticed the widening of the Savanna, and the trail from Fulani cattle herders became more apparent again. I had reached back to main track. Unexplainable how I ended up in a dead end, overlooking the important cow tracks.
At the decisive bend I turned the car 90 degrees left.
Moving ahead through the night, at a distance I saw a shimmering light, I passed it, as it turned out, a village on my right. At a first glance it did not look like a place to spend the night.
There was a bend, and I heard water gushing nearby. My beams could not make out anything, except the trees on the car's left and right.
I reached a creeks crossing, passable by a mere makeshift bridge made from rough tree logs, covered by boulders and rocks.
Against my better instincts I decided to attempt to cross, with almost no space on both sides. The car was hitting rocks below, bong, and I knew this was not good.
A third of its length covered, I realized it was best to unload the car and attempt to cross rather with an empty boot.
I inched back carefully, not to miss the track, my head protruding, not to miss on the narrow passage over the creek.
Car and driver would have been flushed away in a second, the torrents were strong, the creek filled to the brink with rapid floods.
Moving back slowly, deciding to get to the village I saw on my way and find some sleep.
Another hour had passed and it was now getting to 01.00 h.
I noticed the strong scent of a log fire. The distant glare of the in the village attracted my attention. I kept on moving on the tracks till I could make out dark shadows of the African village, its distinctive round huts covered by tapered straw roofs.
By now I knew this would be the only chance of a secure night stay.
The path leading to the hamlet was narrow, the trail allowing a person to enter, left alone a car of my size. I had no choice, and followed the path, pushing the grass left and right to the ground.
The fire became closely visible, an old Fulani sitting near the flames. He was as curious as me, and came cautiously to the car, holding his mighty Bush knife.
I uttered the few words on Malinke, the local language of the Fulanis. I greeted him, and asked careful if I could spend the night near the fire within the shelter of the hamlet.
He nodded his approval, upon which he sat back near the fire, straw hat and frock, Bush knife close to him. I felt awkward, in spite of the hospitality shown. These parts were known where cannibalism was as common as in some places of South America, or Papua – New Guinea for that matter. Nobody has ever mentioned to you the Cannibalism further down to the south, Liberia, where warring parties devoured their captives. I will write about this later, in a different chapter.
Tense, tired, exhausted I tried to make myself comfortable, reclining seats in front, stretching myself across. Still, at this hour of the night, the hot air not fully cooled down. I needed to open the windows for a grasp of fresh air, on both sides. This attracted myriads of Mosquitoes which buzzed around my face. I tried to think of a cold shower, a bath, fresh clothes.
I drifted off to sleep, with a mixture of thoughts and sentiments. Since my Army days I developed a habit to wake up at once, and it could have been a life saver. I never will know what prompted me to open my eyes that night.
The sky was moonlit, I had good visibility. When I opened my eyes, I noticed the tall straw hat moving along the side of the car, gazing inside the car with a vehement look. It did not look as if someone had clear intentions.
I took all my courage, jumped up and switched on the inside light. The person outside was stunned and stood still. He did not expect a white person and he was as surprised as I was. He mumbled something and disappeared in one of the huts nearby.
It was luck, I will never know how much, but it would have been easy to attack me, and made me disappear in this wilderness. Nobody had the slightest idea where I was, and this was no civilized area. Here, only the strongest survive, unimaginable if one needs a doctor, a Hospital.
I gazed around and could not find the Fofo, the old Fulani. He could be the one who send the other to rob me.
The remaining hours I could not sleep anymore. It got darker, the moon almost disappeared. Upon hearing some noises coming from my right, the fire had gone off by now, I was again on full alert. I had no weapon on me, I did not bring my 9mm Taurus as the license had no validity for for Mali, Guinea, Ivory Coast, only my country of residence.
It would have been difficult to defend oneself against an expert Bush knife wielding Fulani. To well I know how skill full they can handle this broad weapon.
The noises came from my right, and before I could make out the noise it took minutes.
By experience I knew it was after four, and a glance at the analogue car watch confirmed the time stood at 04.30 h.
The sounds came from the right hut, some 20 meters away from the car.
African village women get up as early as 04.00 h in order to sweep the courtyard in front of the hut. I always was puzzled, how a person could see in the dark, sweeping the rough grounds, and for what reason. The answer lies in this simple explanation: to remove ants and dead insects from the working area, a form of keeping the surroundings tidy.
I was relieved, as the time ticked fast towards dawn. One by one, kids appeared from the hut, leaving the patriarch asleep.
I realized it had become chilly. The mornings are chilly, in the lower 20's Centigrade. Some shiver overcame me. The kids lit a fire from dry branches, and curled around it. The smoke was immense, and they held their palms stretched towards the fire.
I shuddered at the thought of lack of personal Hygiene here. There was not bath except the ones in the close stream, bringing dangers such as Bilharzia, and other water born diseases. There were not changes of clean clothes, I assume it was impossible. The people are poor, although their cattle is a valuable asset, 1 going for roughly 300 U.S.$, the herders have hundreds of them.
Distinctive, the 'Mali' hump backed cattle species in the African Savanna. They can resist the deadly 'Tsetse' fly, and numerous other pests that infest the Savanna.
As soon as daybreak was close, I sparked the engine, and turned, within the parameter of the hamlet. Slowly I inched out, trying not to make unnecessary noise when leaving. The exhaust had been welded, my silencer doing its duty again.
I was not eager to see the nightly visitor who disappeared in the hut on my left. I never say him appearing again, and I felt no disappointment towards it.
The early morning was refreshing, invigorating. Once back on the Bush road I felt relieved. Before 05.00 AM I reached the makeshift bridge over the gushing creek which I dared not to cross the night before.
Logs of trees had been laid across the creek, rocks covered the bridge, so large, I had to stop and inspect it. I got out of the car and walked across it. A desperate view, torture to the vehicle. Below a torrential creek gushing powerfully. Not to figure out how I tried to make the crossing during the night. I did the right thing to return. Even if it meant to sleep in the Fulani village with the nightly intruder.
In order to make the vehicle lighter, I removed all large bags in the boot, also, in case I had to reverse it would have been easier. Slowly I balanced the vehicle over the makeshift bridge, its width just enough as to accommodate the car. Inch by inch I crossed, now distinctively watching the torrent below. I made it across within 5 minutes.
Again I stowed the large baggage in the boot, and off I went.
The night had come to an easy end, the dawn was now on the Horizon, the golden African sun penetrating the misty air, the branches and twigs of the Neem and Acacia trees, and the wet grass of the Savanna.
Moments like this will let you forget the harsh reality, and you praise the new day as a new beginning.
Africa is unimaginably beautiful, and this was the proof for it.
Moments of tension and despair will evaporate amid this, and that is was one of the reasons I was able to spend 30 years on the continent.
Next : Mali bureaucracy
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 http://tra-well.blogspot.com 

Well written and lots of coverage. Highly recommended.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Daloa, Man to Gbakpleu, Border Cote d'Ivoire - Guinea

.. Setting off after breakfast early morning, the road still stretches a few hundred mil


Daloa, Man to Gbakpleu, Border Cote d'Ivoire - Guinea


.. Setting off after breakfast early morning, the road still stretches a few hundred miles westward to the border with Guinea. To travel early has many advantages : For one the dreadful Gendarmerie and Douane checkpoints and barriers are mostly unmanned, and secondly the temperature is still bearable.




The land is lush with green, a fruit basket - the entire country. On the way we pick up a ton of pink grapefruits, whatever we could take, a real bargain.at 15 cents a kg. I found grapefruits to assist in many ways, it has many nutritional values, and is a natural antibiotic and a Flavonoid.


We reach the town of Man at 14.00 PM and ask directions to the border, which according to my map should be about 30 - 35 miles away.


It is mandatory in this region to call on the local police station to report your itinerary. The Police in Man is just wasting our time. Nobody cares and we move towards direction of Guinea.


A nasty feeling overcomes me when I notice the changing of the road surface, till now we had tarred roads; from here it turns into a rusty red, unpaved rough country road, full of potholes. Used to bad street conditions I try to brush my ill feeling aside only to be overwhelmed by it again later.


The Policeman standing on the road asking us for a lift looks decent and I invite him in the car with his AK 47 . A welcome guide, protector in case of a problem. Not long after, we experience the first heavy downpour on our trip.


With near zero visibility we move through the tropical storm, I am now fully alert, envisaging the things to come.


In no time the road has turned into a network of miniature lakes and waterholes, making it difficult for the vehicle to pass.


At speeds of 20 kph we inch along through the rain, avoiding the massive pools. We pass villages which lie like paralyzed, everyone seeking shelter from the storm.


Coffee plantations along the way, with deep red coffee beans being visible within the foliage, a beautiful sight I recall.


As we encounter our first hundred feet stretch of lake we cannot bypass, our guide, the policeman volunteers to wade in front through the lake.


The rain drenching him in seconds, he has to show us a shallow place to pass. We manage the first one, but I have a notion that things will get worse, and they do.


A village is being cut off by a torrent stream, the road washed away. The makeshift road which serves as a diversion is not much better, we find ourselves in the middle of the village with everyone staring at us with curiosity. It is not everyday white people find their way in these remote parts.


Through the center we drive and find back to our road on a cattle trail, which is hard to maneuver on. And always striking me is the immense beauty of this country, even under such a stressful situation, The beauty of Africa is unsurpassable, has its charm, no doubt.


The dream is short lived, we find more trouble ahead; a truck has blocked the road, sunk his axle deep in the mud.


Loaded to the brink, if anyone can understand the term, unknown in western parts those trucks are being overloaded to their allowed max. payload.


And amidst all this, the driver and his mate attempt to lift the truck by means of a hydraulic jack. By now the downpour had stopped, we get down form the car to watch the spectacle.


People shoving and pushing the 20 tons plus without results, the jack lifting up the back axle, wheels grinding the vehicle miraculously finds its way out of this morass, the driver knew where to jack up.


I still cant believe it, the truck actually moves ! Wonders happen. With the bypassing truck and people shouting in excitement we continue our journey.


As our wheelbase is shorter we pass unhindered by the sump that has developed where the truck had dug his tires into.


It is 5 PM when we reach a long stretch of horrible looking morass; it makes my heart come to a near standstill.


Deep tracks left by the first truck, I cannot imagine how I can possibly pass this, more than 300 feet long.

We get out from the car and reckon how to get through this, everyone has a good advice, at the end it is me who has to drive us through.

10 minutes it takes me to draw up courage to move ahead, right into the huge mud puddle of water.

And I must admit at the time I am still a novice. The inevitable happens, the vehicle gets stuck 20 yards later.

Everyone is on his feet, giving me a push forward, only to see the wheels digging in deeper and deeper into the soft laterite.

Smelling burnt rubber from the tire friction, I begin to panic, I know the forest dusk sets in at 6 PM, and here in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by tropical virgin rain forest, not an ideal place to spend a night.

Something, some miracle must come our way if we should make it out before dark. Personal safety is a concern, the location near the Liberian border, a triangle of three countries, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Guinea.
The route is being used by smugglers, Armed Robbers, Bandits and other Anti Social Elements, and life does not mean a lot here.

Kneeling under the vehicle I notice the chassis stuck on the ground. The carjack is of no avail, we dig with our hands, cutting our skin with the tiny, sharp stones buried in the red soil. All attempts to free the car are fruitless.

A family of forest inhabitants appear, 10 heads with the Patriarch in the lead, all push the vehicle, it does not move one inch forward. Noticing the nervousness of the Natives which I am not sure how to interprete.

The only way is to get a tractor from the Agricultural station 10 miles ahead to pull us out.

The female family members leave, the Patriarch staying behind, it really is a nice gesture. As predicted, dusk sets in at 6 PM, the forest is shrouded in darkness.

An awesome feeling, sounds of the jungle awakening around us.

All sorts of thoughts come to your mind, what will happen, how do we get out of here ? Normally what would be a scenery for a documentary, but we are captives of a mighty forest of unknown dimensions. The gigantic trees around now look ghostly in the night sky, only the fireflies illuminating the dark.

Mosquitoes buzz around me in thousands, but here I find the difference in being a Vegan.

I am not suffering a single bite, the Mosquitoes not being drawn to my "bad-tasting" hemoglobin. To breed their eggs they look for carnivores, and those next to me keep on slapping their ankles and exposed limbs continuously.

Having waded in the rain water, I roll up my trouser sleeves above the knees. All is a mad scene, the trousers are drenched in mud. In midst the lukewarm, red muddy water, my Timberlands get caught in the sticky mud, and in the dark - never to be found again.
I am now bare feet except the plastic slippers I have in my car, a somewhat cheaper version of footwear.

It is 7 PM when I see a hush of a beam pointing towards the sky, behind the hill in the forest ahead of us, roughly 400 meters away. And rightly we hear a car engine revving its way up towards our position. Whoever has come here must be able to help us to get out I figure.

The car stops on the other side of the puddle upon noticing that we block his way, I was wondering how a Peugeot 504 Caravan,, full with 12 passengers and Cargo could make it through this and I couldn't.

The driver coming over and inquiring about the problem, laughs and calls his 12 passengers to help. With combined efforts, 14 grown adults pushing, the engine reversing, we pull back to where I started from. The driver will cruise his 504 through the mud and will show me how to move my car through the morals..

In excellent fashion he steers his rust bin through all the puddles, sinking so deep that I can't believe he will make it, yet he passes, his engine roaring high. I wonder what is worse, the Paris - Dakar Rally or this here, settling for the latter.

He smiles, then comes to me to give me the secret. Coming from a mountainous region, I have driven on slippery, icy roads before, turning half way down a dangerous mountain in Winter. But this is new to me, I succumb to my African teacher.

He explains when entering the mud, press down the accelerator, turn the steer hard towards the embankment, thus keeping the vehicle in a semi-upper position, and the car won't get stuck.

It made sense to me, and the experience showed he was right. With him on my right side I take the stretch in a few minutes, the car jerking and pushing through all the way. Our savior is obviously happy that he had shown me some bush sense. Amidst thanks and a small token in form of money the driver continues his journey, it is 8 PM when we continue our trip.

Next I notice the ignition warming indicator light turning red, indicating a problem with the alternator.

Now being pitch dark, I decide to continue towards the border. Not far from where we are we also notice the steering going harder and harder.

Upon all this we find a puncture in my rear right tire and I have to change the wheel, like it or not. Again, on a slope, I stop, in the middle of the dark, dangerous rain forest; to attempt to change the wheel when I notice the sound of another car coming from affront. This one is sent by the our Companions to help us, nearly 3 hours after they set of on foot.

It really is a relief to see my companions in this awkward situation. They help me to get the spare tire and we continue, and I am informed that the border post is only 3 miles away now. Just then it begins to drizzle again. when we reach the Soldier post, the rain is again pouring.

We took 8 hours to travel 25 Miles but the sight of the Army post lifts up my spirits high again this evening.

The Ivorian Army maintains a border post here, the 'Capitaine' an Officer and a gentleman.

Upon introducing ourselves, he invites me to stay for the night, his outpost lit by Kerosene lights.

He has also instructed his lower charges to prepare hot water for us and I have my forest shower under the nightly sky with the rain drizzling on me in the process.

I can't express the relaxing emotion overcoming me this moment, after all the digging and profound physical efforts. This shower, in midst the jungle, under open sky and in the rain is what I recall today.

After we are invited to join the commander for dinner. I am hungry and I must say that Ivorians do have a 'cuisine', here, in these remote parts.

Beef simmered in pea nut butter sauce, capsicums spicing the dish, and steamed rice. The dish tastes wonderful. On this occasion I bring out 10 pink grapefruits and distribute them amongst the soldiers.

They have built new barracks here and I am given a new barrack with a bed. I am grateful for their hospitality.

The steam of the jungle, its ever present sounds around everywhere, the rain hitting the Metal roofing sheets , it is hard to find sleep. Tossing and rolling in my bunk, my thoughts go back and forth, what will tomorrow bring, on this journey to the unknown....

Next Episode : Longest road to Nzerekore






A journey to the unknown, by HR.