A few irregular updates on what I'm up to... to contact me email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mauritania gives way to the north to the Western Sahara according to many older map and atlases, however in practice, Morocco starts straight away over the boarder. The old Western Sahara 'country' was occupied in the 1970’s. The reason, national resources, as apart from iron and phosphate deposits, it is an endless dessert and barren empty coastline. Along that coast though runs a single solitary high quality highway, linked a few widely spaced towns long its 1000km old length. Not much to see , but certainly an easy high speed way northwards.
Arriving in Morocco was a great shock to the system with so many tourists even in this the 'off season'. The wide open streets of the new city contrasted with the narrow winding allies of the old walled city. The souks and markets were indeed a sight to behold, though the star of the show was certainly the central square at dusk. Food stands full of local dishes, fruit stands offering fresh drinks, performers and story tellers with crowds of locals in attendance.
Now to find a map and some transport into my first real African mountain range…
Christmas this year was spent in Yaounde with some friends putting on a great feed at their house on the other side of town. Elodie and I then headed to Kirbi, with its wonderful long deserted stretches of white sand and some quiet beach time. We hoped to track down some rare turtles laying their eggs on the beach under the cover of darkness, but after two nights out walking and sleeping on the beaches we will have to try again another day for that experience.
My sister Judith arrrived in Cameroon to visit our African outpost just before the year ended. We headed with her for the hills and spent New Years Eve beside a beautiful lake at the top of the Mananguba Mountains, about half way between the coast and where I work in Belo. The 'guide' turned out to be a right pain, but we got there in the end and enjoyed a swim, fresh fish, and christmas pudding all the way from New Zealand. My mate Andy also joined us for this little camping trip.
"Wow, I think I've got a blown tire... in fact two front tires... maybe all my tires...?!?!"
I was driving along Moorhouse Avenue in Christchurch, New Zealand, at 12:51pm on Tuesday 22nd February 2011, when the city's future was changed forever. It took me quite some seconds though to figure out what was happening when my car went suddenly out of control, lurching from side to side, the steering wheel with a mind of its own, and many thoughts kept racing through my head:
"...I can't have blown all my tires?!... in fact I'm stationary now... but the car is still shaking... the hydraulic power steering pump must be faulty... cars all seem to have on board computers don't they... maybe the car has come alive like in a science fiction movie...".
I was brought back into focus from my crazy theories by bricks crashing into the footpath on the other side of the road.
We have had the luck to come across an excellent group of people all belonging to what I thought was a long past colonial relic, the Hash House Harriers (HHH). It turns out this concept is alive and well around the world, usually in places with large expat communities. Here in Yaounde every Saturday at 3:30pm, a group of around 30 or 40 takes off into the green hills around the city for an hour or so run and then some social drinking afterwards.
Last week was a little damp and therefore muddy, with the allocated trail leading through fields and and up and down muddy slopes. The route for the run is laid out by some volunteer 'hares' in the morning using some standard little markings at junctions. The 'harrier' runners come along and have to search and find the correct route. This means lots of extra running and searching for the fitter and faster members, and a more social slower time for those bringing up the rear.
Turns out that the concept started in Kuala Lumpur in M…