Monday, June 22, 2009

Heart of Darkness

Slightly ominous moment here as I'm writing this one from the air. The gritty and barely intelligible photo below marks the closest view I will have of Darfur, Sudan for a good while at least. It's a tough realization that while I am flying high and dry at 35,000 feet, the barren landscape below lies host to all sorts of evils the likes of which we do not like to consider. I got the same knot in my gut flying over Sudan 2 years ago, unfortunately it is clear that other than issuing a meaninglessness arrest warrant for Bashir absolutely nohing has changed. Sorry to get all Urban student on you, I feel very fortunate to be where I am but a part of me also yearns to be down there and see for myself what darker secrets this world had to hold. How can we ever hope to change anything without first seeing the worst along with the best, and deciding for ourselves how to proceed. I guess this is the whole purpose of traveling.







Not intending to end this post on a somber note, here are a few more shots of the flight time these past few days. The first 2 are my last views of San Francisco from beneath the wing of my metal stallion, followed by my first view of the African continent in 2 years taken somewhere along the North African coast between Cairo and Tripoli. Damn it feels good to be back!



Getting nostalgic!






Time to cause mayhem across the continent. Africa, here I come.

JB out.

-- Post From My iPhone

Breaking News: Airline Food Hits New Lows!

Well played British Airways, well played. This is truly worthy of an episode of wierd foods...or ER.




"Cheddar cheese with spiced gooseberry chutney, herby soft cheese & cucumber"- What the hell!?!?

I'll risk gastrointestinal parasites in a Nairobi dive any day over this horrific concoction, thank you very much. At least the coffee's decent...

-- Post From My iPhone

To Hunt...err, Catch Snakes

Travel story #1:

Several nights ago, while sitting in a London hotel bar late into the evening attempting to make some headway on a very thick copy of Robert Young Pelton's "The World's Most Dangerous Places," a trio of highly intoxicated British girls stumbled over to my table. After exchanging the usual pleasantries, our brief conversation (if you could call it that) got to the topic of why I was in London and where I was going. "Since you asked, I'm going off to Africa tomorrow to hunt snakes for a few months." Their eyes grew wide, I'm used to that response by this point. What happened next, I was not prepared for. "You...you're a...you're a murderer!" the blond one stammered with tangible fury as she jabbed a thin bony finger into my face. "Excuse me? Did you just call me a murderer?!" was all I could manage to reply. "Yeah, too right mate! A murderer!" her friends chorused behind her, looking gleefully between each other and licking their lips as they spoke. This was an unexpected event. After several strange minutes of explaining that no, I had not travelled halfway around the world to kill every snake I came across, I wearily gave up trying to reason with three women well beyond it and returned to my hotel room. Ah, the joys of travel. Looks like there was something to what Chloe was saying about the term snakehunter coming off too strong.

Lesson 1: Choose your words carefully!


-- Post From My iPhone

Last look at the western world

At the moment I'm sitting in a little pub in Heathrow, nursing a cappuccino and preparing myself for the triple bacon, triple sausage breakfast I am about to order. Ironically enough, it's the very same pub Bolli and I got busted in last time around for attempting to grab a pint of Guinness before the flight (but who could blame us, 20+ hours of straight airtime in a cramped and smelly aluminum tube going 500 odd mph will take a toll on any man)...We really did think the age was 16 not 18, on my honor! Now the law is on my side, but I'm too tired to indulge anyways. If this is my last experience in western society for several months, I plan to eat as much bacon as is anatomically possible.


After nearly missing my airport shuttle this morning and enjoying a very thorough frisking courtesy of Heathrow's finest (I nearly offered to tip the poor fellow), I've finally got some time to relax and reflect on the coming journey. I know this trip will be taxing in many ways, but I am as ready as I will ever be to do this. In roughly 12 hours from now I will be 9,598 miles (thanks Amira!) from where I stood this time on Saturday, but once I set foot in Africa the adventure truly begins. 4 weeks on the coast with the continent's deadliest serpents, a return to the lost world of the bush for several weeks of scientific fieldwork, and then hopefully a few weeks on patrol with the rangers learning tracking, bushcraft, and other important life skills. Now it's time to take life, and this heaping platter of meat, by the horns. Until we meat again,


-- Jordan

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Stage 1 Complete

Just a quick update while I have internet access-

Landed at Heathrow around 11 AM this morning, got the hotel at 12. The flight was long and cramped but I managed to sleep through 7 or 8 of the 9 hours onboard. Unfortunately the hotel is more isolated than I thought and I couldn't make it into London for the day without going back to the airport and hopping several shuttles to the tube, but I did use the time to workout and catch up on sleep. Off to grab a few more hours of sleep now before leaving the hotel at 7 a.m. for a 10:20 a.m. flight. Next stop, Nairobi. More updates to follow...

Friday, June 12, 2009

8


Here is the surviving evidence from my last trip to Africa- the attempt to capture a large Python sebae in the bush that didn't quite go according to plan. Hopefully round 2 will be more successful with lessons learned from the first time!

Jordan


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

10

Ten days now until departure- and I am nowhere near ready to go yet. Lots of gear still needs to be ordered, several key transportation decisions remain to be made, and graduation still looms on the near horizon. And now, I have broken my cardinal rule and done what I swore never to do- created a blog. In my defense, this is up there for anyone who wants to keep tabs on my travels over the next several months as well as for the herpers who will know exactly how I feel trying to translate the thrill of coming across a Dendroaspis polyepsis or Naja nigricollis into words. I'll try and keep it updated with stories and pictures whenever time and internet access permit. Time to get back to planning, I'll leave you all with a picture of a one of our local venomous herps, a Crotalus viridis, the Western Rattlesnake.