Skip to main content

No, Not Far...


Before the millennium turned, when the Year 2000 virus was going to be the end as we knew it, I was hiking in Zimbabwe far enough away I had thought from the clutches of the Windows breakdown. I was simply wandering, looking for some petroglyphs that I had heard were in the area but had no idea where I was really going.

It was winter in Zim, the sky was a clear blue and the grass was tall. The temperature was neither cold nor hot but the sun was warm on my face and arms and my legs felt light. Zimbabwe wasn't the hell it is now. Rumblings of the forthcoming disaster we now see were being heard in the beer halls across the country, but at the time they were only rumblings, like a terrible storm or story in the distance.

Wandering through the savannah I came across some locals on the path and they asked me where I was going. I mentioned the petroglyphs and they told me to follow them as they were on their way and said that I was a little silly walking out there.

"Why," I asked.

"Because there are lions in this area," was their matter of fact answer.

Suddenly every Acacia tree became the perfect shading spot for a group of lions to rest and I realized just how long the grass was.

Now a bit nervous I asked, "How far are the petroglyphs?"

"No, not far," was their response as they went on talking about life.

As we walked they explained to me more about the rumblings I had heard in the beer halls. About how people who weren't from Mugabe's tribe were being sent to fight in the neighbouring Congo, essentially with a one-way ticket.

Still we walked and still the acacia trees looked like perfect places for an ambush.

Not wanting to be a pain, I asked them if they had been walking long.

"No, not far," was again their response.

We continued through the savannah and while the acacia trees never stopped looking dangerous, my impromptu guides pointed out animals hidden in the long grass that I would have never seen. After what seemed like a few hours we arrived to the clutch of huge boulders where the petroglyphs were. A quick goodbye and my new found friends, who had invited me for drinks in their village later, were about to leave when I asked them if I would have to walk to get there.

"No, not far," they smiled and walked off.

I thought about it for a second and realized, really did it matter? When traveling it is often the journey that is more interesting than the destination.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The 10 Best Places to Swim...?

I read a post the other day listing the 10 best places to swim around the world. Reading through them I realized that I hadn't been to even one of them!

Poor me, but then I thought, wait...I've swum in some lovely places.

Let's narrow them down to 3 in no particular order.

Ginnie Springs, High Springs, Northern Florida


If northern Florida wasn't interesting enough in its own time travel way, these springs are perfect. It's a surreal place to swim among the Spanish moss while the alligators patrol out in the warmer river that the springs flow into (the big toothy grins don't like the cooler water).

Bir Ali, Yemen


Yemen never makes it onto the glossy Caribbean style travel brochures, but the emerald green of the Arabian Sea is a mighty match for hurricane alley. Just outside the town of Bir Ali you can camp on a deserted white sandy beach that seems to extend all the way down to Aden. Behind you the sands of the beach meet and mingle with those of the desert on the vol…

The Statue of Liberated Woman

Last night's Minaret exhibit was not only a chance to share some photos that I've taken on my travels but an opportunity to retrieve and relive some dusty memories that had been lying forgotten in my 1.0 memory chip mind.

During the evening, a few astute visitors were quick to notice an early Soviet-era statue that features prominently in one of the photographs, thus refreshing my memory in regards to one of my favourite emblems in Baku, Azerbaijan.

While living in the city, my wife and I lived just off Nizami square/Metro stop in the infamous 'Beysh Barmak'. Baku's first 5-story building (thus the name) that was stodgily yet sturdily built during the years of Russian rule. The window panes hadn't been changed since the 5 year plans, allowing the winter wind free access to the flat, but it was a handy address that every taxi driver knew...especially given the fact that I speak no Azeri or Russian, no matter how much vodka I drank.

At the time we lived there (2004-…

You Call it Tomato, I Call it Quasi-Legal

Writing in the local paper. Local issues with a global take. I never translate literally and the editor trims at will to make it fit. Here's my version, then theirs.


My wife and I spent some time living on the banks of the Mekong in a country that is known to most Spaniards as Roldan’s hideout. Back then, the first traffic lights were just going up and life moved at a pace that was reflected in that great river. I worked at a University, helping young Laos prepare to study abroad and also provided training for public school teachers. The Lao are some of the friendliest people on earth and my wife and I quickly built up a solid network of friends, both local and foreign. Our social life was either spent by the river drinking beer with icecubes, an acquired taste in the heat and humidity and absence of refrigeration, or having improvised barbeques under the mango trees of our courtyard. In a context as foreign as south-east Asia, you are bound to come across cultural differences and …