A Travellerspoint blog

February 2009

How Bizarre, How Bazar

Cruisin' down the freeway in the hot, hot sun Destination unknown, as we pull in for some gas

sunny 28 °C
View (Into and) Out of Africa on binderblog's travel map.

Since I last left off weve been hanging around in Rabat waiting for Mali ans Mauritania visas... And by hanging out I mean mainly chilling in the marjone (superstore equivalent) parking lot. No complaints here though since it has a nice clean bathroom (thats cleaned all day by a lady not so happy with me basically having a bath in the sink...) and every day doing nothing is a day away from school and work! A crew of us also chose to do a day trip to Casablanca. It is a lovely city but a day trip is all thats needed! Running to catch the last train back the hour trip brought us back to town where to met back up at the marjone. I also had my first go as cook group; and as skeptical as i was to cook for 28 people we managed to pull it off in record time! Friday; after waiting 3 days in Rabat; we took off for Volubilis deciding to send a crew member back for the passports when theyre ready. Our first bush camp was nestled in an olive grove (sadly not in bloom) amongst shepards on donkeys keeping a weary eye out for those kiwis... Saturday we took a tour around the Roman ruins of Volubilis (the largest in Morocco). They were impressive; especially the intact mosaic work. Right away we set off for Fes. One of the highlights has been the showers (sometimes even hot!) which most havent had since Chefchaouen; of course this is nothing compared to whats ahead. Since the medina in Fes is windy large and easy to get lost in we opted for a guide to show us around. He was quite eye=raked once he realized he was getting no commision from any of the shops he led us into since were all cheap overlanders on the first leg of a very long journey. We wouldnt even eat at the restaurant he brought us to and chose to hit up a bakery instead ;p The only thing I was tempted to buy were Morrocan cowboy boots; you can take the girl out of Merritt.....
Were in fes touring around ourselves today; some shopping for warm clothes since were off to the atlas mountains tomorrow; yaaaay SNOW!!!

Ill try and get some pictures uploaded once im on a decent computer... still trying to figure out this keyboard!

Until next time...

Posted by binderblog 22:32 Archived in Morocco Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Yearning for Africa

semi-overcast -8 °C

Well folks, it is only a few short weeks until I begin my trans-continental overland journey through the ‘dark continent’. After a fleeting jaunt to the British Isle and Anglo-Spanish domain the true expedition begins. Morocco beckons us with enchanting snake-charmers, rockin' kasbahs and hovering mountains. This is the great Northwest tremendously dissimilar from back home. Carrying on wayward brings punishing, sweeping deserts; spirited western music; and stilted coastal villages, immune from slave-raiding. Coming within reach of the equator the blowing sand is abruptly replaced with impenetrable jungles, a scarcity of foreigners, and a profusion of wildlife. After traversing another coastal desert we finally ascend upon our most Southern destination, the Cape of Good Hope, where the collision of Indian and Atlantic currents is further manifested by the apartheid history the area holds.
Continuing North begets picturesque beaches, tropical inland oases, endless plains, and 3 natural wonders. However the magnificent geography I wish to explore merely serves as a backdrop to the millions of fascinating yet disparaged people, thousands of vibrant cultures, and all too few endemic animals with whom to sojourn.

Translation: I will be spending the next 5-9 months aboard a rugged 6x4 truck touring the continent in frugality. Overlanding, while popular in Europe and Australia, is somewhat of an anomaly to North Americans. Basically it is a means of covering a vast landmass ecomonically, with greater instances to interact with more rural residents along the way. For the parentals piece of mind, it also offers greater security, as travelling with approximately 25 people employs the ‘herd’ method of predator/prey dynamics (wow, I am WAY too excited for the Serengeti!!). This sort of trip also serves as a good choice environmentally; food is bought locally, and it is estimated that over 55% of the money spent actually stays within the local communites (as opposed to 10% for the average resort-type vacation). After much contemplation I have decided to book the trip from Morocco to Cape Town. I do intend to see the Eastern side however I may want to switch up the how after 5 months on deck a mobile “Big Brother”. Along the way I am most excited to experience the magic of Marrakesh, the punishing Sahara desert, the dogon villages of Mali, the Jane Goodall Chimpanzee Sanctuary, the skeleton coast, Great White Shark diving in South Africa, Fish River Canyon, a sunset from atop Dune 45 in Namibia, the (wildlife) nightlife of Etosha national park, the Okavango Delta (world’s largest inland delta), Lake Malawi, Victoria falls (‘The Smoke that Thunders’), the beaches of Zanzibar, Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti, face time with Mountain Goriallas, the East African Rift Valley, the rock churches at Lalibela, the people of Sudan, the pyramids of Egypt, a felucca trip down the Nile, and of course, the wildlife I have been itching to see my entire life!!

There is often an aire of hostility and fear when travelling for leisure in these parts is mentioned. I hope this blog will serve to eradicate these qualms by shedding light on the wondrous and hopeful side to this largely untravelled part of the world. The absence of modern infrastructure and western ideals can’t act as a deterrent to visit these third-world nations. I see my Canadian passport as a winning lottery ticket, a rare and lucky chance for genuine freedom; a chance not only to travel wherever I please, but to live with access to clean accessible water, an unrestricted education system, infrastructure to support trade, and a democratic government. You or me could have just as easily been born in Darfur or Rwanda during a time of genocide. Africa is a land mass of great diversity, some countries faultering much more than others. Some are moving backwards in terms of progress while others are flourishing under new rule. I see this trip as an oppurtunity to see the smiles withstanding in war-torn countries, and the steps being taken to improve economic disparity. By travelling modestly through areas both nomadic and povershed I think I will come away with a re-evaluation of life in a G-20 country, an eternal gratefulness for the luck bestowed upon me, and hopefully a more concrete idea of what I wish to do with an MBA degree (Yes, I do admit, this blog will follow me through the height on my 'quarter-life crisis' - wikipedia it if you think I'm making up words)!
Of course this trip is, foremost, a holiday. I plan on standing in awe at the incredible geography Africa houses, interacting with the people inhabiting it, drinking beer around a campfire; and photographing, petting, and riding as many wild animals that I can wrangle!!

I hope you will follow the trials and tribulations of my overland adventure. You can use the link on the right labeled ‘subscribe’ to receive email alerts when I have added a new blog post - type in your email address, and presto! No need for daily creepin'.

Here is a map with a rough guide to the route I am following:
mapLrg.jpg

Additionally - here is a map outlining the approximate dates of travel to various countries/cities (of the 1st leg). Zoom in and move your cursor over the different points to view notes on each area.

One final note: I will have my blackberry (same number) with me whilst in Africa, but email will be my main means of correspondense. Calls will be few and far between, and while texting is cheap to receive, I may reply via email or facebook instead. Nevertheless, I hope to hear from you regularily on all the happenings in your neck or the woods!! If you want a postcard, message or email me your address :)

Cheers,
E.

Posted by binderblog 13:59 Archived in Canada Tagged preparation Comments (0)

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