A few kilometer off the main road, the dusty road leads trough savannah and small villages. Red rock boulders appear on the horizon, growing bigger to nice shaped mountains. On such boulders, the Twa people draw mystical signs and figures on the rocks. Next to a tiny building, which suppose to be the office, i can even camp over night. This let me time to explore the the small caves with rock arts, climbing on the rocks to watch the landscape from above and visiting the villages around. There’s hardly any artificial light at night. The colors of sunset and sunrise are amazingly strong and the full moon send a silver light over the landscape.
It’s a day trip over the Swiss alps by motorbike to reach the region of Ticino, the southern part of Switzerland. With the early golden morning sun i picked up a good friend who gave me nice company for this trip. At a lake just before the ascend to the alps started we had a coffee. From there it’s a winding road up to the heights of the mountains. Small, narrow roads, old, stoney bridges -as the „devil’s bridge“- and even a Russian monuments from the war at 1799 shows how busy this route was the last 2000 years.
By motorbike it’s a pleasant journey to lakes surrounded with mountains and palm trees. After a refreshing swim and some original Italian ice cream just over the nearby border, there was a nice stroll trough ancient alleys of town and visiting the castle of Bellinzona. Just before the night fell in, we were already back on the way north, letting the palm trees behind us.
Silence woke me up early in the morning. Camping in African bushland is always a great experience, with vast scrubland or desert around. For my new „friends“ joining me trough Maasailand there’s all new kind traveling. Little things has to be learned, like to cook and dishwashing with a little amount of water or to use a shovel if you’re going to bush toilet. The nature gives back many little things too. The chirping birds, slightly waves of the wind, the scent of wildflower …and sometimes annoying flies.
The path lead us to a dusty, little town called Naberera, where we get some more supplies from a tiny shop. I asked for banana beer to let the girls taste it later that day. The shop lady was shouting into the backyard and few minutes later a guy appeared with the ordered drink. Meanwhile my tourist girls started to go around and having fun by making selfies with locals. It wasn’t the first time i noticed they hardly try to avoid having me on one of their selfies. Although we started as friends, i feel treated as a tour guide for free. This feeling persisted when i stopped next to a village for the opportunity to meet real village people. A dozen women gathered under a big shady tree to listen to man who taught them something or gave a speech. The girls wanted rush into the village, as i hold them back and told them to wait till we get invited from the inhabitants. Not long after that two younger men arrived, started to talk in Kwisahili with us. He asked us to wait and got an elder man, presumably the chief in village, who spoke some English. He looked uncomfortable but couldn’t refuse the repeated request of the girls to show us the village. While i tried to learn more about the village and life, the girls had fun taking selfies, teach them Dutch phrases and asked them several times to jump around as they expect all Maasai people doing it permanently. The chief looked awkwardly with the GoPro cam and selfie stick in his hand, not knowing what to do with it. When the situation got unbearable to me, i thanked the people for their understanding and kindness and asked the girls to continue our trip.
The young Maasai men and warriors, those ones who use to jump for rituals and to impress the girls when they look for a wife, are usually outside the village to protect the livestock. We’ve been lucky to meet some at a pond next our route. Of course, the girls got a lot of attention. The men came shyly closer, but start soon to have fun by showing their weapons and teach the girls how to use them. After awhile -and many selfies- we proceed our journey towards coast. But not without taking an elder man as an hitchhiker a few villages further. The next day we reached the tarred highway, let beautiful Maasailand behind us, but bringing a bunch of new experiences with us.
As we got closer to Daressalam, the traffic got heavier. The girls pushed me to drive faster and overtaking the big trucks, since they wanted to reach the ferry to Zanzibar. I suggested to stay together at the southern beach to celebrate the end of our trip, as friends suppose to do. But they wanted leave desperately. I’ve been even asked shamelessly i really want the money for fuel, since they’re late to reach the ferry and would have to withdraw cash first. HELL, YES!!
Being a tour guide for my parents was a completely new thing. It brought me a whole bunch of experiences and challenges too. At the start i did a selfie with my crappy cellphone at train station for remembering reason and posted it on Instagram. I repeated it at airport. Somehow i liked it and went on picturing my parents in this selfie style throughout our trip in Namibia. It became a collection of selfies of our journey.
San people used to be hunters and gatherers. The movie „the gods must be crazy“ gave a strong impression about their life in the Kalahari bush. However, i got aware of the ‚Ombili Project‘ nearby, which was founded to help the San people, who suffer from losing they’re natural habits. On the way to this ‚cultural village‘ i explained my parents what i know about the life of this tribe. Contrary to my expectations and explanations after arrival we’ve seen neither their nomadic huts, nor hunters with poisoned arrows. Instead we got introduced in the huge garden behind solid brick buildings and explained about their success with cattle. The Ombili project turns out to be rather an agriculture school in purpose to give the upcoming generations of San people a new future. Nevertheless there is still a corner in the village to satisfy the visitors with their images of old traditional huts, fire making with a stick and a group who sings wonderful old, traditional songs.
At breakfast i found this popular Japanese mushroom on my plate – shiitake. If literally translated the meaning is tree-mushroom. To the explanation follows an offer to see a mushroom farm. Fifteen minutes later i sat on a taxi to greenhouse. Piles of wood with white dots are stabled in a large room. These dots are little drill holes, where the mushroom get vaccinated in. With the right temperature and humidity, the shiitake spreads out the wood and get harvested after about six month. It’s not only a delicious adding to the rich Japanese food, but also a very healthy one.
Beim Frühstück bemerkte ich Pilze auf meinem Teller. Der in Japan beliebte Speisepilz -Shiitake- heisst übersetzt Baumpilz. Und auf Holzstämme wächst er auch, lasse ich mir erklären. Spontan wird mir angeboten, eine Pilzfarm zu besuchen. Kurz darauf befinde ich mich im Taxi dorthin. In Gewächshäuser stapeln sich Holzstämme mit auffällig weissen Punkten. Diese Punkte markieren die Bohrlöcher, wo das Holz mit Pilzsporen geimpft wurden. Danach werden sie in Gewächshäuser unter idealen Bedingungen, Temperaturen und Luftfeuchtigkeit gelagert bis die Pilze aus dem Holz spriessen. Etwa sechs Monate braucht es bis zur Ernte. Roh, gekocht oder getrocknet bieten sie eine leckere Ergänzung zum japanischen Speiseplan und soll auch noch sehr gesund sein.
The annually agriculture show held on a nearby show ground when i spend my time in Lusaka. Great opportunity to find out more about Zambia’s cultures and also for photographing. Just as i arrive, a high rank politician -or maybe the president himself- arrived in a big convoy of heavy armed military vehicles, police cars and escorted by polices on horses. A big crowd is waiting patiently for some action, while long speeches going on. Time for the vendors to sell sweets and beverages. The area around is huge and packed with exhibitions, dancing performances, products displays and playgrounds. Of course also food stalls, although i expected a bigger variety. Mostly sausages, chicken meat and corns are sold. The kids however, jumped around and run from stage to stage to see the performances. Surely a great day out for families.
Die jährliche Landwirtschaftsausstellung schien mir eine gute Möglichkeit mehr über Land und Leute zu erfahren, aber natürlich auch eine gute Gelegenheit zum Fotografieren. Gerade als ich das Areal erreichte erschien ein langer Konvoi mit schwergewaffneten Soldaten, gepanzerten Fahrzeugen und Polizeiwagen. Die schwarze Limousine mit getönten Scheiben wurde umrahmt von einer dekorativen, berittenen Polizeieskorte. Das Stadion war gerammelt voll von geduldig wartendem Volk. Lange Reden wurden geführt, während die Verkäufer die Zeit nutzten, um ihre Süssigkeiten und Getränke feil zu bieten. Das Festgelände rundherum war riesig. Ausstellungen, Produktevorstellungen, Informationsstände und verschieden Tanz- und Gesangsshows. Natürlich durfte ein grosser Spielplatz nicht fehlen. Kinder sprangen von einer Bühnenshow zur nächsten, nutzten Spielmöglichkeiten oder schleckten Süssigkeiten. Ein idealer Tag für Familien.