What is The Thing off Interstate 10 in Arizona? I tried to find out.
Alligators and Florida are like Kenya and lions or China and pandas. In the mind, they are inseparable, part of the fabric of the culture. In the Sunshine State you see them everywhere: on signs of golf courses, on branding. The University of Florida’s football team is called the Gators. You can even eat them. Continue reading →
By the late afternoon most had forgotten I was there and, having left their weapons on the ground and taking huge gulps of the homemade beer, were now rather drunk. These men of the village were sitting in a clearing talking, passing around calabashes full to the brim with sorghum beer. A few were building a hut from large branches, a detail machete-ing the limbs and another constructing the roof and walls. The weather was pleasant and the sound of laughter hung in the air. If it had not already been proven to me I would not have believed that these Surma villagers were hardened killers, a product of constant inter-tribal raiding.
While working on a project which had aims of filming snow leopards in Afghanistan, I learned about camera traps and how useful they are to capture wildlife in Africa.
Sharp leaves tore at us and we weaved through the forest. The nearest road was an eternity of walking away and we had to hack our way through the thick forest ourselves. I was in the pit of Africa, the fabled Omo river valley: the thronging, savage, tribal heart of Africa that keeps beating its own drum while the rest of the continent lurched into some form of modernity. I was on the way to see one of the last truly unique spectacles of a now homogenised world: a donga fight.
Let’s get this out of the way first. Yes, the Luminox Navy SEAL Colormark is primarily a diver’s watch. As the name suggests, the US navy’s special operations unit has lent their name to this product. No, I am not a military diver. But I do use this watch. And anyone who works in tough conditions in the elements should consider using it too. Here’s why:
In 2008 I set out to cross the Sahara travelling as one of the Touareg nomads who live there and to experience their threatened lifestyle first hand. Armed with a sword and some schoolboy French I became the first westerner in living memory to cross the Tanezrouft area of the Sahara in Algeria by camel. I rode over a thousand miles through the desert, having to dodge bandits, suffer thirst and hunger and guide my caravan through the civil war in Mali. Continue reading →
If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.
It’s only a few days before I catch my flight to N’Djamena, the capital of Chad to start my next expedition. I have never been to Chad. I don’t know what it will be like as a country, although I have an idea. My purpose of going there? I’m going to be walking with camels across the Sahara to the Tibesti mountains in the north of the country to document hidden prehistoric rock art. And while I don’t know what to expect from Chad as a nation, I know what walking across huge swathes of desert is like. And that’s why I am nervous as I sit here in the UK. It is punishing, and unsurprisingly, thirsty work. We can throw into the mix of vast distances and mind melting temperatures some land mines, bandits and political instability for good measure.
Weight: 745g approx
I have used these boots for quite a few expeditions, and to have lasted more than one is a bonus in itself. Although not the cheapest boots on the market, I find that they are the most comfortable. The build quality is excellent, and as a result I only have to change my boots every few years. Although more of a military boot (it is currently used by the British Army on operations), it doesn’t look it and blends in perfectly well as civilian footwear.
I find the Meindl Desert Fox can be broken in rather quickly and wearing them from day one is very comfortable. They are not as stiff and inflexible as others on the market, yet still provide you with the ankle support you would need when negotiating difficult terrain. Overall, when looking for a tough and comfortable pair of boots, these fit me, er, like a glove.
The Party Isn’t Over: How the old ways of oppressive Communism are still alive and kicking in the break-away state Transnistria
At nineteen years old, Roman seems like any other teenager. Sitting in the kitchen as his mother cooks him his lunch, his girlfriend on his arm, he is relaxed and chatting about the new computer he is saving up to buy. But Roman is also a policeman in what is the most severe police-state in Europe. The Pridnesdrovian Moldovan Republic, or Transnistria for short, is a break-away state sandwiched in the borderlands between Moldova and the Ukraine, founded on the principles of Stalin and Lenin. After the break up of the Soviet Union the Russian speaking Transnistrians fought the Moldovan government over independence, and in the eighteen years of uneasy peace since, Transnistria is referred to technically by the West as a post-Soviet frozen conflict zone.