Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Vehicle Packing List: Africa

The same friend who gave me the book reading list recommended packing my landcruiser with the following items while exploring Africa:

-Ordre de mission for all potentially traversable countries
-Vehicle Log (distance traveled, vehicle problems, fuel consumed)

-Recovery clothing / overalls

-Iridium Satellite Phone or HF Radio

-Adventure Medical Kits’ “Comprehensive™ Medical Kit” (www.campmor.com; $150)

Recovery Gear
-D-handled shovel
-High-lift jack with adapter and off-road baseplate
-Recovery straps
-Hand winch
-Sand Ladders (“tôles”), (purchased locally, $40; online $120)
-Jumper Cables
-Wirthco emergency engine belt ($25; www.jcwhitney.com)
-Socket set; wrench set; Toyota BII (jack, screwdriver, wrenches, warning triangle)
-Extra fuel
-Plastic tube/siphon
-Spare Tire, full-size, x 2
-Fix-a-flat, can

-Machete, kept near driver
-Cargo Net (BEDNET, http://www.cargogear.com/Bednet-cargo-nets/Bednet.htm; $40)
-Zipties x 100
-100mph tape, full roll.
-550 cord, 50ft.
-food (3 days supply)
-water (3 days supply)
-Power Inverter if needed
-Cassette tapes / CDs and necessary adapters
-Candles x 2
-Matches, waterproof
-Lacing wire
-Cell phone charger (12v)
-Fire extinguisher

Should I add an air compressor or tire pump?
Would a Thuraya have the same or better coverage? Which is cheaper- a Thuraya or Iridium?
Any Suggestions?

Recommended Reading List (long)

This blog isnt just about surfing, but about my entire African experience. In order to prepare for life in Africa and to better understand the people a friend recommended the following list:

Must Read:
Geography of Sub-Saharan Africa by Aryeetey-Attoh, Samuel
*The Africans by Lamb, David
-A Short History of Africa by Roland Oliver and T.J. Fage (often recommended, but quite dated)
Government and Politics in Africa by Tordoff, William
Washing of the Spears by Morris, Donald

Africa, Misc.
Africa, edited by Phyllis M. Martin and Patrick O’Meara.
Africa 2006 by Les de Villiers; a publication of the Corporate Council on Africa and Business Books Intl.
The Atlas of African Affairs by Ieuan Griffiths
Democracy and Development in Africa by Claude Ake
*A Continent for the Taking: The Tragedy and Hope of Africa by Howard W. French
Politics and Society in Contemporary Africa. 3rd ed. by Chazan
*The Shackled Continent: Africa’s Past Present and Future by Robert Guest
Search for Africa: History, Culture, Politics Davidson, Basil
God Bless Africa (FR) by Bernard Lugan
Government and Politics in Africa. 3rd ed. Tordoff, William
How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Rodney, Walter
France's Relationship to sub-Saharan Africa by Andereggen
In the shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuscinski (Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Rwanda)
Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa By Keith B. Richburg
Mungo Park: Travels into the Interior of Africa
Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999, Wayne Madsen
Washing of the Spears by Donald Morris
French Lessons in Africa by Biddlecomb
U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Africa by Schraeder, Peter J.
Africa in Chaos by Ayittey, Geroge
Free at Last? U.S. Policy Toward Africa and the End of the Cold War by Clough, Michael.
Introduction to African Religion by John S. Mbiti
African Religion by Laurenti Magessa
Into the House of the Ancestors: Inside the New Africa by Karl Maier
Africa’s Urban Past by Heinemann and Currey
Scramble for Africa by Pakenham
Lost Lion of Empire by Edward Paice
Africa Since 1800 by Oliver, Roland and Anthony Atmore
West Africa Before the Colonial Era by Basil Davidson
The Search for Africa by Basil Davidson
African History 2nd ed. Curtin
Ambiguous Order: Military Forces in African States by Herbert M. Howe\
African Guerrillas by Christopher S. Clapham
More than Humanitarianism: A Strategic U.S. Approach Toward Africa; Sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations; http://www.cfr.org/content/publications/attachments/Africa_Task_Force_Web.pdf
Africa By Road by Charles Shackell (Overland)
Malaria: A Traveller's Guide by Andrew Jamieson, Martine Maurel and Stephen Toovey
DVD: The battle of Algiers
*DVD: Lawrence of Arabia
DVD: The Wild Geese
Larson, Charles R., ed., Under African Skies (fiction from assorted African authors)
States and Power in Africa by Jeffrey Herbst (colonial boundaries)
Imagined Communities - Anderson (Maps & colonial boundaries)

Horn of Africa
Managing Conflict Policy: Exploring Strategic Complementarities in the Horn of Africa, draft book manuscript by Michael McGinnis.
Islamicism and its enemies in the Horn of Africa by Alex de Waal
Battling Terrorism in the Horn of Africa by Rotberg, Robert I.
Combating Terrorism in the Horn of Africa and Yemen by Deborah L. West http://bcsia.ksg.harvard.edu/BCSIA_content/documents/Yemen%20Report%20BCSIA.pdf
The Blue Nile by Alan Moorehead
The White Nile by Alan Moorehead

Kagnew Station Memoirs: http://www.geozazz.com/sitemap.htm and http://www.kagnewstation.com/index.html
*I Didn't Do It for You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation by Michela Wrong
Unfinished Business: Ethiopia And Eritrea At War by Dominique Jacquin-Berdal
Asmara: Africa's Secret Modernist City by Edward Denison
Surrender or Starve by Kaplan
A Life of My Choice by Wilfred Thesiger
The Pale Abysinnian – Bruce
WWII UK history from the London Gazette: http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/LondonGazette/ (Italy in North Africa, Ethiopia)
In Search of King Solomon's Mines by Tahir Shah
Wax and Gold: Tradition and Innovation in Ethiopian Culture by Donald L. Levine
Haile Selassie's War - the Italian-Ethiopian Campaign, 1935-1941 by Mockler, Anthony
The Emperor by Ryszard Kapuscinski
Ethiopia: Empire in Revolution - Ottaway
Éthiopie, la révolution hérétique by René Lefort
DVD: The unkown famine - J. Dimbleby

A Tear for Somalia, Douglas Collins

The Four Feathers (DVD) (Sudan)
Khartoum (DVD) (Sudan)

East Africa
*Dark Star Safari by Theroux
The Policy Factor: Agricultural Performance in Kenya and Tanzania by Michael Lofchie
Battle for the Bundu: The First World War in East Africa by Charles Miller
Dhow Chasing: In Zanzibar Waters by GJ Sulivan (1870 Royal Navy anti-slave trade)
Revolution in Zanzibar by Ambassador Donald Peterson
Raid on Entebbe (DVD)

West Africa
The Mask of Anarchy. Stephen Ellis
Travels in West Africa. Mary Kingsley
Malaria Dreams. Stevens, Stuart (Central African Republic, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Mali and Algeria)
Wanderings in West Africa. Richard Burton
Sub-Saharan French - Familiarization and Short-Term Training by Department of State, Washington, DC. FSI.
African Friends and Money Matters: Observations from Africa by David Maranz
Piety and Power: Muslims and Christians in West Africa by Lamin Sanneh

Angry Wind: Through Muslim Black Africa by Truck, Bus, Boat, and Camel. By Jeffrey Tayler
The Gates of Africa: Death, Discovery, and the Search for Timbuktu by Anthony Sattin
*Sahara: The Life of the Great Desert by Marq De Villiers, Sheila Hirtle (Great, short survey)
Sahara Overland, 2nd : A Route and Planning Guide by Chris Scott

Côte d’Ivoire
Negrologie, pourquoi l’Afrique meurt. de Stephen Smith Nigeria
La Côte d'Ivoire Richer Paris (collective authors)

Federalism and Ethnic Conflict in Nigeria. By Rotimi N. Suberu
This House Has Fallen: Midnight in Nigeria. By Karl Maier
Things Fall Apart. By Chinua Achebe
A Man of the People by Chinua Achebe
DVD: Tears of the Sun

Liberia, Heart of Darkness by Gabriel Williams
Joint Task Force Liberia (account of 90's interventions by Marines)
Liberia: an uncivil war

Les Nomades du Niger, C. Beckwith, M. Van Offelen

La Mauritanie Belvaude, Catherine

Le Mali by Benoit Joseph Roger

Une si longue lettre, de Mariama Bâ

Senegal Blues by Brian Daldorph
Democracy in Senegal: Tocquevillian Analytics in Africa by Sheldon Gellar
The State Must Be Our Master of Fire: How Peasants Craft Culturally Sustainable Development in Senegal by Dennis C. Galvan
Senegal: An African Nation Between Islam and the West by Sheldon Gellar
Sufism And Religious Brotherhoods In Senegal by Khadim Mbacke
Peace Is Everything: World View of Muslims in the Senegambia by David E. Maranz

Central Africa
Rwanda Genocide by Prunier
We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch
Shake Hands with the Devil by LGen Roméo Dallaire
The Graves are not yet full
Rwanda’s Hutu Extremist Insurgency: An Eyewitness Perspective by Richard Orth, http://research.yale.edu/ycias/database/files/GS25.pdf
*DVD: Frontline: Ghosts of Rwanda
DVD: Hotel Rwanda

DRC (Zaire)
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
The Troubled Heart of Africa: A History of the Congo by Robert Edgerton
King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild
In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu's Congo by Michela Wrong
Facing the Congo : A Modern-Day Journey into the Heart of Darkness by Jeffrey Tayler
*The African Stakes of the Congo War by John F. Clark
The Congo: From Leopold to Kabila: A People's History by Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja
DVD: Lumumba (Congo)
*DVD: Mobutu, roi du Zaïre

L'Esprit de la Fôret: Terres du Gabon by Perrois Louis

Southern Africa
South Africa
Long Walk to Freedom Mandela, Nelson
The Mind of South Africa
Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
DVD: Red Dust (TRC-Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings)
DVD: Cry the Beloved Country

Zimbabwe-Zambia (fmr Rhodesia)
Selous Scouts - Top Secret War by Ron R. Daly
Scouting on Two Continents by F.R. Burnham.
Where We Have Hope: A Memoir of Zimbabwe by Andrew Meldrum
What happens after Mugabe - Hill, G.

A Marriage of Inconvenience: Persecution of Ruth and Seretse Khama by Michael Dutfield

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Another Broken Leash & Another Broken Board

Nice morning surf yesterday. Ranged from shoulder to waist high with some hollow waves. The locals who had the place wired were getting barrelled. Surfed with Matt and again the conditions were the best I had seen all week.

After about two hours I tried to take a drop, got knocked off the board, and the leash snapped. It took me a second to find it and by then it was already washing in to shore. One wave caught it, pulled it under, then launched it into the air and it tumbled thru the waves onto the beach. Not sure if the leash broke the tip off the fish or the tumbling through the shallows did the damage. But it is out of service until i fix it.

I am running out of boards...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Broken Leash

Today I broke my leash on the quad fish surfing some thigh high waves. The fish is working out pretty good and I think I am going to get one for myself for Africa. Perhaps with a five fin setup so i can run it as a quad, twin, or thruster.

Breaking the leash today adds another couple items to my packing list: an extra leash for each board, extra fin sets, solarez, extra fcs screws and keys. I also need to bring a case or two of sex wax- I am using at least a bar of wax each week. Any other suggestions?

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Loaner Fish

My Hawaiian friend, Matt, took pity on my broken board situation & loaned me his Island Classics Quad Fish. The board is short (6'6") but about three inches thick.

Matt and I drove down to Asilomar since they were showing the biggest swell for the central coast and surfed about 2 1/2 hours. Waves were about knee to thigh high and smooth- almost glassy. Light wind, about 5 mph & sunny in the am.

We linked up with another one of his Hawaiian friends and it brought back good memories of going to school and surfing back in Hawaii. It also toned down the "fight for every wave" agression out in the lineup & it was easy to forget the stone faced guys out there who didn't want to share. Surfing is about having fun and enjoying your time out there.

Thanks Matt for letting me borrow the fish until my longboard gets repaired!

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why Santa Cruz is crowded

Yesterday I had some time after a French test so I took off to find a decent break to surf & relax (my grades got a lot better when I started surfing 3-4 times per week). The forecast called for closeouts & poor conditions in town so I worked my way to Santa Cruz. Where I live was overhead closeouts with occasional smaller in between (how I buckled my board yesterday).

Outside of Santa Cruz looked like this:

But in Santa Cruz it looked like this:

On a Wednesday at 11am during a regular workweek. Beautiful waves but 50-60 people in the water. Those that fought to get on it had to maneuver around the chumps further down so it was hard to get a decent ride & enjoy it. So I packed up and went home and busted my board on my last wave of the day.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day of Mourning

Today is a very sad day. I buckled my favorite surfboard. It's my fault, I shouldn't have taken it out in overhead closeouts, but it was my favorite board.

I dropped it off at the shop & they said it needs major surgery, most likely they will need to splint the stringer & replace a huge section of foam. The good news is that it should be out of the shop in 2 weeks.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Stripping & Waxing

Since I had some time to kill before I went surfing today I decided to finally get around to some cleaning I had been putting off for some time: stripping the dirty wax off my board.

I stole my wife's credit card and started scraping. 30 mins later I had destroyed my wife's credit card, cleaned a 9' longboard, and made a 10 pound ball of gray wax the size of a small cantelope.

I then used two sex wax bars to put down a base coat of wax. The board looked sexy- the clean white wax reminded me of lacy white lingerie and I couldn't wait to take it out and get wet.

It felt like the first time when I caught my first wave of the day. The board looked brand new with a fresh coat of glistening white wax in the water.

I surfed for an hour and a half today and got some nice waves. I am looking forward to lieing down on my clean, freshly waxed board again tomorrow.

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Return of the tourists

Spring break must be upon us already as the tourists are starting to flock to the coast and many brilliantly white bodies were at the beach this afternoon. Unfortunately some were playing in the soup with their rented foam boards right on front of a good break. I guess it's good for the local surf shops who haven't had much business during the winter, but sucks that they send them to the break closest to my house!

They didn't know they were doing in the water, but i was even more disturbed to watch these tourists drag their gear across the sidewalk, smacking their boards on the curb, fence, car, etc... and getting their leashes which were drug behind them stuck under cars or wrapped around poles. Lack of respect for your gear is bad juju and will come back and get you later. Maybe when your life (or a good ride) depends on it.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Road Trip: Carmel beach

My brother brought his family to visit and we went to see the waves at Carmel Beach. His kids had never seen the ocean before and they had fun rolling in the sand and getting wet. I had fun surfing. The current was pretty strong pushing south and the paddle out took a while, but the waves were a solid 4-7 feet (chest to overhead).

I couldn't believe that I was the first one in the water and had the place to myself, but after 30 mins several others tried to fight their way out, some didn't make it and others gave up after catching one wave (couldn't make it back into the lineup). I caught some nice overhead waves on my longboard.

After a good hour and a half session the kids were wet, sandy, & cold so i had to come in and take them back home. Maybe i can sneak away later this evening...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Surf therapy

I really needed to surf today. I missed the first part of the week for a variety of reasons: homework, family activities, wife had the car, and so on but the effect was the same- I was getting stressed and anxious because I couldn't surf.

The waves weren't that great, either a waist high closeout or smaller crumbly waves that really didn't give you a chance.

But I still paddled out and got some waves and therapy. The exercise of paddling creates endorphins followed by the excitement of scrambling to get out of the impact zone when a rouge wave sneaks in. The ultimate rush is when you take a steep drop and you make it. Even better when you can then ride the wave and turn and flow with the water as it rushes onto the beach.

Some of my most relaxing and therapeutic times are when I am sitting outside and watching the waves roll by. I enjoy sitting in the trough between large waves, just out far enough so the wave picks me up and just before it spits and throws itself down below, where you can feel the spray and the wind it generates. There is a zen-like feeling when you watch the sunset in the water and the waves roll past you and squadrons of shorebirds skim the wave tops & break their formation around you.

I need this peace in my life.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Perfect French?

I am keeping a low profile today because the teacher announced to the class that I was the only one who scored perfect on the French reading exam and blew the curve for the class. Not what I wanted- I wanted to do well on the test but didn't want to hurt my classmates. Some scored as low as 9 out of 50 questions right, and that's not my fault.

The reason I have been doing so well is that I do French reading and listening outside of class. I watch the French tv channels, I go to French websites as much as possible, and even try to read books written in French. I enjoy working with the language & look forward to using it in Africa.

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