On The Nile

 

In early 2012, Anya and I went on a river cruise on the Nile.

We went as a part of an organised group.

It was the first time we had done so.

Normally we much preferred to travel on our own, as individuals, determining where we went and where we stayed. This is how we had travelled on a previous visit to Egypt.

But this time round, there was little choice in the matter.

Egypt was embroiled in a political crisis….

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Swansong

 

Anya brought the bible to our apartment one day, shortly before her mother died.

I had seen it countless times over the years on visits to her parents’ place, lying on top of a polished wooden cabinet in the lounge, along with framed family photos.

But never once did I make any attempt to examine it closely.

Then it appeared in our apartment and shortly afterwards, I picked it up for the first time and looked inside……

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Divine Comedy

 

Vailankanni: we both made the same mistake.

When we read in our guide book that it was a former Portuguese trading outpost located on the south east coast of India, we imagined something akin to Goa and Dieu (their antecedents also Portuguese) on the west coast – only without the tourists.

We thought we had found a hidden gem.  

And well, the few lines in our guide book about Vailankanni were written by a travel writer who had never been anywhere near the place.

So there it was; after a long day travelling on local buses, hot, overcrowded, sitting on hard wooden bench seats or standing in an aisle crammed between people, we were expecting to arrive in a place with deserted pristine beaches fringed by palm trees….

And were met by a sight which left us momentarily in a state of utter bewilderment……

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Andu Part 2

 

It had been my idea to go in search of an endangered species.

It had been her idea to hitch hike from Adelaide to the northern Flinders Ranges.

I didn´t think much of that idea. I tried to talk logic to her. 

‘Why not use the organized forms of transport as far as we can and then hitch hike? From the 400 kilometers there, at least cover 250 with a bus?

Anya wasn’t interested: ‘Lets hitch hike all the way. It’ll be an adventure’, she said.

‘It’ll be impossible getting lifts with our heavy rucksacks.’ I retorted, ‘it´ll take bloody weeks to get there!´

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Andu Part 1

 

Looking out the windows of the SUV, we saw it: the gaunt outlines of the northern Flinders Ranges, a metallic red brown vein of cliffs and ridges and valleys running deep into Central Australia, one the most arid, barren places in the world.

Then we knew we were nearing our destination, the point at which one journey ended and another began.

From hitch hiking 400 kilometres to walking 200.   

They were tired looking those ranges, almost as if their venture into the heart of one of the world´s greatest wastelands had proved to be too much and they had renounced any ambition of being a normal range.

But early in the morning and late in the evening, they burst into a spectrum of colours, all the colours of the rainbow. It was a transformation as miraculous as the animal which had once thrived there and learnt to dress itself up in a coat of many colours, like the biblical Jacob – and to merge into its environment during the critical times of the day when it went to forage for food…..

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