Thursday, 8 November 2012

Of Knots, White Dogs and War...

Written on 30/11/2006

Hello everybody.

(...and Chanda,Caroline,Michelle,Susan,Mildred,8 horses+2 ,4 cats,10 dogs,7 geese+13 goslings and millions of ducks with their ducklings) ...hope I didn't miss anyone!

Couple of questions to answer:

Robert- Sponsorship is always a big problem with certain sponsors wanting more than their "pound of flesh" in return for very little. This is until you are actually "tried and tested"! Very few people believed I would start such a journey let alone get this far... Our 2 current sponsors have not interfered & have been more than accomodating, which is as it should be.

Sandy- I "think" Egyptians switch their headlights off because they are nocturnal. Everybody socialises out on the streets until the wee hours... Pedestrians have right of way & will probably stone someone driving with his dims on let alone his brights. Taxi drivers use blue inoffensive lights so they can be seen. It's escalated to the point where the trucks and taxis look like christmas trees. When we were in the Libyan desert they were quite a sight and could be seen for miles all lit up in different colours.

My grandfather was in North Africa during World War II, serving in the South African Army but my desire to learn more about what happend has been affected by my aversion to war. We have visited Rommel's underground bunker and that's enough for me! I had no idea that the Coloured Corps were here, but judging by the terrain etc your husbands gardener must have had some hair raising stories to tell. The desert in Egypt and Libya have landmine fields which have not been cleared, and still claim victims...supposedly no maps of the landmines whereabouts exist!

Fiona- We feed our horses oats and a bulk feed. The bulk feed can vary from hay to succulents in large quantities. Each area has it's own speciality so when we talk about green feed it can be anything that has not dried like "hay".

A Farmers' Weekly photo!
Egyptian Sea Scouts!

Fiona wrote..."and I hope not only that you will continue to meet and befriend interesting characters like Younis but that you also continue to write about them. We learn so much about foreign places through gaining an insight into the people that inhabit them."

This is exactly what our journey is about...

Jan- so, the girls think I look like some "HULK" on TV... would that be the green guy?

Well I finally got my visa...only until the 25/12/2006 while Christine's is until 25/02/2007. What does a man have to do...

We leave Marsa Matruh on 10/12/2006 exactly a year since we started our journey at the most northern point of Africa! Lots of water under the bridge but, all still intact.

We started a scouts course, "rope knots",Christine is very good at tying them & has to keep showing me how and reminding me of the Arabic names. We are most impressed with the scouts! I of course grew up thinking they were a bunch of mommy's boys who were in it for the uniform, but there is a bit more to it.
Honourary Scouts!
So I have to tell you about the white dogs. We first saw white dogs (brown or black patches acceptable even tan colour but nothing else) in the southern part of Tunisia. The packs vary in size from 4 to 12 and they look after themselves ie. don't belong to anyone. They very rarely are in poor condition and are tough and wiry, about the same size as big border collie.

When we were in Libya a woman asked me if we were not afraid of wild animals. I told her I was concerned about hyenas but that so far I had only seen packs of white dogs. She told me she had meant white dogs and thought them to be more dangerous. These packs visited us everynight when we were camped close to civilization but fortunately we had no problems.That is not until we got to Marsa Matruh...

The famous white dogs!
We were befriended by Liza a brown dog (who has since had puppies that Christine checks on every 5 minutes) and Fox a black "collie" looking dog. We never fed them!!!! but somehow they wormed their way into our lives... I think Fox had a long term plan in his fight against the white dogs with us unwittingly becoming not only his ally but his front line defense. Here's a normal day...


Nali also checks on the puppies!
We get ready to ride after an exhausting night being kept awake by barking dogs. (Fox has been, literally, sitting on the rooftops issuing challenges of a mighty battle to come in the morning..) We unlock the front gate leading onto the road...Fox bursts onto the road, hackles up, snarling and; frothing at the one is run for their lives...old women with things on their heads freeze with terror...cyclists only think they are faster...even motor cyclists get it wrong. Mr Adel from next door,Christine and I have our hands full but nothing serious has happend.(he was a meak little lamb before we arrived and everybody is astounded by this behaviour, now people want to capture him for breeding prospects etc).

Onto the beach we go, the domain of the white dogs, this is it - the challenge he's been waiting for...forward scout- Mr Fox, front line defense- Mr William, "big gun no smile"(secret weapon) Mrs Christine on (tadah...) NALI. This big grey bomber has been prepped all night by Fox and Liza in turns... Mr Fox lures white dogs into his trap, but unfortunately Mr William is on timid Rahaal who retreats... and immediately Mrs Christine and the grey bomber have to be called into action to avert a disaster. Nearly worked... We'll try again tomorrow... On Google Earth you can witness this battle every day with varying number of white dogs (and a variety of endings) just send an e-mail and we'll send you the waypoint.
Its not always action on the beach!
Regards to all.
William and Christine

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