culture is global

Africa = Wild West??

by Spencer

Africa = Wild West??

Bicycling through Africa, excluding the big cities, I can easily imagine myself in a classic Western film. The land is dusty, sun omnipresent, buildings stout, industry absent, law more a suggestion and at every turn there’s the palpable sense of both opportunity and danger. The highway is littered with the hulking remains of automobiles stripped to the frame. Subsistence farmers with goat powered carts trot along as a 2011 BMW whizzes by. The highway is sparse, uninterrupted but for potholes and the few occasional cows.
(more…)

Tomorrow The World is Ending (no really)

by Spencer

We were first introduced to familyradio.com in Polkowane, South Africa. But they’re everywhere. Harold Camping’s Rapture is on a billboard next to the largest shopping mall in Zambia. Their theory is simple. Judgment Day is May 21st. As in tomorrow. Hope you’ve got someone special to spend the night and repent with…

Update: The Times is on this story as well.

White People Do Some Crazy Sh*t

by Spencer

Why leave everything, every last comfort, to venture into the dangerous unknown? It’s a good question. There are even a couple good answers. But I know that sometimes I act without fully thinking it through, without justification, simply because to do so is easier, more expedient.

We decided to climb Table Mountain, the epic backdrop to Cape Town’s city center. We didn’t think it through. The mountain’s summit is a massively wide mesa 1300 meters (about 4000 feet) above sea level. Our hike took us up 1000 meters in an hour under the afternoon sun. There was no shade. Every step had to be placed carefully. It was tiring.

Dehydrated at the summit, we went in search of water, but despite having great tap water, in South Africa free available water can be hard to find. I have seen only one drinking fountain and it was broken. By the time we were back half way down mountain the sun had set. Climbing down a mountain without a torch (flashlight) in the dark was slow going and naturally there no taxis to be found. So we walked some miles through Cape Town at night attempting to find our way home.

Why did we do that?

When you tell someone you’re going to bicycle through Africa, it’s funny. The reaction is rarely complacent. It’s either that’s awesome or oh my god you’re going to die. And yet bicycling through Africa isn’t crazy, I don’t think. It’s been done, many times. Sometimes you get a different reaction.

Take the first night in Cape Town, drinks at a bar that is more like a house, two stories, haphazard decorating, and a bed. The patrons are high, eyes blazed red. The conversation is of Miles Davis, JFK and the nature of truth, I kid you not. They’re not surprised to hear of our trip. White people do some crazy sh*t. They climb Everest, bike around Africa, but do they go out to the township?

People are funny. The endeavors we choose to tackle. I’m still trying to figure out why I’m here. But maybe that’s why I’m here? To figure out why I’m here?

We made it!

edited 1/1/2015