Thursday, September 15, 2016

WORLD WIDE HOCKEY TOUR - DOWN THE NILE (D)

This line of vehicles on the desert frontier kept moving at quite a rapid clip and distance. Basically stopping only for short pit-stops to refuel, reload with supplies, or have all empty their bladders, etc.  When they reached the temple ruins of Luxor everyone checked it out. However, the group didn’t spend near the amount of time in comparison when they previously visited the pyramids. Mekkar was definitely feeling groggy and listless at this point on the journey. He figured that he saw the pinnacle earlier on at the pyramids. Thus, Mekkar was sort of indifferent to the Luxor site. It was different from the manmade similarly named hotel near the Las Vegas strip. The contrast between the beautiful oases here along the Nile amidst the desert was most striking. The column of trucks, well more like sport utility vehicles, journeyed on. It was estimated the group covered a stretch further than the equivalent from San Diego to San Francisco everyday so far and this travel trend would continue as is. 

Other sites passed by and viewed by Mekkar, when he was awake, was the large Aswan Dam & Lake Nasser. They were going to exit Egypt soon. Yet the voyage continued as they advanced through the desert like so many before them had. Mekkar reflected to his studies in an instant and thought just like Erwin “The Desert Fox” Rommel’s tanks would have if they had reached this far south. Of course, Mekkar was quite aware that travelling companions were a very different type of warrior, on ice. The only true uniformed and active soldiers accompanying them were in service to the Egyptian military. Their tasks on this trip were not military in nature, just as drivers. Mekkar felt it was not wise for their guides and chauffeurs to wear any uniforms since it would just cause trouble down the road. Especially since they would be crossing into another country real soon and later on during this trip.

Ever a student of history and from research, Mekkar was only slightly perceptive of the deep animosity of various tribes and nations in this region of the planet. But, not the full extent. The Native from the North discerned and decided that former colonization and imperialism of these parts of the world created a sphere of issues still existent today as a result. Elites drawing up national borders while at the same disregarding the local populations and dividing homogeneous tribes. Of course, he reasoned there would be future complications and it happened.

It was another day or so until the Selects reached another large metropolis but they were all dwarfed by Cairo in comparison and where this excursion began. After passing a generous bend in the river and near the Sudanese capital Khartoum the Nile joins together from multiple branches. Despite many efforts by the surrounding people to harness resources from the longest watercourse on the planet to meet ever expanding power requirements, the ancient river still flows on. It has not been brought to a halt at all. Now Mekkar and his caravan crew can enjoy the fruits provided by the waterway as a result. Assorted construction of bridges and other crossings assure that locals have access to all the benefits the Nils provides on both sides of the river.

Mekkar recalled this was one of the places where the ancients were able to build whole civilizations without the modern tools of today. He guessed that the area was probably more despite deforestation. The desert has claimed much of the land in our times in his opinion. Even historians that Mekkar has read about have admitted to this trend. However, the Great River has not been completely conquered, like his own dwindling people, and the water still flows.

Some of the days still seemed warmer to Mekkar and he would request that the driver turn up the air conditioning in the truck. The boys from the coldest regions of their nation were here, so there were no outward complaints from the other passengers. Yet, none of the others including Alf or Lasse preferred it as chilly as Mekkar. They were always teasing him about having ice in his veins. Mekkar had too much time on his hands and was examining the potential change of seasons and possible effects upon him as they reached closer to the equator. He has enough trouble with hot weather because his regular body temperature is much lower then the normal 98.6° F (37° C). The funny thing is that his friends notice that heat radiates and emanates from Mekkar more than anyone they know. Alf mentions that his older sibling is unable to keep his heat within but at the same time prefers it colder, when healthy. Not surprisingly, no one who knows Mekkar is astounded that he is contrary to accepted scientific norms and conventional wisdom, but accepts him as an oddball in many ways. The poor driver ended up wearing a heavy coat while doing his duty. He didn’t even mentioned anything about it nor bring up the subject at all. The guide kept speaking about details of the sites the crew arrived at or passed on by without a beat. Alf had a theory that the coachman was talking so much to keep warm, who knows!

Khartoum was almost the half way point to Lake Victoria, but the White Nile runs past that onto Burundi. However, even scientists were unaware of this continuation at the time and the true source in Burundi was discovered in the early twenty-first century. [Wikipedia] The group didn’t stay long, but solely needed to replenish and resupply and be on their way.

As the chain passed past various regions they finally approached and journeyed through Uganda, the locals there cast their gaze at them with a lot of suspicion. Mekkar had the concept that the possible reason for the distrust could have been because their group was viewed as guests of Idi Amin. An off-handed comment regarding how the visitors were travelling by land instead of by boat on the water was the basis of this misjudgment. The regular custom was that normal tourists followed the locals and moved between different stopping points on the water.

When the Selects and their small entourage arrived in the Ugandan capital Mekkar contacted a person he was acquainted with, Tazil. Tazil’s mother worked with Sirga in some capacity for a short time up north. Mekkar was unclear on the actual connections and details between the two women and didn’t really care too much. However, he befriended Tazil during that time. Mekkar had previously contacted the Ugandan and his family when they got closer and told them that he might make it there, if it all works out right. He said it would depend on the time frame and possible schedule to the area excluding any unforeseen changes that were very common on this trip. Thus, Mekkar was not definite in the planned visit, just estimating a potential occurrence.