Enclosed are emails from a relative about his trip
in Africa. They are funny.
Science Centre [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, August 28,
1997 4:57 AM
I hope all is well with my many 8-5 desk dwelling friends. (Harvard,
this doesn't mean that you're not my friend. You just
happen to work sleep-in hours). Also, I hope all is
well with John Mark Stein and soon to be John Mark
Ricketts and John Mark Hjelm. I couldn't imagine a
more perfect name.
I spoke with my mom the other morning and she said the grapevine
(Judi) has produced no news to speak of. Which is
always good! All I heard was the annual Labor Day
hiking trip that Judi does each year. My flying saucer
tent is in the garage if you need it again. It's in
my Thailand bag. Make sure that it's all there. (Older
So far this country is unbelievable. The people are terrific and
always willing to help. For backpack travelers I've
never seen a country so organized. They have cheap
trips that go to anywhere you want. I can't wait to
I am currently in Durban, South Africa. A major surfing city. The
beaches are full of boarders and butt floss suits.
The waterfront is one long water park for the kids.
All day long they go between the salt water and into
the fresh water park. There's even a 50-meter pool
adjacent to the beach. I'm thinking of maybe going
for a swim later this afternoon. That's after I hit
the beach for a few hours. The life of being unemployed
is tough. I hope none of you have to go through what
I'm currently going through.
I didn't get to see much of Hong Kong. They had a Class 3 typhoon
warning when I was there. It pissed all three days.
From here I'm heading along the coast to Cape Town. I'll be hitting
all the beach communities between here and there.
I need to get to Cape Town on September 18 to check
in for my trip. I've been talking to other travelers
about getting from Kenya to Egypt. It looks like I
won't be able to go through Sudan due to the civil
war, so I may fly out of Ethiopia to Cairo or ferry
to Saudi Arabia and then through Israel. We'll see!
I'll try to say "HI" again when I'm in Cape Town.
Could someone call Judi and let her know that it's that time of the
month for her to shower. THANKS
Catch you around,
From: Esquire [SMTP:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, September
08, 1997 4:59 AM
To: Stephanie Williams
Subject: Life of the unemployed
Hi Steph. I want to thank you for getting my last E-mail sent around.
By the way that's a great looking outfit that you
have on today. These terminals in Africa allow you
to see all. Could you please send this letter through
the troops? THANKS
Good Morning to all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I hope this letter finds all to be healthy and happy in Seattle.
Also, I hope the Labor Day hiking trip went well.
I'm currently in the beach community of Mossel Bay
about 60 miles east of Cape Town. I've been working
myself along the coast since leaving Durban.
After Durban I went to East London. Wow, what a major surf city.
The place I stayed was an old lifeguard center that
the city decided they built to far away from the swimming
portion of the beach. So they fenced it up and left
it to the street vagrants to trash. Along came Chester
at the age of 23 and got a 10-year lease on the place
to use it for back packers. I spent a total of four
days there. The first couple of days I was teaching
a couple from Austria how to boogie board. Chester
has wet suits, surf and boogie boards for the taking.
The Austrians caught on pretty fast. Another day Chester
and I grabbed his sand board and headed for the dunes.
He took a snowboard and screwed shoes to the top.
We climbed to the top of one of the dunes,
applied floor polish to the bottom of the board and
boarded down. I've been finding sand in every orifice
since that day. I managed to get the hang of it by
days end. It was quite difficult with the amount of
Chester also leases a house in the mountain top city of Hogsback
ninety minutes out of East London. For those that
have read "The Hobbit" or
"Lord of the Rings" you may remember reading about this
town. It is said that J.R.R. Tolkin got his inspiration
during a visit to this city to write these books.
The city was full of waterfalls, forests, mountains,
Most of the stores had a name relating to characters within the books.
I climbed up to the top of one of three of the hogsbacks.
I had to stop twice to avoid crossing paths with the
local baboons within the forest. I heard that the
males don't like humans between them and their mates.
From here I was off to Oudtshoorn.
Oudtshoorn is a cool city also within the mountains. On my second
day their I rented a bike and decided to do a 45 mile
loop with an optional detour of 22 miles to some water
falls. Half way through the ride I realized that the
brake handles was reversed from those in the states
(I don't know why). I didn't worry much about it.
I'll get back to that later. Anyways, I went to an
ostrich farm for a tour. This city has a population
of 350,000 ostriches. During the tour the guide asked
if anyone wanted to ride one. I was very polite and
thought I'd let someone else go. No one had any interest.
So, of course, my hand went up. You mount the bird
well behind its legs and grab its wings. They take
off its face cover and off you go. It was very difficult
to stay on. The bird goes about 100 meters at 15 mph
before it decides the hell with you and sits down.
After that one other person went.
I asked if the bird's ancestors ever flew. The guide said that no
one knows which way on the evolution chain the bird
is going. If the wings are growing or going away.
The bird does have a thumb and two small fingers at
the end of its wings. However, they don't use them.
The egg has a volume equal to 24 standard eggs and
can hold a non-impact load of 300 lbs side to side
and 600 lbs tip to tip. I stood on a fertile egg to
check it out.
After the farm I took the dirt road to the waterfalls. On the way
back I was cruising (not as fast as Rob can go) down
this hill and was approaching a corner way to fast.
From force of habit I squeezed the right brake hard
and found myself flying through the air over the bars.
It was a beautiful flight that the Wright brothers
would have been proud of. Luckily I landed on the
only part of my body I don't use, my head. I actually
think the tilt in my neck is less.
The next day was the best of all. I went for a cave crawl. I ran
into some cavers the day before and talked them into
taking me with them on a CRAWL. We went a measured
202 meters through an old water flow that I was told
was approximately nine feet wide at the most and 12
to 18 inches in height. They gave me coveralls, hardhat
and a headlamp to wear. It was by far the best thing
I've done. If you want to be scared to hell this kicks
butt on skydiving and bungee jumping. It took us 2
hours and 15 minutes to make the crawl into a giant
underground cavern. Of course we then had to turn
around and go back. At one point we turned off all
lights just to see what absolute black is like.
From Oudtshoorn I came here. So let me tell you why I'm here. For
only $75 dollars this company takes you out in their
boat near a seal island, throws blood in the water,
throws a shark cage over board and then you in the
cage when the great whites appear. I was scheduled
to go today but the water is to rough. I figure I'll
give it two more days before I move on. The owner
told me that last month they had a 45% ratio of great
whites appearing. The pictures in their shop looked
great. I'm going to buy one of those disposable water
cameras for this trip. After the cage dive (I hope)
we tow a fake seal behind the boat and watch the sharks
attack it. Those pictures were the best. It's a full
day trip with food, beer and all.
From here I'm off to Cape Town to see how badly the locals trashed
the place after the I.O.C.'s decision to hold the
2004 Olympics in Athens and not Cape Town.
I'll be there for about eight days so I'll find a place that will
Tell Judi that her wrinkled older brother is putting on his Oil O'lay
with SPF 15 every morning.
Also, I promise that I'll get post cards out soon. Especially to
those that have sent them to me over the years.
Take Care, John
P.S. On my next E-mail I'll start my movie and book reviews.
GOOD MORNING to all!!!!!!!
So how is everyone doing this morning? As you know it's Friday so
I hope everyone has a great weekend. Again I hope
all is well with everyone.
I don't have much time to leave a message because it's getting dark
here in Cape Town. I don't care to be on the streets
and I have a long walk home.
I did the shark dive. I'll talk about what it's like to have a 12
to 14 foot great white within touching distance later.
If you have spare time please sent an E-mail to the following address.
Be sure to sent it to BROTHER JOHN and not Cowpie.
I will come by once a day to check for messages and
then respond back. I'm in town till September 20.
send mail to: SORRYNOEMAIL@ROCKETMAIL.COM
Catch you later, John
From: BROTHER JOHN [SMTP:SORRYNOEMAIL@ROCKETMAIL.COM]
Sent: Friday, September
19, 1997 4:35 AM
To: Stephanie Williams
Subject: Last E-mail for
Hello to all!!!!!!!!
I hope all is well at home. This E-mail stuff has been better than
I could have imagined. Thanks to Mom, Judi, Duncan,
Gail, Deanna, Kathi, Nancy, Farhad, Ima, Ricketts
and Harvard for your mail. It's good to hear from
all of you. I hope I didn't forget someone. Also,
thanks go out to Stephanie and Carolyn for the mail
they sent. If there is more mail the overland travel
group will forward it to Kenya for me. And special
thanks to Nancy and the Ricketts for making sure that
Judi is showering.
GREAT news about little baby Alex. If he's anything like Greg you'd
better keep a huge first-aid kit ready. You'll have
to send me a picture at the Kenya address. Stephanie
should have the address.
Time to catch everyone up on what's been happening. I sent out another
E-mail this morning. I made a mistake the other day
when I tried, so out it went again today.
Lets see, the wind finally slowed down a bit so I climbed to the
top of Table Mountain. Great view. It's a 4.5 hour
round trip hike and climbs an elevation of 3,300 feet.
They wanted all of $2.50 to take the tram, but I knew
that if Nancy was here she would have hiked it so
I did it for her. After the hike I hit a Turkish bath
for a massage. I just couldn't pass up the thought
of having a hairy Turkish man rubbing me down. Steve,
I'm only joking. It did feel nice after a long days
The day before a group of use rented a car and went to the Cape of
Good Hope. It was blowing up a storm when we got there.
No wonder why so many ships have sunk in those waters.
Going through the park to the point we saw two wild
ostriches doing the dirty. An interesting site. On
the way back we had to stop, because a group of about
30 baboons decided to warm themselves on the black
asphalt road. Well stopped we had one brave soul jump
on the hood of the rental.
He used the hood of the car the slide back to the street.
So get this!!! There's a young French couple at the place I'm in
with three kids aged 18 months, 3 and 4 years. They
packed up a van and while 3 weeks pregnant hit the
road. They traveled East through Europe to Jordan
where they had the baby nine months later. Went into
Egypt to cross into Sudan but got turned away. So
they went up and around into Saudi Arabia and caught
a boat to Kenya. Now a total of two years later they
are in Cape Town. They leave today to fly home to
France. They of course sold the van to other travelers.
They are full of information to help me get overland
to Egypt. It looks like I hitch through Kenya to the
border city of Moyale in Ethiopia. Take public transportation
to Addis Ababa and get a transit Visa for Saudi Arabia
and an Eritrea Visa at their consulates. Then get
into Eritrea and head for the port city of Massawa
to catch the boat. The boat goes to Saudi Arabia,
but then up the Red Sea to Sinia (sp?). This is good
stuff to know.
Anyways, I met my travel group last night. I will be with these people
for the next 50 days going to Kenya. They look like
a good group. I'd say we are all between 25 and 40.
Should be fun. I'll use my own tent so that I have
a place to escape each day from the group. No one
else has a tent for themselves. The group provides
two person tents.
That's all for now. I'll contact you again when I find an E-mail
service. It may not be until Kenya, we'll see.
Take care, John
where is John? The last I heard through the family
grapevine and per some post cards to my daughter,
he was by Victoria Falls. I understand an elephant
came quite close to him in his sleep. It was
the flapping of the elephant ears which
Have any of you received any post cards
Monday, November 10, 1997 4:47 AM
Subject: BROTHER JOHN - Part 1
Good Morning to all!!!!!!
Just to let everyone know this is an old
E-mail that never made it so I'm trying again.
Again I hope all and everyone is well.
I always assume it's morning that everyone checks
their E-mail. I feel like Steve
Martin in the" Jerk" when he first
noticed his name in the phonebook. It was the first
time in his white boy, no rhythm life that he had
an identity. Well I now have my very own E-mail address.
It is SORRYNOEMAIL@ROCKETMAIL.COM. Rocketmail is a
service that is paid for by advertisers
such as Sprint and Coke.
Pretty cool thing for travelers. You guys
should check it out. It's http//rocketmail.com. Therefore,
where ever I can find E-mail I can check out if I
got any mail. And "yes" mom I received your
E-mail this morning. THANKS.
Lets see where I left off last time. I
was waiting in Mossel Bay for the wind to stop. Well
it did and I found myself in a shark cage with a great
white approximately 14 feet long. The shark, of course,
was on the outside. Although if they put them in with
you it would add abit more thrill and adventure to
the whole thing. I could have reached out and touched
it. What a beautiful fish. When the shark was around
25 feet from the boat you couldn't even see it. The
colors blend in amazingly well with the surrounding
water. I was in the cage for around 10 minutes before
others got a chance to jump in. It was nothing like
you see on T.V. when the shark bites and rocks the
He (trust me it was a he) just swam around
eating some of the food we had placed around the cage.
By far a terrific experience.
From there I had to hitch here to Cape
Town. My prepaid bus service was booked up for three
more days so myself and a Kiwi hitched out of there.
It was a 380 Km hitch and it only took two lifts.
Our scond lift was a salesman going into downtown
Cape Town. He even dropped us off at one of the many
backpacker hostels. Great guy!!! I left that hostel
and moved to the quite part of town. My body just
can't stay out till four in the morning anymore. What
am I talking about I don't believe I've ever stay
out till four in the morning partying. That's all
this hostel did.
Since arriving here I've been walking
everywhere. Well actually the first day we went to
a penguin colony almost at the end of the Cape. We
had two penguins jump out of the water and come within
three feet of where we were sitting. They took one
look at me and were gone. This place has been protected
since the early 80's.
This morning I tried to climb Table Mountain
but the clouds have put a blanket over the top. Wouldn't
be able to see anything once I got up there.
Tomorrow two Aussies and myself are renting
a car and hitting the wine vineyards and the Cape.
I heard the end of the Cape is a site. There are supposed
to be whales everywhere this time of the year. Well
As promised you're all going to be stuck
hearing about the books I've read. This helps me to
read more, which means I actually have to sit down.
Although I've got to use the duct tape I brought as
least once already. In other words I got to fix something.
So here's my first list:
Dragon Tears - Dean Koontz
There's a new god on the planet that considers
his older brother Jesus to have been weak and forgiving.
This new God is 18 years old and has told no one who
he is. He's waiting to "Become" prior to
killing all mankind for their sins. Well waiting he's
been doing some premature practicing on the side and
the police are getting closer. Good book - a bit long
in some places.
Fallon - Louis L'Amour
Fallon is up to his regular gig of killing
Indians and looking for easy money in the new West.
Good book - easy reading.
The Warriors Path/Sackett Family - Louis
L'Amour Sacketts four sons continue their father's
dream of exploring the new Western Frontier. They
battle with slave hunters in search of white women.
Good book as all Sackett stories are.
Dragons of Darkness - Edited by Orson
A series of short sci-fi stories that
all entail dragons. About 15 of 18 were good.
I'm currently reading a book called "Deep
Time" about the journey of a single sub-atomic
particle from creation to the death of the universe
and beyond. It's a book that follows the traditions
of Carl Sagen. So far so good.
Well that's about it for now. I leave
here Saturday morning for Kenya. Can you tell by my
hand writing that I'm getting pretty excited?
Talk to you soon, John
Monday, November 10, 1997 4:42 AM
Subject: BROTHER JOHN - Part 2
Good day everybody!!!!!
It's me again. I'm in the city of Nairobi.
I hope all is well with everyone. I want to thank
Mom, Judi, Duncan, Farhad, Steph and Milton for the
E-mail. The rest of you are falling behind. I'll have
to rewrite my will and leave all my many valuables
to those that leave E-mail. Actually their are to
many of you all ready, because I don't have any valuables.
Also, thanks to Kathi and Mom for the mail. The post
office up here never did get my mail from South Africa
sent up. Sorry for those that wrote to there.
Farhad the new truck sounds great. I'm
sure upon my return I'll have plenty of time to see
it. Congratulations to Steph on the new job. Duncan
I will be taking a boat up the Red Sea out of Eritrea(sp)
to Egypt. Milton I also miss Cassey and Laura (not
It's been awhile since I spoke to all
of you and there has been to much for me to write
about at this time (they charge by the page). So I
thought I'd talk about from Zanzibar up.
The island of Zanzibar was great. It has
to be great, because Freddy Mercury was born there.
Yes I saw his house. And I'm sorry Steve I never got
a picture. The north end of the island is like a paradise.
The beaches are of the same texture and color as flower.
I spent four days reading books and scuba diving.
The diving was great. Plenty of fish.
From there I went to Arusha which is the
main send off for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. The government
requires that all climbers have a guide and porter
with them. This brings the lowest price to $580. That
sorta breaks my budget. The sad part was that the
clouds were in and I never got to see the mountion.
I spent four days in a Land Rover (junk
cars) going through the Seringeti National park and
the Ngorongoro Crater. Wow, tlak about getting close
to wild life. We had to stop the car and hang out
because eight lions decided to sleep in the road.
I must have seen 10,000 Wildebeast, 1,000's of deer
and Baboons, 50 hippos and 100's of other animals.
We saw a lion eating both a Zebra and a deer. The
place is full of life. The crater is one of the most
amazing places I've seen.
So from there I ended up here. I had one
short stop at Joy Adamsons house. Nairobi is a pit.
Full of people, dirty and unsafe. I'm here till Wednesday
night. I'm having some clothes fixed and waiting for
a visa to Uganda. I'm heading straight to Jinji, Uganda
to a camp sight that I heard a great deal about. It's
right on a class 5 river at the mouth of the Nile
river leaving Lake Victory. From there I'm off to
Zaire to check out the gorillas. I know mom that there
is a war going on in Zaire but I here it's cool where
I want to go. Anyways I'm insured. I plan to come
back to Nairobi in about three weeks and I expect
E-mail from all. The reason I'm heading out is the
tension of the upcoming elections here has made this
place a hot spot.
Well I gotta go. I'll say hi in two days
before I head out.
I want to hear about the gap trip.
Take Care, Cowpie
November 12, 1997 12:09 AM To:
White nomad backpacker
Wow!!!!!! Thanks to the following for
your E-mail (Rodney, Judi, Kathi, Deanna, Tim, Greg
B., Gail, and Duncan). You guys are back in my will.
I'd love to see the fight over my car. You'd be fighting
to make the other person take it.
So let me tell you about the dinner I
had last night. Ima would have loved it. Two Aussy
women and myself went to a place called "Carnivores".
They couldn't have picked a better name. They first
brought out a salad and we told them to forget it
and bring out the game meat. We wanted as much room
in our stomachs as possible. It was an all you can
eat for $20.00 USD. That's alot of money when you're
on the road. We ate Warthog, Zebra (yum), Water Buffalo,
Ostrich, Crocidile, various birds and others I didn't
know. I'd be surprised if there is any wildlife left
in the Serengeti. We spent 3 1/2 hours eating. That
meal will hold me till I get back from Veitnam with
Tonight I leave for Uganda. I'm looking
forward to getting back in my tent. Nairobi has been
the first time in a while that I've slept inside.
Let me tell you about my fine hotel recommended by
Lonely Planet. When you first enter the room you notice
the lovely foot print wall paper. At a second look
it's just mark from people using their shoes to kill
the bugs. I added my share. During the night I had
to brush of my bag because the plaster from the ceiling
fell. The bathrooms are even better. When the water
is running you can even take a shower. The drop toilets
actually flush, but with no water you have the management
bring in a bucket and pour it in the hole. This intern
flushes the toilet. As you can tell I live high when
I travel. Oh, I almost forgot about the roaches. I
had one fall on my head well reading a book in bed.
I let him go. All this can be yours for $3.22 USD/night.
Food here is cheap. I got fish, chips
and a coke for $1.00 USD. About 10 bananas on the
street cost $.25 USD. It's a cheap but ugly place.
This morning I went to call Judi to wish her a happy
birthday (Nov. 11) and as I walked I noted that I
didn't see another white person. That's a weird feeling.
I'm sure that everyone called her. I doubt there is
anyone out there that would forget a COWPIEs birthday.
I'm glad to hear that the Chile Bowl was
fun and the trip to the gap went well. Did you take
my chain saw out and give it fresh air. It needs love
like everyone you know.
I think I'll head north to Ethiopia around
December 15. If you want to send mail you can continue
sending to the American Express or the following:
GPO Nairobi, Kenya Africa
It seems to take about ten days.
I'll check it when I come back from Uganda
to get my Ethiopia Visa.
Johnny, I saw how well your stock is doing.
I would've doubled my money in six months if I left
it in. Story of my life.
Judi, get the house because I need to
place to live when I get home. Yes, I will work on
it. What else do I have to do?
Steph, I'll write you a letter about Vietnam.
Talk to Judi and get a ticket to Bangkok about one
week after she leaves Napal. I'll meet you at the
airport. We'll get tickets to Vietnam in Bangkok.
Tim, I do remember the trip to Forks.
Rodney, are we still going to Alaska for
a chain saw, no women party? Yes I saw plenty of lion
cubs. However, I never ate any last night. They would
probably be good and tender. (that's for Ima)
Talk to you when I get to another E-mail
service. Mayby in Kampala?
Take Care, Cowpie