Lu Barnham

LuBarnham

Lu Barnham

Thanks to everyone who reads my blogs, and for the messages and support when I'm on the road. You'll find on here my entries from/on India, Bangladesh, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Japan, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, the DRC, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland.



Asia » India » Maharashtra » Aurangabad August 23rd 2010

My 6 day Maharashtra mission has been excellent. It's 30 degrees and muggy out here, and while Mumbai is having sudden violent bursts of monsoon rain, here in Aurangabad it translates to a rather demure drizzle. I have visited four sets of caves - Elephanta, Ellora, Ajanta and Aurangabad caves - and have been loving the fierce renditions of Shiva, and the many carvings of the demon Ravana shaking Mt Kailash. To see it all fully I have even forsaken vanity and worn my budget, men's frame glasses so as to study them properly. Next thing you know I'll get all sensible and by an umbrella. For some reason, despite unusually high levels of planning and organisation on my part, I have managed to book trains and planes that leave in the dead of night and ... read more
At Aurangabad Caves
Monsoon Mumbai
Ellora Caves

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Oxfordshire » Oxford September 21st 2009

'We buy all kinds of crap,' Seth is telling me, 'Actually, it's you - you buy all kinds of crap.' We're in our new flat unpacking boxes and he's holding up a solar powered plastic chicken which shakes its head from side to side. I bought it in South Korea last year and it makes me smile whenever i look at it. Ok, so it may have no actual function, but i glance at it and i am back in Seoul, which is kind of brilliant. What both of us are discovering right now, as we sift through the life we put on hold for six months, is that we have managed to bring nothing (material) back with us from Africa. Nothing that will provide that same sense of transportation, however brief. Six months, twenty four ... read more

Africa » Mozambique » Southern August 29th 2009

Night time, sitting on some stone steps overlooking Maputo Bay, listening to and observing the sea as it crashes in and out a few metres below us. Little kids play chicken with the waves, climbing to the lowest step then shrieking as the water lashes their feet before they have a chance to leap away. We have just eaten our fill of local prawns drenched in garlic butter, and have bought a cold beer each from an outdoor beer stall. Gangs of people drink and talk along the water’s edge. Some of the male groups are loud and drunk, but families are strewn among them. This is the Marginal, a long avenue that runs north of the city of Maputo, along a palm fringed shore. It is probably considered dangerous for foreign travellers to hang out ... read more
Xai Xai
Xai-Xai beach
Xai-Xai beach

Africa » South Africa » Mpumalanga » Nelspruit August 22nd 2009

I had my nose as good as stuck to the window, taking in my first glimpses of South Africa. For a lot of travellers, this is their first African country. It apparently gets more tourists than anywhere else in sub-Saharan Africa. I had studied the map and the guidebook, and each time I suggested some beautiful sounding place, Seth would hit me with a ‘been there, done that.’ Drakensberg? Done it. Cape Town? Done it. Blyde River Canyon National Park? Done it. Awesomely tacky Sun City? Done it and ‘never going back there, Louie, under any circumstances.’ (Damn.) Having just come from Namibia, Mosi-oa-Tunya and Zimbabwe, we really had been going over a lot of his old turf from his year out in Africa back in 1999. He wanted to break free into new territory and ... read more
Green Woodhoopoe
Kicking Back

Africa » Zimbabwe » Bulawayo August 21st 2009

The bus journey from Windhoek to Livingstone was one of the smoothest, most sanitised, most organised journeys we had taken in Africa, and we hated it. Carrying 90 per cent tourists, running to an actual schedule, making toilet breaks that weren’t just pit stops by the side of a field, it was a highly efficient affair. Gap year backpackers chatted and flirted and swapped travel stories as our double-decker coach roared through tiny villages. I wrote in my notebook, ‘Good God get me of this f**king bus.’ The girl in front of me was one of those great people who fully recline their seat for the entire (24 hour) journey, occasionally readjusting it in order to catch me by surprise with a sudden recline, smashing my knees further. ‘We’re in Central Africa!’ the girl next to ... read more
Mosi-oa-Tunya, Zambian Side
Mosi-oa-Tunya, Zambian Side
Mosi-oa-Tunya, Zambian Side

Africa » Namibia August 14th 2009

It’s a very cold night and we’re sleeping in our car. I'm beginning to realise exactly how small this Citigolf actually is as leg cramp sets in. Blanketless, its all about wearing as many clothes as you can put on, and snuggling up. We both look a bit like manatees. I feel like I missed something in the paperwork - nobody warned me that Africa could get cold like this. At least we have enjoyed a big braai (bbq) of chops and boerewors, and have Castle Beer warming our veins. This tiny town is called Solitaire. I say town but I think there are more springbok than people. Namibia, I’m told, is the world’s second least populated country. It has two other world seconds - second largest canyon, second oldest desert - but the country certainly ... read more
Night time is Braai Time
Dead Vlei
Etosha National Park

Africa » Angola July 28th 2009

When the last of the DRC officials had checked our passports and waved us on, we found ourselves in a big dusty square, where a group of guinea fowl pecked the remains of a soldier's sandwich, and a few sleepy shopkeepers eyed the newcomers. The Angolan immigration team were friendly, if serious, and they taught us how to say 'hello' and 'thank you' in Portuguese. I had not really turned my mind to the practicalities of travel in Angola. For days my brain had been awash with will-we-won't-we get the Angolan visa, will-we-won't-we make it through the DRC without incident... now we had, and we were here, and it was a bit like waking up after a strange dream. As taxi drivers made their furtive approaches, reality suddenly hit home. We had been granted five-day transit ... read more
Baobab
Seth on the Marginal, Luanda
National Bank of Angola, Luanda

Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » West » Matadi July 22nd 2009

We cross the Congo River. Seth is dreading immigration because he has read we may be turned back if we cannot produce an Angolan visa. Why the DRC officials would need proof of our wanting to leave their country is beyond me - the proof will be right there on my face as they scrutinise our passports. It’s not like we want to emigrate. In fact, my heart is full of doom. What the hell are we doing here? I know the troubles of very recent years have been near the Rwanda-DRC border, in Goma, far east of us, but there is something about coming to the DRC for recreational purposes that doesn’t sit well with me. I feel like we’re taking the piss a bit. Like the people here have seen so much, and here ... read more
Matadi
DRC matches
Congo River

Africa » Congo July 18th 2009

The plunge into Central Africa brought us to a string of exotic-sounding places I’d never heard of in my life; places like Oyem, Ndjole, Lambarene, N’dende, Mila-mila, M’banza Kongo,Benguela and Lubango. The few that I had heard of - Brazzaville, Kinshasa, Luanda - did not fill my heart with delight, though there was a little buzz, a small flush of excitement, connected with each, because they seemed like cities of the imagination, places that had seen hard times, were or had been hard to live in, and were visited only by intrepid explorers, coffee swilling journalists and wary expats. The sense of adventure was with us as we headed south, though for me it came with some sleepless nights. Gabon was easy to travel through until we hit the equator, and the paved jungle road descended ... read more
mila-mila, congo
Ngongo, Congo
transport, congo style

Africa » Cameroon July 10th 2009

I’d like to warn readers that I have fallen in love with Cameroon, and can therefore guarantee an inappropriately long blog. Each time I try to cut down on the length of these writings, I seem to end up writing more, so if you decide to persist, do crack open a beer, or fetch a glass of wine, or a tall latte - whatever blows your hair back. We entered Cameroon via a bridge across the Cross River. It had been a slow drive from the Nigerian town of Ikom on account of our cab being stopped for numerous police checks. The police were in bad moods that day. First we almost lost our guidebook to one with a passion for literature, then another guy leafed through not only my passport, but the contents of its ... read more
Metchum Falls
Aku and I, heading to Mamfe
Mamfe




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