View Single Post
Old 12-05-2013, 06:13 AM   #4
Le Saboteur
Le Saboteur's Avatar
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Sham Shui Po
Posts: 1,973
A couple of years back I posted a thread about a pair of friends who retraced Marco Polo's historic route from Venice to China by foot. The trip would take them through Afghanistan, today's Tajikistan, and along the Silk Road into China where they would turn around for the return trip to Venice.

Some kind soul has uploaded a better copy of the doc to YouTube if you're interested.

Fast forward to 2013, and Paul Salopek, National Geographic Fellow & Journalist, is aiming top that rather admirable feat. Starting in Kenya's Great Rift Valley, the birthplace of humanity, he is going to trace man's 60-thousand year migration ending at the tip of South America in 2020. 7-years and 21,000 miles!

Originally Posted by Paul Salopek
The trails scuffed through the Ethiopian desert are possibly the oldest human marks in the world. People walk them still: the hungry, the poor, the climate stricken, men and women sleepwalking away from war. Nearly a billion people are on the move today across the Earth. We are living through the greatest mass migration our species has ever known. As always, the final destination remains unclear. In Djibouti city, the African migrants stood waving cell phones on trash-strewed beaches at night. They were capturing a cheap signal from neighboring Somalia. I heard them murmur: Oslo, Melbourne, Minnesota. It was eerie and sad and strangely beautiful. After 600 centuries we were still seeking guidance, even rescue, from those who had walked before.

Check out December's dead tree edition for the full article. Or, check out the online edition here if you're overseas.

Mr. Salopek completed the first leg of his trek in February of this year, and has uploaded a handy selection of journal entries for perusal! This one on the Bedouin fire cure was particularly intriguing.

Originally Posted by Paul Salopek
Fatimah Ayed Hamed al Hajuri al Johaini, 72 or 73 years old, was a fire healer. She burned people for their own good. She had been doing this all day in a desert operating room that consisted of a dusty rug and a hearth. In the coals of the hearth she heated iron nails to orange hotness. These implements she pressed into twitching flesh at secret locations on her patients’ bodies. Nerves and veins taught by her father, by his father before him, and so on, going back thousands of years. “I’ve been doing this for 40 years. People keep coming. There is only me left do this. I am about to die. Thanks be to God. But I will cure whatever I can cure.”

The explorer Wilfred Thesiger, in his classic of travel, Arabian Sands, writes of the Arab fire cure. The Bedouin, he said, “cauterize themselves and their camels for nearly every ill. Their bellies, chests, and backs are often crisscrossed with the ensuing scars.” He tells the story of the survivors of a British steamer. The ship was wrecked off the coast of Yemen. The passengers, stricken with diarrhea, were kindly—and forcibly—branded over and over by their tribal rescuers: “They eventually arrived at Muscat nearly killed by dysentery and this primitive treatment.”

There's also a very robust website full of interesting reads if one is so inclined.

Let's close this out with some traditional Bedouin music!

Le Saboteur is offline   Reply With Quote