Archive for October 2010

27 Oct, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes


27 Oct, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes

October 28th 2010

20 Oct, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes


20 Oct, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes

October 21st 2010

20 Oct, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes

My Story


rohn and rudi sing to a woman

rohn and rudi crossing the sahra with there motorcycle

homemade raft that rohn and rudi made.

rohn sitting in a hospital

Dear Readers. I hope you liked the first book of my trilogy: Europe.

All of the previous chapters are located in the Stories archive section of PhotoStockNOTES.

As I mentioned in the opening of chapter #39, I’ll be taking a break from writing about my Africa trip to repair the rain damage to my 1960 manuscript that was stored away in the granary building here at our farm here in Wisconsin.

In #39 I assembled some preview photos from our Africa trip. This week I’m printing some more of my collection of the Africa trip photos.

click here to see them

This is the final part (#40) of the “Europe” section (Europe-Africa-North/Central America) of my trilogy. I’ll be back in a couple months to continue “My Story.”

What’s the name of the trilogy? Tentatively, I’m going to call it Among the People. Here’s the first draft of the book cover.

bookcover of rohns book. among the people. drawing of two people.


Some of what’s to come:

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After falling from a cliff while photographing baboons with our 8mm movie camera, I made my way back to the Niamey hospital. One week later I was on a plane to the USA on December 24 1957 and got home for Christmas.
Rudi, and our newly acquired monkey, Bubu made it to the west coast of Africa, Dakar, Senegal, where Rudi found a freighter going to Boston, hopped aboard and arrive in Boston two months later in the winter of 1958. He brought the Vespa and monkey along with and I met up with them in Boston in February 1958.
The story will continue!

13 Oct, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes


13 Oct, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes

October 14th 2010

13 Oct, 2010 | Posted by: photosource

My Story


Note from Rohn: This is the final chapter of “Europe” the first book of my trilogy, a memoir of my trip through Europe, Africa, and North and Central America.
All of the previous chapters are located in the Stories archive section of PhotoStockNOTES.

The second book coming up is called Africa in which I relate how, with the brilliantly resourceful help of my friend, Rudi Thurau, I was able to survive what time, nature, people, luck, and the elements threw at us as we visited the enigmatic Moroccan cities of Tangier, Casablanca, Adrar, Marrakech, Fez, and Oujda; lived with Bedouins of the Atlas Mountains; visited the Roman remains of Volubilis; (yes, Roman archeological remains over in the west side of North Africa, near the Atlantic Ocean,) and then crossed the border into the Algerian War, and passed through the rebel fighting with the French Foreign Legion; came down with hepatitis in the central Sahara desert village of Adrar, got to our Niger riverside destination of Niamey in Black Africa by hopping a ride with an Arab trucker; built a raft from palm logs and 50-gallom oil drums from the Niamey airport warehouse, sailed down the Niger River where I fell while climbing a cliff to film some monkeys, broke my arm and landed back in the hospital in Niamey and flew home to Maryland on Christmas eve, 1957 on the $500 the airport manager lent me.

I look forward to sharing all this with you in my Africa book. I ask your forbearance for a little while. Probably two months.

Unfortunately I have the task of restoring some of the rain-damaged manuscript and daily log that I wrote about my Africa trip back in 1960... Fortunately my negatives were back with my German friend, Hans Bartsch in Wuerzburg, Germany. The photos are all intact. I’ll share with you a few of them in this chapter 39, and finally, next week, chapter #40, I’ll show you (through photos) a preview of what’s to come in our adventures in Africa for the next section of my trilogy called Africa. And, oh yes, as you remember, in Portugal we bought an 8mm movie camera. I’ll being airing that 1957 film of how we crossed the Sahara and built our raft on the Niger River. - RE

 rohn and rudi by there motor scooter
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logbook diary, leaving for gibralter
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rohn sing and rudi sitting watching
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Rudi and I had learned that one of the keys to being able to survive
on this world tour was to earn our way by presenting a short program on a radio station. But what we didn’t know was that we had been lucky so far. I mean, we had always been paid for our performance, but there was no universal law that said we had to be paid.
In Gibraltar
it was easy to find a radio station. Most of them were in English, being Gibraltar and all. I listened when I heard a radio playing somewhere for the radio call numbers and wrote down several of them. I asked a passerby where the station was located. We found a station nearby and spoke with the director about the proposed program we had in mind. We performed a few examples of the English folksongs we would sing, and gave him an idea of the storyline we could air for them. This was new for us since I could speak English to the audience. This would be a piece of cake.

But there was something involved I didn’t anticipate. In the past, in Portugal, Spain, and France, the language barrier was actually to our advantage. Radio program directors found interviewing a foreigner like us was out of the ordinary. This was fresh and different for their audience. But for an English-speaking audience, our story was ho-hum. Plenty of unique travelers come through Gibraltar. “So what else is new?” was the expression I read on the face of the radio station manager. This is all hindsight. In Gibraltar I learned my lesson. You gotta have the right angle.
“Sounds very entertaining fellows, but just one thing – if you’re expecting any reimbursement for your program, I’m sorry to say we won’t be able to give it to you.”
We struck out.
Rudi has the superstition that good and bad things always happen in threes. This day’s events sure did follow his prediction. We decided to make the program anyways at this radio station; it would be good experience and good practice for us; but we decided that the next time we went to a radio station, we would make the program first, and then inquire afterwards about payment. The directors would be less hesitant not to pay for our services.

That afternoon we stopped in at an outdoor café. As we were sitting in the late afternoon sun, we met two American fellows who had heard our radio program. They were stationed in France with the U.S. army. They were on two weeks vacation and were interested in talking with us about our trip.
“Gosh. That’s one thing I’ve always wanted to do” one of the fellows from Kansas, said. His name was Edgar Tilly.
“Me, too!” Roger Morse said, a fellow from Milwaukee. “But I got a gal back home, and I know she wouldn’t want to hear of it.”
“My girl didn’t want to hear of it either,” Rudi said, “But seeing the world trip was more important to me, I took off anyway. You’ll always be able to find a girl, but you’re only young once!”
Well, that was the first I heard that Rudi had a girl back home. You’d think he would’ve mentioned her. Or showed me a picture that he carried with him. He never got any mail from any girls that I know of. That was a curious thing about Rudi. He guarded his private life and his private thoughts. He didn’t open up. At least not so far.
If the trip ended here in Gibraltar and someone back home asked me, “Well, what was Rudi like?” I wouldn’t be able to answer them. If they asked, “Was he easy to get along with?” I would be able to answer that question. I would simply say, “Yes.”
But descriptions of people take more that one sentence. It was a paradox. Here I had been with Rudi since last May 1957 after I got my discharge from the army. I still didn’t know him. And now it was July. It seemed the longer I was with him, the less I seemed to know much about him other than what I first learned when we met in Rotterdam. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to let me in; it’s just that I didn’t care to knock on the door and ask to come in.

I think a lot of marriages are that way. People get together and get married because they find someone who they need to compliment a certain part of their life that is missing, so it feels good that they found them and they get together, and they get married and live a long time together and have children, and they fulfill what they were missing in their lives and then when it’s fulfilled after ten or twenty years, they forget what it was that they were missing. But they’re left with children and a mortgage and memories of the struggle to keep everything glued together. Their lives become a chore of everyday existence, coping with what happened today and anticipating what’s going to happen tomorrow. You can see it on their faces. When I think back of the people we met on the trip this far, I see the same pattern whether it’s the gypsies in Portugal or the husbands and wives on French farms. I wondered if I would see the same pattern with the Arabs in North Africa or the families in black Africa.

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06 Oct, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes


06 Oct, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes

October 6th 2010

06 Oct, 2010 | Posted by: psnotes

SPANISH PROTECTORATE, sahara espanol 1pta correos , money
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OLIVE TREES two men by some olive tree, motor scooter
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FORWARD TO AFRICA two men on a motor scooter
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My Story


Gibraltar. It was afternoon and the looming giant rock was casting its long afternoon shadow into the Mediterranean. It stood there, waiting for us. Like it was giving us a final test or something before we passed over the water into another continent.
Rudi and I crossed over from Spain to enter the two and a half square mile place called Gibraltar. Stiff-spined uniformed middle-aged border officials greeted us in English. It was strange to hear everyone speaking a language I could perfectly understand. It was like coming out of a coma, where everyone understood what I wanted to say. Now that’s nice.
Jeeze! That was a good feeling. When I wanted to say something to someone -- no arm waving, raising my voice, drawing diagrams to get people to understand what I was trying to ask. When people look at you kinda dumb-faced all the time, it’s not a normal feeling. Here in Gibraltar, I felt like a person let out of confinement. It was good.
It reminded me what a task it was to communicate in a foreign language on this trip. Exhausting. I mean, especially talking with Rudi. If people spoke to us in French, I had to translate the French into German. Or if they spoke to us in Portuguese, I would recognize some of the words from Spanish and translate them into German or English, or sometimes back into French.
I was never cut out to be a linguist or something like that. It was a feeling of relief to be in a place where English was spoken. No longer will it demand great concentration on the sound of their language or inflections or gesticulations they might make to get their point across.
So here we were in this little piece of land, about 2 ½ square miles as I said. No need for much gasoline for our motor scooter at this place. If we drove 1 ½ straight miles we’d be out of the country.
Well I guess it’s not a country, it’s more what Americans call a protectorate. But who’s protecting who? It’s one of those places one country will capture and hold so they have a safe haven for their battleships or airplanes or troops. In other words, if they have these protectorates, it means they are an aggressive nation, looking around to protect their imports and exports as well as being prepared to invade some place. I never used to understand why one country would want to own a slice of another country a thousand miles away. I remember from my history class back at Mercersburg that Britain owned a lot of these “protectorates” around the world like Malta, Nigeria, Kuwait, Hong Kong, they even had Palestine up ‘til the end of WWII.
Even Portugal had them, Angola, and a place called Goa in India. France had them, like Algeria that started the Algiers war, which we will soon be traveling through. I don’t think Canada had any places like this but I remember I always thought it was funny that a place like New Zealand had one called Samoa.
I don’t know how long the British will be able to hold on to Gibraltar. These colonies have a long history of being a waiting time bomb and we felt a tension here in Gibraltar that wasn’t present in Portugal and the rest of Europe we traveled through.
The Germans are famous for having these long distant possessions, like East Prussia on the Baltic. I can remember during my CIC days in Wuerzburg interviewing refugees that wanted to come to the USA; one of them was from the German possession of the capital of East Prussia, Koenigsburg, the city where Richard Wagner, the composer lived and the philosopher Emmanuel Kant is from. The Russians, during WWII, kicked the Germans out. The citizens headed west on the only road out of town with horse and wagons and all their possessions they could carry. Russian fighter pilots strafed thousands of the mass of people with their Luftwaffe machine guns. Not many people survived and one of them was the German husband of an American friend of mine. He was a toddler back then, walking in the exodus along side his mother and little sister. His father was a German infantryman, fighting the Russians in the East. The guy doesn’t talk much about it. His father never returned. After a seventy-five mile march through Poland, his mother and he and his little sister got back to the German homeland in ’44 and got to live the war out in an apartment that the Germans had confiscated from a Jewish family who ended up in Auschwitz.
The USA has a history of these distant possessions or territories they sometimes call them. Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico. If we’re not careful, they could become time bombs too.
So much for history and politics. We always stayed out of arguments about the ‘aggressive American’. But nevertheless, when people met us, a German and an American, they expected a couple of aggressive guys. They were always surprised we were not that way.
We got through the border just fine. The customs people everywhere are always the same type. They don’t smile. You could put a Russian guy in a French uniform, and visa versa, and unless he spoke, you couldn’t guess his nationality. It’s funny how an occupation can attract the same character in people no matter what their nationality.
Well, with the formalities at the border over, we drove into Gibraltar, doubtful that we would find any farms on the tiny province. But maybe since Gibraltar is a peninsula it must have some beaches where we could camp out.
The great rock loomed like an overlord as we wound through the tiny main street, the 1400-foot rock plunging down into everyone’s backyard, into everyone’s business. It would block away the stars, half of the night, and half of the day, the sun. That big rock was like someone looking over your shoulder all the time. But I could see why some country would want to own it. It was like a traffic cop sitting right there between Africa and Europe, looking at everything that was happening coming in and going out of the Mediterranean from all those countries in the Near East and Italy and France and Spain, plus all the North African countries like Egypt and all. What a powerful place!
As we were driving through the spotless, well-scrubbed main thoroughfare, wide enough for two English-sized cars, we halted to watch a parade of double file patrols of bagpipe-playing Scots, dressed in kilts.
“They’ve got skirts on!” was Rudi’s assessment of the solemn soldiers.
We stood motionless, like at a football game when they play the national anthem. You felt like saluting or something. The soldier\musicians were repeating an ancient ceremony that probably harks back to Scottish clans warring against one another back in the 18th century. It seemed fitting with this pre-historic rock behind them in the background. Sea gulls soaring overhead must’ve seen humor in it. Stern soldiers in colorful plaid skirts parading to squeaky music from bagpipes. Oh well, it’s like scotch whisky. You have to acquire a taste for it.

“They’ve just come from the changing of the guard ceremony at the Governor-General’s palace,” a tall, gray-haired Englishman standing on the sidewalk behind us said, seeing we were curious.

“I believe they’re from the Black Watch barracks,” he said. English people we had met on our trip seemed to always want to offer the history and background of places. “And where are you chaps coming from?” he asked.
“We’ve just come from Europe and we’re on our way to Africa,” Rudi answered. He was getting pretty good at answering in English the standard questions people would ask us, like. “Where are you from? Where are you going?”
“On that motor scooter?” The man asked, looking down at our scooter.
I didn’t answer. I let Rudi practice his English.
“Yes, don’t you think we’ll be able to make it?” Rudi asked.
“Well, and he paused, I’m sure you didn’t have any trouble in Europe. But when you blokes get to Africa, you’ll see a world of difference in the roads.”

I love the English people, but it irks me the way so many of them want to maneuver you into a debate or a ‘can you top this’ contest. I guess it’s their way of testing you. I usually play “dumb” with them, and then surprise them later on in the conversation with a remark that tops anything they’ve produced so far. But I didn’t think I could top this man.

We stood in the street with the gentleman for a while, talking about our trip in Europe, and hearing advice on what we were going to meet in Morocco. And listening to what we should avoid. He sounded like my mother.
“Have you chaps ever been to England?” he asked.

“No, we didn’t get there. We plan to hit it on the way back.” Rudi answered.
“Well, it’ll take more than just hitting. You could spend a year on the British Isles, and still never see enough. I suppose then you’ve never tasted stout?”
“What’s that? “ Rudi asked.
“Stout? Why it’s the best ale you ever tasted. Would you like to try some?” he said, pointing across the street to an open-air tavern.
“Sure!” I said, and we wheeled the scooter across the street.
On the way over, we introduced ourselves. His name was Everett Manchester. He was retired and lived in Gibraltar and was originally from London.
“How did the British ever get Gibraltar?” I asked him as we sat down to a metal table with a typical café umbrella over top.
He started, “Well there’s one thing you must know, the sun never sets on the British Empire. To make a long story short, we captured it from the Spanish two hundred and fifty years ago during the war of the Spanish Succession. The Spanish captured it from the Moors two hundred and fifty before that, the Moors had held it ever since the year 711.

“Why did you want to establish a fort here? It’s not near England.” Rudi asked.
“For its valuable position, of course, “ He quipped. In WWII we were able to effectively use it as an anti-submarine base against you. Well, not you, but the German war machine. He stopped short and changed the subject. “Well, I suppose you would like to try that stout, wouldn’t you?” and he snapped his finger a couple of times, attracting the attention of one the waiters.

“Where do most of these people come from, Mr. Manchester?” I asked, noticing the waiter didn’t look very English.

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