For our trip to Africa, we tried to find a few books to read. There were a couple that were really good, including "A Primate's Memoir" by Robert Sapolsky, and "Affluence without Abundance" by James Suzman. Both excellent.
But we also read that classic African adventure novel of the late 1800's, "King Solomon's Mines" by Rider Haggard. It was not excellent, but it did capture some of the colonial perceptions of the British Empire back then. It wasn't a pretty picture. But in the middle of the book, the heroes undertake a long cross-country hike that made us think of backpacking. Except they had a slightly different take on ultralight. In the book, five men start out on the journey cross the desert, each one carrying a load of forty pounds.
Here's the packing list for the group--described as traveling light!
3 express rifles and 200 rounds of ammunition.
2 Winchester rifles and 200 rounds
3 colt revolvers and 60 rounds
5 one gallon water bottles
25 pounds of Biltong (like jerky)
10 pounds mixed beads for trade a selection of medicines and surgical instruments
Knives, compass, matches, pocket filter, tobacco, a trowel and a bottle of brandy
I'm thinking someone didn't do the math on those "40-pound packs," either. I don't know how much those particular guns and ammunition weigh, but since they're each carrying a rifle and pistol, with 200 rounds for each, I've got to think that's twenty pounds per person right there. A gallon of water plus the bottle, that's probably another ten pounds. Five pounds of biltong each, two pounds of beads and such, and call it another five pounds of medical kit, knives, etc. The blanket would probably be wool for two pounds, and the pack itself would be, what, another seven pounds? Let's see, that's 51 pounds as I calculate it. They could save some weight by leaving the brandy, but that would be extremely foolhardy...
Loc: Portland, OR
We do all understand that King Solomon's Mines is not just fiction, but a fantasy-adventure book aimed mostly at adolescent boys who would never set foot in Africa - don't we? It is about as realistic as Ian Fleming's James Bond books.
We do. But it also captures a lot of what people in England thought about Africa....and about expeditions. Clearly some of the concepts come from Stanley's journal about his search for Livingston, and Burton's book on finding the source of the Nile...
I didn't figure you did. I've just been having fun, anyhow. Obviously, there was literary license taken (I'm thinking "Dan Brown.")
This thread just tickled my fancy, and I decided to try to be funny. (As in, "we needed a little humor, and I provided as little as anyone.") I did enjoy our little back-and-forth; I hope you did, too, and that I didn't offend anyone.
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