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October 22, 2004     The Columbia Star
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October 22, 2004
 

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20 OCTOBER 22. 2004 Travel T H E C o L U rv1 B A STAR , ii , Bah Oure, director of ERA/Guinea and a coach of the Guinea National Basketball team, was a question- able member of our Slave Trail Expedition team. He had suffered a knee injury and was- n't sure he could walk 21 miles. However, as we gathered on the morning of June 13, 2004, in the village of Farenya, he threw cau- tion aside and gave in to glory and valor. Within the first hour, Bah's knee gave way and he collapsed. Team members rushed to him. Between cries of pain, Bah instructed Sekou Camara, the youngest and strongest of the trekkers, how to pull his leg to re-socket his knee. Soon aider Bakoro, Bah once again fell to the ground in agony. Once again Sekou pulled his knee back into position. We offered to send him on to Boffa in the supply truck that was follow- ing us, but he refused. The Slave Trail Expedition team o" j ms a palaver with the elders of Bakoro. Adventure Travel The African Slave Trail By Warner Part 12: Tragedy, palaver, & lunch "I must continue," he said, "This expedition is too important." With the excuse of Bah's injury, we stopped for lunch at a well outside of Bakoro. It was 11:15 am and 90 F. Under the village baobab tree, we held a palaver with the local elders. Dr. Camara explained the purpose of our expedition, and Jim Fisher offered gilts. The truck was sent to Boffa for sar- dines and bread since no one except me had thought to bring food. I shared my Powerbars with the group and the elders provided palm nuts. We filled our water bottles from the water pump provided by the Japanese gov- ernment. I washed my face and settled in a lounge chair for a nap. Bah Oure collapses in pain and instructs Sekou Camara how to pull his knee back into joint. Bah Oure collapses a second ried by Keita, the Ministry of cial, and Ahmed, our (Next week: Sanya Pauli, a major slave vil- lage) Warner, assisted by Moussa, son of the chief of Farenya, washes up at a water pump pro- vided by the Japanese government. The chief thought that this which a tree has grown was steering wheel. :i i After a PowerbarS nuts, "Kiev station," a man's voice said over the intercom, interrupting the constant stream of Russian techno music being piped through the speaker above my head. It was 8 am and we had completed our overnight train ride from Bryansk. We all gathered our suit- cases and stumbled, still half asleep, to the taxi ramp. There we said our final goodbyes. Kevin was headed to his hotel, Kate and I to a travel hostel, and Anna, Dorothy, Carole, and Lyman were going to stay at Yelena's apartment until their flights leR in the after- noon. Kate and I still had one fiffi day in Moscow and we planned to take advantage of it and explore the sights. Our hostel was about a 20 minute walk from the nearest subway stop and with the curious similari. ties between all the Soviet buildings, finding your way back at dusk can be tricky. The main landmarks associated with Moscow are the Kremlin and Red Square. Several buildings and cathedrals grace Red Square, one of the most recognizable being St. Basil's cathedral. Its swirling spires and Byzantine domes that resemble multicolored candies make it an easy landmark. St. Basil's was commissioned by Czar Ivan (better known as Ivan the Terrible who was infamous for murdering his own son). Legend has it that after seeing the beauty of the cathedral Ivan ordered the artisan's eyes be gouged out so that he could never create any- thing more beautiful than St. Basil's. (Another Russian fable? Perhaps.) Bed Square is also home to Lenin's Mausoleum where the famous Bolshevik's embalmed body is on dis- play to tours. No cameras are allowed inside the tomb and strict silence is expected out of respect. Many people have specu- lated that Lenin's body is less Lenin and more wax, but no definitive proof has been 0flexed. Inside the Kremlin walls th-A.rm0i'y provides a glimpse of Russia's illus- trious royal past with , clothes, furniture, and crowns of czars and czari- nas. Even though the majority of them are now in private owners.hip, a few Faberge eggs still remain on display in the Armory. Behind the Armory is a series of cathedrals each used for different purposes. For example, the Cathedral of the Archange ! Michael houses the remains of every czar from 1325--1626 (with the exception of Boris Godunov). Moscow is such a large city, that it would require a stay of a few weeks to fully absorb all it has to offer. Kate and I managed to visit GUM, a large three level, upscale fashion mall next to Red Square, Old Arbat Street, the oldest street in Moscow that features everything from electron- ics and souvenir stores to outdoor vendors and street performers, before absorb- ing the lives of everyday Muscovites in a small urban park. Kate and I, after many trips through the ornate Moscow subway stations, finally met up with Anna and Kevin for a farewell supper. We opted against another tradition- al Russian meal in favor of American cuisine with a Russian flair at T.G.I. Friday's. It was a bit sur- real to see American mem- orabilia and  " cmsme in the heart of the Russian capi- tal. Kate and I miracu- lously found our way back The yellow building surrounded by the Kremlin walls residence of President Putin. The smaller structure is Lenin's Mausoleum. through all the twists and turns to our hostel and a well-deserved night's rest. The next day I took an early taxi to the Sheremetyevo airport, soaking in my remaining minutes in the city. It seems that every time I visit Russia a little slice of me is leR behind and a lit- tle more of this curious land is left in its place. i: i t If you are interested in taking part in an Earthwatch Expedition please visit their website at www.earthwatch.org" or call 800-776-0188. St. Basil's Cathedral, Red SqU '