Archive for the 'Religious' Category

Mar 9th
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Click Above Video To Watch.

The Highway From Asmara To Massawa Drops Over 8000 ( 2500m) Feet In Just 100 Kilometers. We left early morning temperatures not far above freezing arriving to close to 90 ( 32C) on the coast.

At the entrance to the city is the Palace of Emperor Haile Selassie. Though he was murdered by the Communist Derge in 1975, his palace continued to be used by officials until it was bombed by the Ethiopian Air Force in 1991, when Eritrea began its’ War of Independence. To this day, it is still in ruins, like much of Massawa , in contrast to well preserved Asmara.

The visa to enter Eritrea is only good for Asmara itself. To travel anywhere else in the county , an interior Travel Permit is required. This took about 2 hours to acquire the day before. One must arrange transport as well. The driver’s name and the car’s license number are listed on the permit . TotalAdventure passport number deleted for security purposes.

One must carry the receipt as well, to prove that the 51 Nafka ( $3 ) fee was paid.

Along the highway there may be toll collectors.Baboons demand bananas in order to allow cars to pass without harassment.

Massawa architecture is more Ottoman than Italian.

Statuary Of The Lion King.

Barbed wire – possible live bombs inside of another palace.

The port on the Red Sea – almost all ships from China.

On Haile Sellasie’s Porch.

L – 1011 TO Nowhere.

Wartime damage un repaired after 30 years. But people live here.

Its’ been a long wait for the bus – about 45 years.

Bottled water plant , shuttered in the 60s.

Mothers and Children.

General of the Troop.

1930’s Graffiti.

Returning to Asmara – high above the clouds.

The New Generation Of Eritrea !

Mar 4th
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Axum Is One Of The Holiest Christian Cities On Earth. It Is Home To The Ark Of The Covenant – The Tablets Of The Ten Commandments Held By Moses.

In Middle Ages Europe ,In The Time Of The Crusaders, there was a tale of a paradise called The Land of Prester John. A land of unimaginable riches, and home to the Holy Grail. Somewhere near Ethiopia, though the Crusaders never got beyond Jerusalem.

A Truly Ancient Land.

Egyptian emissaries erected stellae in the Fourth Century, though quite a few have fallen.

Sunrise in the Land of Prester John.

The modern Church of Maryam ( Virgin Mary ) near the Ark Of The Covenant.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church claims to possess the Ark of the Covenant, or Tabot, in Axum. The object is currently kept under guard in a treasury near the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion.( Wikipedia) Ark of the Covenant was brought to Ethiopia by Menelik I with divine assistance, while a forgery was left in the Temple in Jerusalem. ( Wikipedia.) Melenik I was the son of King Solomon and Queen Sheba.

A Peaceful Dove – An Apparition ?

An Ancient Stellae Field.

A Cantankerous Camel.

Holy Bible.

Brutal Punishments For Sinners.

Rugged Trees For the Dry Climate.Tigray only gets a few showers in the summer.

One of the best restaurants in Ethiopia – in Adrigat.

Lamb and Beef so fresh you can eat it raw.

Hot Tibs.

Hotel In Adrigat. Did not stay there.

Captured In Battle.

Ancient Scripture.

Debri Damo Monastery. Accessible only by rappelling up the cliff.

Even monks 80 or 90 years. old can do it. Once they can’t, they stay.

Two Fascinating Weeks In Ethiopia then came to an end. TotalAdventure moved on to nearby Eritrea, though it took two flights to get there. TotalAdventure would especially like to thank Awaze Tours for making our private journey possible. Also Special Thanks to our driver Engdu ! Ethiopia is not an easy country to navigate and Awaze helped make all this incredible experience possible.

Feb 25th
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TImkat Epiphany In Holy Gondar. Click Video Above.

Priests Enact The Carrying of Boxes Which Carried The Ark Of The Covenant From Jerusalem To Axum, Ethiopia.

TotalAdventure, a Catholic, went to Ethiopia to explore the origins of Christianity. Dismayed by the ever increasing commercialization of Christmas throughput the world, to the point where religion is barely mentioned ,we decided to go where Christmas is not commercial at all, but a joyous occasion celebrating the arrival of Christ on Earth. Like much of the Christian Orthodox world, Christmas is on January 7th and Epiphany 12 days later on January 19th. Because this year,2020 is a Leap Year Timkat was on January 20th. In the West Epiphany is celebrated as the arrival of the 3 Kings, one from Ethiopia. In Ethiopia Timkat celebrates the Baptism of Jesus Christ. In Gondar’s Emperor Fasilides Baths. After many hours of prayer and singing, male participants will dive in , re enacting the Baptism.

Christianity arrived in Ethiopia by the 4th Century. Traditions and mystical celebrations changed little by the time Ethiopia was effectively cut off from Europe and the Holy Land by the 12th Century. The ceremonies we see here, especially in the video above, are the closest to Original Christianity.

As darkness falls on Timkat Eve, the momentum builds, with prayer, chanting and singing.

Another palace of Gondar.

The Three Kings.

TotalAdventure returned to the Fasilides compound by 5 AM. The Faithful were fervently at prayer.

Monks Sing Around The Baths as they have all night.

Dawn Approaches.

Sahle-Work Zewde, the President of Ethiopia, Came From Addis Ababa To Take Part In The Ceremonies.

Blaine Zuver, Director of TotalAdventure, Is Interviewed For the Ethiopia Herald. Story Here.

Part of The President’s Security Unit. Many soldiers were on patrol as well.

At last , after sunrise, the clarions blow and joyful adherents of The Lord re enact The Baptism.

Timkat 2012 ! (2020) The Ethiopian Calendar is 8 Years Behind The Western Calendar.

A Very Unfortunate Incident Occurred At Timkat. Bamboo bleachers are constructed each year so the crowds can get a view above the walls surrounding the Holy Pool. They are built to accommodate perhaps 200 or 300 people.

Just before sunrise the overloaded structure collapsed. Ten people were killed. More than 200 went to the hospital, some paralyzed for life. The ceremony was disrupted for about an hour, then went on.

Feb 24th
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In The Holy City of Lalibela. Click Above To Watch.

In The Twelfth Century King Lalibela Decreed A Holy City Known As New Jerusalem – To Be Built From Solid Rock. Above Is Beti Gyorgis – St.George ,One Of Eleven Churches Carved From The Earth.

The Light of Jesus Shines Upon A Monk.

Days Spent In Prayer Unchanged From The Fourth Century.

Very Little Restoration Has Taken Place. Due To The Arid Climate And Solid Rock Construction, Lalibela Remains Much Intact.

Envy Of The Crusaders Who Sought Ethiopia, But Couldn’t Find It.

There Are 2 Masses Per Day, At Dawn And At Noon,Each For Two Hours. No Eating Or Drinking Is Permitted Beforehand ,Not Even Water.

While Ethiopia is being “Discovered ” there are few crowds.

Rock Church From Above.

An Approach To Church.

Circular Compound.

Exterior of Compound.

Light Of Jesus.

Outside Lalibela- A Church Built In A Cave.

Guard’s Rifle.

St.George From Below.

Holy Waters – A Bit Stagnant.

No Assembly – Just Carving !

Church Exterior.

Lalibela Houses. Only Recently Did The Town Receive Electricity.

Jun 14th
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TotalAdventure returned to Istanbul for the first time in several years. It’s our staging point for points East.

Where East Meets West .

In Santa Sophia – Both Mosque and Church.

1000 Year Old Graffiti In St. Sophia

Europe On The Left, Asia On The Right.

A Patriotic Dog.

Tonight TotalAdventure Flies to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, and the Real Adventure Begins !

Jun 10th
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A Journey Up The Mekong, Into The Golden Triangle.
Rat ! It’s What’s For Dinner !

TotalAdventure Presents “Long Lost Laos” A Video Narrative Of Last Summer’s Voyage.

Sep 11th
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The TotalAdventure Team flew Qatar Airways from Miami to Saigon (HCM) Vietnam .On the way we had an 8 hour layover in Doha. On the way back we stopped over for two days. The above video is a compilation of the two visits.

Qatar is the wealthiest nation in the world, per capita. But tradition prevails in the desert lands outside of Doha.

It’s a 13 hour flight from Miami. 15 hours going back.

Right off the plane from Bangkok , we went riding the high sand dunes south of Doha. You can experience the adventure in the video above.

We went right dawn to the waterway that separates Qatar from Saudi Arabia, other than the narrow land bridge. The border between the two US Allies is currently closed. That’s a Saudi Army post about 3 km in the distance.

 

Back in the city , we went to Souk Al Waqif.

A delicious lunch of Sheep’s Head.

And Foul – a delicious Fava Bean stew.

Modest, yet colorful fashions.

Saffron and other exotic, expensive spices for sale.

The Architecture is Amazing.

Qatar Grand Mosque .

Al Zubara Fort.

It’s hot outside in July. That’s 117 F !

TotalAdventure would like to Thank Mr.Ahmed Nasser Al Rayes , Chairman of the Al Rayes Group for making our excursion in Qatar so flawless, exploring the majority of the country in a very short time. The Al Rayes Group owns 83 companies ,and is a leader in tourism investment.

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A joyous ensemble makes music for Lord Buddha.

Jul 2nd
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Angkor is truly a Wonder of the World, even if it was not listed as one of the originals.TotalAdventure spent three days exploring, though several weeks would be needed to visit all the areas that are still being explored.

Europe was in the Dark Ages when this huge city was being built.

These rivers were navigable.

Time takes over.

Lost In Time.

Angkor Wat – Main City.

Intricate Details On All Structures.

June is a great time to visit, as the winter tourist hordes have vanished, but real monsoon has not yet begun.

Eternal Path.

Eternal Guardians.

Jul 2nd
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A local guide and driver accompanied us to Laos’ Far North to the Luang Namtha district

The Akha and Hmong tribes occupy much of the region. Unfortunately for outsiders, few wear tribal costumes anymore.

A Reclining Buddha.

Bulls graze by the roadside.

The cuisine is delicious.

And unusual. Here we have some fresh Bat.

And cooked Rat.

Monks and Novices cross the rice paddies.