Back in Dar Es Salaam 24,000km later. A legendary train ride and theft!

The dumbest thing you can do is judge an entire population based on a single event. Unless we're talking about positivity
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In fact if you twist my above statement, then it's hard to see how you can say that a group of people are nice because 1 of them treated you kindly, but you should not judge the same group based on 1 of them treating you unfairly? I guess that's a choice you make in life: Are you willing to believe there is more good than evil?
 
To that I say that I have traveled overland to 116 countries across 4 continents and I've seen no evidence that there should be more evil than good. On the contrary! So I think that it is a pretty fair assumption. At least I have collected a solid amount of empirical evidence before stating anything. We will get back to why this is important later on in the blog.
 
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I said farewell to Gerrie the beekeeper in Zambia. A man who likes to keep bees. He doesn't want them to get away. He wants to keep them!! Okay, I totally stole that from Eddie Izzard, a standup comedian I treasure. But Gerrie certainly keeps bees and makes honey, which tastes better than any honey I've ever come across. He also showed me a good time and drove me straight to the bus in Harare the day I left. 
 
The bus became this projects bus number 217. You might say to yourself: "I take the bus everyday. So 217 doesn't sound like much?" Well, most of my busses take more than 12 hours to reach their destination, so I guess that's different. And I don't even count the city busses I take. I only count transportation in which I brought my bags along. 
 
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In Kapiri Mposhi I got off the bus and took a taxi to the train station. I picked up my reserved first class ticket for the 3 day train ride on this legendary train! First class only costs USD 27. So that's a bit of a bargain! 
 
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Chris in the middle - Alex in the back.
 
The TAZARA railway opened in 1975 and stretches 1,860km (1,160mi). It's the Tanzania-Zambia railway and aptly connects Tanzania with Zambia as the name suggests. I find it to be such a lovely way to enjoy the scenery of both countries while getting to where I mean to go. There are 2 trains. In June 2016 I traveled on the new train, but this time I got the pleasure of the old one...there is a big difference! However both trains offer unique experiences and I'm happy to have tried them both.
 
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We passed the new train on its way to Zambia.
 
I was seated in carriage C1008, compartment number C2 and allocated to bed number B6. On first class they fit 4 beds into a compartment which is quite suitable. On second class there are 6 beds...third class is something else. Dining onboard is reasonable and the scenery is great. In fact I can hardly imagine a form of public transport more convenient for seeing a large portion of the landscape.
 
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Something else? ;)
 
Onboard the train I met Alex (Alexander) from Austria, or Australia? Or Austria? Yes, definitely Austria...they're more or less the same - right? And I also made friends with Chris (Christopher) from Zambia, or Gambia? Or Zambia? Yes, definitely Zambia...they're more or less the same - right? ;) We teamed up for meals and conversations during the 3 days across the landscape. As the train passed the border from Zambia to Tanzania we made 2 short stops, where immigration was fast and easy. We didn't even need to leave the train. Hawkers would board the train along with immigration in order to sell sim cards, airtime and exchange cash.
 
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Once in Tanzania we could no longer use our Zambian Kwacha anymore. Everything had to be paid in Tanzanian Schilling. And we also had to adjust the time 1 hour forward as we entered East Africa and left Southern Africa. If I ever get a chance to board the TAZARA again then I'll aim for the new train as the old train is less comfortable and luxurious. But the old one is definitely worth the experience!
 
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One evening as the sun was setting, women onboard the train were clapping and singing as the train rolled deep into the night...
 
"Yahweh mulibakulu takwaba uwaba nga imwe. Yahweh mulibakulu takwaba uwaba nga imwe. Yahweh mulibakulu takwaba uwaba nga imwe. Yahweh mulibakulu takwaba uwaba nga imwe...Yahweh mulampala takwaba uwaba nga imwe..."
 
(God you are the greatest there is no one like you (x 4)...God you give me all the blessings).
 
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The train stayed remarkably on time, and eventually we reached the final stop. Returning to Dar Es Salaam (the city of peace) wasn't "just" returning for me. It concluded a very long round trip. It was the end of "THE GREAT PLAN" which was my idea of conquering the island nations of the Indian Ocean. As it turned out a: 24,000km (14,913mi) ROUND TRIP!! A journey which included 2 cargo ships, 3 containerships, 9 busses and a train.
 
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To put it in all into perspective the distance is equal to going MORE than halfway around the world! The 4 new countries we visited included: Comoros, Madagascar, Seychelles and Mauritius. Then we revisited: South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Tanzania in order to return to Dar Es Salaam. My guess is that it has never been done by anyone before and momentous as it may be...it will likely go largely unnoticed. However, it does make me wonder about the total distance of the Saga if conquering the Indian Ocean alone clocked up that much?!? 
 
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In Dar Es Salaam Chris and I said farewell to Alex, who was on his way to Zanzibar. Alex was on a 1 year journey to see the world and had a pretty tight, but quite extraordinary itinerary. Then Chris and I checked into Tropical Hotel in Kariakoo, Dar Es Salaam. We both got rooms on the 8th floor. The next morning I got started on visas for Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. You can apply for the "East African Visa" which includes 3 of those countries in a single visa. That is done online and takes the office 3 days to process. Burundi has gone a different way. For that visa you show up at the embassy, fill out the form, deliver supporting documents, passport photos and pay USD 90 to the clerk. Then you leave your phone number as the clerk sends your application away for review. I was told that it would take 1-2 weeks whereafter I might not even get the visa. So we're still waiting for that call people! ;)
 
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One morning while still asleep in my hotel room, I was woken by somebody knocking on the door. I was barely alive, but managed to get out of bed and open the door. I was tired and didn't bother to put on clothes, so I was simply sporting my boxer shorts. The man at the door said "Oh sorry" and walked away. I went back to bed and checked the time: 07:30am zzzzzzzz.
 
At 08:00am my alarm set off. I got up, washes myself, got dressed and headed down for breakfast. Around 08:30am I returned to my room. Nearly at my door a man carrying a small backpack came racing around the corner!! He was sweating and stressing and pushed me aside as he blazed past me!!! I merely thought he was late for something, but as I looked at him running I noticed a resemblance between his backpack and mine. In a split second I dashed for my door, looked in the room and realized my bag was gone!!! I ran after the man, but was 10 seconds behind him and he had already vanished!! I started racing down the staircase from the 8th floor stopping once in a while hoping to hear him?! But nothing. I reached the reception on the ground floor and explained what happened and that the man was still in the building!! It didn't take them long to react...but still long enough that time was lost. A door by door search began within the massive hotel, but I was already late for an important meeting and had to leave.
 
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Later on I returned to the hotel, but only to discover that nothing had turned up and that the hotel was back to normal again. I found Chris and he helped me motivate the hotel supervisor to join us at the police station to file a report. Some bureaucracy later I was handed a report number and told to come back the next day at 08:00am to get an investigator assigned to the case. So I returned the next day at 08:00am.
 
I've already heard a number of people say that Tanzanian police has gotten a lot better lately. The only thing I can derive from that, is that their reputation might have been lacking in the past. Culturally I'm really far from home and what seems logically to me might be far from how things work in Tanzania. It's the age old debate about implementing solutions from one part of the world in another. It just might not work as intended. And as such my brain and my ideas towards an investigation might be misplaced around here. And that is really frustrating! Because I cannot see or understand the progress that the police is trying to make in this case? However, I know from experience that the social network of a country like Tanzania can solve a situation I could never hope to fix in Denmark. It has been quite a dance and there might still be hope to get some of my stuff back. I really don't know? Definitely maybe...
 
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I have been told by a few people that I should leave Kariakoo because it's too dangerous. I love Kariakoo and most people there are just trying to get by. They go to work, do their shopping, smoke cigarettes, tend to their family, listen to music, laugh, play candy crush...you know the drill ;)
 
So what was in the bag? Well, a few items will certainly hold value for the thief: iPhone, battery packs, credit cards, cash. But for my sake he can keep those as they can all be replaced. I want the items that hold no immediate value to the thief: Red Cross collection canister, Ross Offshore banner, Red Cross business cards, Red Cross material, Spot gps transmitter. It's basically a lot of my work and 2 irreplaceable items:
 
- The Red Cross canister is probably the worlds most traveled canister and therefore unique having been to 116 countries. It has been signed by the Nigerian Red Cross as well as the Congolese Red Cross. It also contained far more than 100 business cards from Red Cross employees I had met along with small tokens I had received in appreciation.
 
- The Ross Offshore banner was provided to me as a part of the sponsorship deal. Like the canister it had been to 116 countries. I was asked to take a picture with it in every country in the world. I have 2 banners in spare, but they were only given to me after I had visited 37 countries.
 
- The gps transmitter has been documenting the Saga from the beginning. There is an online map which you can log onto to see the Saga as logged by the gps.
 
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The full list of lost items appears here below:
 
- Red Cross collection canister
- Ross Offshore banner
- Red Cross business cards
- Red Cross material
- Spot gps transmitter
- Euro/Dollar, approx $300.00
- Visa credit card
- Master credit card
- iPhone 4
- Samsung battery pack
- Extra battery pack
- Lifesaver water bottle 
- World Atlas
- Leather folder
- Documents
- Passport photos
- Scarf
- Padlock
- Vaseline
- Sunglasses
- Foreign exchange
- Rope
- Playing cards, angry birds
- Red Cross first aid kit
- Stationary items
 
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The last photo with the Red Cross collection canister. Tanzania Red Cross.
 
It has been extraordinary hard to deal with the hotel! The manager is currently in Zambia, the director has been out of reach and the supervisor doesn't speak much English and tries to avoid responsibility. In fact as Swahili is the dominant language and many Tanzanians have poor English skills, it has all been quite mentally exhausting. And at no point has anyone tried to explain to me what's going on. Chris has however been massively supportive within his capacity. Chris is by the way a smart guy who is currently studying management in procurement and supply, while supporting his family through a small garment shop. He speaks a ton of languages!
 
What I know is this:
- my door was locked
- the windows are bared
- my bag was locked
- the thief had a keycard
- the man knocking on the door at 07:30, was the same man who ran
- the hotels security cameras do not work
- the police is working on the case
- the chairman of Tropical is cooperating with the police 
 
Now this is important:
 Dar Es Salaam is a city with around 5,000,000 people. And I have been to 116 countries - some of then several times. Furthermore I have been on the road for nearly 3 years. So at this point I think it's safe to say: HURRAH FOR MANKIND!! :)
 
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It took all this time for something bad like this to happen to me! And it was only 1 man against the parade of strangers we have turned into friends! :) Those are superb odds in a world, where I would happily bring in a future born son.
 
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Evening out with Deogratias and Zainav. I've been out a few times ;)
 
Now somewhere between all of the above I have been shaking countless hands, laughed several times, had a few beers and been invited out several times. So don't come here with your doom and gloom. It's a bitter pill to swallow, if I've really lost the bag. But I've already been promised a new one from www.friluftsland.dk and we will slowly have it filled up again.
 
In 2011 I spent the year in Bangladesh working as a logistics manager during the construction of a water treatment plant. As it happens several of those colleagues are now at work on a project near Arusha here in Tanzania. So while the police is doing their thing and the Burundi visa application is undergoing some sort of scrutiny, I'll be on a 10 hour bus ride to Arusha. And something I'll be sharing more about later on is how I met Helena and Eivind from Norway who have offered me to stay for free here: http://www.lighthousebeachlodge.com/
 
 
While a stranger is a friend you've never met before, we simply just keep on keeping on. The rest will sort it self if we work hard and smart ;)
 

Best regards

Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - working hard.
"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"
 
Once Upon A Saga
 
 
 
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What's been going on lately? #CapeTownToCairo

Welcome to the next step: #CapeTownToCairo
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As some of you may remember I disembarked the good ship "Northern Magnitude" in Durban (South Africa). It wasn't a new country for us within the Saga. In fact it was the 4th time the Saga reached South Africa. But it was certainly the most optimal route in order to return to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
 
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This map will come in handy for this blog ;)
 
"Wait a minute? That can't be right? You were just in Mauritius and I have a map! Why did you go all the way back down to South Africa?" Well, please explain to me how you would get from Mauritius to Tanzania without flying? And if you bring up cargo ship traveling then please also explain to me how you intend to get onboard? ;) I looked at the map and made a decision: Get on a containership from Mauritius to South Africa (because I could). Then go overland through several countries I've already been to (because I'm familiar with them). Ship: 7 days. Overland: 10 days. A total 17 days while being cost efficient. Good plan! :)
 
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Then a good reason to reach Cape Town presented itself. Cape Town is in the wrong direction if you want to reach Tanzania from Durban. But this was a good reason and worth the time and effort. So the captain of the "Northern Magnitude" invited me to stay onboard until we reached Port Elizabeth (our next port of call), which is closer to Cape Town. The bus from Durban to Cape Town takes 26 hours, while the bus from Port Elizabeth only takes 11 hours to reach the city. So we went with the "Port Elizabeth plan". However while we were still at sea on our way to Durban, there were high winds (in Durban), which caused the port cranes to stop cargo operations for several days. This in turn caused congestion and delay in Durban's port and eventually I didn't have time to wait for the ship to reach Port Elizabeth.

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Captain Jens Lorenz.
 
To cut a long story short I said farewell to Captain Jens Lorenz and his crew, and disembarked the ship in Durban. Then I got on a bus and 26 hours later I was in Cape Town.
 
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However I had uncleared issues with immigration in Durban, and while I wasn't the only one at fault for that - I was at fault.
 
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I had time for a cup of tea in Cape Town before I returned back to Durban.
 
The only solution to fix my issues with immigration was to get back on a bus and return the 26 hours to Durban. So I did! The "Northern Magnitude" was still in Durban and I was greeted with warmth at my return. All my immigration issues were solved and there was nothing but high-fives ;) My long ride back to Durban had paid off. The captain even invited me to join the ship again to Port Elizabeth. This made sense because the ship was now ready to leave and I was a bit knackered having spent 52 hours in busses within a short span of time. The captain gave me the owners cabin once again, I filled my stomach with good food, did my laundry, slept well and bought the ships crew a round of beer ;)
 
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That's Port Elizabeth.
 
We soon reached Port Elizabeth and in the nick of time, I reached the last bus of the day leaving for Cape Town. 11 hours later I had arrived.
 
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Now you must probably be quite curious about why Cape Town all of the sudden became so important? And I'm sorry to disappoint, but you'll have to wait a little longer. Some things are better revealed at the right time... and the time is not yet. In any case I can say that Cape Town lives up to its reputation as one of the worlds great cities!
 
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I had a good time and even found myself invited to join Shaun and his fiancé Leeverne on a spectacular trek to the top of Table Mountain. Table Mountain towers magnificently over Cape Town which is scenically squeezed in between a mountain range and the ocean.
 
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Geographically I was quite far from Durban. So sticking with the original plan of headings through Zimbabwe and Zambia, to reach back to Tanzania, had to be revised. Both Zim and Zam require a $50 visa of me. And after searching for bus connections it proved far more time and cost effective to go north to Namibia (which like South Africa requires no visa of me) and straight to Zambia. I had to change busses in Namibia's capital Windhoek, which left me with a 6 hour window. That was great because I had originally left Namibia before the Namibian Red Cross Society (NRCS) had time to arrange for media to promote their cause. With this short stopover we could just manage to fit it in.
 
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It was great to see Rosemary again!
 
On that note the NRCS has really done wonderful work dealing with the draught. So it was an honor and a pleasure for me to help plead for more volunteers and donations to the cause. And frankly I'm still baffled how little we have seen about the worst draught Southern Africa has seen in over 30 years? Where is the media on that? Many of the millions of effected people are just "regular Joe's" who update Facebook on their smartphone and take care of their families. But dead cows and failed crops do not give any return next year...or this year for that matter. So now you have a completely manageable problem for ordinary people spiraling out of control. Meanwhile we get to read about Pokémon Go and Donald Trump. It makes you wonder about priorities?
 
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After my 6 hour window in Windhoek I got on the next long distance bus and woke up the next day in Zambia. I've got great love for these Southern African countries which make my life easy. The infrastructure is great, transport is available and comfortable, people are friendly and immigration is (in most cases) easy to deal with. The food culture is also something else! There is so much meat going around and the quality is very high. The day I first disembarked the "Northern Magnitude" was also the day I restocked on biltong :) Biltong is a speciality in Southern African countries and consists of various types of dried meat. It's not completely unlike beef jerky - but I think it's better. Generally I like to have some travel food with me in case I get hungry or run low on energy. Chocolate, nuts, dates and biltong are among my favorites. The downside of chocolate is that it melts so it's only regionally good to travel with. But biltong, dates and nuts are always great and in this part of the world there is no shortage of biltong ;)
 
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I get a great deal of messages from people through the Sagas social media. And I've met a great deal of people since I left home nearly 3 years ago. So I hope I'm excused for what comes next. It's still rather dumb though :)
 
I received a message on Facebook from Marguerite wrote that she has a brother near Lusaka (Zambia's capital) who would be happy to host me for a few days. She also wrote that he does honey farming. I get quite a lot of messages, but I should have connected the dots here. I only know 1 Marguerite and I've only heard of 1 honey farmer in Zambia before, which happens to be Marguerites brother. However I never thought that it was "my Marguerite" who wrote me on Facebook. I made a somewhat standard reply and kindly asked her to send me an email. Who is "my Marguerite"? Well, by the end of May 2016 I met David and Marguerite on the train from Mbeya in Tanzania to Dar es Salaam. David is from Germany and Marguerite is from South Africa. We spent several days together, booked the same hotel in Dar es Salaam and even met up later in Zanzibar. Now 4 moths later she was writing me on Facebook and for some reason I thought that I was writing with a completely different Marguerite who also happens to have a brother in Zambia who farms honey? Go figure..?
 
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Anyway, yet another bus got me from the Zambian border to Lusaka, where I met Marguerites brother Gerrie. Great guy who picked me up at the station. And then it was only inside Gerrie's 4WD that it dawned upon me, that Gerrie and "my Marguerite" are siblings?!? Imagine how dumb I felt? :)
 
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Gerrie in the yellow polo shirt.
 
Let's move on! :) Gerrie is an amazing guy who is more than capable within a long list of practical matters. He's friendly and it didn't take long before we clicked. Gerrie's business is within the bee business. More specifically the Apis Mellifera Scutellata, which is commonly known as the African honey bee...or just: bee ;) Like in: "look, there's a bee". Gerrie resides 25 minutes outside Lusaka where nature meets man. Lusaka is the kind of capital which has cinemas, malls, university, traffic, clubs, supermarkets and a lot of people. But just 25 minutes away the roads are unpaved, you can suddenly hear the birds and Gerrie's staff of 10 million bees make honey! They are either making honey or plotting to sting people to death so the trade comes with a certain amount of respect. But like with almost everything in life it's mostly peaceful and trivial and not a battle between life and death. Gerrie is still alive and so is everyone else. Besides: You've never tasted honey like this before! I happen to like honey a lot and prefer it in my tea opposed to sugar. I spread it on toast and eat it directly with a spoon if I have a sore throat. I've had my share of honey throughout my life and I can definitely put my mark on this! This is great honey: www.safaribee.com Gerrie is still in his startup phase and is taking off quickly. A bee hive can host around 50,000 bees and Gerrie is aiming at having 250 hives by the end of the year. So let's say 12,500,000 bees! Lord of the bees :)
 
Enough about the bees. It's the honey that counts. And Gerrie's honey is separated from the wax through a centrifugal process! Gerrie uses other techniques as well to get his production of REALLY pure honey flowing. It's all about the birds and the bees ;)
 
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 Well...my stay at Gerrie's place wasn't only about bees. I met a few of his friends, we had a braai (bbq), saw monkeys, giraffes and we played my very first Zambian football match. Yup, that kind of summarizes that :) It's easy to laugh in Gerrie's company so I thoroughly enjoyed his hospitality. And it was quite idyllic to stay in such surroundings. I could actually have jumped on another bus as soon as I reached Lusaka. And if I did then that would have put me in Dar es Salaam a few days later. But I have my mind set on taking the much slower train from Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Yes: The same train where I met "my Marguerite"...who's David's wife...and Gerrie's sister :) The train actually leaves today (Friday) which bought me two nights near Lusaka. And that all seemed to work out fine.
 
Here's a rundown of where I've taken you since this particular blog began:
 
03.09.16: Ship reached Durban. I board a bus to Cape Town.
 
04.09.16: I reach Cape Town.
 
05.09.16: I board a bus back to Durban.
 
06.09.16: I reach Durban and board ship (again).
 
07.09.16: At sea.
 
08.09.16: Ship reaches Port Elizabeth. I board a bus to Cape Town.
 
09.09.16: I'm in Cape Town.
 
10.09.16: I'm in Cape Town.
 
11.09.16: I board a bus to Windhoek (Namibia).
 
12.09.16: Bus reaches Windhoek. I board a bus to Livingstone, Zambia.
 
13.09.16: Bus reaches Livingstone. I board another bus and reach Lusaka.
 
14.09.16: outskirts of Lusaka.
 
15.09.16: outskirts of Lusaka.
 
16.09.16: I board the train in Kapiri Mposhi to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
 
Total distance traveled overland between September 3rd and September 16th: 8,573km (5,327mi). 
 
The Saga has covered 116 countries on 4 continents and began on October 10th 2013. Think about the context of that for a second...think about the distance, just how much must have happened since I left home and how many people I've met?
 
I believe that: the world is not a perfect place and that we have important issues to address. But I'm sure that the world is a far better place than we can possibly imagine and I'm sure that the state of reality is above peoples general perception. We need to adjust our perception to match reality ;)
 
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Best regards

Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - being realistic ;)
"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"
 
Once Upon A Saga
 
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"Northern Magnitude" - passenger number 1! :)

These ships provide me with my only "real" vacation. This one was a gooood one!
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Thank you Maersk!! And thank you to Captain Jens Lorenz and his spirited crew! Thank you, thank you, thank you! :)
 
The "Northern Magnitude" became my 9th containership within the Saga...and within my life for that matter. Something I've never thought about before is how much it means where and when a ship was built. Our planet went through a global financial crisis in 2007-09. It's still felt today in some places although the recent immense drop in oil prices is now the huge economic factor for many. You should know by now that the financial partner of the Saga has from day 1 been Ross Offshore (www.rossoffshore.no). As the name gives away they are in a business which makes them highly sensitive towards the prices on the oil market. But they continue to create a "deeper understanding" and I'm still privileged to feel their support. So we all owe Ross a huge THANK YOU for bringing the project this far.
 
The "Northern Magnitude" was built in South Korea back in 2003 which makes it a formidable ship! I've never seen an indoor pool on a ship before and this one even had a sauna! Wow! It apparently also handles well ;)
 
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The water is straight from the ocean and is replaced every 2-4 days. The temperature was 25 degrees Celsius;)
 
The crew onboard these ships are hard working and hardly have time for such luxury. But it certainly helps boost the spirit onboard. In my opinion the Captain is also paramount to the wellbeing of a crew. And this crew was amazing.
 
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Walking up the gangway was an extra long trip.
 
Out of the 9 ships I've seen, only two have been really large. This one was 300m long and could carry 6,967 containers! Think about that for a moment... That's 3 football fields floating at sea! I used to live in a twenty foot container 16 years ago. It was for a job and the containers we lived inside were created especially for the circumstances and hosted 3 men each. Now think about 6,967 containers!!
 
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The "Northern Magnitude" carried me from Mauritius (country 116) to Durban in South Africa. They would have brought me all the way to Port Elizabeth which was their next port of call after Durban. But there was congestion at the port due to high wind speeds, which meant that the port cranes couldn't operate for 6 out of 8 days. The congestion started long before we arrived and the captain had naturally already been advised by the agent in Durban well in advanced. So at sea we drifted for a while. That means the captain gave orders to stop the engine at sea, so that we saved bunker (heavy fuel), which is good for the environment and for the ships economy as well. However, with our deliberate delay at sea, we still had to wait at anchorage for several days outside Durban. Everyday the captain would receive new notice about when we could come along side...and the day and time for that was pushed again and again...
 
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This electronical chart of Durban shows you how full the port was. We were waiting outside in the "white" part of the chart.
 
You see, when your containerized cargo is delayed, its rarely due to the ship, but due to all sorts of outside circumstances. In this case the port of Durban was full of ships waiting to be unloaded and loaded, so at anchorage outside Durban it was much like a parking lot full of huge ships. A spectacular view! As the days went on I was eventually forced to leave the ship in Durban and not in Port Elizabeth which is much closer to Cape Town. Why did I so badly need to go to Cape Town? Well I'll keep that a secret for a little while longer. But I'm working on something big for the Saga and for all of you ;) Cape Town is well out of my way geographically. To be more exact it's 1,688km (1,049mi) in the wrong direction from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania which I'm trying to get back to.
 
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For me personally, something extraordinary is currently going on within the Saga. We have successfully completed visiting the great island nations of Comoros, Madagascar, Seychelles and Mauritius in the Indian Ocean! It took two "soul sellers" (worn down minor ships) and 3 containerships. Two of the containerships were "Panama Class" and the last one was, as described above, much larger! Now I need to backtrack around 4,872km (3,027mi) over land to get us back on track. And I plan to due this via Victoria Falls in Zambia to revisit a good friend and to pick a route I'm familiar with.
 
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This shows the breadth of the accommodation!
 
I've already written much about being onboard containerships so I will not repeat myself, but instead share pictures with captions. You can use the "search function" on the top right of the webpage (www.onceuponasaga.dk) to find the other stories. 
 
And I cannot stress enough how much the kind cooperation of Maersk Line (www.maerskline.com), the worlds largest container shipping company, has meant to the success of doing what we have recently done.
 
And as a final note I must repeat that traveling on these ships as a passenger is highly unusual, a great privilege and not something you can easily repeat ;)
 
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There was even an elevator onboard!
 
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You enter at UPP (upper deck) - my cabin was on F deck.
 
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The captain gave me the honor of having the owners cabin which has only happened once before!
 
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My personal living quarter.
 
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My bedroom - missed my girlfriend ;)
 
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And my personal bathroom.
 
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The officers messroom looked like this.
 
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The food was great! 3 meals a day: Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Beverages included. Good stuff!
 
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The officers recreation room was where I watched more than 50 episodes of "Doctor House". 
 
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The gymnasium was well equipped.
 
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Usually the art on the walls consist of pictures of ships. This ship had proper art and it was actually a pleasure.
 
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In some places the walls are decorated with notices, instructions, guidelines and warnings.
 
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On the "Northern Magnitude" safety drills are had every Saturday. The captain blows the "general alarm" or the "abandon ship" to keep the crew prepared.
 
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For whatever reason Danish style cookies seem highly popular on containerships? :)
 
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I spend a lot of time on the bridge as it speaks to my nature. On the bridge you have all the information and it's also a great place to spot for whales.
 
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"Tonight retard" does not mean that there will be a crazy party. It's a notice to the crew that the ship will set its clock back 1 hour as we pass a timezone ;)
 
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The 2nd engineer, Maksym Lukin, gave me a tour of the engine room which is in 4 STORIES!
 
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This is the top of the engine which continues a few stories down. It was built by MAN B&W, has 10 gigantic cylinders and produces KW - 77,000 BHP at 104 RPM! IT'S POWERFUL and supplies a service speed of 25.6kn (49kph or 30mph)!
 
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There were plenty of whales, when we passed Madagascar and when we approached South Africa. From our point of anchoredge outside Durban you were unlucky, if you didn't see whales every 5 minutes!
 
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When we finally received notice to proceed inside Durban port a helicopter arrived to drop two pilots onboard the ship. If the helicopter looks small then it's because the bow (front) is 228.2 meters or 748.1 feet ahead from the bridge!
 
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I became good friends with the 3rd mate Stanislav (Stas) Kovtun :)
 
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Alas, I disembarked and headed for Durban...
 

Best regards

Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - done with African islands!
"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"
 
Once Upon A Saga
 
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Once Upon a Saga
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