Click Here for, DANCING WITH THE WILD BEAST, diary among friends of the Mozambique Bush

Hard Nosed Big Game Hounds

Hard Nosed Big Game Hounds
Click the pic for "The hard Nosed Pack"

Luwire Photographic Safaris

Luwire Photographic Safaris
Looking across the Lugenda from one of the camps

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

African Camp Fires

One of my favorite first chapters from a novel comes from, African Camp Fires, by Stewart Edward White. Written around 1918.
What follows is White's observation of the going and comings of Adventurers, Explorers and Hunters from the Grand Hotel du Louvre et de la Paix of the Rue Cannebiere of Marseilles. I don't know if the Hotel still exists, If it does I hope to someday embark from there to somewhere far.

For at Marseilles land ships, many ships, from all the scattered ends of the earth; and from Marseilles depart trains for the North, where is home, or the way home, for many peoples. And since the arrival of ships is uncertain, and the departure of trains fixed, it follows that everyone descends for a little or greater period at the grand Hotel du Louvre et de la Paix.

They come lean and quiet and a little yellow from hard climates, with the names of strange places on their lips, and they speak familiarly of far-off things. Their clothes are generally of ancient cut, and the wrinkles and camphor aroma of a long packing away are yet discernible. Often they are still wearing sun helmets or double terai hats pending a descent on a Piccadilly hatter two days hence. They move slowly and languidly; the ordinary piercing and dominant English Enunciation has fallen to modulation; their eyes, while observant and alert look tired. it is as though the far countries have sucked something from the pith of them in exchange for great experiences that nevertheless seem of little value; as though these men, having met at last face to face the ultimate of what the earth has to offer in the way of danger, hardship, difficulty and the things that try men's souls, having unexpectedly found them all to fall short of both the importance and the final significance with which human-kind has always invested them, were now just a little at a loss. Therefore they stretch their long lean frames in the wicker chairs, they sip the long drinks at their elbows, puff slowly at their long, lean cheroots, and talk spasmodically in short sentences.

Of quite a different type are those going out--young fellows full of northern health and energy, full of eagerness and anticipation, full of romance skilfully concealed, self-certain, authoritative, clear voiced. Their exit from the bus is followed by a rain of hold-alls, bags, new tin boxes, new gun cases, all lettered freshly--an enormous kit doomed to diminution.

Reading further down

So they, the newcomers, sit tight and pretend they are not listening, and feast their ears on the wonderful syllables---Ankobur, Kabul, Peshawur, Annam, Nyassaland, kerma, Serengetti, Taganyika and many others.
And the quite men glide away to the north. Their wares have been marketed. The sleepy, fierce, passionate, sunny lands have taken all they had to bring. And have given in exchange? Indifference, ill-health, a profound realization that the length of days are as nothing at all, a supreme agnosticism as to the ultimate value of anything that a single man can do, a sublime faith that it must be done, the power to concentrate, patience illimitable, contempt for danger, disregard of death, the intention to live, a final, weary estimate of the fact that mere things are as unimportant here as there, no matter how quaintly or fantastically they are dressed or named, and corresponding emptiness of anticipation for the future---these items are only a random few of the price given by the ancient lands for that which the northern races bring to them. What other alchemical changes have been wrought only these lean and weary men could know--if they dared look so far within themselves. And even if they dared, they would not tell.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Headed down That Third World Road!

I love the Third World, or "The Third" I call it. I'm very comfortable there, stepping into that simple estranged ebb and flow, thankfully I was put together that way.

"The Third" is a naive, quirky, eccentric, very simple minded, master of survival, forever evolving, not always forward, the Third is perpetual. I'm undeniably proud of my sporadic relationship and connection to it and through many observations and experiences there I offer these few thoughts for you to ponder
First, simple is good if you want to survive in the third world. Actually if you can't get down to, and live with, the crude basics, "the purest simpleness" go somewhere else! You don't get a lot of advantages there like here, here in the First that is. No, there in the Third, its all sifted out and down. Down to the "Nit Grit", I call it, or to what you get when you have habitually shrugged off, left behind and run from, any semblance of mainstay progress. Some of us call this a vacation, I assume you know what I mean, but probably not.

Let me help a bit, think about the complicated engines so to speak of First World Civilizations. Those steady, stable, running rumbling things like, commerce, schedules, uninterrupted coms, utilities, mail and such. Those things what give you electricity, refrigeration, A/C, etc. etc. and the wherewith to pay for it all. And uh, the other little niceties, like a MacDonald's, Starbucks, whatever etc., down on the corner. Let me at this point say that in certain third world countries there are McDonald's etc and groceries etc. these are on the peripheral so to speak of the interior but be satisfied that in the true Third, there is nada. No Whole Foods or any "Chain Groceries" where you can get fresh anything, but what you can get you can rest assured is probably very organic and home grown. Wash it good!

You take good care of your vehicle, no service stations in the Bush down or over in the Third. You do your own maintenance, always! It's a law you live by. Let me explain, lets just say there is only one way to do it right. The average third world inhabitant has mastered thousands of ways to do it wrong. More than that, they can do it wrong so that it will hold just long enough, I say just long enough to assure that you will be in the middle of no where when it blows up, falls off, overheats, or shears off, or? Well, you get the picture.

Now depending on what the hell your doing there, there are proven techniques that allow for a better life style when living the way of the Third. One is to befriend the owner of the most popular local watering hole, especially one that serves food. You know all the local buzz from there. Also, if you are located near the ocean, a river or lake, find a successful local fisherman to befriend, "this is where the extra medication I refer to later", comes in handy. Medicine is a great bartering tool. I have traded Meds for just about everything from lifts, to food, to fuel, to getting out of a jam with the local Transcitos or Policia.

That's it in a nut shell, you survive by going back to living simple, bartering your way along in this place where survival is minute by minute almost, depending upon how savvy you are. I do not want to mislead at this point. Your not going to up and die at any moment but, If you want to go along without contracting one of the many debilitating parasites, malaria, cholera, etc. or simply dodge an angry Black Momba, or other diverse, kill you for moving wild animal, and less we forget, my favorite, the certain highly motivated, crazy, machete wielding man or woman who are just simply having a bad day, then you should learn to become a serious, very on your toes, aware, forward thinking, master of blending in and looking like an old hand at living this third world thing.

Living in the Third is as good as it gets if you are put together that way. For me, when in the Third I travel with essentials. I have a good knife, bomb proof Light and batteries to spare. Proper tools, 2 spares (tires on rims), spare tubes, high lift jacks, hand pump for flats, lots of tube patches, mosquito net, several means of communication, Sat-phone, Sat-up link for email, local cell phone, GPS, HF Radio, handheld with correct frequencies, water purifier, a few plastic five gallon jugs with lids, fire making apparatus, proper clothing and last but not least, my Med-Kit.

You should know what you could come down with in any particular Longitude or Latitude. Always, always, carry more than enough medicines. If you are in a place, where getting out because of emergency could take more than a few hours, I suggest carrying some potent pain killers, some that if necessary will almost put you out of your misery on their own, just in the event you encounter a problem that is sure to kill you, painfully, slowly, without hope of quick extraction. There are services that you can subscribe to that will fly you to a hospital of your choice anywhere in the world. I recommend Med Jet Services, but remember, you have got to get to an airport first before they can pick you up. I also carry lots of aspirin, when in the third world, aspirin can cure anything, it seems to be a mental thing sometimes but, If its a pill it's bound to be miraculous. If the pill comes from the U.S. it will absolutely cure anything. You save your hard to get Meds for yourself or the real need you might encounter. You can trade aspirin for anything, it's a cheap way to make friends or get out of possible hard places.

Now on the lighter side. Moving in the Third is like being a kid again, or feeling like it. You get to experience that freedom like when you were a kid and didn't have life's baggage hanging off your back. This is only possible however if you turn off your Sat Devices, Radios and Cells and only call out. I like only calling out! We need more of that here in the First, but it will never happen.

These days I long for the simple life of the Third and find myself rooting for the stock market to crash, for Americans to stand up to and force every politician to come clean or get out, I mean get out, as in "Get Out of The Country"! I have just been watching Mr. Obama and all his antics up on the stage. I didn't vote for the boy but I took him as my President to support. But, try as I might I can't support him. He's just too UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Let me just say at this point that as far as the two parties in our country go, and I do mean PARRRR-TEES, there's no real difference politically. The only true difference that lies in being conservative or liberal can only be defined as what you believe, your principals and morals! Our government has become a Phenomenal Farce, no principals and no moral obligation to anything. Its like so much Hollywood, nothing is real, nothing is for sure, nothing is trust-able in other words no principals and no morals.

No Third World Government could have pulled off a better scenario, I know what I'm talking about, I've lived and worked in the Best, or the Worst, depending on your viewpoint. So far as the preceding "thoughts to ponder" go, they were just words to enlighten you so to speak, maybe get you on the right keel as we cruise forward in our new body of water toward a shore that, if things hold true, we are just, "a slight screw up away" from birthing the Next Third World. I can here the BBC reporter now, The U.S. "Headed Down That Third World Road". Whatever, I got my garden broke up, do you? Can you work on your own vehicle? Can you evaluate, operate or medicate acute physical problems on yourself, friends or family?

Back to that garden, let's hope that Mr. Grand Leader doesn't get his way and continue his unabashed installments towards new changes/restrictions involving our Constitutional Amendments especially our Second Amendment! Let's hope we wise up, or better yet our Congress wises up and opposes our own President from taking our guns away. What do guns have to do with raising a garden you say? Well, what are you going to do when all those starving first world left-wingers come looking for your Turnip Greens? AP

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sheryl Putnam, One exqusite Soul.

I have friends that do amazing things, Sheryl is among those. Besides being the better half of the marriage that includes the Great Song Producer and Base Guitarists, "Norbert Putnam", whom I also count as a close friend, partly because of his good-looking better half and the fact that I can never get enough of his wonderful stories from "The Land of Norbert" I call it. Norbert has produced lots of world class talent from, Jimmy Buffet, Dan Folgeberg to Joan Baez etc. etc. but for now were here to do honor to Sheryl! Sheryl has an uncanny knack for connections. Mind you this is my take on her art and it's Sage-ness. Sheryl seems to feel the soul of people even before she meets them, to put it mildly, Sheryl is in touch with more than just everyday life. For me there is no other explanation other than God has given her a gift and thankfully for us she passes it on! She makes with her hands, luscious, comforting, strikingly elaborate, scarfs, wraps and prayer pockets. I have visited and experienced her studio, packed with finds from all over the world, parts of Vintage Rosaries, Buttons, Jewelry, bits of wonderful Antique Lace and Silks from Amsterdam to Grenada Mississippi and even more interesting they all have a history. All kinds of exquisite Vintage Ribbons, little charms, pins and this and that, all very beautiful and breath taking. These items are all hand woven into Scarfs,Throws, Wraps along with those wonderful Prayer Pockets. The Prayer Pockets often seem to have a life of their own by finding that person with a special need, the need for comforting. The Prayer Pockets allow for displaying indiscreetly, their hope and faith for the positive results of their prayer. A special symbol that translates to others in a understated way as a stand for a prayer to be answered. I hope you have the pleasure of meeting Sheryl sometime. If your that fortunate remember, take time and experience her calming spirit, if you have felt a need for a little comforting you can take with you anywhere, there is probably a piece she has made waiting there for you. Hopefully, I'm told there is a Sheryl Putnam web-site in the works. I'll keep you posted. Ap

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Reprinted From "Written Words to Ponder", www.apmcgee.com

  • I came here on November 3, 1955, born another grateful "Son of the South", later I realized that I had inherited a few too many of my daddy's restless genes. For as long as I can remember he just had a plain ole natural or unnatural desire to go. Usually somewhere far, more times than not, as far as he could. People, friends and loved ones the like often wondered why, but the fact was, he just plain liked it, and the more he went the more he wanted. He was born enjoying being somewhere he'd never been, and from that moment on he never stopped. 

During the hazy days of my youth, uncles, grandfathers, cousins and friends, wooed me to their world of woods, mountains, swamps, rivers, creeks and oceans. They seemed amused at creating a problem I would eventually learn to live with for the rest of my perpetual childhood. My hero my Dad, and his unmapped ramblings, became the norm for me and the family.

 He sent for me once when he was down in Costa Rica, I got into San Jose late at night and had to find my own way to the hotel. I remember waking in the pre-dawn from a fatigue induced coma listening through the open window as a million roosters voiced their disapproval at a faint glow creeping across their starry sky. The smells and sounds of a foreign land imprinted on my soul just as the foreign visa was stamped in my crisp new passport. Unknowingly or not, Daddy had put the first nail in the coffin of a young vagabond to be, and so began, formally, the education of a prodigy that would earn a PHD in "life well wasted".

 The first time he carried me to the Rain Forest the Contras were still active in the region. Flying up the coast towards Nicaragua there was nothing to see but Beach, Jungle and the Caribbean. In the cabin of that old wore out Cessna we carried enough fuel in 5 gallon cans stored in the back seat, for the return trip. We put down on my first bush airstrip complete with the usual menagerie of cows, chickens, goats, and horses dodging us and each other. There on the banks of the Rio Colorado, just before emptying into the Caribbean, a famous old Fishing Lodge was strategically nestled and used for our base of operations. From this headish perspective I finally began to relate and appreciate my fathers stories of the South Pacific during his Navy days of WWII. Dad, myself, the river and the jungle, began to merge and flow like the rain through the canopy overhead to the forest floor below. We all sank into the dark loam of ancient composting organic matter as our history converged for a while with that of the forest and took us a long through the seeps, cracks, crags and trickles to the river, brown, brackish, swirling, ever flowing on to fulfill its God given right of both muddying and nourishing, the crystal clear Caribbean. 

For the time I spent there the days were for the jungle, Ocelot Tracks, flocks of Yellow Napped Parrots, Howler Monkeys, Olive Tangers, Tink Frogs, Wild Peccaries and rain. I still remember the great dugouts gliding along with my daddy in the prowl pointing the route he wanted, watching the forest, surveying the amount of marketable timber that the forest would yield. But the nights, the nights, the nights were special, memories of those times spent there are forever with me. While my dad and his crew sat around the fire considering the information gleaned from the day's survey, the native boys would invite me into their small dugouts to fish. They shared with me my first warm Costa Rican Beer and showed me the Tarpon of the Rio Colorado. 

From those small boats we fished by lantern light, catching mostly small snapper, jacks and bait fish. Occasionally the Big Silvers would visit and play with us, breaking off our hand lines and sometimes if we held on too long, dumping our small crude boats of all on board before following the bait fish up the river to their evening dinner. Down there I spent the day living for the night, dreaming, just like I do now, dreaming of, well you know what I was dreaming of.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Meditation is Good

Sometimes, a boy needs to get out his stuff and just look at it, sort through it, organize it, touch it, smell it, clean and repair it. The process is merely a preamble to planning, packing and travel. It sets the stage and lifts the curtains of the spirit as the mind naturally begins to ooze a little testosterone along with a few choice drops of endorphins. Hopefully not enough to push you over the edge especially after a long winter. Kind of a Zen Mediation of sorts. (I recommend getting out the gear, whatever it is and going through it several times during the off season, if you have an off season), this alleviates possible "over revving" in the spring. (very dangerous). Normally if you have burned up a lot of long distance phone calls to friends in various parts of the world discussing each others need to get out, read well and trained a little, paged through plenty of gear magazines, watched a lot pertinent outdoor videos, prepared many culinary feasts of game and fish you have harvested while in the company of you best mates and toasted each other and those no longer with us, you shouldn't have any problem. It should however give you just enough "whatever it is" I guess a little anticipation along with that warm bubbling in your soul that carries you through till your out under the stars again. Makes me smile, 

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Here's to a couple of hard working very talented friends, Frank Stitt and Steve Richerson.
Frank was on the CBS Morning show last week cooking and promoting his new book and Steve was on VH1 promoting his new Green Magic Set for Kids. He was Green before Green was cool.
It's nice to have close friends that are actually out there improving and enhancing our lives.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Consorting with the Savages

Baron Benjamin De Rothschild, Derek Littleton and the rest of us loaded up for a day of consorting deep in the Luwire Bush
The Hounds of Love taking a mid day, consorting brake
My Friend Frank Stitt, "Highlands Bar and Grill" consorting at Cassetta Gallery during the Alabama Adventure Weekend
Well now, Mareth McGee, Sandi McGee consorting with the suave Rick Hall, founder, "Fame Recording" Muscle Shoals Alabama
Typical Consorting Savage Types
Sandi, "Can You Say Geronimo" consorting with Olympic Gold Medalists, John Rothlisberger and David Durante, along with Sara McDaniel, "Inside Gymnastics Mag"

Me, and the "Sultan" after the typhoon blew the place away, consoling consorts
Me, with a couple of consorting Strumpets at awards night, "Nashville Star"
General Consorting at the Black Foot in Mozambique. Bryan Allen, "Bryan Allen Photography" looking on
 Allan Davies,  a Rhodesian! (better known as the man who once misplaced me somewhere in the Greater Shag ) consorting in Rhodesia at the "Dugga Boy Bar" during the weekly "Sudza Night" fyi the lights were bright
Nashville Consorters, Yours Truly, John Briggs, "ASCAP" and a friend?
Gustaf, a WORLD RENOUND Consorter, Mig Pilot and Whiskey Maker, making the scene at Carlos and Suzanna's

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hard Core from Sweden

Fjallraven Outdoor Equipment

The Good Ole' Days

I would have fit right in! I found these and thought them worthy. If I could walk into these photos I would die a happy man, nothing but adventure, be it a bit risky back then ( malaria, dengue fever, dysentery), no malarone or artesinate, but Oh, what you would see, smell and feel that is long gone, and will never be again. AP

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Striper Time

Striper  -  Striped Bass
pronunciation: \'stri-per\  I like this Fish! He's the largest game fish in my home area and when it comes to fishing I like BIG! Here in the Tennessee Valley of North Alabama we got Pan fish, Crappie, Bass, Smallies, Large mouth, Native Freshwater Stripe, Hybrids and Salt Water Stripe or Striped Bass, along with the ever faithful Catfish to mention a few. Certain times of the year the Big Salts gather up and put the hurt on some Schooling Shad and Skip Jack. This is when I get out a 8 or 9 weight with my old Billy Pate, a big Saltwater Popper or Sardine Streamer, weight forward line, heavy tippet etc. and hit a few spots that if all things are correct, I can cast to the big boys bustin shad on top water, it's the next best thing to the Gulf. At present my wife is enduring my annual gear survey, where I pour it all out on the dinning room table, clean, discard, make notes as to any deficiencies and organize. You never have enough of this or that, there's always the new fly or lure, you need to be able to sleep at night so of course you buy it. AP

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About Me

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I’m a Southern Boy, just 56 last November, I get around here and there, Central America, Africa, Red Bay. I’m a Father, Grandfather, Husband, Artist and general flunky of sorts. Live in a little historic town in an old building I remodeled. Just wanted to hear myself think I guess, talk about the need of simplification, show some art, express an interest or two, brag on my dogs and see where it goes. That’s it!, That’s the deal, Thanks