Bugging out

Around mid-March, Marc Pigeon arrived in camp. George Krois and Earl Lozo were already there. John Juke arrived not long after. As I was cleaning out my kit from the helicopter, Jean-Marc walked up and asked if he could keep my compass, map and signal mirror. I was happy to let Marc have the compass and Michelin map, but I kept the mirror. The Silva Ranger compass had a mirror attached to the lid and he could use it for signaling if needed.


There would be no more desert caravans in my life.

I had done my agreed-upon time, and I would now be heading home, via Nairobi, Amsterdam and London. I was in a good mood when I climbed aboard the Somali Air DC-3 heading south to Mog. A couple of days later I was headed to Nairobi, and then onto an East African Airways flight north.

I spent a little time in Amsterdam chasing Dutch girls riding bicycles, but it was too cool and rainy after my time spent near the equator. I was chilled the entire time. I left for London but the weather there obviously wasn’t any better.

I walked around London seeing the sights and generally doing the tourist thing. On a couple of occasions I stopped to ask people for directions, but I gave that up when I discovered that no one out in the streets actually spoke any English. I can’t begin to think what it’s like in London today, but I can’t help imagining that there isn’t a single soul residing there who speaks English now.

To make matters worse while in London, when I finally met the native varieties who could speak English, every damned one of them made an automatic assumption that I was American. It goes without saying that pissed me off to no end. Finally I got tired of explaining, gave up and agreed wholeheartedly with the stupid bastards each time it was mentioned. By the time I left that miserable island in the middle of nowhere I had professed to be a resident of every American city the silly buggers put me in.

My taxi-ride to the airport sums up my London experiences. At about the halfway mark on the way to Heathrow, one of the rear tires came off the axle and went rolling down the highway in front of the cab. I considered it a perfect conclusion to my stay in the city.

After arriving back in Canada, I did my check ride and headed off on a contract with Manitoba Hydro at Conawapa.

John Juke left us in 2011.

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