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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

PROJECT ODYSSEY 2: Sub-Continental Chronicles & Timbuktu, Ouagadougou Or Bust

PROJECT ODYSSEY 2

SUB-CONTINENTAL CHRONICLES

AND

TIMBUKTU, OUAGADOUGOU OR BUST

October 2007. Wee Cheng becomes a nomad again...

It has been 5 years since I completed my last round-the-world odyssey, during which I spent half year in Latin America, and another half a year travelling overland from London to Singapore. Since then, although I have had short touch-and-go stints in diverse places ranging from Australia, Bhutan, the Caribbean, Japan, Madagascar and other Indian Ocean islands, North and South Korea, the Philippines, Timor Leste and the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf States, I have been longing for an extended pseudo-epic journey, to lands I have yet to venture. The spirit of adventure beckons again. I have resigned from my job and about to take half a year or more off, to the largest blank spots of my world map – the Indian Subcontinent and Sub-Saharan Africa.
I will begin my journey in late October 2007, by flying to Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, the densely populated delta nation at the river mouth of the Brahmaputra. From there I will explore the cities of Dhaka and Chittagong, among the world's most populous and yet more noted from their state of poverty. My Australian friend who is almost the namesake of the new British PM (but save for an additional letter e behind) had gone to Bangladesh, had a good time there and highly recommends this country which is largely ignored by travelers.
Nepal is next, where I intend to visit the immensely artistic and monumental temples of Kathmandu, do a mini trek in the Everest region, then descend downhill towards India while paying a visit to sacred Lumbini, the birth place of Buddha.
I will cross the border into India. Quickly past the grand Buddhist and Hindu monuments of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, I will head for Pushkar, Rajasthan, for the famous Camel Festival. A few weeks in spectacular Rajasthan, a state famous for its desert cities and fortresses, then to Mumbai, India's economic and financial powerhouse, and the state of Maharashtra of which Mumbai is capital of. I am more interested in the temples of this region, many of which are renowned for their erotic sculptures, almost straight from the Kama Sutra. Then to Madhya Pradesh, Agra - famous for the Taj Mahal - and Delhi.
From Delhi, I am likely to fly to Kerala, the beautiful tropical state that calls itself the God's Own Country, the tropical islands nation of Maldives and legendary Sri Lanka. I should be back to Singapore just before New Year's Day 2008.

After Chinese New Year 2008 in February, I will head for West Africa. That will be the beginning of part 2 of my grand odyssey – Timbuktu, Ouagadougou or Bust. Nothing is fixed yet but I would definitely want to visit the fabled city of Timbuktu - the remote Sahara city renowned for the sheer difficulty of reaching there (- no tarred roads for 300km in the savannah and desert even today!) - and Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso whose name has always intrigued me (yes, one of those places one would like to know simply for the really exotic name.) I expect to spend 2 months around Ghana, Togo, Benin, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, The Gambia, Cape Verde Islands, Guinea Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire. From West Africa, I will fly to Ethiopia. I will explore the ancient civilization of Ethiopia, which was the second nation to adopt Christianity as state religion and whose alphabet was invented even before most European nations learned to write their own languages. I will also visit Djibouti, Eritrea and Somaliland, the safe part of Somalia.

From Nairobi, I will head for Dubai where I will visit Iran and possibly Lebanon. Then back to Singapore. By then, it should be the middle of 2008. My plans are still murky then. I am tempted also to go to the Caribbean or the North Pacific in January. It's still far away…let fate takes me to the far corners of the world!

Follow the journey either through yahoogroup postings or archives (subscribers would be sent occasional travel updates), or if you want all the intimate details, visit Wee Cheng's blog (very frequent updates with all sort of details and trivia).

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Review by the TODAY newspaper on 20 January 2004

also found here (pdf) and the newspaper site.

by IS Magazine on 11 March 2005 ;

by Berita Harian on 23 April 2005 - screenshot here ;

by NTUC Lifestyle Magazine May 2005 issue ;

More About The Book From Here

The Greenland Seal Hunter: Travel Tales From Distant Places

By Tan Wee Cheng (Marshall Cavendish Asia)

In this compelling travel memoir, intrepid adventurer Tan Wee Cheng writes about his travel experiences as he journeys through various distant lands. From passing through war-torn countries to joining Greenland's Inuit people on a seal hunt to visiting the Royal Salt Mines of Wieliczka in Poland and even taking a 9,000-km journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway across the Taiga, Wee Cheng has been there. Leaving the creature comforts of his London home, Wee Cheng describes his journeys through lands with corrupt policemen, Cypriot gangsters and a host of other dangers, risking life and limb. Readers share the thrills with Wee Cheng as he recounts some of his more unusual journeys through lands that many people don't know about and may never visit. Forget the package tour and venture into the unknown from the comfort of your armchair.

Amazon.com / Select Books, Singapore

Direct from the publisher, Marshall Cavendish Asia

Where is Wee Cheng now ? Read his travel reports on the road

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Caveat :

    The tales and opinions expressed on this site are the author's and by their very nature, personal and opinionated. You may not agree with them and you are welcomed to voice them by emailing to the author. However, if the intention is to pick a fight, such efforts should be directed to soc.culture newsgroups. The author will not entertain anyone who furl insults and vulgarities. The names of individuals mentioned in this site have been changed to maintain their privacy.

Tan Wee Cheng 2007


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