African Expedition is a show in which Devoted Spouse and I are currently engrossed showing on the History Channel on Sunday nights. It’s the story of a group of explorers who want to recreate the journey of the great explorer Dr. David Livingstone and the journalist Henry Morton Stanley who was sent to find him, and it’s produced by none other than Mark Burnett. The explorers are supposed to make the trek from Zanzibar to Ujiji which is something like 970 miles. It took Livingstone about 9 months and the expedition group plans to do it in 30 days. Sounds like Survivor Ujiji to me. (I wonder what color the tribe buffs will be.) Of course we all know Mark Burnett as the producer of Survivor fame. It’s supposed to be a real expedition, in other words, non-fiction, but I don’t necessarily trust Mark Burnett. The expedition leader or navigator is named Pasquale – I’d feel more secure with someone named Butch or Tank or even Duke — Pasquale just doesn’t invoke expedition strength in my book. He seems to be doing a fairly good job of leading so far, with just a few issues among the others in the group.
We’ve watched two episodes now and just watching what these people are going through exhausts me and drives me to the sink for a glass of cold water (okay it drives me to the refrigerator for a cold Rolling Rock, gimme a break, plus a large handful of Cheetos and some cookies). Watching people trek through the jungle is hungry work.
Along with the actual explorers are porters who carry all the gear and 2 absolutely hunky manly-men Massai Warriors who are apparently along to keep the expedition safe from predatory animals. I think they’re along just for the colorfulness of their outfits and the exotic look of them — I mean, c’mon these two huge very handsome young warriors are totally outfitted in their tribal warfare gear complete with spears. They have plaited hair hanging down their backs and they wear these beautifully colorful robes. Two things bother me about this picture…1) they wear some type of white beaded leggings and never seem to get dirty and it’s a filthy expedition through swamps, mud, dirt, all kinds of nasty terrain, and yet here are these two warriors immaculately robed; not only are they walking this 900 mile trek but they’re wearing sandals of all things, and 2) where are the predators – I don’t see any spear throwing and frankly, if I was on an expedition I’d want something a little more powerful for protection than a Massai Warrior with one spear. What if he’s having an off day and that’s the day the lions show up? Not good. I understand from previews that in Episode 3 next week the lions do, in fact, make an appearance. Burnett probably had them neutered.
I’d love to visit Africa on safari (just to look, never to kill). Don’t think I could make the trip – I have that silly little phobia of flying in a plane you know and it’s rather difficult to get to Africa without at least flying part way. Maybe some day.
I’d be danged if I’d take off on this 900 mile trek to recreate Stanley and Livingstone’s journeys, though. I can’t walk 2 miles on flat terrain around my own neighborhood with no more threat than a local neighbor’s dog, let alone try a 900 mile trek up and down mountains and across rivers with hungry crocodiles. Oh yeah, they did this during crocodile mating season. That was a smart decision – let’s hit the water in leaky old tribal canoes when the crocs are at their horniest and see if we make it to the other side. Brilliant. Makes for great tv watching.
I think I’ll stick to my own expeditions…Target, Macy’s, Sephora, the grocery store; it’s a jungle out there.