Preliminary Report on the Royal Geographic Expedition 1898

Tuesday: We have finally landed in Baltimore after having been marooned in the doldrums for many days. The expedition promptly pitched its tent (or "Mahryot" in the local dialect) and sent the ethnological team in search of the natives. Fortunately, we don't seem to have missed the native "Waarldcaan" festival which we were aiming for.

Ben Yalow with flamingo
Medicine man of the Nesfa tribe wearing ritual flamingo headgear

Wednesday: Expedition members still out-number the natives, but more are appearing every hour. We have been "volunteered" into helping with the preparations. I myself am helping out with the drums and smoke signals. Unfortunately there does seem to be a bit of disagreement about exactly how these are to work. We have also been acquiring native handicrafts -- the natives will happily accept the curiously-named "greenbacks" in exchange for beads.

The Hilton
The Hilton kraal. Our mud hut is the third on the left

Thursday: While investigating the sacred room of the Faans, we encounter a strange tribeswoman who has the name Ulrika O'Brien. At last! Proof of my theory that America was colonised by Vikings who had been raiding Ireland on a balsa-wood raft and missed their way home. Make a note to ask the Society if they will sponsor a trip to test this theory.

The fan room
Expedition members attempting to communicate with Faan tribeswomen

Steve Davies
The author attends a native feast given by the Nesfa tribe

Friday: Encounter more natives in the Faan lodge. We meet Zev Sero, Gary Farber, Alyson Abramowitzą Could it be that the Americas were actually discovered by ancient Israeli navigators who were washed ashore from a shipwrecked "dhuper"? This would at least explain the strange Faanish emphasis on kosher food.

Previously unknown fertility ritual captured by our hidden camera

The natives appear to spend a great deal of time in discussing ancient legends, deciding what to about problems of the day ("smophing" in the local dialect) and preparing to go out looking for food.

The fan room
Elders and braves of the Faan tribe plan a hunting expedition

Sunday: We take a trip in the native canoes out to visit the sacred sites known as "Bukshups" where we find a number of previously uncollected native inscriptions. Their surprising sophistication leads us to conjecture the existence of an ancient lost civilisation predating the current society. Could these innocent tribesmen have built the Baltimore Convention Centre? I think not.

The Wharf Rat
A native eating place, known as a "bhar" in the local dialect

DUFF & TAFF winners Terry Frost & Maureen Kincaid Speller
Participants in a strange native ritual, of unknown significance, pose for the camera

Monday: Most of the natives have left. Feast on the traditional native delicacy known as "Sushi". More proof of my theory that the Americans are at least partially descended from ancient Japanese sailors who came here on rafts made from surplus copies of manga magazines. We pack away our samples and prepare to ship them back to the Society archives.

-- Steve Davies

Previous Article

Next Article

Issue Contents

Plokta Index

Visit the Plokta News Network: News and comment for SF fandom