Friday, October 22, 2010

Who needs an office?

Some of you may be aware that I practice my trade in the hellhole and perpetual warzone that is Johannesburg where life is cheap and an AK47 even cheaper. (it aint that bad but I have an image to keep up)

Well at present I am on something of a European tour. These happen every year or two and typically take the form of me searching out clients friends or family members whose hospitality I can abuse.

In the absence of a decent sized lottery win or Selma Hayek finally realizing that I am indeed the man for her I find myself having to work.

A handful of SIM cards from different countries. A 3G modem, two cell phones, Skype, a laptop online data storage, online fax details and back up in the form South Africa’s 2nd best investigative genius who I have the pleasure of calling a colleague and a gang of associates that make life easy means the office is wherever I lay my hat.

A landline number diverts to Skype that diverts to which ever mobile I’m using means the phone is connected 24/7.

I hardly ever get post but when I do it can be scanned and uploaded. Printing can be an issue from time to time but most people have a printer at home or in the office, even the technophobe that I call Dad.

It is due to the above that the global headquarters of Aclarado Enquiries is currently based in a rucksack of no fixed abode with a temporary satellite office at my Dads kitchen table.

This is why I find myself writing this from the hypothermia inducing emerald colored beautiful home of whiskey Guinness and the fry up. Yes for a limited time only Aclarado Enquiries is based in Ireland.

By the way, don’t be letting those purveyors of untruths base north of Hadrian’s Wall try and tell you that whiskey is a Scottish invention.

So what’s the purpose of this rambling post? To be honest I was wondering whether any one in Costa Rica required the services of a relatively cheap to run PI.

Failing Costa Rica any where with a beach, sun and cheap local hooch would be an eminently satisfactory second choice. It’s damned cold here!

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Personal Experience Regarding Password Security. Doh!

“Yeah yeah yeah” you say. “We all know that you should have a password containing lower and upper case letters, numbers and symbols”.

Now who actually practices such principles in day to day life? Well I do. Which is precisely why I have not written on this blog since June 10 2009.

I… er, well you see… What happened was… Look I forgot the password ok!

All my passwords are variations of the same theme. A word or two word from a story about an ancient African King, part of a telephone number from youth, @’s in stead of O’s, 1’s instead of I’s and #’s instead of H’s. I do the same with webmail addresses that I do not want spammed.

Now you may all be there saying that putting my password formula out in the public domain is a massive breach of security. In response I ask you, if I cannot decipher my passwords how the hell will anyone else!

So how did I remember this one after a year and a half? Sitting at the kitchen table I had to think up a password for something and thought up one that would do the job. I then thought to myself “I’m sure I have used that one before”. I had and this dear reader is why the “You want what? YOU WANT IT WHEN? Blog is back on line!

A lot has happened over the last eighteen months so I’ll catch up on some of it, tell you about some current stuff, babble about the unimportant, rant about what gets me irate and empty the thoughts of an unusual mind for the delectation, discussion and hopefully amusement of others.

Well that’s all for now folks!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What’s on the case files?

The dodgy husband
The workers comp guy that really isn’t malingering
The armed robbery
The thieving web tycoon
The case of the missing Laotian

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Having a balanced life.

Chatting online the other day some one asked how in our business it is possible to have a balanced life working and yet having a life. A few people agreed with me. What’s your thoughts?

Now THAT is one tough question.

I think the first thing to consider is that ours is one of those jobs that is a lifestyle. There are also many like me that consider our occupation not only to be a lifestyle but also a professional hobby.

This is great for us but not so hot for those in our lives that deserve our time more than our clients do.

As someone that started his first company just over one year ago I would say it is all but impossible to get a healthy balance in the early years. This is especially the case when like in my case you have left a very well paying job guaranteeing a monthly salary and very nice benefits.

Less going out, Less socializing, less nice restaurants, less glamorous holidays. All this means home is where the balance is needed.

My solution:

LISTEN to loved ones, partners, children, parents etc don't just hear them. They will keep you centered.

Have at least one day a week (a FULL 24 hours) dedicated to the above people, no sneaking in to the office or making a quick call.

Can’t afford that one day a week? Can you afford to be without these people or to miss out those special moments? School plays, promotions, birthdays, sitting in the sun doing and saying nothing with a loved one are all of the utmost importance. Far more so than missing out on even a couple of jobs.

If the bills are paid with you and your loved ones warm fed and watered then you have done your job. The most precious gift anyone can give is themselves and their time. Everything else is supplementary. Your loved ones give themselves to you. You owe it to them to return the gift. Extra jobs leading to extra money is a great thing but it is also no good being the richest guy in the graveyard.

No loved ones? Then read, walk, visit friends (never neglect friends you don’t have many) call your family and every day make three people that you do not know smile.

Don’t be afraid irresponsible on occasion. No you can’t afford to hire a boat for the day. A weekend in a spa is just about more than you can afford. Buying a motorbike might be a little over the top. A meal at the top restaurant in town is just pure indulgence. But all of these make life fun and a life without fun is no life at all.

But don't just live your life for others and your work do something for you. Fire a hundred rounds at the range, learn to dance, surf, meditate, garden, play golf, go to a pool hall. Whatever it is remember you don't have to be good you just have to enjoy it.

I know a guy who’s motto is “have fun, make money.” It’s tough to find fun without money and very easy to fall in to the trap of having money but being afraid to have fun. But it can be done.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Good ongoing cases on the books

Got an interesting armed robbery on the books at the moment. Wasn’t fun for our client but we stand a good chance of catching the mutts. Three armed mutts off the street would be a very pleasing result.

The profile of our piracy work seems to be increasing with a couple of new clients on board.

Nasty husband seemingly hiding his assets overseas from his wife of many years. Why do guys think they can get away with it?

Looking forward to an up coming surveillance at a rather pleasing venue (more on this another time)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Surveillance. It aint sexy! Certainly not in a one donkey town.

We have recently moved in to the field of surveillance and will soon be expanding our undercover (UC) work. All of this is very exciting until one becomes familiar with the need to sit motionless for hours and the cost of buying the best kit.

To be honest the surveillance side of things is not really my favourite thing to do, I’m the wrong personality type I am however blessed with a colleague that seems to love it! Give me UC work anytime.

Whilst I may not actively enjoy sitting in a vehicle watching absolutely nothing happen half a kilometer away, it is however something that clients have a need for. So we packed up cams, comms, a longlife maritime battery, an inverter, a stack of mints and provisions.

It’s not easy you know. Sitting there writing up the surveillance notes having a coffee and then “movement movement movement” and we’re off! Then its cut throughs, parallel roads and we catch up with the target dealing with pedestrians who have no fear of jaywalking, traffic lights that conspire against us, street dogs, beggars approaching us and all manner of other inconveniences.

An afternoon of total concentration, following by car and foot trying to get photos and video without seeming to conspicuous all the time hoping that you cams are getting the pictures framed properly.

Back at the primary surveillance position everything is written up while others watch the target address and you’re off again! This goes on ad nauseam until at the end of the day you drag your tired weary bones and addled mind out of the vehicle to seek some form of refreshment in a one donkey town at the back end of the back of beyond.

Even then it’s no walk in the park. Everyone knows everyone and each has probably owned or at least borrowed that damned donkey from one another through the years. You’re a stranger in a tiny place so everyone has an interest in you. You can’t talk openly and even though off duty a part of you stays lit up for possible problem.

After days of this you notice an ache in a previously untroublesome area of your back, you crave your sofa and some mindless TV program, and just want top get home. Sadly it’s almost a day’s drive home but you get there in the end and feel that you really don’t want to sit in a car seat for at least a month.

So to any rural surveillance people out there that read this I salute you!

Having said my bit and whining and grizzling through the pest part of a page we will be out there again sometime soon.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Far to long since I last posted

Here we are in May and I’ve just realised when my last post was!

Memo to self: Don’t be too busy in future to write in the blog!

So what’s been happening?

Quite a bit recently. We have moved in to the surveillance field after much deliberation. It’s a very specialized skill and not one that can be entered in to half heartedly.

I can also say that I know why good surveillance costs so much. You try walking after being stuck in a car watching an address half a kilometer away for eight and a half hours straight!

Other jobs have been coming in from Australia, Switzerland, UK and US.

I’ve had some nice overseas travel on an anti piracy gig and life is to be honest fairly damned fine!

Outside of work life is also fairly damned fine.

Thinking about holidays, family all good, healthy wealthy and happy!

Mates are doing very well and I’m pleased to see Adriel Hamilton my claim to fame as far as US congressional Contenders are concerned is has a campaign that is going places.

You US readers can keep up with Adriel at

Well that’s about it for now.

Keep well dear readers!

One Year Old!

The company is one year old on 15 May. So in a shameless piece of self promotion pride and ego boosting I thought I would post a few comment from people over the last year.

Feel free to ask to be put in touch with the people that made the comments.

What Aclarado Enquiries Clients Say About Our Work:

I on behalf of the whole family would like to convey our special thanks to you and your team. Thank you so much for the support and concern you have shown. We are truly thankful but can not find words more than thank you to express how grateful we are.

Ugandan Client

Thank you Tony. Your assistance has been crucial and is much appreciated.

Middle Eastern Director of Fortune 500 Company

The report is excellent!

Swiss Based Financial Organisation.

Can I just say, how impressed I am with the results so far? If this is the indicative of the level of service you offer your clients then you must be a very busy outfit.

UK based Private Investigator

Thanks for your care in this case Tony. It’s very rare in today’s world to find people with such a caring heart for others as you have shown on this case.

Malta Based Investigative Company

WOW! Unbelievable, how do you actually do that?

South African Investigative Client.

If I ever needed anything in South Africa - Tony Goring's the guy I would call!

US Based Private Investigator

Fantastic result

UK Based Private Investigator

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Colleague Adriel Hampton Running for Congress!

Aside from the rather unusual pleasure of actually knowing someone that is running for Congress in the US (specifically California’s 10th Congressional District) it is nice to see a common man striving to make a difference in the world of politics.

Now as a South African resident why the hell should I be interested in what happens in California’s 10th Congressional District? The answer is very simple. I'm not. I can not vote there and am broadly unaffected by what happens there.

However I know Adriel to be a progressive thinker, he has a hell of an intellect, is a prodigious writer and all-round popular chap of ethics and integrity. Adriel is “the man on the street” “one of us” and an atypical politician. So am interested in his success in this matter. The last thing the world needs is another typical politician!

Aside from wanting a respected colleague to succeed in a field he seems made for, Adriel also highlights a point that irritates me beyond all belief when discussing politics with “the man on the street.”

I won't list the usual complaints as they are to many and varied for this blog but when listening to peoples gripes winges and moans about their government I always have to ask, “did you vote at the last election?” It amazes me how many did not and respond with some variation of “what’s the point!”

If you don’t vote, then don’t complain. You have absolutely no right to unless you have tried to do something about it. I respect Adriel in this respect in that he is taking the whole process one step further and making the effort that a lot of us are, to be honest, too lazy to make.

If I was able to vote for Adriel I would. If you can you should!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Back from the dead

Regular readers will know that I recently had a medevac case that I worked on concerning a guy employed in the Middle East (see Feb 17th)

This guy arrived in a deep coma with multiple organ failure and less than minimal chance of survival.

I got a call last night saying he had regained consciousness after over a month in coma. Today I went to hospital and had one of the most amazing conversations. Not because of what we talked about but more because of the fact that we were able to talk at all.

Managed to get him on my phone to his family and saw a man that should by all accounts be dead laugh smile and ask for food!

The team of people involved with getting this guy from a war zone to where he is now are amongst the most professional I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

Medevac cases have nothing to do with our usual business of private investigation and how we got involved is a bit of a long story but its an area that is certainly fulfilling. No one was happier than me this afternoon. Well maybe his family but it’s a very close run thing.

A night of celebration is in order and I know just how to do so!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Realistic Approach to Surveillance

A nice little surveillance coming over the next few weeks. Not something I specialize in but what can I say… I know people!

I do not take on much in the way of surveillance taskings. This is mainly because it is not an area the firm actively markets. As a result the vast majority of potential clients are first time users of this service.

People often have an unrealistic idea of what is involved in an effective surveillance operation, the costs involved and what exactly they want to do with the resulting stills, video and reports.

The reason for me taking this job on was simply down to the client being reasonable, realistic and having a well thought out strategy as to what he hopes to achieve.

It’s always great when a client starts a conversation by outlining their problem “I want him, her, them or it followed how much?” In common with all professional service providers our time is money but by investing a little time in the beginning life can be made oh so much simpler later on.

We will ALWAYS take the time to go through and consult on a client’s requirement in depth when approached to do so.

So why was this client different?

Well he had three people against whom he had carefully collated heavy but circumstantial evidence of wrong doing.

• He had unbiased biographies of the subject’s, their common movements and patterns, pictures ready for the purposes of ID and a list of carefully thought out questions.

• He had already established a couple of time frame periods through where it was most likely that the three subjects could be witnessed committing their wrong doing.

• He had a definite plan regarding how the resulting evidence would be used to support his case and how it would be presented to the, for want of a better word, prosecution.

• Instead of stating a budget or telling how he wanted the job completed he asked for suggestions.

• He took the time to consider the various options offered and came back with a number of minor alterations and suggestions of his own that certainly assisted in our being able to complete the job.

• He accepted that just because he heavily suspected that the subjects would commit their wrong doing during the time frames discussed it was also possible that they would do nothing wrong and that the surveillance may have to be extended.

Obviously in common domestic infidelity surveillance the client is after proof of their partner’s infidelity. Video of a lingering kiss, holding hands, soulful gazes at each other over the candlelit restaurant table while violinists play softly beside them, you know that kind of thing.

Even in such “simple” cases it is common for the client to respond “I don’t know” when asked what they wish to do with the evidence. Strangely people do not always want a divorce despite evidence of infidelity. Some think they might.

Years ago one “gentleman” actually advised me once that he would “kill her.” (That one was reported to the authorities as he gave every indication of meaning it and having planned the method)

Basically, there is little point in spending the money unless you know what you want to do with the evidence.

And the cost can be high. How much would you charge to sit in a field in the rain for eight hours? Actually very few people outside of the military do that people need regular relief.

Consider the case where you have to spot and tail three suspects arriving a port that need to be picked out of over a hundred others. The three people may head in three different directions using public transport a lift from a friend and a bicycle. Each person needs to be followed to their destination and have their movements supervised for three days. People need breaks, surveillance is stressful, its often a case that you need three people per subject followed who need relieving periodically. Each is paid by the hour.

So, if you have a need make a plan, call our office, have a chat and we can probably assist.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Case Load

Got a break booked for April. A small well deserved holiday. Closed out a trace with a negative result! Damn I hate it when that happens. Grrrr. Got a couple of workers comp reports to follow up on. Busy trying to get the patient’s family in my medevac case in to the country. Sadly he is still in a coma but there is at last some light at the end of the tunnel. Got a sniff of some training work which sounds most nice. Still working on a pre-employment screening contract and some of the usual bits and bobs that constitute what I call work. Life is good.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Word on Relationships Recession and Plain Low Down Nastiness.

Now I am not writing this from the moral high ground or inferring that I have some kind of supreme qualities or knowledge in the area. Lord knows I have failures behind me and must claim responsibility for a couple of them.

I open the floor to any ex’s and previous partners that may wish to disagree but lying infidelity violence and contempt have not figured in my list of many faults.

People drift apart, needs and desires change, that’s cool, ya know what? Stuff happens.

Surely its not too much to expect two supposed grown ups of average intelligence to appreciate that the right thing to do is to discuss lay out their points, break in an amicable fashion and accept that over means over.

But what is it with the lying, cheating, infidelity violence and utter contempt that some people subject their supposedly loved ones to.

A current case here in South Africa is in today’s Times: (cut and paste the link)

Who’s in the right? who’s in the wrong? Who knows but although I have no direct involvement in the case it would be fair to surmise that neither one is wearing a halo.

Separations and divorce go hand in hand with a recession as is acknowledged in a recent Time Magazine article so it would seem more of the same is on the way: (cut and paste the link),9171,1853311,00.html

People lie about the true state of their finances; try to seek comfort in difficult times from someone that makes them feel good about themselves and turn their backs on the most profound of words, declarations or promises.

I got a call this morning from a guy who wanted assistance in locating his ex wife who is apparently subjecting him to all manner of harassment and nastiness (paint stripper on the car, various writing in weed killer on his lawn, one broken window, emails to his boss and the list continues) He wants a restraining order but cannot serve it on her until she is found. Having said all that it might not be her.

This man that called me has custody of the children so at first glance it would seem that he is the “the victim” in all this. However this man picked this lady out of the world population and married for all the right reasons. He looked at here in the way a man should look at his prospective wife. He is a bright intelligent person.

What triggered this bizarre change in behavior from his professional, highly qualified and equally intelligent wife or some strange person that apears to have quite profound issues?

I don’t know the answer to that question. I do not know if he has fault in this or if someone has simply flipped and targeted him for reasons best known to themselves.

So where is all this going? I just don’t understand some people. That’s all I’m saying.

It’s a little idealistic and a plaintive wish but why can’t people just be honest, kind and decent, acknowledge their mistakes, do their best to make amends when the needs arise and be an accepting adult about it when things go wrong?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The World Just Gets Smaller and Smaller

Technology is something I like to think I have a fair grasp of but sometimes I still get surprised by how simple life is becoming.

The majority of my clients come from overseas and mainly English speaking countries. Various logistical issues arise from such a client base not the least of which are travel or teleconferencing costs.

Trying to encourage a prospective client to utilize your services and getting them to call long distance to discuss the matter can be something of a challenge.

Two recent additions in the office have been telephone lines in Miami (786 623 5562 ) London (020 3239 6220 ) and Sydney (02 8007 5458). This allows clients to contact us on a local rate telephone call and just as importantly allowing me to market my services more effectively. The service is also available 24/7

I do not pretend to have offices at these locations the facility is simply provided to make life easier for our clients and us. All calls are routed direct to our office and / or staff cell phones when out of hours. As all calls are on voice over IP the costs are negligible.

The next phenomenal tool is which allows teleconferencing in multiple locations. There are quite a few such services however the kicker with GoToMeeting is that it allows people on the teleconference to see exactly what is on your PC during the call. Very handy for sales and complex case discussions.

Tallying it up the other day we have been contacted regarding work by 16 different methods. (Five emails, fax, five telephone numbers in four countries, Skype, MSN, Yahoo Chat, Facebook and LinkedIn.

What amazes me is that it is within my memory that it was necessary to book a long distance call several hours in advance with the operator. And I do not count myself as old by any stretch of the imagination.

The Social Stuff

Just had my birthday! Supper in one of my favorite restaurants and a bottle of my favourite tipple as a present! There was a minor case of that “morning after the night before” feeling but otherwise I got through the night unscathed.

A party is around the corner and I may just buy myself some time away the week after that! Hell, a guy has to treat himself every now and again.

Mates coming over from the UK looks increasingly like a certainty.

My fan club amongst the nurses of our local hospital seems to be increasing (never a bad thing)

Life aint too shabby folks!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Terrible news in South Africa

Those of you unfamiliar with the perpetual soap opera that is South African politics will have to bear with me for a couple of lines.

The much beloved and esteemed President of the ANC Youth League has sadly been replaced by a young lady that seems to have an intellect and something of a flair for the job. We will miss Ju Ju Malema and his constant striving for the advancement of nonsense in the political area.

Fear not we can still remains and catch up on the latest Malemaisms on

Catching Up

Well it’s been close to a week since I last blogged. A bit lackadaisical of me but nonetheless I am now back on track.

It’s always been a problem for me to get the correct balance between work life and private life but recently it’s all gotten a lot easier. The weekend was fantastic and today is being spent catching up with mates gossip and general mooching around relaxing.

I don’t know if it’s the fact that the backend of 2008 and January are now firmly in the past, that work is coming in nice and steady or if it’s the fact that my invoices seem to being paid on time but the level of stress has diminished to background noise.

Whatever the cause life is a lot more enjoyable when you can leave the office behind, physically and mentally, get out there and enjoy yourself. I’ve even found myself able to talk about things outside of my professional life!

To those who have tolerated my babbling and stressing about all things work orientated, thank you.

Part of my newfound free and easy lifestyle has involved planning the purchase my birthday presents. Birthday parties have never really been something that I have been bothered about even as a child. I do however firmly hold the belief that the best person to buy your birthday presents is you!

I think top of the list has to be some new furniture. Maybe a bottle of Jameson’s 18 year old will find its way on to the shopping list as well. Those that know me also know that I need only the smallest excuse to jump on a plane to points foreign. One such trip is confirmed and another seems on the cards so some purchases may well be deferred until then.

It also seems that people are planning trips to South Africa. A couple of old mates are making noises about visiting in the next few months. I have often joked about being less of a mate and more of a cheap holiday destination for various people but its going to be great to see them.

The Case Load

Ongoing correspondence with the family of my Medevac case, a couple of ongoing workers comp cases, the usual list of traces, a couple of backgrounds, a nice US legal research job and whisperings of some software piracy work from a UK client. Several quotes out and awaiting a response and a new promising contact in the pharmaceutical business. Not too shabby.

Monday, February 23, 2009

There’s Something About Nurses

WE DID IT! (see last few posts)

We got our man over here in hospital and stabilized. Jeez he is still critical and one of the few people that I say a prayer for but he is here.

I received an email from the treating physician in the Middle East today that has been treating him that basically describes why the patient’s journey was necessary:

“Because of our combat environment and focused mission, we clearly have limitations in what we can do for patients like this and sometimes we have to improvise with some unconventional strategies.”

We have had ventilator failures missing aircraft, logistical delays, immigration issues, problems with the Department of Health and a plethora of other crises.

After getting to the hospital at 22:00 to complete paperwork and await his scheduled arrival at 23:30 thinking that all was in order I eventually left at 06:50 .

He didn’t turn up until 05:00 following problems refueling, technical issues and various other inconveniences and at last I laid eye upon the guy that we had all been working so hard for.

Yet again I was impressed by people’s professionalism. The paramedics were on the airport runway for from 22:00 also. I chatted with them for a while at the hospital getting an update on our man’s condition and apologizing for them having to wait so long. These people save lives on an hourly basis and have to be one of the most underrated professionals.

And the Intensive Care Unit Nurses! I don’t know how many of you have been inside an intensive care unit but by its very nature it should be a chaotic place. Every single patient there is being kept alive solely by mechanical mean means or intense effort. However it was a place of quiet calm and intense attention to duty. (Nurses are there with the paramedics in my book)

We forget the people that look after us in our time of need sometimes and it’s no bad thing no matter how unpleasant the circumstances to be reminded that these people exist and that they deserve our admiration.

Now I make no apologies for this question. It is purely a guy thing. But just what is it about nurses that is so damned appealing? I have spent a reasonable amount of time in hospitals around the world for one reason or another and it’s a global phenomena, nurses the world over are spectacularly appealing!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dinner tonight? I don’t think so

Dinner at a great restaurant cancelled twice (I aint popular), One business meeting cancelled (rescheduled to Tuesday night) A few mates stood up (they are just complaining quietly). Clients having to be rescheduled, some jobs being placed on the back burner and a backlog starting to develop.

Frustration is not the word! Everything is hold once again this time due to another medevac aircraft having to be tasked with his transfer (see the two previous posts). Local conditions, the patients condition, aircraft availability, air crew availability, route planning are all conspiring against getting this done.

My facilitation and logistics role in all this is not one I have been involved with before. The stress, hours, phone calls and emails are more than a challenge to handle but from that comes the intense satisfaction that they are being dealt with and we are getting there.

It’s is always a good thing to be tested in unfamiliar circumstances that are out of your comfort zone. To be tested in such a way and to achieve is a great feeling.

The aircraft and patient were supposed to have arrived last night or this afternoon. Now there is no hope of a take off until tomorrow. Every single bit of inconvenience trouble and frustration is however nothing compared to what the medevac patient is going through. So efforts continue.

On other matters well a convenient break in the above due to scheduling meant that I was able to tackle some of the developing back log and had one of those “Small World” experiences.

I have a few workers compensation cases on file (you know the type, person hurts back at work and is “crippled” with pain, signed off for a year on full pay only to be filmed weight lifting or playing rugby)

Well this one was legit. The man had the operation scars to prove it. We conducted the workers comp interview in a bar which is not as unusual as it seems. Not many claimants are comfortable doing such things at their home.

I have had one claimant on my books for a while and have simply not been able to locate him. It’s incredibly frustrating as I cannot bill for the work until I do.

Speaking with a few of the patron in the bar who do I quite literally bump in to? My other claimant! So an appointment is set up for next week with him.

Catching up on a couple of traces we seem to have a little progress on Mr W who has been missing for around 15years so we will be chasing up leads and seeing where it takes us.

As there have been prolonged periods of “hurry up and wait” pending emails faxes and phone calls (but sadly no aircraft) I have also been using the time to polish up on Piracy law. No not Somalis, peg legs, parrots and “ah aha me harties.” It’s for Trademark / Copyright infringement, counterfeiting, smuggling and grey market sales.

I have a few jobs coming on where a more specialised knowledge of the law covering piracy is becoming necessary. Jees legal research is something that challenges me. I am able to understand the subject but it’s like what a lot of people think of ironing. It HAS to be done but you don’t have to enjoy it. The work it’s self locating the counterfeits and identifying the supply chain, obtaining the evidence and reporting to the relevant authorities is great. The reading however sucks in a major way!

Time to grab a coffee, write some reports and wait for that phone to ring.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Some one feels bad and is in a STACK of trouble!

Sat here waiting for the phone to start again. Just totted up today’s tally and its 14 telephone calls (19 yesterday and more emails that you could shake a stick at) All to get this poor chap from the Middle East to South Africa (see last post)

He was supposed to arrive on the hospital plane tonight but someone stepped on something vital during the transfer from hospital to plane and broke the ventilator! Can you imagine what that person must feel like?

So patient was transferred back to hospital and everything delayed for tomorrow. Then we are back in action again and a new plane has been chartered. But we do not know when it will get there or when it will arrive in South Africa.

It’s gonna be a long night waiting for flight plans arrival times. Then a load of running around, calling the airport, getting the ambulance to the airport, making sure the transfer goes according to plan, ensuring the intensive care team is ready at the hospital, getting to the hospital and making sure all of the various peoples ducks are in a row.

It’s a strange thing to be involved with. 20 or so people (more if you include plane techs, refuelers, ambulance drivers and such like) in six countries coordinating this matter for a man none of us know and who will never know about us.

The professionalism of the people involved working under pressure is incredible.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

All works stops due to a mercy mission

An interesting but tragic job has kept me busy since late yesterday. My time has been spent with little sleep waiting for the phone to ring or another email to be received.

Other than a brief chat here and there with a couple of people on Facebook my time has been spent on this. I by comparison am a lucky man though and cannot dream of complaining.

The case involves a 30 year old contractor from another African country working overseas who has fallen ill and is now on a ventilator in intensive care.

Amongst other services one of my foreign clients also provide Emergency Repatriation services for insured claimants injured over seas. They have not had to repatriate to South Africa before and I am the only person they know here.

The patient is to be treated here in South Africa and is flying in on a fully equipped intensive care air ambulance. The last 24 hours have been spent liaising with immigration, the airport, the air ambulance company, the hospital, the land based ambulance company and a stack of individuals in five different countries.

We have another day or so to see the man stabilised and flown over.

There are something like 20 different people involved in getting this man to hospital. It is not an area of work I have ever been involved with before but I am most pleased to be working with a group of consummate professionals.

I hope the patient makes it. We are working damned hard to make sure he does.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Current Case Load

Couple of traces (yup the ones from previous postings! Will I ever get these guys? Well its looking better on two of the cases for now)

Got a lovely little workers comp case in. (needs a personal recorded interview, a few photos of the injury and medical paperwork to be collated.) Sounds fairly mundane but simple is great in my book. This one has the added bonus of me not having to locate the individual and get his contact details. It’s the second claim I have had regarding this chap and all his details are already on file!

Some cool due diligence projects seem to be on the approach. All to do with property purchases it seems. Again good simple straightforward work. Detailed but simple.

And its increasingly looking like I have a 1000km round trip drive coming up to go and deliver some papers. Its always good to get out of the office.

Then there is April’s trip to Istanbul on a trademark infringement gig.

The usual bits pieces, sales and marketing are all conspiring to keep me out of mischief when not busy with the above.

Not too shabby if you ask me.

Get away and get a life!

Just re-read this and its probably better titled as “A rambling post about nothing in particular a Thank You”

One of the problems of running your own business is that there is no such thing as office hours. As most of my work has an international flavour to it time differences come in to play. Emails can come in at any time and some need an immediate response.

Hang on a damned moment here! Who is so important that they must be on call 24/7?

As was pointed out to me this afternoon sometime one has to switch off. The clients that email me know my cell phone number. Those who have gotten my email from the company website can see my cell phone number there also. I never have a problem with people calling me at whatever time is convenient to them.

So if its and emergency, and they do happen, clients can phone me. I need to take time out every so often.

How a person takes that time out varies. It could be a drink (not unknown for me) It could be a stroll (nahh too late for that in Jo’burg). Yoga really isn’t my thing and it’s a bit too late to go and abuse some poor friend’s hospitality.

Writing is my thing (that’s why I be here doing exactly that now). For some strange reason writing does it for me. Usually it’s in the small hours of the morning when the insomnia kicks in and almost never for public consumption.

The amount of stuff I have written that has never again seen the light of day is quite staggering. Diary entries, ideas for a book, general mind clearing, plans bit bobs and drivel. I had a look at the “Ramblings” folder on my laptop just now and its standing at 297 documents of more pages than I have the patience to count.

Bearing mind that I the only writing I do other than reports in my professional life and this blog is for my eyes alone I am not that used to an audience. Having figured out how to do the analysis for visitors to this page and the search terms used that have led to people seeing this I am more than a little surprised at the amount of traffic and people viewing it.

So thanks folks. Nice to know I am not talking to myself here!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Out of the desert!

Well I for one am fairly damned proud of myself. After the commercial and social desert that was January and various crises that I described last week (see below), it seems February is shaping up fairly well.

The networking and marketing side of things has suffered a little but hey I’ll be hitting the phone today and pounding the pavements soon.

So this is what the case load looked like a few minutes ago?

15 page report sent of to the client for a fraud case giving back ground on a US fraudster. Maybe some more working coming on this one. Hope so it’s a great case and to get in on the litigation stage if it develops with be that most desirable of combinations, Interesting AND lucrative.

Found the Greeks in Australia for the British client based in Switzerland! Nice and quick. I love it when the easy ones come on a busy day. (Dave you are a star a scholar a gentleman and a good man to know)

Got the low down on the US lady who has a thing about not paying medical bills after her travels. High wage earner and a $500,000 dollar house on the market. (mortgage records seem to show the house is finance free! Very happy client)

Sent off a 5 page quote for a client interested in vetting potential customers where there is US tax implication that could get them in to trouble if they sell the wrong thing to the wrong people. Another one that could prove Interesting AND lucrative.

Small quick company report sent out to an Australian client giving the low down on who is who.

A colleague seemingly has a lead on the elusive Mr. R through a friend of his. Not a high earning job but one of those that gets to you.

I still have the case of Mr. H who has disappeared and needs papers served on him. Jeez we have a name and have at last managed to develop his Date of Birth so we seem to be getting there.

Got a research job that is awaiting information prior to me having to collate, analyze and report on.

Time to send off a few emails now then a coffee and read a source report before hitting the phone.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Twisted Kinda Logic

My constant pursuit of a contract that will finally allow me to purchase Mauritian or Costa Rican citizenship and further my studies in the field of Hamockology and Palm Tree Appreciation requires quite a bit of sales activity.

This morning I was speaking to the HR director of a fairly large company. This was in its self a minor triumph as getting to the decision maker in a company can be a pain.

In this case I was lucky as I know his PA very well so she managed to make sure he was in available and able to take my call.

We specialise in background research and intelligence regarding individuals and corporates, specifically where the client and subject of our enquiries are based in different countries. A subset of our specialty is pre-employment screening.

Having done a fair amount of research in to the company I had a broad understanding of the type of new recruits they take on and their exposure to confidential information, high value stock and reputational risk.

Mr. Director was certainly interested, or at least a very good actor, and we had a good conversation. I was asked to provide some documentation regarding the company and we agreed to meet up for lunch in the near future.

The part that astounded me was that he then went on to explain that although they currently had no pre-employment screening vendor and he was very interested in our services, the company was experiencing significant budget cuts. As a result of this he believed it would be something of a challenge to obtain approval and finance for a pre-employment screening policy!

It is precisely because of the current economic climate that people need to be more cautious about new employees. Greater unemployment makes it more difficult t obtain employment. This in turn leads to a greater risk of people embellishing their CV’s and being somewhat economical with the truth regarding their history, qualifications and abilities.

I should add that this company recruits from overseas, allows such recruits access to highly confidential information. They also pay salaries that are recognised as being far above their industry average. Finally they are also a company that currently have three ongoing employment tribunal cases two of which revolve around a level under-performance that indicates definite misrepresentation at the application for employment stage.

Employment law here in South Africa is such that it is after employing someone for a year easier to give your children up for adoption than it is to sack someone that truly deserves it.

Mr. Director and I will discuss this subject when we meet. I feel sure that he is “on-side” with my firm and appreciates the need for stringent pre employment screening protocols. I am simply amazed that a company such as this one seems not to have heard the old adage that an once of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Family Friends and Me

Got an email saying BLOG! So here it is.

It’s been a period of crisis followed by problems followed by complications. The sort of things that one would prefer to have one at a time rather than all at once. Each has thankfully been followed by either the best possible conclusion or straightforward success.

Family at least now seems stabilized and awaiting the next round of tests, cuts, snips, imaging and general unpleasantness.

Jeez friends have had a tough time. The tally has been one run in with the police, one business going under, one separation, a serious allergic reaction, a nasty surprise and a car with issues. Friends know where I am. I might not immediately know what to do to help but I’m here so just ask.

As for me, well I remain considerably disappointed with the personal interpretation that some put to integrity, honesty, decency and morals.

I’m working some horrendous hours. My retirement to Costa Rica remains a distant dream, the garden remains a mini jungle and the household chores have reached significant proportions.

However work is happily on the up after the festive season dead time. I am healthy fed and solvent, the sun is shining and have a great evening meal is planned. Life is on the whole not too shabby.

I may not want to be your friend!

As you can see from the side banner on the right I am on Facebook. Now I use FB for two reasons. Primarily it’s a work thing (networking and discussions with colleagues) but it is also, as it was intended a social thing. I also kinda enjoy letting anyone who is interested know what I am up to and the chat function is kinda handy.

There have been some great connections from three continents and nine countries. Friends from school, the odd ex, colleagues that I have lost touch with and so on.

The roll of honor reads:

Brits and South Africans alike at least this way it’s a little easier to prevent me from disappearing as happens from time to time.

The Swissies PH, JM, PR, DC, Sarah et al, It’s a pleasure being back in touch.

Eloise, Il faut tourner sa langue sept fois dans sa bouche avant de parler.

My issue with Facebook is why in the name of all that is sacred do some people believe I might want to be friends with someone that shares no personal or professional history or connection with me?

I’m probably up to 20 or so of these random “friends” requests.

Don’t get me wrong, even if we have never met or corresponded, if you see the profile and find something that amuses interests or even angers you then get in touch.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Jobs I do not like

For some unknown reason I have been getting enquiries involving various family breakdown issues recently.

It’s also not uncommon to get the “I think my partner / wife / girlfriend is having being unfaithful” type of enquiries but recently others have been cropping up.

Parental abduction was a recent one. Had a lady call to discuss how to obtain a restraining order against her husband.

And today I had a lady contact me about locating her ex-husband regarding the enforcement of a judgment regarding unpaid child support.

Although primarily my business is about making money I am (often to my detriment) a sucker for a hard luck story (one that I can in someway verify that is).

Today’s caller was of somewhat limited means, thus her need for child support. She seemed to think that she would pay me once her child support case was successful.

FIRST ISSUE: “You want to pay me out of funds obtained to assist in your child’s upbringing and welfare!” My attitude at this was a big NO and almost made me end the call. But we continued (as well as being a sucker for a hard luck story I often give more chances than should be reasonably expected).

I eventually figured out that this lady was simply doing verbal brain storming with little filtering between her ideas forming and exiting her brain. A relative in the background said she would pay any fees.

Unfortunately the lady that contacted me today also had the additional problem of the judgment being issued in one country and her ex believed to be in another. Enforcing a foreign judgment is never a swift or cheap process.

The conversation ended with me giving a bit of man on the street advice to the best of my ability based upon experience. I included my usual disclaimer that I am not an attorney, never even wanted to be one and that she should immediately compare what I had said against someone who is appropriately qualified to offer advice on the subject.

I may or may not hear from this lady again but I wish her well.

I really don’t like family / domestic matters. They just get me down. Give me a tasty fraud case, detailed background report or commercial intelligence enquiry any time.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A very pleasant surprise.

So I’m sat down Saturday evening enjoying the view chilling with a glass of my favourite tipple and the phone goes. This is never a problem, a guy has to pay the rent and it’s good to be in a position to help. I embrace the fact that people usually call me for one of three main reasons:

It’s all about to go awfully wrong

It’s all going awfully wrong

It’s all gone awfully wrong

There is a small subset of people that call as a precautionary measure in order to prevent something going wrong but these are most certainly in the minority.

Back to my call. It was a lady that I had completed an adoption trace for in the days prior to setting up my on firm. She had kept my cell phone number and was calling at international rates from her mother’s house on the one year anniversary of them having met for the first time in nearly thirty years.

It had not been the most difficult trace ever but was complicated by my having to tell the client that her birth mother did not want any direct contact with her.

In domestic / adoption traces such as this we NEVER reveal the target’s whereabouts to the client without their permission and the mother was simply not ready to get in contact.

The job was deemed finished but not with any great feeling of satisfaction other than being able to reassure the client as to her birth mothers health and wellbeing.

A couple of months after I had finished the job, the client’s birth mother contacted me and asked if I would pass on correspondence to her daughter. I obviously agreed and ended up acting as a post box for them both receiving and forwarding emails for a few months.

Eventually the mother passed her details on to her daughter and that was the last I had heard. That is until just over two years later on Saturday evening.

We spoke for quite some time with them passing the phone between each other. I have to admit a certain amount of pride regarding their call and to say I was happy would be a significant understatement.

This lady made my entire weekend!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What I can't do

As the last post shows it’s a little busy here at the moment so a bit of mind clearing is called for.

Would love to play a musical instrument. Tried a guitar when I was a small child and got as far as three blind mice and Bah Bah Black Sheep before the music teacher left the area. I guess she may have done this due to my musical talent actually being measured in negative numbers.

I am sadly blessed with absolutely no sense of rhythm. This is backed up by a voice that sounds like a sack of hungry tom cats and a dancing style that makes small children cry and grown people flee in terror.

Painting drawing or in fact any form of art seem totally beyond me.

I have a sense of direction that has served me well in the jungle (leafy not urban) but sadly leaves me at the first sign of tarmac. GPS mapping was designed with me in mind.

My sense of fashion can only, and frequently is described as unfortunate. I must NEVER be left alone in a cloths shop.

I’m sure, there’s more but those are the ones that come straight to mind.

More Non-Magnum stuff.

Been trying to get my head around a complex report pulling data from left right and center pulled from various stacks of paper and who know how many open applications and windows on my PC and lap top.

Emails are going ka-ding, instant messages are going bing bong and both cell phones have been ringing, one of them from the client who has shifted the deadline for the complex report forward to this afternoon. The other from a customer service guy who was lucky to escape with only the mildest level of my dissatisfaction ringing in his ears.

It’s end of month, I have late payers that seem to think their invoice only needs paying upon my retirement, my bills need to be sorted and books done.

There are three traces still outstanding after a second month. Two of the trace clients are going to scream (Hey cut me some slack! One is a guy with a very common name no date of birth and a 19 year old last known address. One is a guy for whom we only had a Po Box which has sadly not been paid for and only had a hotel room as a last known address, again no date of birth. Then there is the guy with two properties both of which are derelict)

The office is a looks mess once again courtesy of the complex job, a few too many coffee cups, unfiled paperwork and a mass of cables from my ongoing effort to get more stuff doing more things.

Rumor has it that I’m supposed to have a life outside of work. When I find it, there are household chores to sort, mates that I really should make a point to go and see, family overseas that I need to pay more attention to and a garden which although small is blessed with Amazonian undergrowth.

Getting my head around all of that when the phone rings again this time from a friend of a friend who through the sobs asks whether I know a lawyer that can help her with a restraining order. Listen some more, give the number for my man of domestic law, give some advice on personal security and listen till she’s sobbed out.

A USB flash drive that I was going to use for the complex job has chosen now is it’s time to fail. Can I find a blank DVD anywhere? Hell no! Damned things vanish quicker than socks. Never mind take a walk to the computer shop and buy some.

Time for a break. Get up leave the swirling realm of madness behind go out and spark up. It’s been raining for two days (a rare thing in Jo’burg) so the air is clean, I have a pre-employment screening meeting later that could be very lucrative, some good music is playing, a friend has shocked me with their kindness, this coffee is great and all round it aint a bad day.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why people disappear

An interesting article from Scott Harrell of Pursuit Magazine. Although US orientated the principles here hold true around the world.

(Cut and paste the link to your browser)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Parental Abduction (What is wrong with people?)

Parental abduction is one of the saddest and most unfortunate type of case to work. I have been involved on the periphery of a few and worked directly on a couple of others. They fill me with dread and often present an ethical dilemma.

I have a habit of leaving my computer on at night with the speakers turned up loud so I can hear anything urgent that may come in. It is not that unusual for me to get a last minute case where the neigh on impossible needs to be done by yesterday.

Around one o’clock in the morning an email came in from a foreign colleague working on a parental abduction case.

When they reach the highest level of legal action parental abduction cases are covered by something called The Hague Convention On The Civil Aspects Of International Child Abduction. It is a longwinded title but is basically a rule book signed by most of the world’s nations outlining the assistance that they will give each other in such cases that involve minors under the age of 16.

My colleague had indications that the abducting parent and child were located in a territory that we have good contacts in. He urgently required confirmation of this in order to present the evidence at another related court case involving the legally rightful parent (a financially secure business person). The case was further complicated by the impending 16th birthday of the child in question.

Well with a bit of effort we managed to locate the abductor (a similarly financially secure business person) and complete a brief report outlining his place of residence, business affiliations and contact details. This report was issued so that the appropriate authorities in the country concerned could be notified and the child picked up, flown “home” and repatriated with the legally rightful parent.

Job done and finished.

Yes but with reservations on my part. Here was a child of almost 16 years old, described as being “intelligent, independent and charming.” Basically this was a child that knew how to use a telephone was old enough to make up their own mind and gave every indication of having freely gone with the abducting parent without any duress being placed upon them. Furthermore the child had been abducted a little over a year ago. In that time the child made initiated no contact with the legally rightful parent. Nether parent was any way connected with or accused of violence or abuse of either their ex spouse or child.

Yup the abducting parent was found to have broken various laws but there was absolutely no indication that the child was forced to do anything against their will. The legally rightful parent was I am sure incredibly concerned and most likely heart broken.

I cannot help but be concerned for the child in question and whether repatriation is what they want. I get little satisfaction from having taken the legally correct course of action.

What grates me even more however is how two intelligent successful individuals can allow the situation to develop to a stage where no level of agreement can be reached regarding a child’s wellbeing.

How with any sense of common decency, morality or sense can a parent act in such a way? It is only my opinion but is influenced by experience that some parents forget that their first duty in life is to ensure the wellbeing of their child, enabling them to become caring, strong, independent, free thinking, decent, and moral adults.

Both parents in this case would I am sure state that they are tying to achieve exactly that. How though after 14 years could either of them allow such a situation to develop where their child is reduced to being little more that a rope in a tug or parental war? Each parent will blame the other forgetting that blame is not the issue. Their child’s welfare is.

I guess I will never understand.

Co-incidentally a similar but unrelated case appears on page two of today’s Star here in South Africa.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Back to in the office and my word do I have some reading to do. A current tasking involves a background enquiry concerning a “gentlemen” of dubious integrity.

Information in such cases is typically drawn from a multitude of sources such as court records, press archives, personal interviews, telephone interviews, business databases, credit reports, social networking sites, you name it, and if there is information available we probably use it as a source. Nah, we are not tapped in to intelligence agencies, national police computers, satellite imagery (beyond Google earth) and so on.

Anyway I now have over 180 pages of data to go through evaluate and report on.

People do not often realise that the reason WHY the information is required is often more important than WHAT information is required. Understanding the client’s intentions and goals allows us to better cater for their requirements.

This is where the difference between INTELLIGENCE and INFORMATION comes in.

INFORMATION can usually be defined as a list of straight forward definites. Who what where when and how in a glorified list format.

INTELLIGENCE is the final product after these definates have been collated, evaluated to establish their relevance, analyzed to show their relationship to each other and reanalyzed to establish significance of any information developed as a result of these relationships. This is then passed to the client in the form of ACTIONABLE INTELLIGENCE outlining the strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and threats regarding their interaction with the subject of the enquiry and so chose a way forward that best suit their needs.

In summary we:

(1) Corroborate the validity of the information,
(2) Understand its importance and linkages with other data,
(3) Develop a plan for action
(4) Use the plan to accomplish a desired goal.

Having the information is in itself insufficient. One needs to understand the implications and potential of that information.

Better get the kettle on, there is a lot of work to be done.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I have stayed in some flee pits in my time. Places where you share the room with other residents in possession of far too many legs and eyes. I once woke up to see a bat around half a meter away from my face hanging under the table top. I knew a lady once who had the experience of a bat flying in to the overhead fan and having the remains land on her while she was sleeping! A snake in a toilet, bugs in my shoes and various uninvited rodents have all added to my lack of enthusiasm with hotels.

Luckily these days I am able to upgrade my accommodation a small bit

So as you can see, hotels are not my favourite places in the world. But for those of you heading for Windhoek (hey you never know it might happen!) may I recommend the Safari Hotel by Eros airport. 30 min and 300 Namibian Dollars from the main airport. (you don’t have to worry about how much a Namibian dollar is worth) A fantastic place with great staff decent food and a cheep bar. (Anywhere that serves Jameson’s at $1.95 USD a shot will have a friend in me!)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Shot in the forehead and lives! From Dave Branch's Blog

The news atricle. Jeez!

The blog:

Shaken but not Stirred!

So there we are Edward n’ I driving down the road without a care in the world over and above getting the job done quickly and returning back for a good full English breakfast. Unhealthy I know but then I smoke, drink and live in Jo’burg so bacon and eggs now and again is nothing compared to life’s daily dangers.

As you know, if you read the last entry I am in Namibia at the moment and am off to Joes Bar this afternoon for a relaxer and calm down in advance of this evenings happenings what ever they may be.

Anyway I digress, Ed n’ me driving nicely listening to some cool music and BANG!

You ever been in a position where you simply did not know where you were or what just happened?

A small little Japanese car had plowed in to us. Here’s the thing. We were in a quite sizeable Mercedes. You want to have seen the damage!

Well needless to say I was not best impressed. We were in the right and got T’boned by some duffus coming on to the main road. Good job he clipped the back end and not the middle.

He had a spectacular bump on his forehead and a nasty bash of the steering wheel but was otherwise ok.

Cops came (eventually) details exchanged and several arguments quelled in turn by me then Edward then me then Edward. If the other driver wanted to kill himself we would have been a lot happier if he had not chosen to use us as the tool for his suicide.

We all calmed down in the end partly due to the fact that the cops over here carry AK47s (The Chinese variety apparently but still adequate for calming irate car wreck victims)

That’s it really, nothing else to tell you but as there was no-one else to tell here, you get to know all about it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The news from Namibia

So here I am in a hotel just outside Namibia’s sunny capital.

Taken a small stroll around and it aint too bad. People smile, no rushing around everyone is polite. I do not think however that this place should go in to your list of destinations under the heading “places to go for a massively exciting time.”

Sat in a hotel waiting for a potential client to show, at the bar naturally I have been watching the bar staff. Baldy seems to be the leader, we then have Skinny, Sweaty and Unhappy.

Baldy seems to be on the take if I am not much mistaken. A lot of looking around, reaching down and putting something in his pockets. (Beer I think). Out the door and two minutes later he is back with empty pockets and the process starts al over again.

There’s a guy I know from London that makes very good money working in clubs bars and hotels as a plant watching for scams, fiddles, wrong doing and general scumbagishness. Looks like he could have a good time here a Sweaty has just opened the cigarette machine taken a pack given some to Unhappy and sparked up out side by the pool!

Anyway back to Namibia. Lot of German visitors and speaker as it used to be a colony of theirs. With the exception of a few years in the late 30s early 40s they never really got the hang of the colonialism thing quite as well as the Brits but anyway this was one of theirs.

Was speaking to a lady at the reception area earlier who mistook my basic German for fluency. Don’t have a clue what she was talking about other than it involved a car crash. Anyway she seemed happier after the chat so I cannot have been that appalling in my linguistic skills.

We then have Afrikaans speakers. Now this is a fantastic language and if swearing cannot be surpassed. Sadly swearing is the only level of fluency I have achieved.

If you ever see a National Geographic or similar documentary of Namibia it will show the Herero. This is a tribe whose ladies wear an amazing headdress styled after cow horns. I saw two such ladies at the Airport and was more than a little pleased.

Lastly (in terms of my limited knowledge) we have the San or Bushmen. Now this is a language to learn! It is almost entirely made up of clicks that require you to be able to tie a knot in a cherry stalk with your tounge if you are to be able to even do the basics. A much put upon race of people, they are as near as it comes to the original indigenous people of Southern Africa.

Old stories from the oral traditions of Basuthu (Lesotho) people tell of San people never getting attacked by lions. The Basuthu were eaten in their droves it seems. The two peoples got on and this was discussed. The San are historically nomadic but over a defined area that they knew very well. The knew which lion prides were where and understood lion society.

They would hear or simply know from observations which lionesses were pregnant and keep an eye on them. When they give birth lions make a distinctive noise (mush the same way as humans do I guess). Once the cubs were born after a few days when their eyes were open the San would come along in a big crowd and scare the living excrement out of the poor balls of fluff. They then… ahh…err went to the toilet in that location. For the lions this associated the smell of humans with something best left well alone. Well that’s how the story goes.

Time now to head for the pool bar for sundowners. Work for today is done but there is plenty for tomorrow. Baldy looks set to have a hell of a party this weekend!