Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Thomsons Falls

Today's picture is from 1936, and we have the beautiful Thomsons Falls in the Rift Valley, Kenya. With a little luck, I should be in the Rift Valley today. It is a very difficult road trip from Nairobi to the Rift Valley, but with luck, things will go smoothly. We have hired a professional driver with a functioning car.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Rift Valley

This picture is from 1936 and shows men on the road between Nairobi, Kenya and the Rift Valley. If things are going according to plan, I should be on this same highway today. The good news is my transportation is a little more modern that what is shown here, but the bad news is I believe the roads are actually much worse today. So, with a little luck, I should reach Western Kenya by the end of the day.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Riverboat on the Nile

Today's picture is from 1936, and it shows a riverboat on the Nile River. The Nile actually makes starts in Uganda, at Lake Victoria, one of the largest lakes in the world. How exciting it must have been to be able to take this boat ride.

This is my fourth trip to Africa. Before coming here, I had many misconceptions about the continent. As if it were somehow very backwards. In fact, Africa is a most majestic place. The people are truly wonderful. Very warm, gentle, kind and loving people. There is a very great richness associated with experiencing Africa.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Fort Portal, Uganda

Guess What? I am departing this week for an African Adventure. I will be there for some time, so this week will be African Week on OPOD. We start with this picture from 1938. It shows a child near Fort Portal, Uganda. Scenes like this are still common today, and this picture could have been taken yesterday. Uganda has a very sad past, filled with violence and genocide. However today, Uganda has become a beautiful, stable country. Christianity emerged out of the devastation of genocide, and today Uganda is a very strong Christian nation. I love the people of Uganda, and it is a wonderful place to see.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Balloon Gondola

Today's picture shows the gondola of Giffard's Balloon we have been discussing the last few days. This picture also was taken in 1878, and it shows how the general public could purchase a ticket and go aloft to see spectacular views of paris from the air. From this picture it looks like the balloon could accommodate literally dozens of passengers at a time. Given that the balloon remained tethered, it was retrieved by cables which remained connected to the balloon. Hence, the balloon was pulled down without the need to vent the precious lifting gas. I would imagine this system would allow many flights per day. Also, since the gas was not vented, I would imagine a ride could be somewhat affordable. I was not able to find how long these rides lasted, or what they cost.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Aerial View of Paris, 1878

This is an incredible Aerial View of Paris, taken in 1878. It was taken from Giffard's Balloon, which we showed yesterday. What an awesome ride this must have been for someone living in the 1870's. As we mentioned yesterday, the balloon appears to have been set up as an amusement park style ride. Anyone with the money for a ride could enjoy the spectacular view shown above.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Henry Giffard Balloon

This is a picture of Henry Giffard's balloon. From the people that can bee seen in the picture, you can see that this is an enormous balloon.  Giffard was one of the pioneers of ballooning, and this picture was taken in 1878 in Paris. Notice the huge gondola beneath the balloon. This appears to be sort of an Amusement Park style ride. To the left of the balloon under the canopy is a large cable mechanism. The balloon remained tethered, and would allow riders to go up in the gondola, enjoy spectacular aerial views of Paris, and then be pulled back to the ground by the cables. Amazing technology for this day and age.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Professor Thaddeus Lowe's Civil War Balloon

Yesterday we showed a picture of balloon Pioneer Professor Thaddeus Lowe. Today we show a picture of the ground operations as his balloon is being prepared for flight. His balloons used a hydrogen gas as the lifting gas. The gas was produced by a process of partial combustion of coal or coke. One assumes that this combustion and generation is taking place in the two wagons at the left of the picture. This picture was taken at the Battle of Fair Oaks, where Lowe's flight provided valuable reconnaissance.