Land Ops is all about adventure and exploration using off road capable vehicles to carry us into the deep unknown.
Very few people venture this far into the wild and for good reasons.
As if the deep inland journey was not enough we also conduct navigation and radio communication exercises that
elevate your experience to that of an expedition team with tactical mission objectives.
You are NOT required to have radios to experience Land Ops, but at least a GPS device for geocaching.
Land Ops satisfies the person who seeks to embark on a journey into the unknown with a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
What we do is both fun and challenging.
We're not just sight seers, we're operators, drivers, navigators, geocachers and radio communicators, survivalist and search and rescue.
We use technology to create a unique game-play that is really not found in any off road clubs or adventure groups.
We attract off road explorers, campers, ham radio enthusiast, fire fighters, military men and women, geocachers and survivalist.
We are known as Land Ops and we welcome you to our challenge.
This is not your grandfather's, or even your father's, idea of a travel book.
Swimming to Angola is a gregarious look at how to help improve Third World conditions,
and make it back home safely from 96 countries --
with all limbs hopefully attached in the right places.
It tells what to do if challenged by machine gun-waving security forces, or if Gypsies are getting a little too close for comfort.
Readers can learn how to drive from the USA down to South America, or even the length of the African continent.
Tips include how to manage local currency fluctuations to get the best values,
while avoiding a myriad of scams that are designed to separate travelers from their resources.
Some of the destinations in these pages have rarely, if ever, made it to those high-gloss volumes of global travel literature.
And for a good -- or at least logical -- reason:
most people in so-called 'advanced' countries looking for 'exotic' locales to spend time in,
normally wouldn't want to go here. These are places that we might consider deep in poverty and hopelessness,
where civil wars rage, where dictators confiscate land for their own use, where babies starve,
and where travel itself is crimped by men in battle fatigues carrying automatic rifles.
It also highlights real danger, moments when less luck or less wise on-the-spot decisions might have been life threatening.
However, this is an occupational hazard for any hardy world traveler with a yen to veer off the well-beaten path.
Traveling light in the pocketbook, in fact, is one of the rules of this book --
the reason being that you don't want to stand out and become a target, especially in the Third World.
Being Western looking enough as it is, you don't need a sign around the neck reading: "Free money for everybody, right here."
About the Author
Christopher Scott Blin is an international management consultant who some have called the real-life Indiana Jones.
He graduated with a Business Management degree before going overseas for further studies in Munich, Germany and Latina University in Panama.
Having visited 96 countries around the world, he has had work assignments in 12 of those.
Highlights include playing basketball in the leagues of the United Kingdom, as well as Australia, where he enjoys dual citizenship.
Christopher regularly gives key-note speaking addresses on the subject: "Surviving an overseas assignment in a developing country."
This is his first published book on the subject.
A Look Inside Swimming to Angola:
The time was February of 2002, the place Namibia, in southwestern Africa. I had just made it safely through the country and gotten to the border with Angola, located just to the north. But between here and the next step of the journey stood a border guard -- one of the fraternity that world travelers come to know as the ultimate gate keepers for any movement to and fro. These fellows usually don't present themselves as helpful, which is only because they aren't there to be helpful. Instead, they are usually there to give you a hassle, or possibly pick up something for their back pocket in the process.
This one played the role of the stone wall. "Sorry sir," he said, "this is a war zone." There had been a civil war raging in Angola for three decades, but I assumed they would allow at least some tourists into the country. I assumed wrong. They were not giving out any tourist visas, at any price.
I like to go places where there is action, and am not generally scared off by war zones. After all, are people trapped in the ravages of war any less of human beings? In my experience, having been in countries torn by violence, refugees of war -- those breathing the stench of death, rousted from their homes at a moment's notice, being caught in crossfires they have nothing to do with -- are the very people who need affirmations of hope and reassurance that their lives still mean something. I wished do some kind of goodwill work in Angola. Right now, though, it seemed good enough to at least leave my footprints there.
Little did I know that this was possibly the worst time to tempt the country's wariness about outsiders, given that tensions were running particularly high. An insurgent leader was killed in combat with government troops, and there was grave concern about minefields and an outbreak of the Marburg virus. Driving a little farther until coming upon the Okavango River, there was a little beach area on its banks. I pulled onto the hard sand, near where some people were washing their cars, and looked across the river. Could this be my 'back door' to Angola?
The river was only something like 100 yards wide, but it wasn't a calm river by any means. It had rushing water, not quite like rapids, but a quick current just the same. Still, I am a good swimmer and had been through strong currents in the Amazon. A local man happened to be sitting there, obviously looking for something to do. When he saw this big white guy approaching, one could read his mind: there's got to be some money here somewhere.
I then got the idea of paying him to watch the car while making my foray into Angola. "Is this water safe?" I asked.
"Oh yes, quite safe."
"Okay, great. Do you mind watching my car while I swim?"
While stripping down to my trunks, I gave the mission some thought. Swimming straight across, the current would certainly pull me down-stream far away because it was that strong. So when diving in, to the amazement of the people on the shore, I had to start swimming into the current, and swam basically at a 45 degree angle. Swimming as hard as possible would compensate for being pushed sideways by the current. But I was never in any real danger, and made it across to the Angolan side in a matter of minutes.
I finished pretty much straight across from the starting spot on the other side. Looking around to make sure there weren't any border guards waiting with guns drawn, I found instead there weren't many people around at all. Trading some souvenir coins with the locals was my main activity, being only in a pair of trunks and not able to wander around very far. Having cheated the Angolan interdiction against tourists, I wasted no time going back across the river before someone could get wise, utilizing the same maneuver: swimming against the direction of the current as it pushed me down-stream.
But because of fatigue, I was pushed past the beach area into some reeds which line the sides of the river. These reeds were a good six feet tall and quite thick, and cut off any movement to and from the river. A perilous situation, indeed. I was standing in about four feet of water, with the water up to the chest and rushing at me. Knowing drowning was a possibility if unable to extricate myself, I grabbed the reeds hand over fist, pulling myself into the oncoming current. It was only about 15 yards, but I pulled myself back to the safety of the little beach area.
Just then while wading ashore, another local man who was washing his car looked a bit surprised to see me. "You're a brave man," he remarked in English.
"Why is that?"
"You could have been a crocodile's breakfast."
I said, "A man told me earlier that this water is safe."
He explained, "Oh yes, it is safe -- here at the beach. But down there by the reeds, that's where all the crocodiles live!"
I thought, gee, thanks for that critical bit on information -- which had been offered just a bit late. Needless to say, it is good to get a consensus of opinion before doing something on impulse. One man's idea of safe is another man's peril. The postscript, as I found out later, was that there had been nine deaths on that very section of beach -- all having been eaten by crocodiles! I might have been number ten if luck hadn't been kind.
But the lesson had been learned. Whenever venturing into the Third World:
Recently we lost a dear friend of the Club. Reda Anderson went on the Great Adventure Thursday, October 25, 2012.
Reda's family and the Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles will host a memorial service for Reda on
Sunday, December 16, 2012, 3pm at the Club.
2433 North Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90031-0226
The memorial service is open to all who wish to attend: members, non-members, women and men. Please come by and share your memories of Reda.
Annual Christmas Party - Members and Invited Male Guests
The Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles will host its annual Christmas Party on Thursday, December 20, 2012 at the Club.
Prime rib will be served, and the entertainment will be the World's Greatest Entertainer: Al Jolson impersonator, Richard Halpern.
Richard Halpern carries the audience back to genteel times with his stellar show of pop tunes from the era of Tin Pan Alley.
Imparting the essence of a wild and witty generation, the charming Jazz Singer takes you on a journey beginning in the 1910s,
moves right on through the 1920s and finishes up somewhere in the early 1930s.
With influences such as Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Fanny Brice, and Sophie Tucker, Halpernís show isnít confined by nostalgia,
rather it etches a new journey to the future.
Members of Halpernís varied audience have included such luminaries as Robert Morse, William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman, Christina Hendricks,
Margaret OíBrien, Joan Collins, Joanna Carson, Ted Mann, Rhonda Fleming and Milton Berle.
Halpern is also a favorite on the private party circuit, having entertained at functions thrown by Aaron Spelling, Nolan Miller,
and other industry notables.
Successful on both coasts, Richard appears regularly at downtown Los Angeles' popular restaurant/nightspot,
Maxwell DeMille's Cicada Club, and has entertained at such Southern California venues as the RMS Queen Mary,
the Cinegrill, The Derby, the exclusive Jonathan Club, the Sweet and Hot Music Festival, and the famed Los Angeles Orpheum Theatre.
New York City audiences have enjoyed Halpern as guest vocalist of Vince Giordano and his Nighthawks at Sofia's at the
Hotel Edison and also at Lincoln Center and at such cabarets as Donít Tell Mama and The Red Blazer,
plus he has toured in Florida with Ann Blyth and Bill Hayes.
Dinner is $25. Reservations must be made by December 13th. Please RSVP by phone at (323) 223-3948.
Members and invited male guests only.
Dinner is served at 7pm at the Club. 2433 North Broadway, Los Angeles, CA USA 90031-0226