Thursday, February 12, 2015

Did cattle dreams found in Bible, Quran and Ethiopia's remote Konso tribe really predict the future?

As I listened to the elders of Ethiopia's Konso tribe tell me about their dreams, one nocturnal story really stood out. They explained that when they dreamed of red cattle, they would have a good harvest that year. A number of the elders reported this Red Cattle dream.

On several trips to the Konso tribe in Ethiopia's Omo region, the elders told me that when they dreamed of red cattle, they would have a good harvest that year. This is my illustration of the Konso Red Cattle dream. Konso tribe, Omo region, Ethiopia, Africa.

As the Konso elders described their Red Cattle dream, I couldn't help but recall the Bible story of Joseph interpreting the Pharaoh's seven cattle dream.

Pharaoh had two bad dreams. In the first, seven fat cows are devoured by seven lean cows. In the second seven thin ears of corn eat seven full ones.

Joseph, who was the Pharaoh's prisoner at the time, interpreted the dreams to mean that Egypt will soon have seven years of plentiful harvest followed by seven years of very poor harvest. 

This woodcut artist Hans Holbein the Younger did in 1538 shows his interpretation of  the Bible story of the  Pharaoh's seven cattle dream.
So is this coincidence? Both the Konso and Bible cattle dreams predict future harvest.

While the Bible story confirms the truth of Joseph's interpretation, I cannot scientifically confirm if the Konso Red Cattle dream works.

While I'm not a scholar of the Quran, I found the same seven cattle dream story there:   Surah Yusuf (Joseph) beginning with Verse No:43

This is part of my 15-year Project which is looking for a definitive name. Now I call the Project:
We All Have Five Fingers 
One seeker's journey to find Modern Man's First Stories

Here is the Bible's predictive cattle dream story found in the book of Gensis:

The king told Joseph:
I dreamed I was standing on the bank of the Nile River. 18 I saw seven fat, healthy cows come up out of the river, and they began feeding on the grass. 19 Next, seven skinny, bony cows came up out of the river. I have never seen such terrible looking cows anywhere in Egypt. 20 The skinny cows ate the fat ones. 21 But you couldn’t tell it, because these skinny cows were just as skinny as they were before. Right away, I woke up.

22 I also dreamed that I saw seven heads of grain growing on one stalk. The heads were full and ripe. 23 Then seven other heads of grain came up. They were thin and scorched by a wind from the desert. 24 These heads of grain swallowed the full ones. I told my dreams to the magicians, but none of them could tell me the meaning of the dreams.

25 Joseph replied:
Your Majesty, both of your dreams mean the same thing, and in them God has shown what he is going to do. 26 The seven good cows stand for seven years, and so do the seven good heads of grain. 27 The seven skinny, ugly cows that came up later also stand for seven years, as do the seven bad heads of grain that were scorched by the east wind. The dreams mean there will be seven years when there won’t be enough grain.
28 It is just as I said—God has shown what he intends to do. 29 For seven years Egypt will have more than enough grain, 30 but that will be followed by seven years when there won’t be enough. The good years of plenty will be forgotten, and everywhere in Egypt people will be starving. 31 The famine will be so bad that no one will remember that once there had been plenty. 32 God has given you two dreams to let you know that he has definitely decided to do this and that he will do it soon.

A photographic journey to Chinese winery tasting rooms

 While Chinese wineries cater to a variety of clients, more often it's business and government officials rather than the casual camera-totting middle class visitor. 

As you look at these Chinese winery tasting rooms, play detective to decipher the target client.

Chateau Changyu AFIP Global, Beijing
Chateau Changyu AFIP Global, one hour from Beijing, China.
Just one of the tasting rooms at Changyu AFIP Global, China.
There are many tasting areas at Chateau Changyu AFIP Global. I was fortuante to receive individual attention in this one.

Chateau Sun Great Wall Winery, Hebei Province
While impressive with all the rich wood paneling, the Great Wall Chateau Sun didn't seem very well used.
A gardener mows the grass in front of Great Wall Chateau Sun Headquarters. Hebei Province, China.

Moët Hennessy's Domaine Chandon, Ningxia Province
In the wind swept desert of Ningxia, this is Moët Hennessy's Domaine Chandon’s Chinese outpost. The stainless steel tanks of the production area can be seen through the wall-sized tasting room windows. Ningxia Hui Autonomous region, China.
Pinot noir vines spring to life after a winter of buried hibernation at Domaine Chandon's sparkling wine facility in Ningxia Hui Autonomous region, China.

Château Changyu Moser XV, Ningxia Province
No decent tasting room should be without fully-armoured Miedeval knights guarding the entrance, according to Chateau Changyu Moser XV anyway. You never know what might happen during your Chinese wine experience in Ningxia Hui Autonomous region, China.
The Chinese wine experience at Chateau Changyu Moser XV includes a number of bottle shops designed more for looking and buying than tasting. Ningxia Hui Autonomous region, China.
Moonrise over Chateau Changyu Moser XV. Ningxia Hui Autonomous region, China.

Chateau Yuanshi Winery, Ningxia Province

The tasting room at Chateau Yuanshi Winery near Yinchuan city in the Ningxia Hui Province wine region next to Helan Mountain.
French winemaker, Patrick Soye, tastes the wine at Chateau Yuanshi Winery. Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui Province wine region next to Helan Mountain.
One of the private tasting rooms at Chateau Yuanshi Winery.
Chateau Yuanshi Winery

XiXiaKing Yuquan, Ningxia Province

Just entering the lobby into Xixia King Yuquan International Wine Estate is an expansive Chinese wine experience.  Xixia King Yuquan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous region, China.
Most guest wine tasting happens in private rooms like this one. Can you imagine a nice Chinese Cabernet Gernischt here?   Xixia King Yuquan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous region, China.
Xixia King Yuquan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous region, China.

Dynasty Winery, Tianjin Province

If you see a French influence at the Dynasty Winery, it's not by accident. One of the major shareholders is Frenched-based Remy Cointreau. This is a joint venture with Tianjin Development Holdings Ltd. Tianjin Province, China.
Coming in from the French inspired exterior and with Remy Cointreau as a major shareholder, this tasting room is quite a contrast. Perhaps we could call this wine experience Western wooden rustic with a sailor's influence. Dynasty Winery, Tianjin Province.

Chateau Huadong Parry, Shandong Province
Chateau Huadong Parry, on the outskirts of Qingdao, Shandong Province.
Chateau Huadong Parry, on the outskirts of Qingdao, Shandong Province.
Chateau Huadong Parry, on the outskirts of Qingdao, Shandong Province.
Chateau Huadong Parry, on the outskirts of Qingdao, Shandong Province.

Treaty Port, Shandong Province
Treaty Port, Shandong Province.
Treaty Port, Shandong Province.

  Changyu, Shandong Province
Inside the caverns of Changyu's wine museum, guards stand watch over the cellar and tasting room. I didn't think it was such a rough neighborhood. Yantai, Shandong Province.
Hidden inside the caverns of Changyu's wine museum is this tasting room. Yantai, Shandong Province.

All photographs and text © 2015 Janis Miglavs

One of World's Most Amazing Vineyards #6 Beng Village, Yunnan Province, China

In a nearly vertical mountain landscape, Beng (sometimes called Bu) village sits on a rare small flat plateau above the torrential silt-filled Lancang River (which becomes the Mekong further south), in the Hengduan Mountain Range on the border with Tibet

Through special deals with the local government, Shangri La Winery works now with the villagers scattered throughout these steep mountains to grow wine grapes. Beng Village, Yunnan Province, China.

The winding string-like white line hugging the mountain contours is the main road.  

Like other villages scattered throughout these steep mountains, Beng villagers are growing wine grapes as a profitable cash crop replacing some of their food staples.

Villagers have replaced many of their food crops with straight marching rows of wine grape vines. Beng village, Yunnan Province, China.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Severe diarrhea in remote Mali inspired a love note to my wife

While living on the rooftop of a remote Dogon village in Mali, Africa, I was viciously attacked by diarrhea. It controlled me. Three long tiring days and two sleepless nights of seemingly non-stop use of my precious toilet paper. 

By the third day I had no energy, no will to continue the trip. Forget finding myths and archetypal dreams among the Dogon. My sails were slack. I wanted to be home.

Dogon tribe village of Songo. Mali, Africa.
I needed to connect with my wife, Eddi.

Even though most Dogon villages had no electricity, my guide said there was one about a half day's drive with a telephone that probably worked.

Eureka. On the phone, Eddi patiently gave me love, understanding and perspective. She encouraged me to continue the journey. 

The five-minute conversation refilled my deflated seeker's sails.

That night in my journal I  wrote: "How can I ever thank you in this lifetime? Knowing that you still love me while I wallow in despair, kept me going. Like an assuring hand, your voice allowed me to again see the bright stars in the night above me, even while I lay sleepless with non-stop diarrhea. I need you like the bird needs air. No way can I soar with out your voice, your encouragement, your love.
Thank you for loving me.

Dogon tribe buildings below the long abandoned buildings of the extinct Tellem tribe built in the steep cliff above. Finding evidence of an extinct tribe was exactly the kind of situations I sought for my project.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Winemaking Bedik tribe style in remote Senegal

As part of the myths and archetypal dream research for the We All Have Five Fingers Project, I visited the tiny Bedik tribe in the remote southeast corner of Senegal.

No roads, no electricity, no running water, but they made wine—palm wine.

The the head winemaker carefully works his magic with the juice squeezed from palm dates at the Bedik (Bedick) tribe village of Andyel (Andjel), Senegal, Africa.

Just like grape wine, palm wine can only be made when the dates are fully ripe to get the most sugar. And fortune smiled on me. The dates were nice and juicy when I visited.

Kids climb the tall palms to pick the ripe dates in the morning. The Bedik live on the only mountains in Senegal. You can see that the rest of the country is pancake flat.  Bedik (Bedick) tribe village of Andyel (Andjel), Senegal, Africa.
All of the men gather to watch the wine making process in the shade of the huge tree at the edge of the village. Bedik (Bedick) tribe, Andyel (Andjel) village, Senegal, Africa.

But unlike alcoholic drink most backwardly slow western winemakers create, the Bedik wine magician goes from harvest to drinking all in one day. (What could the French learn about product turn around from the remote Bedik?)

With temperatures well above 100 F,  fermentation doesn't take long. Bedik (Bedick) tribe, Andyel (Andjel) village, Senegal, Africa.
By late afternoon the day of harvest, the winemaker is happy to announce that the wine is ready. Bedik (Bedick) tribe, Andyel (Andjel) village, Senegal, Africa.
For the people who market wine, let me repeat, the wine is harvested, created and drunk all in one day. And what a day it was.
This is wine tasting Bedik style. Here I share a huge gourd of palm wine with the village chief. Hey, the stuff was  pretty good after a couple of big swigs. Bedik tribe, Andyel (Andjel) village, Senegal, Africa.
Be forewarned, Wine Spectator has not rated this wine yet. I helped drink it all.