27th June 2015:
Barry’s research for our trip suggested small gas canisters were not readily available in many of the countries that we intended to visit. Barry had accordingly brought a two burner duel fuel Coleman’s cooking stove with him and was eager to try it out. The first night out and it performed to expectations; the second night out and Barry and Mike were able to rustle up another superb meal.
Come morning and the Coleman refused to fire up no matter what Barry tried including disassembling it and reassembling it. Even Barry gave up, which for those who know him is a very rare occurrence. For coffee we used my little gas job.
Later in the morning we stopped in a small desert hamlet to gather a couple of supplies. You can imagine Barry’s surprise when he saw a young lad with a small gas cylinder in his hand. Well thought Barry if they have gas cylinders here they must also have the gas stoves – just like at Bunnings. Inquiring at the shop the man sold gas cylinders in a four pack but no other gas equipment. Whilst Barry was trying to explain that he was after a cooker the young girl that was helping her Dad or Uncle was sent home and came back with a flame torch for the canister. Unfortunately the flame torch was not for sale and the man did not know where we could get one. Whilst looking through another mini market I spied a flame torch in a corner – they only had the one. We now had the means of cooking even though it was primitive – still something is better than nothing.
Whilst driving through the desert I spied a large round canister off in the distance. Thinking that we might be able to use a bit of steel pipe I stopped and drove over for a look. It turned out to be a large discarded coffee urn.
Later that night Mike came up with the idea, based on the stoves you get from Bunnings to lay the gas cylinder on its side and have the gas flame going up the inside of the urn. The urn was hastily pulled apart into three pieces; all for which we later found a use. A hole was cut in the urn frame using the pair of discarded scissors Barry had found in the desert three days earlier – amazing what those scissors could cut. Our idea of a gas flame in an urn was not successful; we think because the canister was to full it was liquid coming out and not gas. A day later we got this idea to work – we think we then had used sufficient gas to atomize the liquid in the can before it came out of the nozzle.
A night earlier Mike had experimented with the burning of cow pats to keep away the midges. There were absolutely no trees along our route. We found the cow pat burned slowly; gave off a fair amount of heat and did not really smell. With this experience behind us off we went to look for cow pats. Just when you want one there are none around!. What were around in abundance were Dromedary Dates. The top of the urn was then turned upside down and after a couple of minor repairs to the handle using duct tape the top of the urn could be used as a bucket for the collecting of dates. In order to keep our hands clean the nice white pair of gloves a young female petrol station attendant in China had given me were found to be suitable for the task of cleanliness – even in the desert this is so important.
A fire was started using the flame torch as a primer. Soon the dates had sufficient heat and cooking could begin. We had an awesome meal with a desert flavor – dromedary dates are not cow pats after all.
The dates made a bit of a mess on the bottom of the pans so the next day we kept our eyes peeled for a metal plate. This too was subsequently found and our desert cooking ability enhanced.
Now the only piece left over from the urn that we haven’t use is the top screw part. This part looks very much like a hand reel so we have kept it – who knows we may be camping by water in the future and will need a fishing reel to catch our dinner – here’s hoping .