Stand Up Geologist stuns Explorers
Members of the Greater Piedmont Chapter of the Explorers Club were honored with an extremely humorous and scholarly presentation by Dr. Christopher Kendall of USC October 12, 2007. After being introduced by Dr. Jon Leader, S.C. State Archaeologist, the audience realized the laptop containing the slide show had been left behind. Not to be denied, Dr. Kendall plowed ahead in all his British glory.
Kendall admitted to being born in India to a family thoroughly entrenched in British colonial history. His improvised Stand Up act revolved around a 1962 expedition between his M.A. from Trinity College in Dublin, Eire, and his Ph.D. from Imperial College, London.
The expedition to dive with sharks in the Persian Gulf began with a trip on the Orient Express to Istanbul. Passing through Italy, he yelled out the window the only Italian words he knew, "Spaghetti, macaroni," only to be answered by, "Cup of tea to you, Brit."
In Istanbul, he water skied on the Bosporus while waiting for a train to cross Turkey. That train, he said, was very well equipped. His cabin had the only fob watch hook he had ever seen.
The land from the Iran border to Tehran was "on the edge of disaster," but Tehran was heaven - blossoming trees, water fountains, and apricot brandy. He made his way across Iran to Kuwait where he was taken in by a Kuwaiti family. He was fascinated by the mother whose face was covered by a black mask but her voluptuous body by only a diaphanous gown. After gallons of tea and a restless night, the family arranged for him to fly to Dubai in what were then the Trocial States, now the United Arab Emirates.
A trip across the desert was interrupted by nights in a tent sleeping with Bedouins armed with rifles and swords. A rented Toyota 4x4 blew all its tires and had to be abandoned. He was rescued by a British military Land Rover that took him into Abu Dhabi.
Dr. Kendall concluded, "I dove on the reefs, found a rare form of dolomite, became famous, and here I am."