A sheer delving into some ambivalently famed valleys:
The World’s Largest Necropolis
The Happy Valley Set “Wanjohi Valley”
San Pornando Valley of Porn
Leading hub and startup ecosystem for high-tech innovation and development.
1.The Wanjohi Valley. Happy valley set.
The Wanjohi Valley lies on the slopes of Aberdare ranges, near Aberdare National Park, east of the Great Rift Valley. The area around Wanjohi is Bushi, Miharati, Ndemi, kariamu and Olkalou; stretching upwards to Lord Baden Powell’s grave and downwards stretching to Thompson’s falls with the weather of a sleepy English village.
The valley is famous for hosting the so called Happy valley set whose height of influence was in the late 1920s.
If there is something otherworldly lit other than the Happy valley story, it is the Wanjohi valley landscape.
The view of Happy Valley to the south as you climb the escarpment and Lake Ol Bollosat to the north, DAMN. In Shamata, which in Maa language means ‘high place’, this cold place is to the east of Happy Valley. Here, pioneer settlers, also well-known as the Happy Valley lot, built elegant colonial houses. If there’s something these settlers knew well, it was choosing locations.
The view that these houses offer is simply breathtaking. One such house offers a scenic view of the Laikipia plains, and the Rift Valley and its lakes, Malewa River, the main feeder of Lake Naivasha and up the escarpment.
Further five kilometres to the north is the home of General Wainwright; his sister’s house is nearby. He is famed to have sold land to all the other wazungus (whites). The house veranda faces the Aberdares, and the back of it, the Laikipia plains.
This picturesque landscape was pioneer territory for the hunters and settlers in Karen Blixen’s Out of Africa And it became infamous in books such as
White Mischief; as”Happy Valley” where aristocratic settlers, including Lord Delamere himself, indulged in a movable feast of drugs, drink and debauchery.
Basically, with much of the world at war, a number of bored British aristocrats live dissolute and hedonistic lives fucking and drugging themselves to oblivion to pass the time. The so called Happy valley set was a group of ultra-privilleged white hedonists who settled in the Wanjohi Valley region and became infamous for engaging in weapon grade hedonism with a carefree curriculum of sex, drugs, adventure and booze. But then culturally prevalent- sexual inhibition that they engaged in with the most gusto: wild orgies and wife-swapping were virtually a prerequisite for any who wished to be embraced in the Wanjohi valley Social scene which had the Muthaiga Country club as its focal point.
Evenings that began with tasty gazelle chops and champagne with class and jazz/folk music from gramophones would degenerate into levels of substance addled debauchery that made Gomorrah seem like priggish puritanical folklore. One post-dinner parlour game involved male attendees lining behind a sheet then poking their aroused genitalia through holes in it, so that the ladies present could cast their votes on their favourite.
THE CAPRICIOUS BAND OF PROTAGONISTS
The women- Arguably an even more extraordinary bunch than the men.
Beryl Markham- Pilot/ adventurer/Racehorse trainer with a blasé attitude to adultery prevalent within its community.
Lady Idina Sackville, the daughter of the 8th Earl De La Warr and cousin of the poet Vita Sackville-West, had caused immense scandal at home by ditching her second husband to run off to Kenya with a lover eight years her junior, the future Earl of Erroll, Josslyn Hay (more — much, much more — on him later). She would welcome her guests to her spouse-swapping soirées naked in a bathtub made of green onyx, then gracefully put on the garments (that would probably stay on for all of two hours) in front of them. Sackville, if reports are to be believed, worked her way through the male population of British East Africa with systematic zeal. Just a euphemistic way to say that she slept with nearly all the men.
Countess Alice de Janzé, a wealthy heiress from Chicago whose father was a dipsomaniac felt manufacturer, became a global household name in 1927, when she shot Raymond de Trafford in a Paris railway station before turning the gun on herself. Both survived, and later ended up marrying and returning to Kenya, but de Janzé’s second suicide attempt — during a phase of depression, alcoholism and morphine addiction in 1941 — was successful. She was hot. Really hot, though she wore baggy boyish garments.
Kiki Preston, née Alice Gwynne, was another American socialite — related to both the Whitney and Vanderbilt families, no less — who was nicknamed ‘the girl with the silver syringe’, due to her habit of parading Afghanistan’s finest heroin without the slightest regard for anyone around her observing what she was doing. A former cabaret dancer despite her privilege, she would often charter an aeroplane specifically to pick up fresh supplies of heroin from Afghanistan, and has the dubious distinction of having introduced her favoured mind-benders to one of her many lovers, Prince George, Duke of Kent. Preston would also go on to take her own life — a very public act of self-defenestration from a high storey of the Stanhope Hotel in New York in 1946.
As for the menfolk of this ultra-colourful set, the first member of the group is generally acknowledged to be Hugh Cholmondeley, 3rd Baron Delamere — an adventurous cove who would regularly travel to Africa in the late 19th century to hunt lions, continuing the pursuit even after a severe mauling by one understandably miffed giant Lion left him walking with a limp for the rest of his life. He then acquired vast lands from the British Crown on a 90 year lease which he named the Soysambu ranch. What you normally see in Naivasha. Thus his title Lord Delamere.
Delamere was no bombastic colonial jingoist — a sincere admirer of local Maasai culture, he attempted to assimilate into the local way of life while also introducing to it some beneficial agricultural methods — but he was endowed with the required streak of batshit-mischief for a man occupying his place in history. He once — for reasons not even grasped at the time, let alone documented — rode his horse into the dining room of Nairobi’s Norfolk Hotel and carried out an impromptu steeplechase, vaulting over tables.
Jack Soames was a voyeur who drilled holes in the ceilings of his bedrooms to watch his copulating guests. Then there was Frank Greswolde Williams — a man too rotund and invariably inebriated to be part of the Happy Valley sexual shenanigans — who was the chief supplier of cocaine and opiates.
The paramour who took that bullet in the Paris railway station was one Raymond de Trafford, a prolific gambler, womaniser and hardcore alcoholic from an old Irish aristocratic family. “He got very drunk and brought a sluttish girl back to the house,” reported Waugh, “then rogered her and her mama, too. Fights and fucks and gambles and gets D.D. (disgustingly drunk) all the time.” De Trafford is rumoured to have set fire to a row of local Kenyans’ houses after one particularly hearty binge. Having been forced out of the colony in 1939, he was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment at home in England for the manslaughter of a cyclist, committed while driving home drunk from the horse races at Cheltenham.
The most famous of the happy valley set has to be Lord Earl. Kenya’s famous playboy, philanderer in chief – cut down in his prime at the age of 39. The shockwaves caused by the violent death of this “good – looking” aristocrat (not my views by any means) have continued to reverberate to this day. At least half a dozen books have been published about his murder on January 24th 1941; when his body was discovered kneeling in the front passenger foot well of his car with a bullet wound behind the ear, at dirty crossroads.
The tongue wagging furore in the wake of the murder was comparable to more recent cases, such as those of Jacob Juma and the slain lawyer Willie Kimani. May they rest in peace.
Conflicting theories raged as to both the murderer and the motive, and continued to do so for six decades. Was it a crime of passion committed by Sir ‘Jock’ Delves Broughton the cuckolded husband, with whose wife — Diana, Lady Delves Broughton — the earl had been having one of his many affairs?
In 1925, Erroll was already a pivotal figure in the new community of British aristocrats and rich socialites, who left their black servants to tend to their farms and their kitchens while they hunted, partied and played polo.
Blond, clever and an ace card and polo player himself, the Earl had begun devoting a good deal of his energy to seducing women, especially those who were married.
Hay is described as having fucked every girl in the colony, practically.
With his wife Lady Idina Sackville (the aforementioned) who caused the Earl to abandon his duties and eloped with him to Kenya, they became the unofficial king and queen of happy valley. They had a home called Slains before divorcing. It became the centre of social life and notorious for its orgies. Men had all forms of lewd sex in Slains. The parties were so wild that made the colonial officials and tradesmen look on the happy valley set with embarrassment.
It was even rumoured that every person had to sleep with someone other than the one they’d arrived with before the party could finish.
The blond, voluptuous siren was the much-younger wife of Lord Erroll’s friend Sir Jock Delves Broughton. Though practically all members of Happy Valley slept around with each other’s spouses, full-blown affairs were off limits.
But Lord Erroll and Lady Diana were smitten. They continued to see each other until Lady Diana finally asked Sir Jock for a divorce. As part of the prenup between 27-year-old Lady Diana and 57-year-old Sir Jock, the couple had agreed that if Diana fell in love with a younger man, she could ask for a divorce and still be given an allowance for seven years after their split.
Sir Jock agreed to the divorce, and on the evening of January 23, 1941, the three had dinner at the ritzy Muthaiga Club. As a show of goodwill, Sir Jock toasted the new couple publicly.
Lord Erroll left thinking he had just secured the hand of a beautiful new wife. But his bliss was short-lived.
The next morning, Nairobi dairy workers found the lord dead in his Buick at a deserted crossroads; a bullet was lodged into his brain.
What’s disturbing though, Alice de Sanzé went to the mortuary where Lord Erroll’s body was and an ex-lover who accompanied her there remembered her passionately kissing Erroll’s cold lips and declaring: ‘Now you are mine forever.’
Months after Lord Erroll’s death, on September 30, 1941, Alice committed suicide by shooting herself in the heart. She left behind five letters addressed to the police, her daughters, a former lover, and the last a suicide note. The contents of the letters were never made public, but Spicer, who’s mother was a friend and confidant of Alice’s, uncovered information about the letter to the police: It contained a full confession to Lord Erroll’s murder.
With its killer mix of money, sex, and murder, it’s no wonder the case made its way into popular culture. In 1982, journalist James Fox released the novel White Mischief, a historical account of the murder. I recommended you to search for the book and read it. Contact Kwani or any other store.
If there is a moral to this story, it is, alas, a rather priggish one: next time some Pecksniffian pillock tells you that money, drugs, privilege or an inexhaustible supply of inconsequential sex will never bring anyone happiness, you may have to consider the eventual tragic fates of so many of the Happy Valley set before planting a fist firmly into their snozzle. But it would take a prissy soul not to fantasise just a little about what fun it would have been to attend one of those heady evenings at the Muthaiga Country Club, some time at the height of that remarkable two decades in what is now an obscure historical valley in Nyandarua. #TembeaKenya
Wadi-us-Salaam. Valley of Peace Necropolis
This is not a city. Wadi Al-Salaam (Arabic وادي السلام; Valley of Peace) is an Islamic cemetery, located in the Shia holy city of Najaf, Iraq. It is the largest cemetery in the world.
The cemetery covers 1.485.5 acres and contains over 5 million bodies.
For those of you in Rome that like to think that the cemetery at Tiburtina is huge. Think again. Wadi us Salaam in one massive desert city like, creepy heritage ancient site where approximately 70,000 prophets are resting.
The graveyard holds importance in Shiite belief as it has been said that the souls of all faithful men and women shall be moved there, no matter where their bodies have been buried. Many prophets, kings, princes and Sultans lie in this cemetery including that of Prophet Hud, Prophet Saleh, and Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, as well as the remains of the prince of faithfuls, Ali Ibn Abi Talib.
Look for it on Google maps, dude, you’ll see a booming city until you zoom into graves built with baked bricks and plaster rising at different levels.
Among the tombstones are the room-size family crypts built by the wealthy, often topped by domes. There are also underground burial vaults that can be get down by ladder.
According to an undertaker at the cemetery, each crypt can hold up to 50 bodies.
Najaf itself is one of Iraq’s biggest cities with a population of nearly 600,000. But the adjoining city of the dead holds the remains of millions.
It is the only cemetery in the world where the process of burial is still continuing to day since more than 1,400 years thus the site is on the Tentative list of UNESCO’S World Heritage sites.
During the Iraq war in 2003, heavily-armed fighters of the Iraqi militia frequently used the cemetery to hide and ambush approaching enemy units. The Americans could not get into the area, because it’s full of winding lanes and underground mausoleums. The local gunmen who knew their way around would hit and then run and hide inside the many tombs.
When the rebels took refuge in the narrow spaces among the crowded tombs the Iraqi army ruthlessly bulldozed its way through the graves of its fellow soldiers. To this day, piles of wrecked cages from the graves remain stacked on the roadsides.
The violence that has overwhelmed Iraq since 2003 has lead to a massive expansion of the graveyard, swelling it by 40 percent to about three square miles. The cemetery has grown every year since 2004, first with the clashes against American forces, then the sectarian wars of 2006-2007 when Shiites and Sunnis were killing each other at a murderous rate, and finally in the 2008 battles with the Iraqi army. In recent years, though, its growth has slowed.
An estimated 500,000 additional bodies are buried at Wadi Al-Salaam every year.
As of 2014—coinciding with conflict against ISIL—it has been reported that burial plots are running out, resulting in many being stolen, illegally resold or improvised.
According to traditional texts, Abraham himself purchased land in the wadi, which is actually considered part of heaven itself.
San Fernando Valley. San Pornando Valley
San Fernando Valley is a sun-drenched, suburban enclave in southern California.
Since the 1970s, the hills above Hollywood have played host to a booming pornography industry. A
majority of American sex films are shot there in warehouses and private homes – helping the San Fernando Valley rake in $4 billion in annual sales in its ’90s heyday.
At one time Nearly 90% of all legally distributed pornographic films made in the US were either filmed in or produced by studios based in San Fernando Valley.
The region is home to most of America’s pornography industry – videos, Web sites, phone sex businesses, adult toys and even the old-fashioned dirty magazine.
The Valley became the pioneering region for producing adult films in the 1970s and grew to become home to a multi billion dollar pornography industry earning the monikers “Porn Valley,” “Silicone Valley” (in contrast to Silicon Valley, nickname for the Santa Clara valley) and San Pornando Valley.” The leading trade paper for the industry, AVN magazine, is based in the valley as well as majority of US Adult Video and magazine distributors. AVN is to pornographic films what Billboard is to records and AVN awards is modelled after the Oscars. Don’t ask me how I know that.
While many parts of the nation’s economy have suffered, the past five years have been good for the adult industry, as new video and computer technology opened the doors to hundreds of millions of potential customers around the world.
Its a known fact that when Pornography became big business [pretty much overnight] in the late 70’s. The sleepy suburb of the Valley was a perfect setting for offices and production houses. Today, the porn industry estimates that it will make around 10-12 billion dollars in revenue this year.
[To put that in perspective, the Porn industry will make more than NBC, ABC and CBS will combined.]
For years, Porn and the city seemed to co-exist. Each one going about their business and not paying each other any mind.
[In any given year, about 3,900 adult films are shot in Los Angeles, according to industry estimates. As with any other shoot, those films are supposed to obtain permits from the city. But the city doesn’t restrict the content of the projects it approves.]
Which means that if one of your neighbors decides, as Johnson’s did, to rent out his house for the filming of “The Alphabet” — in which sexual acts are performed in alphabetical order by 21-year-old identical twins — there’s not much you can do to stop him.
Silicon Valley is the cliché nickname given to the Santa Clara Valley, home to many of the world’s largest high-tech corporations and thousands of startup companies.
The word “silicon” originally referred to the large number of silicon chip innovators and manufacturers in the region. The term “Silicon Valley” eventually came to refer to all high tech businesses in the area, and is now generally used as a synecdoche for the American high-technology economic sector. (silicon is used to create most semiconductors commercially)
This place is still far ahead of its rivals.,.. We’ll considering it boasts home to Many notable companies:
Microsoft, YouTube, Google, Intel, Walmart Labs, Tesla, IBM, LinkedIn, Sony Ericson, Sony, Samsung, Dell, Panasonic, Mozilla, Amazon, PayPal, HP, Nokia, Adobe Systems, Apple Inc., eBay, Facebook, Google, Intel, Netflix, SanDisk, Yahoo!,.. . and Uber. …the list is endless.
Something interesting in a place called Mountain View is the Computer History Museum.
It’s the biggest collection of computer artefacts anywhere in the world, and it’s not only a brilliant account of the progress of computing technology from Babbage’s difference engine to the smartphone. It also provides a guided tour of the growth of Silicon Valley.
You hear about Hewlett and Packard setting up in a garage in 1939, you meet the team which was to found Intel and put the silicon in Silicon Valley, you visit Xerox Parc where the computer mouse and graphical user interface were invented.
And you come away realising that the current success stories – from Facebook to Uber – are standing on the shoulders of giants, benefiting from 70 years of innovation. Coupled with that long history, Silicon Valley has a world class university in Stanford, loads of talented engineers and a culture of risk-taking where a couple of failures are a badge of honour for an entrepreneur rather than a mark of shame.
Here in Kenya, rather than dreaming with our Silicon Savannah which is Konza City; (a very long shot considering the trillions to be spent on it), the government could digress from economic liberalism and Laissez-faire and make the environment for start ups in Upper hill more favourable, a shift from the banks and construction oligopoly.
If land was made cheap in Upper hill, innovation hubs like ihub would not have to base their headquarters in Ngong Road. What’s it to our benefit if only multinational corporations are able to afford land in Upper hill.
Instead of dreaming Konza’s Silicon Savannah, with the right policies there could be Upperhillicon.