A Travellerspoint blog

Home coming

overcast 13 °C

I land in Abu Dhabi, alone and find myself a seat which looks as comfortable as a bicycle without a seat... Or tires. So plonking myself down I wrap my Masai blanket tight around me, to attempt to recreate the warmth of Africa and attempt to sleep. I stubbornly set my alarm for my boarding time, stupidly expecting sleep to come. I was naive. I was also lucky. As I was sitting there listening to everyone yell at each other across the terminal, I suddenly realise (just in time) that I was an hour out time zone wise, and almost missed my flight!

It would probably come as a surprise to many go you that I have never had sleeping tablets. An ADHD squirrel like me goes a million miles an hour all the time, sleeping tablets stop the magic... Or terror depending on your view. Anyway, I decided for the first time to have a couple of sleeping tablets on the flight from Abu Dhabi back to London. The instructions said take 2 tablets 20 mims before you want to go to sleep. All I can say is, I am glad I waited until I was seated on the plane. I don't remember take off, or landing and only a brief moment in the middle of the flight when I could smell food and woke up. Of course... to me, food is more powerful than the strongest drugs. Fat kid for life.

As I arrived back into London Heathrow I basically hand back my tan to the immigration desk. Which is all I did. For someone who has just spent 3 months in Africa, coming back to a country that is terrified of the concept of Ebola I thought I would have a bit more of an interrogation. Lord knows just coming back from a weekend in France comprises of a full cross examination, investigation of how many real teeth my paternal grandmother, and a full cavity search with option happy ending. But from Africa. Nothing. No Ebola test, no 'what countries have you been to', no bag search. The only question I was asked was, 'when did you leave the U.K?' Surely she had the answer to that question on her little screen. How that is helpful or relevant, I don't know. But I also don't care, I was free of the oppressive Heathrow and on my way home.

Small things get you excited when you come back from a big trip. Wearing a t-shirt you left here. Remembering you brought a new jacket a week before you went away. Remembering that you do own shoes, that aren't flip flops or converse.

There have been a few things that have really stuck out since returning to London. Appreciating a toilet that has been cleaned some time since it's installation, flowers on the table to welcome you home and the ability to drink shower water are just a few.

There are also things that remind me of Africa. Watching a train full of passengers standing still and patiently as the train arrives on the platform, reminds me of a wilderbeest migration. Static, queuing people, not moving a heck of a lot just waiting for the person in front of them to move a slightly more to the left or right.

Yesterday I watched a very overweight person walking along the road, she had both arms out, almost like stability, like a tightrope walker. And for some reason it reminded me of a giraffe, constantly moving its head from one side to another to compensate for it's lopsided walking style.

But the most powerful impact on my return to real life is music. Listening to music that reminds you of your travels, is exhilarating and depressing at the same time. I have spent the last few days trying to interpret it differently to fit it to my new location, new scene which is actually an old scene. It's all very confusing.

On the home front, I have forgotten the code for my front door, I have got lost running home, I have played netball very badly and I have forgotten where to put my socks.

But the biggest problem of all has been the sun. Or lack of it. It's not even the warmth that I miss. It is the actual evidence of the sun. Yesterday I saw an amazing moon, incredible sitting right over the Thames next to Canary Wharf, it is was set against a pitch black night sky. The only problem was, it was 4:30pm. That's not night, that's not even afternoon! I would consider that late lunch time. It's ridiculous. Returning to London has made me realise how blasé the UK is about time and it's construct.

I think I may have blogged about this before so I apologise if I am repeating myself. Sunset in London may be beautiful, but you wouldn't know, it's not even noticed. Street lights turn on, people are still working, travelling on the tube or generally inside, oblivious to the completion of a day and the beginning of the night. The night is not a scary or all encompassing concept, it is just an extension of the day. A change. For some, it is the only time they see the city. Their daylight hours are taken up reading a computer screen in a badly lit cubicle, lined up next to others that have pictures of tropical islands as their screen savers. Places they will never see, as they barely see their own city.

Africa on the other hand is completely defined by the sun. The day starts at sunrise, it's as if the sun drags them out of their homes onto the street by the collar and dumps them on the side of the road with all of the rest of their neighbours. Sunrise is not just a number heard in the shipping forecast, or read online. It is a magical and stunning event, appreciated and reviered for its beauty.

From there, the hustle and bustle ensues until the sun rises high into the air. Once there, movement slows to a crawl. Shade is sought. Time stops. As though the sun is on a pendulum and when it reaches the midday position and the concept of time slows down. Tying a noose around the population, staving them of oxygen, energy and will.

And when the sun begins to dip, as if given food at the edge of starvation, life begins again. The movement returns, the energy restores. But quickly as that occurs, the sun begins to set over the horizon, the bookend of the day begins. The same stunning beauty of sunrise repeats itself as sunset, as if the sun is celebrating a day well done by framing it in reds, oranges and purples.

And then there is darkness. But unlike London darkness that has the ability to be extinguished by a switch, African darkness is all encompassing. It is terrifying and exhilarating. It has the risk of threat behind every corner. Whether it be animal, human or physical location related, the darkness has hidden agendas.

Wow, I need a job! Africa has had its impact on me far more than I ever expected.

Oh and for anyone wanting to see some of the photos from my epic adventure, I made a book.
You can see it here


Posted by kayles 02:49 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Bananas for Gorillas

rain 25 °C

Seeing the gorillas was AMAZING. Probably one of the highlights of my life.

We headed out from camp at 5.30am, still dark and still half asleep we piled into two awaiting vans, little did we know these would be our trekking teams for the day. I lucked in. A wicked crew of 8, and only one slow person... To test my patience, and teach me to be more tolerant... Yeah that didn't happen, she was from the US.

We set out from the village climbing through tea plantations and tiny settlements on a windy path up to the mountains and to our final destination, the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. With children banging on the vans and yelling 'Muzungu!', we slowly crept through the mist toward a couple of amazing sunrise vistas.

It occurs to me now how odd it is that everyone yells 'muzungu' at you in Africa. They basically point at you and yell 'foreigner' in your face. If you tried to do that in London (or anywhere in the western world) you would get locked up. Or at least given a high five in the face... with a chair.

Anyway, once we arrived we were given a briefing explaining the day. No guarantees. If you trek all day and you don't see gorillas then they will give you a 50% refund. A bloody expensive day to hike in a forest to see nothing and almost certainly ruin every item of clothing you are wearing. I understand why it is known as impenetrable now... This place is not meant for humans.

The jungle is dense, muddy and untracked. As you will see in some of my photos, our team is just dodging vines, trees and roots as we scurry up and down the valley. In the morning we set out in one direction, and about half an hour in get a call over the radio that turns us 180 degrees, and back past where we started. Starting again, we head straight down the slope into the bottom of the valley to head up the slope on the other side.

This was not done elegantly. It was a hilarious process. At one stage during the day everyone ended up covering themselves in mud. Sometimes on multiple occasions. Not purposely. It was a full day of classic Fawlty Towers slapstick humour. People grabbing trees while both legs were in the air, people relying on branches that disappear under them, someone doing a full pirouette spin before landing on their front, one person sliding down to take out another, just a full day of side splitting hilarity. Seriously my stomach actually hurts today from laughing so much.

As fun as the process of getting to and from the gorillas was, obviously the gorillas were the stars of the show. As we approached the ridge, the front runner trackers came back and gave us one last brief. Put the walking poles away, stay 7 metres away, you have 1 hour. No more.

We arrived at the group and the first thing we saw was a massive Silverback. This male was sitting pulling vines down, delicately tearing them apart and putting them into his mouth. As I was lying in the undergrowth mesmerised by the human like features of this enormous animal, a baby appeared from the trees above, throwing itself to and fro in the vines. Jumping, swinging and falling. This baby was about 18 months old according to our guide, and was so playful. So much so that in our hurry to get away at one point, she grabbed the leg of one of the girls on our trek and gave her a cheeky bum pinch.

Over the next hour we watched the silver back, 3 females, a juvenile and the baby play, eat and even watched the mum breastfeed the baby. It was an extraordinary experience. Although they were cautious of us, it was almost like this was their opportunity to show off for the day. We were positioned right in the middle of the group and they sort of came and went as they pleased. Although we had to keep moving away from the baby who kept wanting to play, the 7 metre thing seemed to be a vague memory. It was like we we were adopted as part of the group.

And as magically as it began, with 6 minutes left on our 1 hour stopwatch, it started to gently rain and the troop slowly moved into the undergrowth cowering from the impending deluge, disappearing from sight. Then they were gone.

It was a sobering realisation that this would probably be the only time I will ever get to experience this, and it was so much more than I could have ever imagined. I always head into things with low expectations, so as to not be disappointed, but I needn't have worried in this instance. It was incredible.

I am so glad I did this at the end of my trip, for two reasons. Firstly, it is one of those experiences that is so Africa, and so NOT Africa at the same time. The setting - rain and lush forest is not how you picture typical Africa. But also the gorillas themselves, Africa is a hectic place, but the gorillas are patient, calm and methodical. They are relatively quiet and move with grace and purpose, something I could only dream of for my own life back in the real world. The second reason I am glad I saw them at the end of my trip is I like to think I have mastered my lens. Without trying to sound like a complete knob, I managed to get some legendary photos. I am happy enough with my camera skills in general settings, but I was a little concerned that I might miss the opportunity if I was still learning about how to get the shot I wanted. Some of the photos I am the most pleased with have not been altered in any way from the original... Not even cropped.

I woke up this morning, and the first thing I thought was I fricken saw gorillas yesterday. It was a pretty cool way to start the day.

Posted by kayles 05:10 Archived in Uganda Comments (0)

Monkey business

rain 24 °C

The new group is ace. I was concerned that after my last awesome group that my luck would be out. I was wrong, within 2 days we are all socialising together, we have in jokes, similar music tastes and there is always someone to hangout with.

I actually haven't read one page of my book since the new group arrived, cause they have great music play lists, and generally the truck had at least 3 people singing. And if music is playing I have no ability to concern trade reading. This group has increased my ADHD squirrel approach to life.

They are all still in their first couple of weeks of euphoria. Their excitement for everything has enthused me again for the last remaining two weeks of my adventure.

Yesterday I went chimp trekking and saw about 10 of the 24 family that live around Queen Elizabeth park in Uganda. They were amazingly humanistic. To see them in their natural habitat was a lot more powerful than I thought. We have obviously all seen chimps in the zoo, but seeing them dancing through the tree tops, scampering up tree trucks and trying to eat in peace hiding under the foliage, was an experience that will stay with me for a long time. They were generally oblivious to us wandering around snapping pictures, but they kept their distance wary of our movements and intentions. I am glad to have had the opportunity to spend time in their presence. They were magical.

When Iain and I were planning our wedding at the zoo, the chimp enclosure was our wet weather option. The problem was that the Auckland Zoo chimps had a nasty habit of calling to each other whenever they saw someone in a white dress. Not just calling but hooting and bellowing so loud that we were concerned we would have to have had a contingency to temporarily postpone the vows until they calmed down. Luckily it didn't rain too much on our wedding day, but the noise still resides in a deep down place in my mind.

Walking through the forest this noise was everywhere. It penetrates your skin and buries itself in your bones. African animals have a way of doing that. A lions roar gives you the most bizarre feeling of excitment, anticipation and dread, while the noise seems like it pulses through your veins, until it settles like a dead weight on your chest.

Driving through Uganda's leafy green vista, the colours are incredibly vivid. Not what I was expecting at all. Its mountainous fields of tea, banana plantations and red soil roads. We have has the opportunity of getting off the beaten track a bit more into local communities, local roads and areas that don't see Muzungu very often.

Everyone's passion for Africa is made me realise that I am on the home stretch. In a few weeks I will be home again...

I just emailed Iain to extend my trip... To include Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) Although as soon as I sent it, I realised that I am delaying the inevitable. I am scared that this all has to end and when it does I'll be back in the same position I was 2 years ago. Sans job, still with no idea what I want to do, and what I am passionate about, other than being on the road and planning my next adventure.

In the mean time, I will head off gorilla trekking and put the future to the back of my mind.

Posted by kayles 08:26 Archived in Uganda Comments (0)

Got some rains down Africa

Hope this song is now in your head!

rain 20 °C

On arriving in Kenya, I had had a LONG travel day. A very local immersion day.

The night before I had arrived back in Moshi from the Kili climb. To celebrate safe returns had a beer with my guide, Arshad. I immediately regretted that decision. 1 Kilimanjaro mountain = safe and sound, 1 Kilimanjaro beer = almost killed me. Even though Arshad wanted to take me out for green banana stew, karaoke and reggae dancing, I politely declined and had a night fighting with the ever disconnecting internet to speak to Mum and Iain to let them know I was alive.

The next morning I felt like a million bucks, however someone was yet to inform the 100 year old lady that had climbed inside my body and died, that she was not needed anymore, and that her contract weighing down my legs was terminated. So I waddled to breakfast and got a massage from a lady who sounded like she had a cheeky case of Ebola and was using her snot as massage oil.

After a decontamination shower, I was told my shuttle to Nairobi would leave at 10. Then 10.30. Then 10.30 a car would come and pick me up to take me to my shuttle that left at 11. Then at 11, still in the car I was told 11.30 was the shuttles leaving time. 12 came and went and 12.30 a shuttle arrived in the car park teeming with passengers and excess baggage.

It was then I realised, I didn't have any food in my possession, bar 2 chupa chups (I know, rocking it old school!) and a bottle of water. Fail. This was going to be a hAngry day. I managed to get a bottle of coke at the border crossing into Kenya, so when I arrived back with the Acacia team in Nairobi I was famished. But the timing and lack of food was not the most challenging parts of the journey. I managed to sit myself a single seat on the left hand side of the bus, unfortunately just above the wheel, so no leg room, and the wheel was not aligned so it felt like the whole bus was shaking from my own bones. I couldn't rest my head on the seat as it felt likely was trying to vibrate all of the teeth out of my skull. To add to the discomfort I was crushed into this seat by 2 large suitcases, so no opportunity to move. The 100 year old lady that died inside me, didn't enjoy this. I felt like the only thing I was missing was live chickens running round the bus.

If this wasn't enough, the journey, which to me felt like it started at 10am, didn't reach Nairobi until 9.30pm. With 1 toilet break... Oh well I guess in one sense, I am lucky I didn't have anything to eat or drink.

Arrival in Nairobi meant reuniting with my guide and driver, who were pleased to see I had survived, so pleased they tried to kill me with brandy and coke.

Nairobi is a mad place, filled with ineffective traffic lights, traffic and always a slight chance of a mugging. It's called Nai-Robbery for a reason. But I had a lot of fun anyway, reggae dancing, more lamb than I have had in the last 2 years, and just a bit of recuperation time after Kili.

Then the rain started. I have had very little rain since arriving in Africa. I think Kenya has made up for the whole continent. Once it started it didn't really cease for 2 days, thunder, flooding the whole works. On the day we went to pick up the new crew for the Uganda route, the truck was driving through foot deep water at times. And the foam coming out of the slums was covering the road. Nairobi has the biggest slum in Africa more than a million people live in a make shift housing belt that runs through the city.

Our new group seems like it is going to be awesome. We have a super mixture 16 people from 8 different countries. But mostly kiwis, ozzies and South Africans that live or have been living in London. Time will only tell, but so far I'm looking forward to the next 2 weeks.

Driving toward the Ugandan border, the journey takes us along the Rift Valley, over the equator and toward a green country side that is full of lush vegetation, fruit and vegetables and cool weather. My Maasi blanket is probably my 'go to' item at the moment, for keeping me warm as it is very chilly at nights up here. It also brings mad roads, potholes, road works, police checks, speed bumps and upturned trucks. Most of the road is lined with massive trucks with their wheels in the air lying in the ditch, like a dog wanting its belly scratched.

The promise of the Ugandan border brings families and bystanders more like Malawi. In Tanzania the people seemed more cautious and suspicious, there was no waving, smiles and chasing the truck. But up here it has returned. Children carrying other children, using their spare hands to wave. Kids carrying axes and waving, kids balancing bundles of sticks on their head or putting their live chicken under their arms so they have enough spare hands to wave and catch your attention.

Although there is a lot of people lining the road, to wave there is An interesting display of industry here. It's all about diversification of your product. If you are a butchery, you should also be pharmacy and a bar.
Markets with singer sewing machines sitting on the same table as oranges, next to second hand jeans and a pile of bricks. Who knows what you might need.

Today we cross the boarder and head into Uganda, I will return to Kenya before leaving, but in the mean time in am excited about that lies at the end of this road. Even if it is under the gloomy storm clouds of potentially more rain.

Posted by kayles 06:55 Archived in Kenya Comments (0)

The roof of Africa, climbing Mount Kilamanjaro

sunny 19 °C

I stood at the snake park in Arusha with a forlorn expression on my face as my team and the truck left without me. As previously mentioned the night before we celebrated an epic journey from Livingstone to Nairobi with way too much Kilimanjaro beer, followed by brandy and coke, followed by jäger. The sadness of the truck leaving was definitely made all the worse for the hangover I was suffering.

After a comedy of errors - a non-existent taxi, the only hiking store in Arusha being closed, a bus to Moshi almost leaving without me and a driver who tried to leave me on the side of the road instead of taking me to my hotel (it may surprise you but this was through no fault of my own, I didn't do something that made him want to kick me out). I finally arrived at Riverside Hotel in Moshi, seemingly the meeting place for all of Zara tours. I walked into the reception and was met with a huge hug. I'm not sure who the lady was that gave it me, but I had to apologise for being sweaty and tired and she replied with 'no problems sister, we are glad you have arrived'.

I was taken to meet my guide Arshad and pick up a whole bunch of rental gear. Obviously coming to Africa without planning to climb Kili, made the recommended kit list a little problematic. But nothing was too big or too small for the Zara lot, it was very reassuring. From there, there was nothing to do but stop worrying, drink a big bottle of water and sleep off my day-long hangover.

Day 1:
As I woke up Iain at 4am London time to say my goodbyes in a very fatalistic way, it became apparent to me that I was climbing a bloody big mountain, that I hadn't trained for, hadn't researched and without the big group of people I was expecting to climb with. Apart from my guide, I was tackling Kili alone. My competitive spirit would be useless and I would have to challenge and push myself. The only 'fitness' I currently have is piss fit - and that wouldn't help!

After a hilarious Monty Python-esque sketch of 'find the electrical tape' in the local supermarket.... (No, that is a garden hose, no, that is a banana....) we were on our way. The sooner I started walking, the sooner I could stop psyching myself out. Unfortunately African time was not on my side. African time is similar to Island time. They say in Africa, the Mzungu (foreigner) have the watch and the Africans have the time. The process of finding porters, filling paperwork and general sorting took over an hour of sitting twiddling my thumbs. I learnt very quickly to keep my kindle in my bag at all times.

Once on the path, Arshad realised that 'Pole, Pole' (slow, slow in Swahili) was not going to work for me, and he best keep up or he was going to be left behind. He told me, 'Kayleigh, one day I will make you go pole, pole, just wait.' He was right, but more on that later. We arrived at Mandara, 5 minutes after the porters, this was the first and last time that the porters arrived at the camp before me. A hut to myself (thank goodness for the Tanzanian bribing way - one bottle of coke), and I was on my way to the roof of Africa.

Day 2:
Consisted of a hike from 2700 metres above sea level to 3700 in 11 kilometres. The distance didn't concern me, but the fact that I had only been up to 3300 before really played on my mind. Basically by lunchtime I had no idea how badly my body was going to react. It's a pretty scary concept for a notorious over thinker like myself.

I shouldn't have been concerned about the altitude, I should have been more concerned about the tree that hung over the left hand side of the path. In true radhaz style, I smashed my head into it, full anti-pole, pole and hit the ground. My guide was super concerned and kept apologising. (Well, I found out later he was apologising. He kept saying pole... I thought this is not an appropriate time to tell me to slow down, I'm completely stopped sitting on the dirt path. However I later learnt that pole, pole = slow, pole = sorry. Easy mistake to make even without another head injury).

The rest of the day was spent asking how I was and checking I was ok. I told him that's if I got to the top of Kili without some sort of stupid injury no one would believe me. The bump on the head made me completely forget the altitude and a cheeky $1USD secured me a cabin to myself and a good night sleep in Horombo.

Day 3:
Morning came with warm water to wash and a full breakfast. Then I was ready to hike to Kibo hut, the base camp for the final ascent. Arshad kept checking on my head, and apart from the egg on the side, I was fine. He said normally from about 4000 metres people lose their appetite or feel nauseated. Super uplifting. He wasn't wrong though, it was at this point people started dropping like flies. I, on the other hand, had no head ache, no nausea, no vomiting and beautiful weather on tap. I was on top of the world. After a cuckoo lunch (chicken) on the saddle we started our approach to the Kibo hut at 4700 mtrs. The last kilometre was ridiculous. It felt like my legs were slowly turning to concrete and the hut was on a travellator forever movingly in the opposite direction.

Reaching the hut was not the sanctuary I was anticipating. Imagine trying to sleep in a deep freezer mixed with a cave made of rubble, paint it white, put bunks in it and you still wouldn't feel the inhospitable nature of Kibo hut. I guess there is a reason why it is a base camp, you might die if you spend the whole night there, so you may as well get up and go walking and fair better outside. My time to leave this icy prison was 12:45am to start the formidable journey to the summit.

Day 4:
As I attempted to sleep, I made the fatal error of staring at the graffiti on the bunk above me. Amongst the well wishes and waz here's, was a very clear statement. Don't do it, it's not worth it. Great. There goes my restful sleep. I lay there, listening to others throwing up, hurrying to urgent toilet trips, thrashing with their sleeping bags in fitful slumbers and all I could think was what the hell am I doing? I like life, I like living without the feeling of a python crushing my rib cage. But I am here now and I need some epic motivation to eradicate this cautionary advice that was infecting my brain.

I got it from my guide. He said to me 'Kayleigh, you are strong like Simba. We will set out last and I want you to make it to the summit before anyone else on Marangu or Rongai route.' Just the competitive kick in the backside I needed.

By 1230 the hut was empty. It was just Arshad and I completing our last minute checks. Our path was lit by the moon as we started making our way up the final slope. I had saved my iPhone battery for this day so I could listen to motivational music and methodically time my steps to keep one in front of the other. The first 3 hours were ok, there was always someone in front to pick off, anyone who has run a marathon or half knows that feeling of picking your next target and setting yourself bite sized challenges. However after 3 hours I had no one left. I was in front, I just had to keep it that way.

Willed only by the music in my ears and my guide, I was in constant danger of falling asleep. Anyone who knows me, knows that this seems like an odd physical threat. I am like an ADHD squirrel in normal life. So it's a weird feeling to be terrified of blinking, just in case you pass out from altitude induced narcolepsy. Altitude effects are really difficult to explain as everyone suffers differently, and it is such an all encompassing feeling. But I felt like a 100 year old women had crawled inside my skin and then died. I was carrying her and myself up, and she was slowly decaying my own body.

Someone once told me that my age group are the least likely to make it to the summit, because we rush and don't let our bodies adjust. I think it is because having the feeling of our body turning to stone is a terrifying concept associated with age that we haven't experienced yet. Our bodies have always done what they wanted. To be restricted to what feels like a crawl, one step forward and one sideways to steady yourself is the actions if someone with a zimmerframe. Your mind plays tricks on you up there, I realised at one point that my pace was a slow march, the same pace that you carry a coffin with in the military. This was not helping.

But this wasn't what scared me most.

It was the cold. This was my 'give yourself an uppercut' moment. I was almost at Gilmans Point. This is the crest of the ridge before the slow incline to the summit. My hands were cold, actually not cold freezing. So were my toes. For someone who only has 9.5 working fingers this is not a fun scenario to find yourself in. I had a wee freak out, but I decided to do it in British style. I was quiet, I took a couple of deep breaths and had a cup of tea, whilst giving myself a talking to. I am always prepared to dish out life advice and motivational tidbits and this was my opportunity to send myself a sternly worded letter, served with a side order of harden the hell up.

As a precursor, you should know that this icicle finger situation was not helped by the fact that I had just opened up a packet of hand warmers kindly donated to me by a lovely Ozzie on my last trip. I was in the process of shaking them to activate them and Arshad said 'oh sorry Kayleigh, I didn't know you had these... They won't work up here... They only work up to 5000mtrs' (I was at 5600). I almost melted into a puddle right there. I was in a thought train of... this is my last hope. Very melodramatic I know. But as with my whole trip, I was lucky. By some miracle they worked.

With luck on my side, in just under 6 hours, I had conquered the last 6 kms to the summit of Kilimanjaro and was the first person from my route, or Rongai make it to the top. On my last few steps to the summit I turned around to one of the most beautiful scenes. Probably the most rewarding and spectacular sunrise, I have ever had the pleasure of seeing.

Many would say I had a relatively unchallenged summit of Kili, and you would be right. I think I have used up all my jokers on this one. I had so much luck on my side, not for my own preparation or organisation, just pure luck.
I had sun every day, no wind or rain.
I didn't succumb to the affects of altitude.
I never lost my appetite (I was still drinking tea and eating a snickers bar on the summit).
I had an awesome guide, with no other people to drag me down and slow down my ascent.
No blisters... In rental boots, unheard of.
My hand warmers worked and my drink bottle didn't freeze.

I actually had more problems coming down than up, but nothing that stopped me from reaching the summit and being back in my icebox bed within 8 hours. After about an hour of sleeping, I walked out to the bathroom and decided on the way back to lie in the sun as it was warmer than the hut. Arshad thought I had died, as I just stopped and lay on the ground half way between the bathroom and the hut. Ha! I'm made of tougher stuff than that!

The descent was pretty non-eventful except for the Germans and the Italians. Which I will put in another blog, as I have realised this one is very long and all of you probably have better things to do with your day than read this! I hope you had a big cup of tea and maybe a couple of gingernuts....

Posted by kayles 22:32 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

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