My new blog starting January 28, 2010 is here:
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I don’t understand what is going on with me here in Africa. It could be that I am so engrossed in my writing & observations that I have become terribly absent-minded about the things/people I don’t often have contact with. I forgot my passwords, not just of this blog but also of a few e-mail accounts. I just could no longer remember what they were anymore. I finally had time to get a new password today for this blog. I’ve been updating mostly my Facebook & Twitter accounts. It’s so hard to get back to blogging.
“I am suffering from a slight exhaustion, having just climbed a huge mountain. I find it hard to write creatively at the moment or to even read a book & know that I just need to gain my physical strength back. I’m sure I will be back really soon to feel the joy of a revived energy once again.”
Just got back from the Kili yesterday evening. Here are a few of my Facebook notes from this morning.
Part 1: Missed touching Uhuru Peak/Kilimanjaro by just 4 hours. That was the level of my fitness. Climb is tightly regimented according to schedule or the climber falls sick. Been climbing from Dec 21. On Christmas night at our base camp at the School Hut, snow fell heavily for the first time in months. Started our climb to the peak at midnight.
Part 2: Very bad night for climbers. Heavy snow & rain before. I was one of the few who attempted Gillman’s Point. Past William’s Point already 5,000 metres above sea level, I injured my right leg. Couldn’t walk & strength sapped out of me. My 2 guides had to help or I would never have made it out of the snowcap.
Part 3: The romantic scenic pictures you see of the snowcap is a virtually enormous no-man’s land filled with foreboding boulders, rocks, & black stony land covered almost completely with thick layers of sticky snow. It is a spectacular sight…ethereal & eerie, ghostly & beautiful. That was where I became injured. “I’ve found this super internet cafe in downtown Arusha, frequented by expatriates & run by a pleasant Indian family who use superb technology . I can come here now and will do that tomorrow and catch up with comments and all the rest. They also have a nifty cafe here serving sandwiches, cake & tea.” xx
Part 4: I had to be shepherded by porters & rangers down the Kilimanjaro for 2 days, Dec 26/27th on a wheeled stretcher & straight into a waiting ambulance. My crew & guides were present the whole time. Twice, I have climbed the Kili & twice I have had to be ambulanced out. But this time, I was pretty close to the summit. Will retry my climb in April. Should make it!
My tweet on the BA airline strikes in general, got read out on CNN by newcaster Jim Clancy today. My telly was on in the living room, I had gone to the bedroom to look for coins for room service when I heard Clancy: And Susan says this… “I’d blame the airline for strikes and chaos. They failed to take appropriate care of me as a valued passenger.”
It was strange to hear what I maternally felt to be my cute little tweet being spun back at me in a matter of minutes from when I composed it. I was tickled pink. Clancy read 2 emails and 2 tweets in all. At that moment, I realised the dizzying effects of a digital communications network.
I have extended my stay in Dar these last couple of days as I stay indecisive about things. Do I fly to Kilimanjaro International or do I take the 7 hour first class coach up which stops right at the doorstep of my friend’s motel?
Do I take someone with me who came the last time and who really wants to come this time to climb the Kili with me or do I go alone? I am no longer interested in taking this person with me.
These are the decisions I have to make today as I really must leave tomorrow.
I’m sailing into the Zanzibar this Sunday at dawn & returning on a sunset hour. I’ll be passing along inky blue waters that run alongside the coast which houses my hotel, a church & a historic clock tower. Now the tables are turned & I’ll be on the outside looking in…peering from the harbour-front straight into my hotel window & hoping for my ghost who waits & watches the ships at sea, to smile longingly back.
Part 1: 4.00am Dec 10, Dar-es-Salaam
“I woke up thrilled to hear the honking of a ship in the old Dar harbour, signalling goodbye… that it was sailing out to sea. Outside my window, the dark waters glitter like a shaky jelly mould against the sharp strain of countless city lights. The virginal dawn scene is different to Dublin. The sky is a duller blue & the nimbus, ferocious when ready for battle. The rooks are bolder than the gulls.”
Part 2: 5.45am Dec 10, Dar-es-Salaam
“The vast skyline breaks into light and ballooning rain clouds with tinges of cirrus streaks for company, party on the horizon. They make for a palette of greys, blacks, golds & a wee orange. A faraway mosque calls residents to prayer. The white ocean waits in pensive meditation & a lonely dhow passes my window, sailing gently into the Zanzibar.”
Flying to Africa & busy. Will post in a few days from Tanzania when properly settled.
“My last favourite scene of Dublin for the year was a winter afternoon, just before the light went, a few days ago. Near the Ha’Penny bridge & up high above the Liffey River, many seagulls like synchronised swimmers, circled the skies with bliss. It was about to rain and against the gloom of a fat dark cloud, the gulls looked like snowflakes spilling into the night.” – susan abraham