“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.”
Updates from December, 2009 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts
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
by Susan Abraham
Someone said he was going but did he come? Someone told me he was coming but did he go?
In Malaysia, while loyal to my land of birth, I stay awed by a restless spirit that provokes about me, an air of deep conjecture and mystery for the faraway and reckless. I am unsure of why my footsteps hurry me on, while linking one puzzle into the silent waiting gap of another complicated one with the utmost ease.
Like a box of crayons where one brazen colour may erase a meeker shade without sympathy, I run to where cultures top religion and landscapes melt into the sea. I embrace hills that grow on mountains and linger at airports which catch the skies. I can never understand why nor the time and hour that may seem so detrimental to others but which stay hospitable to me.
It must have all started from childhood when my father would bundle my mother, my two brothers, sister and I into an old Toyota to seek out the splendid neon lights of a Merdeka symphony every August 31st when Malaysia gloriously celebrated her independence with her famous dame-like austerity.
Ever the eccentric, my father would carefully circle a roundabout in Pekeliling Street of old Kuala Lumpur and now as I know this to be in my grown-up years; nestled right next door to Chinatown. In the middle of the roundabout and statued in its resplendent flamboyance stood a large colourful fountain.
I watched with awe as how swayed by the wind, tiny garlanded bulbs danced around it in a robust harvest mood. That must have been the moment for an old truth when my girlish dreams would begin forever, their tailspin journey into the unknown and never turning back.
by Susan Abraham
The harsh tropical rain beats down the sleepy air in torrents. With closed eyes, I treat myself to the forgotten rush of noise that slices my silence, like a string of fountains in choir. Excitable in togetherness, each one gushes up a melodious spray composed of thunderous hysteria and an orchestrated rhythm bent on applause.
The downpour rises and falls from its cresendo to a slow whimper before another trek climb, up an invisible skyline. Or perhaps a visiting waterfall, mistaking my bedroom for an enchanted forest, waits to pounce unawares. I stay enraptured.
Not far from where I stand, 2 handsome lampposts wear their golden shiny light like Sunday suits, kissing each dainty drop as if they may have secretly been randy lovers at a boisterous party. Who would guess.
I see distant lights from scores of countless apartments and closed offices bathed in yellows and whites and from a nearby street festooned in a strange neon colour…the niftiest royal blue. Far below my window, the rain has painted pavements a sharp silver that makes the puddles glow.
Now and then, tiny cars, buses and lorries snake their way over flyovers and on highways, ferociously determined to challenge the dawn. An empty electronic train shows off acrobatic bodywork. It curls up a circular track with superior dexterity and slides past with a whoosh, vanishing into the darkness.
I observe faraway foreboding buildings loom up like ghosts, their speckled lights and rooftops, melting eerily into the big black skies. I stay untouched by the humidity that lurks outside my glass window.
Instead, I think slowly about how Kuala Lumpur has blossomed into a modern buxomy fullness that threatens to burst with monumental pleasure at its seams. No longer evident is the quaint, uncluttered charm evident of the city – then a township – in the sixties and seventies, where it stayed mothered by lush green jungles and lullabied to a tenderness by cool monsoon winds, manufactured exclusively to the equator.