Pardon the silence. My head is full of Africa this minute. This, born of a secret exhilaration built on the remnants of memory and the odd hopeful conjecture.
I called Ibrahim in the Kilimanjaro this morning. He said not to worry, that we could work out the essential itenary once I arrive. The weather, measured against the February heatwave is considered cool at 25C . Downpours shroud the present high season. I asked Ibrahim if the thousands of flamingoes at the Momella Lakes in the Arusha National Park had fled the scene. No, they were happy residents still parked in an ageing hotspot.
I suspect laziness had compelled my feathered friends to forget the nomadic life. I picture the elegant vain birds now; a sparkling Tatler crowd, dipping fat lipsticked beaks into the sharp glitter of the waters, lost in their coffee-morning gossip and twirling about in sunset colours that masquerade a showy ballroom dance.
They haven’t the slightest idea that an inquisitive observer has made enquiries. And lest the birds object to a permit, I’ll make a short film or take pictures on the sly.
The majority of Tanzanians speak excellent English. Today, Ibrahim is a strapping six -footer. As a little boy, he earned extra pocket money by moonlighting as a mountain porter. Then his lithe frame had enabled him great liberty in racing up and down the Kilimanjaro so many times, he swiftly forgot the count.
Still, he is quick to outline the dangers especially of poor visibility where even veteran adventurers and expert guides still get lost or fall to their deaths. The Moshi populace may shrug off the very idea though; seeing mountain climbing as nothing more than a day job.
He tells me on the phone that he’ll consult Romany the slightly taciturn driver who ferried us about the last time. Romany’s schedule is erratic and so it all depends. Yet he is fun for his traveller tales, when caught in the mood. This, wound around the eccentric and sometimes unreasonable tourists who make infuriating demands. Safaris are cheaper in a group. If you’re alone, you just make up a number. But I’ve always liked my trips customised.
Hedonism dictates the joy of the solitary decision. The last thing I want as a free-spirited individual is to be bent on social niceties with strangers.
I’ll try to be more updated with my posts especially on the subject of books.