Today we did nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Seriously. We never left the hotel, and just lay around at the pool in the sun reading our books. We showed prodigious foresight in bringing two decks of cards with us on our trip. Unfortunately, we can’t remember any games to play outside of Poker (which is best when played with more than two people) and Go-Fish (which is fun – if you’re six years old). So we had a brief Solitaire competition at some point in the afternoon and that was the most exciting part of our day.
Your Own Suitable Pace!
At around 5:00, we met some other trekkers for a “Kili Briefing” in the common area of the hotel. Patience gave us the low-down on what to expect for the next few days, including the important statement: “You should walk at YOUR OWN SUITABLE PACE.” This latter statement was repeated over and over again with Patience’s lullingly sweet accent during the briefing; a slow ascent is crucial to altitude adjustment. So establishing and maintaining YOUR OWN SUITABLE PACE is key to the mountain climb and she ingrained that in our heads fairly well. However on the last day, after we reach the summit (IF we reach the summit) we descend very quickly down the mountain. “At this time”, joked Patience, “It is no longer necessary to go at YOUR OWN SUITABLE PACE.” It was quite funny, but I’m sure you had to be there.
We went back to our room to consolidate backpacks. We’re packing one backpack for the porter to bring, and each of us will take a day-pack. We’re planning on wearing the same thing day after day, and won’t be doing much showering. So the porter backpack is pretty light compared to the backpack we’ll leave here in storage.
Dinner was fun, as we’re all excited to go up tomorrow. But we’re also very nervous. Jon is now in “marathon” mode and made me load up on carbohydrates instead of too much protein. The wind has picked up significantly tonight, which will be nice for our walk tomorrow through the rain forest, but will be hell on the summit. (assuming I see the summit, that is).
Since I have the space, I’m going to complain about a few physical issues that I believe are notable and will probably send Mom into a worry-induced coma when she reads this. But let’s do it anyway, shall we?
First of all – the bug bites are driving me crazy. Some of them are taking forever to go away and a few have swelled up significantly since they were bitten. And ALL are causing issues when shaving. Between the bites and the cuts, my legs are quite frightening right now. Not that it matters, but I look like some bizarre scientific experiment.
Second of all, I have this peculiar numbness in my left hand. It started on our last game drive, when we spent an hour watching the lions approach the water hole. (See June 25) I had rested my elbows on the edge of the truck to peer through my binoculars, and remained in that position for at least a half-hour, if not 45 minutes. The edge of truck, apparently, had hit against an odd nerve in my left elbow. Because when I took my arms down, my left hand was completely tingly and numb. It subsided after a few hours, but I woke up that night with the same sensation and it went away rather quickly. Ever since then, my pinky and ring fingers on my left hand have this tingling that flares up every now and again. I still have feeling in both fingers, but this weird sensation just won’t go away.
Finally – and I’m sorry if this is too much information – but it’s that time of the month and I have to go climb Africa’s tallest $*(#*$%@# mountain. Nature has a very bizarre sense of humor.
Jon, by the way, is just fine. He has noted the lack of birthday cake in Africa, and therefore believes that his birthday is still in effect until he gets cake. So, he says, I must be especially nice to him until he gets his cake. I wonder how much it would cost to send him home via surface mail? 🙂