I can’t remember the last time I slept so soundly. I fell asleep at 9:30 and woke up at 7:30 – barely moving the entire night. We were in for a surprise when we woke up, though. Getting out of bed was a major ordeal! Every single muscle in our bodies hurt from our run down the mountain. Walking has never been so painful. Jon had gotten up to go to the bathroom at some point in the morning, and he says he was going to warn me about the muscle situation but decided I could figure it out for myself. No kidding.
From Jon: Since I’ve chosen to consider the run down the mountain as this year’s marathon, true to form, the requisite muscle stiffness and soreness is there too. Time for Advil!
At 8:30, we went to breakfast and sat with Vanessa and her dad again, and we all moaned and groaned and ached together. Every five minutes, we looked out the window to see if the Zara bus had arrived to take us back to the Springlands because we were anxious to leave the Green Hostel. At 10:00, the bus arrived and we climbed in – excited for a day of luxury.
After checking in, Jon and I sat by the pool to read while they finished cleaning our room. It was overcast, but we didn’t care. Then we went to the room and did the Grand Backpack Switch. We’d taken my backpack up the mountain and left Jon’s full of stuff here at the Springlands. His was incredibly heavy and mine was incredibly full of dirty clothes. We knew we were going to send our Kili stuff home after we’d finished the trek, and before the climb we figured we would just throw the dirty clothes into a box and ship it. But after opening my backpack, we realized that what we had on our hands was a hazardous waste site. So we really need to wash these clothes before we send them home or my parents die from radiation or something when they open the box.
Cho Dai Day
We sat at the hotel garden bar waiting for lunch to be served, and met a kid from London named Joe. Joe is about to study at the London School of Economics, and had also come down the mountain early from a different trail. He had contracted HAPE – High Altitude Pulmonary Edema – which is fluid in the lungs. Very, very bad! His guide sent him with a porter down a trail that would “only take 5 hours”. 11 hours later he reached the bottom. He says that he continuously asked the porter “How much longer?” and the porter kept changing his answer. At one point, Joe said that the porter said “Six more minutes!” so Joe started running. 75 minutes later, he made it to the gate. Can you imagine being that sick and being demoralized by these kinds of “Africa Time Estimates”? How terrible! Joe made it to the hotel at 2:00 in the morning.
Despite his lungs, Joe was in great spirits and hung out and chatted with us for a while. He saw our deck of cards and offered to teach us a “Chinese card game that we would play forever”. Of course, we jumped at the chance! So Joe taught us Cho Dai Day, which is a cross between Spades and Poker. It was a great game, although I was annoyed because I consistently lost. And much like poker, Jon consistently won. Whenever we play poker, I invariably end up taking money from Jon’s pot because I lose all mine early in the game!
Andy Fairweather: Mountaineer Extraordinaire
During lunch, one of the arriving buses carried Andy – our long lost mountain hiking buddy. We waved and cheered for him, and he waved and kept walking. We don’t blame him – we remember how we felt when we got back yesterday. So we’ll wait until he’s showered and rested to hear about his experience. Omari came with him, so we chatted with him for a bit and bid him farewell. The sun was peaking through the clouds, and Jon and I went to the pool to lay out and read.
Over dinner, we got to hear about Andy’s trip to the summit. He says he was completely out of it by the time he got to Uhuru Peak, and swears that he fell asleep every couple of steps. He said he would just close his eyes for a brief second, then his swaying would wake him up. By the end, he was just going wherever Nicholas – the assistant guide – told him to go. But he was ecstatic and we are very proud of him! He has a slick certificate to hang on his wall back at school.
Andy, Jon, and Me – enjoying some well-deserved beers
After dinner, we played more rounds of Cho Dai Day with Jon, Andy, Joe, and Joe’s friend Dom. I finally won a game, but had to leave because the mosquitoes were eating me alive.