I thought that I should do a sort of “final post” thing here already, but it seems too early somehow. I have been back in the UK now for about 10 or so days, and the whole thing is still so close. Although to some extent, like any ‘holiday’ (ha), once you get back into work mode it seems very quickly like a long time ago, with this it will not fade, and I hope it never does. Having said that, I don’t want to become obsessive about it (again:)), and for it to take over my life. But it is also too big, too important, to let go of, and it won’t be happening anytime soon.
I have also been delighted by some of the comments that are being put onto here. That I find quite inspirational. It is fantastic for example to be able to help anyone, and if I can then I will, so please if you are reading this and are thinking about leaving comments, then do so – I promise to reply.
I’m also so pleased with how much attention the blog is getting generally – I used to get 10 hits a day if I was very lucky back in December or so – today I have received 240 so far! In fact pleased is a massive understatement – I am doing cartwheels across the floor!
In the meantime I wanted to put up a few ‘post climb’ thoughts. How do you feel when you have been back a few days? What do people say to you? Is it an anticlimax?
So first a few thoughts, post-climb, as it were:
Well firstly I am still on an absolute high. Despite being thrown back into a very heavy work schedule, and also having a lot of ‘catching up’ to do generally, I am still buzzing. I didn’t go up the mountain to find anything in particular, but I certainly learnt a whole lot about “life, the universe, and everything”, as they say. I’ll try to capture those things separately in another post sometime soon.
Secondly it is great to be able to go through the photographs, all of them, good and bad ones. They all tell their own stories. I am very glad that I got the new camera, but wish to an extent that I had taken more shots, particularly of the flora and fauna. One of the amazing things about Kilimanjaro is the totally amazing variety of what you see. From forest to desert, from indigenous tropical flowers to alpine heathers, it is incredible. I love to be educated, and whilst on the mountain I found myself never able to learn enough about all that was in front of me. I found a world full of ‘impatiens kilimanjari’, of moss, heather, lobelia and senecia.
I will continue to pursue that knowledge – it fulfills me greatly. Kilimanjaro also takes you through five (yes five!!) climate zones. They are the forest (where we saw the moss and the monkeys, amongst other things) with 230cm of rain a year; the heath with its 150cm of rain; the moorland with 53cm and its lobelia and senecia; the alpine desert with 20cm and its helichrysums; and then the ice cap, with virtually no rain ever, but lichens and bunches of snow in our case. It is amazing to think back of being at (or immediately below) the equator, and then going through so much change in weather. To think that I was at a higher point when I reached the top than the aeroplane was that flew me into Tanzania puts it all into perspective.
Next there are the people who made this really happen, and I mean “really really” happen. You may recall this photo from a few posts ago, but here it is again:
So it would be more than remiss of me if I didn’t name them all, and so here we go:
Antony (also dishwasher)
Joseph (also dishwasher)
Frank (also waiter)
Ally (also waiter)
Omari (also cook)
Mauld (also assistant cook)
The Assistant Guides
So with some of these guys we would pass like ships in the night , as they lugged our stuff up the mountain and catered to our every need. We exchanged the occasional “jambo”, “mambo” and “poa”, which was about as far as my Swahili would stretch. That makes me feel a bit ignorant – you guys were the best, and I admire every single one of you, enormously and incredibly gratefully. With the assistant guides and Deo, they all spoke our language, as they are required to for their qualifications for their jobs. I won’t stress again here what these guys did and how much they mean to me, but it is irreplaceable in my memory – unforgettable. Raymond in particular, at least for me (see my “summit” post) is just my hero, always: Raymond my friend, when we speak again, as I know we will, I want you to know that you have my undying respect and admiration, for all time.
It appears that I have whole lot more to add here, so I will continue this another day (and also try to answer the title question, which clearly I have failed to address altogether in this post) – in the meantime I thank everyone who is following this blog in these seemingly ever-increasing numbers. It is getting very big indeed – maybe I should keep it going for a little while yet – what does anyone think??