Wednesday, June 20, 2012

After Africa

We have been home from Africa for over a week now.  Finally getting over the jet lag and back on schedule.  Eric had a few extra days away from home attending a basketball camp in Provo.  Marty and I have started a new era.  He is working as my "scribe".  He follows me everywhere at work completing my paperwork and doing my discharge instructions and tracking down the lab work.  He sits at a computer right next to me when we are not in a patient's room.  My job at the hospital is evolving with the addition of scribes and other changes in the facility and the manner we do billing.  It will be interesting to see how things all work out.
Our trip to Africa already seems distant.  The days off from our home routine went by so fast.  Some fun things I remember about our trip:  Eric making Marty sit by the fat lady on one of our long flights.  Watching Marty's duffle bag with all of his mountain gear stay on the tarmac next to the plane in Nairobi, Kenya as our small plane leaves on our flight to Tanzania.  Then paying 20 dollars to have a young Tanzanian strap the duffle onto his small motorcycle and ride through the winding hills and villages to catch up to our expedition van on the morning we begin our climb up Kilimanjaro.  Marty offering to leave his wedding ring as collateral to rent a headlamp in our attempt to re-outfit him before the duffle arrives. The woman shop owner giving Marty the look of pity as he did so.  Getting our raft flipped in the class 5 rapid on the Zambezi River called "The Terminator" and then thinking that I had drowned Marty's friend Keith as I looked over at him and saw him face down in the water as we struggled to keep our heads out of the water in the lower sections of this huge rapid.  The close encounter we had with a family of elephants at Lake Manyara while on safari.  The stare down I had with a young male lion in the Ngorongoro Crater.  Finding the chapel in Lusaka on Sunday morning and meeting the Saints in Zambia.  Cold showers.  The extreme poverty.  Walking the streets of Keith & George's neighborhood.  Summiting Kilimanjaro with 300 hundred young african males.  Watching the sun rise on the summit of Kilimanjaro with a minus 20 degree wind chill.  Laughing at Eric as he attempts to choke down mangos and porridge for the 7th morning in a row.  Reading "Crime and Punishment" in my tent realizing that I have a knack for picking depressing books to read on my climbing expeditions.  Learning how to use a "squat toilet".  Discovering a Colobus monkey in the rain forest on the flanks of the mountain.  Taking a shower in a waterfall at our second camp.  Watching with amazement as our porters carry our duffel bags balanced on their heads up the mountain.  Hundreds of happy children run and wave at us as we travel by their homes.  The banana market in one of the villages at the base of Kilimanjaro.  A Mosai herdsman walking with his cows and goats in the bush.  The grass hut villages of rural Zambia.  Mosquito nets over our beds.  Watching 3 full length movies, sleeping (sort of) for 8 hours and still having lots of extra time to fill on our 16 hour flight from Johannesburg to Atlanta.  Arriving home to beautiful St. George on a hot sunny afternoon.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Long Way Home

It was a long way home, but we are now back in St. George.  To keep the flight costs low, we traveled from Tanzania back to Zambia before starting our flights back home.  Therefore, we rode on 5 different planes over a 40 hour time span and touched 4 different African countries before arriving on a 16 hour flight from South Africa to Atlanta, Georgia!  It started in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania and went to Nairobi, Kenya then on to Lusaka, Zambia where we caught a flight to Johannesburg, South Africa and from there back to the United States.  To say the least we were quite "jet-lagged" upon arriving home.  Deb and Hailey met us at the airport in Las Vegas and drove us home to beautiful St. George.  We had a great trip and one that I'm sure that Eric and Marty will never forget.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

On Safari

We arrived back to Moshi after a two day Safari. We had a private trip. Our driver and guide, Tanga, drove a large Toyoya Landcruiser with a pop off roof. We first visited a national park named "Lake Manyara" along the "Rift Valley". I wasn't sure what to expect. Soon we were creeping along on rough dirt roads through the "bush" trying to spot animals. It was truly astonishing to see that many of the African animals that we see in the movies and in zoos, really do live close together in the natural state. That evening we stayed at a remarkedly nice and secluded hotel in the rolling hills of central Tanzania. Again we would have liked to stay there another day or two and explore that area. The second day we visited the Ngorongoro Crater. Absolutely amazing place! We saw even more wildlife than the first day. We saw; lions,elephants,zebras,giraffe,wildebeest,water buffalo,warthogs,gazelles,pink flamingos,hippos,four species of monkeys,one rhino,and many other birds and others I can't remember. Now we get to start our long journey home by leaving the hotel here in Moshi at 4 a.m.!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Pole Pole

We have come down off the mountain after a long and successful week of hiking and sleeping in a tent. I thought that reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro would be fairly easy, but we encountered arctic conditions at the top of the mountain as we neared the true summit. It is their winter here south of the equator and the top had snow and ice but mostly it was the fierce wind that made it so harsh and the going difficult. The view was spectacular! Our trip was private. Just the three of us (Gordon, Martin, and Eric). We had 12 Africans working for us as we moved from camp to camp up the mountain. A guide, assistant guide, a cook, and 9 other porters. We saw some exotic plants and animals and people. The words "pole, pole" (pronounced phonetically ) were repeated to us many times by our guide and porters. It means "slowly, slowly".