Sunday, February 21, 2010

2/13/2010 Africa Days 11-12 Somewhere Over the Atlantic Ocean 29,527 feet (and I thought Kili was tough!) Our guides singing to us on the last day. I got a bit excited about this.

It’s all over. I’m on the final flight back to Chicago. I knew the trip would go by fast, but didn’t think it would be this fast.

Day 8 of our “climb” (steep downhill) we hiked for 3 hours down a well maintained path to the exit gate. We were all in good spirits and looking forward to a shower. After signing the registery at the main office we all piled into a fairly small van. To make “plus one” (yes he had to ride with us) uncomfortable, Gretchen and our assistant guides Peter and Freddy crammed in the back with him. After a surprisingly short ride back to Springlands, we all had fantastic showers (okay, I can’t speak for the others, but mine was great), lunch, followed by lounging by the pool with Fanta. I also had tome time to go to the internet and post my “Kili Training Program”. It’s a sure success.

As a favor to fellow personal trainers, I thought I should do my part and share the PERFECT program for training for this climb I just completed.

Days 1-5: Have client walk on a treadmill with a low elevation, while enjoying video of the most amazing views he or she has ever seen. (Diet: Same soup and porriage for all meals is ESSENTIAL)

Day 6:
1.Wake client up at 11pm, ensuring he/she has had less than 3 hours of sleep.
2. Set up stepmill outside in sub zero temperatures with gayle force winds.
3. Spin client around 30 times to ensure dizziness and nausea.
4. Smash client in the head with a mallet to achieve headache at migraine levels.
5. Put plastic bag over client's head to limit oxygen levels severely.
6. Have client climb stepmill for a minimum of 8 hours under these conditions.
7. After the climb, use mallet from step 4 to bash knees, simulating the steep downhill.
Wish them an enjoyable trip!

While online I also discovered I had well exceeded my goal of raising $2,000 – especially thanks to a large donation from STIHL Inc. I think I may start bleeding orange.

After another shower we went out to dinner with Bruce, his cousin, and our assistant guides Peter, Adam, and Freddy. We were served plates of grilled, greasy pork. I think the others were more thrilled than myself.

Bruch got a bit emotional (probably the beer) and handed out our climb certificates indicating we made it to the top. We had been joking about the “Golden Ticket” to the Chocolate Factory the entire trip and we finally had them! Bruce also had braclets made for us- complete with our names, the Tanzanian flag, and the US flag. I foowed this ceremony up with a handstand contest with Freddy. He beat me at elevation on Shira Plateau but with all of my oxygen I was able to smoke him.

Bruce then took us to some bar where Katie managed to cheat at pool and crack us all up. By the point we were all practically sleeping on the table, we finally went back to the hotel.

Our last day in Africa we caught the shuttle to Moshi with our amazing guide Nate Greenberg. He took us to the least freaky souvenir shop and Ryan and I got a few things for family. We then went to the market which was quite the experience. I understand I am a dumb American who just pretends my meat magically appears- and I hoped to keep it that way. Dead fish, chickens being butchered, liver, intestines, blood everywhere- wow- it was NOT pretty. I thought of Fiona the vegetarian and started to think it wasn’t such a bad idea… until my fantastic hamburger for dinner. :)

We then caught a van to this hidden spring called Chemka that Nate discovered a few weeks back. Despite the fact our doctors warned us not to swim in open water in Africa, these springs were too refreshing to pass up. Please let me know if you see a worm crawling out of my nose. The sun was shining, the water was sparkling blue, there were little fish everywhere, and branches to swing around in like monkeys.

On the drive back to Springlands (1.5 hours on dirt roads) Michael Jackson’s “Heal the World” came on the radio while poor children were yelling, waving, and running alongside our vehicle. Most of these kids have nothing yet NOT ONE of them looked unhappy. Money does not buy happiness. What a surreal way to end this trip.

Now we are 5 as Ryan caught a different flight in Amsterdam. In a few hours we will land in Chicago to return to our normal (okay, who am I kidding?!) lives. We did it. We really did it.


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