Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Day 2: A gradual ascent up Mt. Kilimanjaro

Yup, I was right, another long day, nine hours instead of six. The forests were behind us, but there was still green around us. We are also being followed...by birds. They sure have this down. They know hikers come through every day, and bring food. And perhaps they will find some crumbs left over, or a camper with a less than watchful eye on their lunch box. 

I have been asking one of our guides, Justin, to teach me Swahili, and he seems very happy to teach me. What is really nice is he is fluent in English, so it is very easy to converse. He understands everything I am able to say, although he speaks quietly which is sometimes hard to hear. 

With my downhill guide, Lucas
So far I have learned some basic words and greetings, such as Thank you (Asante), goodbye (kwahere), Yes (Dyio), No (Hapana), What’s Up? (Mambo), Cool (Poa), Or (ao, pronounced “ow”), flower (ua), father (baba), mother (mama), and a short list of verbs, along with personal nouns (I, you, we, they, he, she). I am looking forward to learning more words.

I think part of the reason he is so friendly to me is because I am interested in their culture. I want to learn Swahili and as he pointed out yesterday, I wore my scarf like the Tanzanian women. The people do appreciate when you want to learn more. 

The food that we are served is absolutely amazing. You think, what can you get on a mountain, cold cuts? No. For breakfast we have had eggs, porridge, chapata (like Swedish pancakes), and some fresh fruit like pineapple, oranges and bananas.

Queen of the rock
They give us a box lunch to eat in the middle of our hike. So far it has had either bread with butter or a slice of chicken, a juice box, banana, boiled egg and like this cookie bar. I usually eat most of it, and save a couple things for the hike. 

Dinner is absolutely amazing. The soup they have is TO DIE for. I am totally in love with it, it is the best soup I have ever had. I don’t even know what is in it, only that it is heavenly. There is also usually beans or rice, some more fresh fruit and hot water for tea or hot cocoa. It is kind of hard to eat at times. 

Apparently that is because as you get higher in altitude, your body needs more oxygen. If it does not get enough, it steals it from other parts of your body, and the first place is your gut. So you eat less food and feel full. 

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