Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Off to Africa!


Ok, vitals check:

  • nausea.  tick. 
  • sweating. tick.  
  • racing heart. tick
  • lack of appetite.  tick.

Nope, I'm not on the mountain yet, I'm not even in Tanzania, I'm just re-reading a leaflet on the effects of altitude sickness (surprisingly similar to the above, but progressing to fluid on the brain, fluid on the lungs, quick death. gulp.) and the ensuing nervousness is wreaking havoc with my body.

In addition, yesterday I re-read the trip notes and noticed the sentence: "You need absolute confidence in your physical abilities to attempt this trip".

Merde.  Why didn't they put confidence as number one on the suggested packing list?

"Do you stock that by the bottle-full? I'll take four please. Sod the extra weight."

But to be honest, as I'm leaving in an hour, if I'm not ready now... tough shit.

You're going anyway Smallwood.

And am I ready? Weeeell....

  • I'm probably as fit as I'm going to be with a full time job and no natural motivation to do sport in the middle of winter (though I have thoroughly enjoyed the last week or so of the nice, gentle, 'taper down'. Also read: 'Christmas'); 
  • I'm carbed-up (I think the Frenchman has taken somewhat of a sadistic pleasure in coaxing extra mouthfuls of pasta/rice into my mouth when I physically can't chew anymore.  I'm pretty sure I heard the words "payback" and "summer" at some point in between my protests);
  • My bags are all packed and have ticked things off my list about 10 times (though, as usual I'm stressing that I've forgotten something vital, but hoping that, if I have, my over-prepared father will have thought of it (he's become the favourite customer of our local outdoor shop));
  • I'm a walking pharmacy and have more medical supplies than clothes (If I run out of layers I'll be bartering for nurofen, imodium, malaprone, diamox, sleeping pills and blister plasters); and
  • I've managed to gain a teeeeeny tiny bit of extra fat (not enough, granted, but thank you to all the people who gave me chocolate for Christmas- I've eaten it ALL. nom nom.); 

And as for the altitude sickness? Well its a lottery.  There's not much that can be done except for take it slow, drink lots of water and pray to God that the Diamox works and my body acclimatises well enough (apparently if I'm peeing like an elephant (and other unmentionable bodily functions) it's a good sign).

So nothing left now than to get on the plane (on time), get my arse to Africa (without losing my luggage or my dad) and start climbing (and not give up before the summit).

Oh, and probably pick up some more light-hearted reading material en route.

Wish me luck!

My dad and I are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro from the 4th January 2012 to raise money and awareness for The Prostate Cancer Charity.  It's the first of 5 challenges my family are undertaking over 2012 to raise £20,000.

If you would like to support us, please donate at: 
It's quick, easy and you can gift aid it, so even more money goes to charity!!

Every penny raised will help us put in the hours in training and dig deep on mountain when we're trying to get to the top!! Every little helps, no matter how small, so please, please, please give if you can!

Hopefully the next instalment will be describing the view from the summit of Kilimanjaro!

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