[WaffleG] The East African Edition (No.19)

Editorial
I seem to be struggling to remain in South Africa, oh humble wafflings. It’s not like I was trying to travel all over the place, it just seemed to happen. Such is the nature of being the Mighty Waffle Master. Cower before my syrupy magnificence!

Kenya is the destination for this issue. Next month the moon, and then after that – Mars.


New Members
None this time. But the following still applies, I suppose.New members: If you’re confused about this, visit the Official Waffle
Group Web page

It’s unlikely to clear up your confusion. Email me for clarity.

See the end of the message on how to unsubscribe.


The Destination
I found Mars to be just as red, barren and dusty as it always appears to be in the movies (and in photos). I found the thin atmosphere to be somewhat suffocating, and it was a real pain to always put on a pressure suit whenever I wanted to go out for a walk.
There were no tourist attractions to speak of and the locals were very strange and alien.
I don’t recommend you go there unless you really like the colour red.


Stop Being Silly Now
Ok. I’ll try. No promises.Firstly I’ll express my disappointment that I saw neither Tigers nor Lions in Kenya. Weebl – you are a trickster and a cad!
But, perhaps I should not be so harsh on Weebl. There are no lions and tigers in Nairobi. I didn’t manage to venture out of the confines of the city, so perhaps he speaks truth. I can confirm that there is a tall mountain with snow on the top. I saw it as we flew 1500 feet above it on the way to Kenyatta International. The disembodied voice that spoke to the passengers on the plane called the mountain Kilimanjaro. You need to ask yourself whether disembodied voices are trustworthy.
How can you be certain that anyone is actually flying the aeroplane? As a passenger I’ve never seen the pilot sitting at the controls. Is a disembodied voice flying the plane?
I propose that a small camera is fitted in the cockpit so that when the pilot has something to say, passengers can actually see him/her/it speaking on the TV screens. This is so obvious that the only reason it’s never been implemented is because no-one is flying the plane. And the air stewards are probably all robots.


The Point of the Visit
I went to Kenya because the UN headquarters for Africa are in Nairobi. Just down the road from the UN is the US embassy. The same US embassy that was bombed back in 1998. Exciting stuff! I was surprised that no-one tried to kidnap me, being as important as I am in the sphere of waffles.We met at the UN for the 1st African Symposium and Workshop on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) from 29 August to 2 September. “We” being people from 11 African countries, and few people from other regions to assist in facilitating proceedings. My expectations for the event were not entirely met. Most of the attendees had heard of LCA, but didn’t know much about it. I was actually one of the more knowledgeable people there. As a result, I didn’t learn many new things about LCA (as I had hoped). At the same time, this is encouraging since it indicates that I probably know more than I thought I did, ergo I haven’t been totally misleading myself while studying LCA.
The best thing about these sort of gatherings is meeting new people who are interested in your field of study. Ultimately, when the studying is done, you can try to sucker some of them into giving you a job (or at least referring you to someone else who might give you one). Those guys who worked for CSIR looked particularly promising.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
The UN venue. I felt important sitting there

There was also a fascinating bureaucracy about the event. We held several open forum discussions, and various people voiced their opinions on extremely diverse issues. Most had very little to do with LCA, and the capabilities of LCA.
In one case we discussed potential impact categories that would be relevant to Africa, before anyone properly explained how impacts are modelled. Impact categories are usually things that can be determined using scientific principles and models. The impact category Climate Change is determined using some measurable variable, like CO2 and CH4 emissions (believe it or not, I am making an effort not to bore you into a catatonic state as I explain this). Data plugs into the model and voilà you have an impact score.
Sometimes you can define impact categories that don’t operate on a scientific principle, but you still need some sort of reliable statistical data. I hope you can see why I shook my head woefully when the impact category Corruption was proposed.
I suppose this kind of thing was partly a symptom of the delegates’ ignorance, and not their entirely their fault. Yet, I got the feeling that many people liked to propose motions that would be completely impractical or simply impossible to carry out. Everyone just smiled and nodded and made little notes in their little notebooks.
Sometimes certain people would challenge an opinion and there would be much debate and nodding and smiling and so on. Timeless discussions with no apparent end.
I started to see the merits of dictatorship. Benevolent dictatorship kicks democracy any day.
As Kevin (who also attended) said to me, “If this is how a bunch of academics discuss things, I’d hate to spend the day with a bunch of politicians.” Touché


The Most Chaotic Traffic Flow of Nairobi
There seems so be only one traffic rule in Nairobi: Keep left unless that’s inconvenient.
The rest are just guidelines.

At any intersection, the vehicle travelling at the greatest velocity has right of way:
Unless a stationary vehicle already blocks the road, in which case this vehicle has right of way until the vehicle blocking its path clears a space.
Give pedestrians a chance (I actually saw a road-sign stating this) since there are no pedestrian-crossings and very few traffic lights.
Keep a following distance of at least 1000 Angstroms. This also applies to vehicles to your left and right.
Hoot at cyclists
Get your mind checked if you are a cyclist

Because of the special guidelines traffic had a kind of organic quality to it. It seemed alive. Where the road was clearly designed for 2 lanes, there were three. At one stage our bus was driving on the wrong side of the road because an extra lane had spontaneously grown out of the left side of the road, consuming a lane on the right side. I recommend visiting just to see the traffic. I also recommend you get someone else to drive for you.


Festive Hotel Locations
Kevin and I (and most of the delegates) stayed at 680 Hotel. I think the website makes it look better than it is, but at least it was clean.
Kevin and I undoubtedly had the best rooms in the place. We were on the top floor and we looked down at Simmers, a wonderful bar/club/whorehouse that had a live band every night, seven days a week. Oh how we rejoiced as the pumping jams wafted tranquily up to our room, drowning out the insistent cackle of the television until the early hours of the morning. Oh, how well we slept each night with these soothing rhythms stroking our eardrums in gentle lulling softness. Oh how we were started awake each night at 3a.m. to the sudden silence at Simmers closed for the evening.
Indeed, as their pay-off line stated, Simmers was truly “The answer on a plate!”
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
But does it look like the answer, on a plate or otherwise?


Simmers – A Closer Look
What to do in the evenings? Well, Simmers had been aggressively advertising using an audio medium, so Kevin and I figured we’d join Chris there for a drink.
It was festive and pleasing and we spoke of many things. Chris and I met up first and waited for Kevin to arrive. It took him quite a while. Apparently he’d been delayed by a waiter who had insisted that there were no other white people in the place, and he was to sit here at this table, and nowhere else because there were no other white people here. Fortunately, Kevin was strong-willed enough to break free and seek Chris and me out.Time passed. Beer bottles were emptied. There was talk and merriment. Then there was an overly friendly woman. She figured she could probably charge the gullible white men more for services rendered. She first sneakily positioned herself at the table next to ours. Then she drank some alcohol, presumably to build up some courage. Then she started talking to us. Then she started touching Kevin (since he was closest). Then we realised that we were actually surrounded since the woman seated at table on the other side reached out and gave my back a friendly stroking.
Then we paid for our drinks.
Then we left.

Later in the week Kevin and I were held up in the hotel lift by someone who claimed to work at the massage parlour on the second floor of the hotel.
“That’s nice. We’d like to go to our room now.”
She didn’t like that idea and continued with her marketing, preventing our escape by standing in the elevator doorway.
“That’s nice. We’d like to go to our room now.”
But she promised that the massage would be very nice, right over here on the 2nd floor. We could come any time we liked, and all the women who worked there were very beautiful, and look! here were a few of them right now. Aren’t they lovely?
“They’re nice. We’d like to go to our room now.”
Then the other ones started marketing a little. It didn’t look like our tactic of complete disinterest was working very well. Kevin attempted another approach.
“Maybe some other time. We’d like to go to our room now.”
It didn’t have much of an effect either.
But, the new characters didn’t seem to be as drunk as the one barring the door, and they quickly saw that we weren’t going to be giving them any money, so they dragged our new friend away and we returned to our room and the Simmers party.


The Carnivore
A whole bunch of delegates went to eat meat at the Carnivore. If you don’t like meat, you shouldn’t go there because you won’t like it. If you do like meat, you should go there. They will give you as much meat as you can eat. You will get meat from a cow, a chicken, a pig, an ostrich, a lamb, and a crocodile. Apparently they used to serve other game, but stopped doing that. Something about protecting endangered species. What are endangered species good for if you can’t eat them?
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Hell for Meaty BeastsThey will bring you the meat skewered on massive sword-like things, and slice it off using pangas. It’s really quite vicious, but most yummy.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Dead beast is served

The day before going to the carnivore, some of us atoned in advance for our actions by eating at the vegetarian restaurant, which really made the most incredible meals, and for hardly any money at all.


Meeting the Family
After the conference I stayed the weekend. This gave me opportunity to finally meet my oldest uncle and his family who have been hiding out in Kenya all my life (and longer, but I’m still not convinced that anything existed before I did, so these claims may not be true).
I’d met all my other aunts and uncles before, so it was excellent to finally close the loop. It’s sort of creepy how is similar to my dad in many ways.
He drove out all the way from Kitale just to see me and I was really flattered by how important he and Freda considered our meeting. Initially I’d just thought it would be nice to meet them, but it really was a whole lot more significant than that.
I wanted to stay longer, but the taxi came to take me back to the hotel. I plan to go back for a holiday. Perhaps I’ll see the tigers then.


Thanks go to…
I arrived home to my darling wife to discovered that she’d gone a bit odd in my absence. She had a bit of a freak out while I was away, and it would appear that I actually keep her sane just by being around. Perhaps insane people emit sanity waves, which is why two insane people like us have to live together in order to keep stable. This hypothesis doesn’t explain why I didn’t go nuts, but then I did have Kevin around a lot while in Kenya, and there’s clearly something wrong with him.
In future, I will just have to take her with me wherever I go.
The good news is that the positive effects of my presence are starting to influence her once again, and I predict her recovery will be swift.
A bunch of people helped Angie through the weak (ah look! play on words!) and I’d like to thank them impersonally via email and the Internet. Yes, electronic media is eroding our humanity. Cope.Megs, Jaco, Louise (and I suppose Rob, you helped too, although you are in a way an extension of Louise). Thanks so much for looking after Angie (and Bean where applicable) when she needed you most.


That’s all. Any comments, suggestions, complaints, insults. Send them to me.Checkout the official Waffle Group Webpage at http://thewafflegroup.blogspot.com
Unless, of course, you are already there. Good on you!

If you don’t want to receive this newsletter from me, send me an email with the phrase “SOD OFF” in the subject.

Advertisements

Haircut

Yesterday I went for a haircut.

Bottle-Blonde-Girl went too. Except she wasn’t getting her haircut, she
was having her roots retouched. She put her large bag down on the
surface in front of the mirrors and out jumped a small furry beast. It
ran down the counter and attempted to drink my coffee before being
whisked away.
Bottle-Blonde-Girl apologised for the inconvenience, but she didn’t take
her long-haired Yorksire terrier home. She’d even brought a hot-water
bottle along in case Fufi (that was its name) got cold. Hmmm.

I think the next time I go to get my haircut I’ll take Bean with me and
see what sort of reaction I get. No-one told BBG that pets were not
allowed, so I don’t see why there would be a problem with me bringing my
dog.
What would be really cool is if I had a pet rat or ferret. Or even
better – a pet snake. They couldn’t kick me out because I’d cry foul
about Fufi getting special treatment, but the hair-dressers would all be
kind of jumpy which would be great fun. My haircut might not turn out so
well though, I suppose.

Dubious Day of Doubtful ‘do

Bean went for a hair-do (read hair-cut, but I needed to tie up the title “‘do” for our slower readers), but there was a misunderstanding over terminology.
I asked for winter-cut, expecting that to mean long hair, but neater, and without the matted bits. Summer-cut is something that I did not want because that would mean short hair, with silly and frankly embarrassing long bits.
Apparently this is long hair. I’m doubtful. If it is long, then it has even longer embarrassing bits. On the positive side, it is without the matted bits.

The sales clerk revealed that I was actually looking for was a polar cut. Right… well as she said ‘unfortunately we can’t put the hair backon.’

Bean as she appears now…

The Horrible Hike of Horrible Horrors Issue – No.18

****************
* Waffle Group *
****************
_Official-Looking Waffleletter No.18_

_The Horrible Hike of Horrible Horrors Issue_

*Editorial*
Greetings Wafflers.
As you can see I’ve given up trying to get the colours right in HTML.
Plain text is what you are getting from now on. I apologise to the
readers who had no problems. To those complaining whinging types – I
hope you’re happy with the drab, boring and plain black & white. How am
I meant to draw the youth back to the medium of the printed word now,
and keep them safe from occult that is Harry Potter (parading as
children’s books, but obviously evil propaganda published with the
intention of turning children into basket-weavers, or something even
more sinister).

So I went hiking, and this is what this issue is about. Other stuff has
happened since the last issue, but it all pales in comparison to what I
experienced the weekend of the 16^th and 17^th July.
Before I go any further, a message for Louise. I’m not angry with you.
Really not angry. Because of this trip, I finally got Angie to agree
with me about the importance of camping with the correct equipment. So
actually, in retrospect, I thank you.

*New Members*
Three new members this issue.
Friends of mine find themselves girlfriends/ fiancées/ lovers/
dominatrices. They get sucked on to the list. Welcome to Kim and Gaby
who fall into this category. They have Gareth and Quinn to blame.
Then we have Mr. Andy, who should have been on the list a long time ago,
but never gave me (or Angie) his email address. This has now been rectified.

New members: If you’re confused about this, visit the official Waffle
Group Web page (http://myweb.webmail.co.za/halfhaggis)
Clicking on the words is likely to cause more confusion.
Clicking on the waffle itself might be more useful, but less entertaining.

See the end of the message on how to unsubscribe.

*Arm-twisting and other pursuits of love*
“Oh Neil my love, Louise and Rob are going on a /snow-hike/ in the
Drakensberg in the middle of winter, and I’d like to go with them. It’ll
be /fun/,” says Angie.
“Good for Louise and Rob. And good for you too. It’ll be /cold/,”
says I.
“Don’t be such a bore. We never do anything fun or interesting.
We’re always stuck in Jo’burg. I really want to go.”
“It’ll be cold. [insert expletive] cold.”
“Ok Neil,” says Angie, “you don’t have to go if you don’t want to,
but I’d /really/ like you to.”
[Insert expletive] thinks I.
“Ok, I’ll come along,” says I
“You really don’t have to go if you don’t want to…”
Yeah, right.

I had other reservations about our little mountaineering adventure –
such as our lack of camping equipment. You see, the ‘snow-hike’ was
actually a snow-hike and snow-camp (and snow-freeze-to-death — but more
on this later).
Apparently many people have camping equipment, and a number of them like
us enough (or perhaps hate us enough) to lend their equipment to us.
I point-blank refused to be involved in any way in the preparation for
the trip. My viewpoint was that if Angie wanted to go up the mountain
–dragging me in her wake– and freeze our butts off, then she had to
organise everything. That way I could blame her when we lacked something.

Somehow Angie managed to scrape together backpacks, a tent, sleeping
bags and ground-mat thingies. We stuffed the backpacks full of blankets
and woolly clothing to cover every part of our bodies. Food and water
was jammed in there too. Seemingly well equipped for our journey into
the arctic tundra, we set forth early Saturday morning (Friday evening
having been utilised for my idea of fun – good food and drink at an
excellent restaurant (built of material more sturdy than tent-canvas)
with charming company and air temperature regulated at a
non-life-threatening level).

*Drive Drive Drive Drive*
After roughly 4 hours travelling, we reached the mountain, and I’m
pleased to state that most of the journey up the mountain was by
motor-vehicle. I’m less pleased to state that by the time we got to the
mountain, I was the driver of the motor vehicle. But most alarming of
all was that the motor vehicle was a Peugeot 206. I now see the merits
of 4×4 on steep gravel roads.

*Arrive*
Louise and Rob and company were waiting for us at the top (well, the top
in terms of motor vehicle travel). They made us breakfast and plied us
with alcohol – but not enough.

*Hell Begins*
I’m relatively sure that when a damned soul arrives in hell, Satan gives
the poor bastard a backpack and then he chuckles maliciously as he tells
the soul to hike up steep mountains that very closely resemble the
Drakensberg.
I knew that the camping bit of this horror would be really unpleasant
but, since I actually quite enjoy hiking, the hike bit was meant to be
much nicer. My fatal error was of course forgetting that a backpack has
stuff in it. Lots of stuff. 12 kg of stuff (I checked when we got home).

And now, a little Newtonian physics:

W = F.s
where:
W is Work
F is Force
s is displacement

F = m.a
where:
m is mass
a is acceleration

Let a = g
where g is acceleration due to gravity

Ok. Stick all the bits together and you get
W = m.g.s

Now let’s throw in some numbers:
m = 12 kg
g = 9.81 m.s^(-2)

So I had to expend an extra 117.72 J for every metre that I went up the
mountain.

I hope that seems like a lot. Because it isn’t. One Romany Cream biscuit
provides 315.18 kJ of energy, so I’d need to hike up 2677 m before one
biscuit wouldn’t be enough to replenish my energy.

Physicists clearly need to climb more mountains. If they had, their
stupid formulas would be designed to work properly.

I’m re-evaluating my vision of hell: damned souls must hike up mountains
with heavy backpacks and solve non-linear differential equations in
their heads while juggling piranhas.

Enough digression.

*Hell Continues*
Hike up. Hike along. Huff. Puff. Rob says we’re almost there. He says it
a lot and at regular intervals. We stop believing him.
The shadows grow long. The packs grow heavy. The pains and aches just grow.

When we thought things could get no worse, we arrived at the
chain-ladder. Just up the chain-ladder and we’re at the top.
Just. Up. The. Chain-ladder.
Ha ha ha we nervously laugh. Ha. Ha.
Whaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

We’d been warned about the chain-ladder. No. rather we’d been told that
there was a chain-ladder, and would that be a problem. Nah. No problem.
Angie and I had climbed chain-ladders before in Cape Town – no sweat.
Obviously there was a miscommunication somewhere. Either this horrific,
endlessly uprising, vertical, rusting, linked chain behemoth was a
‘chain-ladder’ or the short series of metal rungs linked with chain on
Lion’s Head (in Cape Town) was a ‘chain-ladder’. They could not both be
chain-ladders. They were not the same thing.

I climbed the chain-behemoth for a long time.
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
A long long time
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
I reached the top. Others followed. Angie was very impressed with
herself (since she has an intense fear of heights) and I was impressed too.

Oh look. What’s this? *Another* ‘chain-ladder.’

*The Summit*
I was unimpressed. Having laboured away the whole day (about 5 hours
hiking/resting/moaning) we got to the top. It was flat (and not even the
most top top – we’d made it to the base of Mont-aux-Sources). Flat
like a plateau. Flat like the Free State. Flat flat flat. Flat.
Other mountains still towered above this pathetic flat bit I found
myself on. To say I was dismayed does no justice to my feelings at that
point in time.

*The Camp Site of Hypothermia*
The flatness wasn’t all bad. Because the camp site was several hundred
metres away in a valley, the walk to the camp was far less painful than
it otherwise might have been.

By the time we made it to the camp the sun had already set and light was
receding rapidly, as was the warmth of the sun.
Pitch tent! Put on more clothes! Shiver! Go for a piss! Move into
Louise’s tent!

I don’t want to dwell too long on the warmth and comfort that Louise and
Rob’s tent provided, because then you might think I enjoyed myself for a
moment there. Although that might be true, I am trying to pain a picture
of Horrible Horrors. Horrible Horrible Horrors.
Louise and Rob were properly equipped with a thermal tent, and so about 7
of us huddled into their ‘sleeps 3’ tent. It was warm and comfortable
and fun and festive in ABSOLUTELY NO WAY AT ALL.
Unfortunately we couldn’t all sleep in the tent, so after supper Angie
and I skulked back to our tent.

At first it didn’t seem that cold (the floor, however, was just as
uncomfortably solid as I’d expected). But that delusion didn’t last
long. As Angie put it, it got so cold in our useless borrowed summer
camping equipment that “we both pulled our beanies over our faces and
waited to die.”
It was a long cold uncomfortable wait. We’re still waiting which, I
suppose, is a good thing.

The sun finally rose after one of the longest nights in my memory where
I dreamed of terrible twisted cold things. Our water bottle was solidly
frozen. Our cell-phone stopped operating in the middle of the night, the
liquid in the liquid crystal display frozen in place. I was angry.
“You’re insane! I’m never going camping again ever!” I said as I stormed
clumsily out of the tent (stupid ropes and zips and crouching and
crawling — grrr). I marched off to urinate and found the sunrise to be
quite beautiful. Wow. I should take a photo or many. One of Angie’s
propaganda angles on this camping expedition was that I’d be able to
take many cool photos. Indeed, excellent photo opportunites were now
available (and the temperature was starting to rise, pushing my spirits
up with it). Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe the photos would make
the torture worth it (or at least, I could tell myself that and feel
better).
Clumsily back into the tent – a grunt at Angie, just so she doesn’t
think I’m liking anything about the trip – and back out again. Photo
photo photo.

*A stupid way to die*
A small river runs passed the camp-site. I think it’s got something to
do with the Tugela, but I could be making that up. It was completely
frozen over and ran to the edge of the plateau, and then plunged over
the edge – a sheer drop that would very likely cause immediate death on
impact, except water isn’t alive, so no problem there.

Naturally the best photos to be had are near the edge, and more
specifically, near the frozen waterfall. I was to have the best photos
that were to be had, or else I’d be most annoyed.

Did you know that frozen rivers are slippery? I do. And I did. That was
why I carefully stepped over the icey river surface (low water season
making this possible). I took a couple of photos and crept towards the
edge. Not wanting to slip over the edge I kept about 1.5 metres away. I
decided it was far too dangerous to get any closer and take a photo
hanging over the edge. Time to back off and take a photo of the
waterfall from further away – I hadn’t hated this camping thing so much
that I wanted to kill myself. Survived the freezing night just to throw
myself over the edge of the mountain. Now that would be stupid.

My favourite thing is irony.
Don’t you like irony?

As I start to walk away from the edge, my feet suddenly stop holding me
up. By this point I’m already facing away from the edge, with a solid
rockface to my right, camera grasped in my right hand ready to take the
next shot. I’m leaning to the right, towards the rockface because of the
slight incline. There is nowhere for my feet to move to rebalance me.
I collapse. Instinctively my my right arm shoots out to break my fall.
It succeeds. It also does a good job of slamming my camera (lens first)
into the rockface. I slide down the incline a little, but fortunately
stop short of the river. Having averted certain death, I inspect the
state of my camera. Much like a tortoise head, the zoomable lens has
retracted into its shell, and refuses to be coaxed out. The lens cover
is nowhere to be seen (presumably knocked over the edge).

The fact that people across the river were trying to determine my state
of health only started to filter through to me.
“Are you ok?” I heard them asking. No-one seemed in a big hurry to jump
across the river and save me though.
“No! I’m not okay. My camera’s broken!” is something I thought but
didn’t say.

*Look Who’s Feeling Sorry For Himself*
Back at the camp, I presented the remains of my camera to Angie.
“What?” she asked.
“Uh… It’s broken. I slipped on the frigging ice and broke my camera!”
I told her.
This had an unexpected effect. Angie broke down into tears. I chased her
and we ended up back near the edge of the cliff (but further back, and
away from the river) watching the sun rise. We resolved the issue. Then
something took a liking to my butt and tried to take a chunk out of it.
I thought I’d sat on a thorn or spiking pointy thing. A pointy spikey
thing that tore a hole in my pants – and left three tooth marks, and
bruising. I was probably poisoned in a mild sort of way (since I didn’t
swell up and die). I’m still classifying it as Life-Threatening-Event
No.3 on the Mountain Where Bad Things Happen

I returned to the camp again and felt generally annoyed about my broken
camera. Broken cameras can’t take photos. Grrr. I suddenly stumbled upon
a brilliant idea. I will destroy the ice on the river! It was the icy
nature of the river that caused me to slip and break my camera, and so
the river must suffer! The river must die! The ice must be destroyed! I
will destroy it! And I will use this rock.
I threw the rock with considerable force at the ice expecting the impact
to cause an explosion of shards and splinters. It just skipped off the
surface, leaving a minor chip in the ice. Unsatisfied, I found a much
large rock and threw it as hard as I could. If anything, it made less of
an impact. I cursed. Clearly the rock was part of the mountain and so it
was friends with the river and they had some sort of treaty that didn’t
include me.
I later discovered that the ice was about an inch thick, but I still
think it was a conspiracy.

As the sun rose I moped. We packed up the tent and all of our equipment
and we waited for Rob. Rob wasn’t in a hurry to leave the mountain, but
then it hadn’t tried to kill him three times.
I hatched a cunning plan in my impatience. Leave the mountain
immediately. The main problem with the hike had been the backpack. Most
of the stuff in the backpack was other people’s anyway, and the stuff
that was mine I could replace. Of course Angie would be pissed off, but
she loved me and she’d forgive me. All I needed was to take the car
keys, my wallet and some water and just go. Angie could get a lift home
with Rob and Louise. The equipment I’d carried up wouldn’t be my problem.
The only thing stopping me was my consideration of how pissed off Angie
would get. While I was mulling this over I saw Angie check whether the
keys were still in the backpack. She gave me a suspicious look. I gave
her a suspicious look.

Abort plan! Abort abort!

*Down*
Down is better than up.
Except the chain-behemoth. Going down the chain-behemoth is worse than
going up it. That extra 12 kg on one’s back really makes one feel
unbalanced. And one has to look down. Down is splattery, and with the
memory of the mountain’s murderous intent fresh in my mind, it made me
nervous.

*Picking up the Pieces*
I took my camera to a photography shop for an assessment. He guessed
that to repair it will cost R2500, but referred me to the Nikon
technicians in Midrand to get a proper assessment for insurance purposes.
As I left his shop he mused, “An expensive weekend. Enjoyable; but
expensive.”

I decided not to bore him with the tale, since that’s what you Waffle
Group people are for.