Monday, November 28, 2011

Barranco Wall- Kili Day 4

"Dreaming serves as an outlet for those thoughts and impulses we repress during the day. When we go to sleep at night and slip into our dream state, we feel liberated and behave in a manner that we do not allow ourselves to in our waking life."

-- Dream Moods (online)

Day 4... also known as the day before the day that precedes THAT night- summit night. Clearly my subconscious mind has begun counting down to tomorrow night's scheduled ascent, because in my sleep, I didn't succeed. Instead, I had returned home to Jeddah having turned back from Kili early. Stupid dreams! Fortunately, my conscious mind has immediate access to Albus Dumbledore's Pensieve. This object, crafted by the magical talents of JK Rowling and explained in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, operates as follows:

"One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one's mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one's leisure." As I release the air from my air mattress and pack it along with my "sleeping hat" (a funny looking rat-shaped beanie gifted to me by a friend), I pour those excess thoughts into my wash basin and throw them out with our dirty water.

BARRANCO awaits. Apparently that's Swahili for "breakfast," and it is also the name of today's main attraction: the Great Barranco Wall. Supposedly known as such because we climb it after breakfast, this wall is just that: a wall. There is no discernible trail, only dots of moving color slowly making their way upwards. Noticing the panic on some faces, our guides reassure us that "it's a piece of chocolate cake..." after all, the porters climb it one-handedly, with packs on their heads. My personal take on naming this wall "the Great Breakfast" is that it serves to remind climbers to stuff their faces this morning: lunch isn't for another 7 hours.

When I think of this day looking back, I have a vivid image of one of us losing a water bottle. Just thinking of that fluorescent yellow plastic crashing against the cliffs over and over again, until it disappears from view... it's enough to give anyone a chilling case of vertigo. But my handwritten account of that climb has me cruising through it: "Barranco Wall! AMAZING. SO MUCH FUN." Followed simply with, "I love rock climbing." Surely enough, if I could revisit any part of the Kilimanjaro trip and do it all over again, it would be this day. Deciding how to surmount those rocks, where to put your feet, how to use your hands for support.. this technique requires a certain finesse that is highly gratifying.

3PM and we're done, stationed at our new camp for the night. As a present to mark the first day of Eid, our phones start working again; we have BBM reception at 4000+ meters above sea level. But first, we must prepare our equipment for tomorrow's climb and so, one of our guides stops by our tent to check in with us. "Suze," I say, looking her straight in the eye. "If I get sick tomorrow, I'm going to want to keep going. You need to know this because I'll need you to tell me when you think it's no longer safe." Her reply is confident, "You're going to sail through it," she says. Sweeter words have never been spoken.

I finally get through to Mama on the phone and her loving voice rings clear in my ears: "NOURA! DON'T BE STUPID TOMORROW. IF YOU FEEL SICK, YOU TURN AROUND, YOU HEAR ME?" I hear her... the question is, how did she hear me?!


Mona K Shahab said...

I am so looking forward to "The Great Barranco Wall!"

Noura when day 7 is over can you keep on writing?! (mashallah)

Jawaher Al Sudairy said...

"piece of chocolate cake" .. haha. Noura, I love this post!

Anonymous said...

Can't wait till you post day 5 Noura T!!! Keep them coming :)

Zein Attar said...

That fluorescent yellow plastic bottle was mine!!! Amazing post Noura T.. reliving our Kili days through your words :) Zein xx

IT began as a field diary for my summer in Jizan (2006) under the title "Watch Out Bubba Gump." Now I'm not sure what it is... but I do know it's time for me to start writing again.