I can’t be doing this kind of thing by myself. I may not make it if I don’t have people to moan to about how hard it is, how my feet hurt, how much I smell, how I lost a sock and now no longer have perfect pairs.
Let alone ask the magic question ‘Are we there yet?’.
When we signed up- the person that will be known from this point as the Other Aussie Chick (OAC), the gorgeous Genevieve and I were offered two options – go it alone with our own set of porters in the manner of honeymooners, or join a group already climbing the same week we wanted to go. Of course we chose option two – we do enjoy each other’s company immensely and do love spending time together but lets face it, more people mean more conversation topics, along the lines of ‘they seem quite weird, nice, superfit, crazy, perfect climbing companions, freaks, why did we decide to climb with them again…..’
You never know they may even have something to contribute to the conversation.
In a manoeuvre typical of me (if you knew me in real life you would just assume) the first thing I did was check out the name of the other person / group organiser given to me by our climb operator on Facebook and Google. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t have – you know you would. By as much as I could see (she does have some security savvy, not an open fb profile) she seems like a normal person, no horns, only one head, although I couldn’t tell if she had any extra legs (which could make keeping up with her a bit tricky) – that is if the photo posted on her profile is actually really her. We will only find out in September when we meet to start the big walk –
For now we will have to forget about her and her party of five and hope for the best.
So let me expand on my other companions, OAC and Susan the Leggy Dutch Lady (LDL) as they will be the ones bearing the brunt of my moaning and groaning and fretting for my iphone signal, or at least they will be after their own ipod batteries run out.
The OAC is one of my very bestest friends. I have known her since the second year we moved to Hong Kong and we met just as she was moving to Shanghai (insert sad face here). However as luck would have it for me – Shanghai wasn’t a perfect fit and soon she was back, in the same apartment complex and the same hockey team as me. She was also in Team SNAK-en (long story will try for one sentence – Sarah, Nikki, Amanda & Kerry – only Kerry got pregnant so she couldn’t come that year so Gen stepped in and allowed us to call her Ken for a very short period of time) as I did my first team GreenPower 50km event.
Organising to climb with OAC is testament to how far I will go to spend time with other Australians on this continent. I could digress here and tell you about the time I ran breathless across a rugby pitch to speak to someone in a Waratah’s jersey- but it turned out while he was Australian, he was only visiting – or that’s what he told the crazy Aussie chick who dragged at him from behind and asked if he lived locally. Australians are few and far between here in Durban – they tend to not live in this part of South Africa, as I am told many many times – South Africans move to Australia not the other way around. Anyway its reassuring to be going to do the climb with one of my own tribe and a fab friend in the bargain. My only concern is her super fitness. Gen is a girl who can run a marathon before breakfast, play a game of hockey after lunch and then go out for a few drinks, home by 2am up by 7am to ferry various small ones to mini-rugby, hockey whatever. I only hope she can slow down long enough to make it. Apparently the super fit struggle to slow their pace to those of us with ‘medium’ fitness, bizarre as it sounds. However I don’t believe I have ever met someone so dedicated to achieving goals she sets herself, so if I need to slow her down I will just lasso her from behind and she can use her fitness and super strength to pull me to the top.
She can have a back op when she gets home to sort that out.
Joining us more recently as a climber is Susan, the LDL – although sadly (for me) I recently worked out we are the same height its just that our different- umm builds – that make her look much more ‘leggy’ than I do or ever will. Susan is part of the secret Dutch society – in that there are actually multiple Dutch people who live in Durban and they are very supportive of their own tribe, but not at all in an exclusionary way to those of us who are also expats but not from Holland. So really what I am hoping to get out of this whole exercise is an entree as an honorary Dutch person, which includes access to the secret Dutch phone book so I can have my own tribe here too. It may take a little longer to work on the tribal language though – but who knows, once upon a time I also spoke German – Dutch may not be beyond the realms of possibility.
The LDL also is fairly fit, I would place her in the ‘above average’ fitness category. I say this because when we were discussing the lack of hiking and altitude in our immediate area we talked about the stair machine at the gym and at what setting we use for our sessions. Susan uses setting 12 – run off now, I dare you to do more than 3 minutes on 12 without leaning all over the top of the machine or completely passing out. Respect for level 12. In an effort to rise to those dizzying heights I did two minutes of level 12 in my last stair session – but obviously not consecutively. Susan also has other impressive sporting endeavours – like the most amazing ‘eagle’ I have ever missed (I’d say seen but I didn’t see it) from the fairway of the 10th hole on our local golf course. We looked for that ball for ten minutes after our fairway shots until someone found it – in the hole! Other qualifying characteristics for the climb include ability to drink sufficient amounts of wine and dancing on bars.
Don’t you love her too? Aren’t you glad she’s coming? I am.
52 sleeps to go ladies – start your engines – or at least do a grease and oil change now in preparation for our big adventure!