Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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Paul, who had done one of his big OE’s last year to Africa, Europe and the USA, took quite a large number of us on a journey to explore the Serengeti, climb Kilimanjaro, explore the Swiss Alps and visit New York, a very interesting world trip that required a plate for supper instead of a passport, and glad rags instead of ice-axe and crampons.

Leaving Chez Paul soon after 7:30pm we headed first for Tanzania in central Africa on our slide-show plane with Paul at the controls. We saw the plains of the Serengeti and came close to lions (who feed only once every seven days, but you never know which day!), giraffes, water-buffalo (whose fearsome horns scare even the lions away), zebras, etc

We began our ascent of Kilimanjaro. This was easy to start with, and once above the bushline we could see the volcanic peak way ahead. We stopped at the huts on the way - very often climbers are forced to turn back at the second overnight hut because of altitude sickness, but none of us had this condition, just as Paul escaped it on his trip last year. Last year porters took all the packs for Paul and the other climbers; here we just did the climb without any physical effort. We reached the top, where all the ice was glacial and much of it under a layer of dirt etc, and enjoyed the tremendous panoramic views from the top.

In an instant we were back down the mountain, finding ourselves in the Swiss Alps, huge rocky mountains rising out of lovely green pastoral valleys. Tremendous views to be enjoyed.

Then over to the USA and New York, where we saw the twin towers of the World Trade Centre just as they looked 12 days before Satan did his evil deeds through Osama bin Laden and his cohorts on 11 Sept 2001. We climbed the towers and saw the view from the top, and we also went up the Empire State Building, staying till nightfall to see the fairyland of the lights below.   We also visited the White House and saw a man in the window - apparently not our president (he was one of us) or George Bush (he was away at the time and due to fly in next day).

We then had a look at the musical milestones of America - the record store at Times Square where rock ‘n’ roll was born in the early 1950s, Gracelands the home of Elvis Presley, Nashville the capital of country music, and the jazz mecca New Orleans.

Our slide-show plane touched down back at Chez Paul shortly before 10pm and we were treated to a lavish supper, and enjoyed browsing people’s photos of recent tramps plus maps of the areas we had just visited with Paul.