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
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.