2,717 kms | 4,377 meters elevation | 10:34 a.m. | 5 degrees Celsius
Only thought in my mind? Putting deodorant on is truly an act of bravery …
Note, the milk is frozen. The yogurt is now ice cream. My pancake flavoured tea* cools on its own in 135 seconds.
* ran out of sugar and pancake flavoured syrup in the consistency of treacle will satisfy my sugar craving
Why deodorant? Look, when water is hard to come by, and bless Nakumatt for selling Rexona deodorant, that’s my only solution to feeling half human… and frankly, that the deodorant stick was one of the few “luxurious” obsession I owned in “this world” that is void of material hoarding.
Besides, the pipes are frozen and at the height of midday it only emits a tickle of marginally above sub zero water as it vibrates violently against the walls, making me feel almost apologetic for even turning it on. With that thought, my fingers that are ready for amputation, tries with all might to shut the faucet off and release a heavy sigh of resignation.
My challenge is I am Asian. By this I mean my hair refuses to take on the Rastafarian dread locks looks, quite unlike my fellow travelers. Instead, it lies heavy and limp – akin to the warthog‘s whiskers – my extremely shy neighbours at the moment. For some reason, limp, heavy hair around my face bothers me. And no matter what I do, they just refuse to cooperate and stay in the beanie I had acquired earlier at the Kenana Knitters* upon discovering that I would be making my way to Bale Mountain.
Fact is, I never planned to be at 4,377 meters above sea levels, exposed to the elements in search of the almost extinct Ethiopian wolf. It also warrants a mention that I haven’t got a clue what an Ethiopian wolf looks like and had a suspicion that it would look like a dingo or a dog (read: disappointment!).
What I hadn’t expect was vast open landscape with lovely blue skies and cotton like clouds hanging overhead. The latter pretty. The former means an Ethiopian wolf in the wild is like a pebble on a football pitch. Factor in the dull grey-ish brown colour of arid land and stones … yes, finding the Ethiopian wolf while driving at 40-60 km/hr is a challenge!
And so when my fellow photographer travel mate and I did finally spot a handful of Ethiopian wolves, independently and not in a pack, you guessed right – click! click! click! click! click! – was all you could hear emitting for our side of the truck, with me literally lying prone over his lap to get a foot and a half closer to the vehicles window and thus, the wolves! Even with 400mm lens and an extender, it’s just not close enough, and when I’ve got my fingers on the shutter button, I lose all sense of perspective!
Then, suddenly, the moment of realisation hits! Why the heck do I need 50+ frames of a dog-dingo-wolf looking thing?!?!?? I excused myself and got off his lap wishing I could slap that silly bemused smile off his face!
But it’s really no time to feel any sense of shame or modesty, looking back.
I mean, with only quick drying cotton, linen and trekking clothes for 40-45 degrees Celsius temperature, a 3-seasoned sleeping bag, Daiso rain pants that I had packed out of guilt after a big argument with my mother about not needing a rain pants 2 days before I left for the trip, and my Kenana Knitters beanie and sweater (my best investment despite the unintentional asymmetric sleeve length with the right being 4-3/8inches shorter!), I was a fashion nightmare fighting to keep warm for 72 hours, deliriously dreaming of Gore-tex!
If that’s not bad enough, I’ve only changed my undergarments and the 1st layer of clothing with Dettol wet wipes “shower” done between 12 noon and 2pm with the sun at its full glory and me finding some cover behind the huge boulders along the terrain. This was soon after one foolish attempt of taking a shower that resulted in me making unmentionable sounds in the shower (in protest of the icy cold droplets that fell from pipes some 3 feet above my head) with my travel mate (whom I’ve never met in my entire life prior to this) and 4 Ethiopian (park rangers?) staring at me with luring looks as I exited the shower with nothing more than a wrapped microfibre towel!
However, nothing beats this:
(read: vengeance for all the looks and unwarranted sexual innuendoes you threw at me throughout the trip! what can I say? ahh, it’s lovely to have a blog, a camera handy at all times, and to be fair I could have been cheeky and taken it 2 degrees of to the left or right!)
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