Thursday, 19 February 2009

hey jude

Meeting my sister at the airport was really nice but only because she was bringing a couple of bottles of decent wine for me. Brotherly love…you just can’t beat it!

A few days later I thought I should be sociable, stop flying and spend some time with her…so off to the world peace pagoda it was.

Once off the boat we hit the trail and within 10 minutes she came to the conclusion that she was even more unfit than her beer loving chain smoking brother. When the excuses stopped we slowly made our way up the steps. Sadly the clouds were obscuring the mountain views. Having already walked back to dam side on a previous occasion I suggested walking in the other direction along the ridge towards the end of the lake.

The little dirt track joined up with a rarely used jeep track and we meandered lazily along the ridge. After a few kms we had a choice to make. Uphill or downhill? Walking downhill (come on did you really think it would be uphill!) along a newly created jeep track we came across a small troop of monkeys. Now I knew what the leopards were eating!

Leaving the track behind, we walked along stone paved paths and then went cross country over the paddy fields. Some of the paddy walls were a little too high for my sister’s stumpy legs to get up. So as she went looking for an easier route up I voiced my encouragement…honestly!!!
After a few hours of clambering fun we were down at the lake’s edge. Skirting along the boggy shore line until we came across firmer ground, then heading towards the other side. At one point, a small jump across shallow water was required. After me, my sister jumped “the chasm” and as her foot landed into soft mud she stared to lean (or hopefully fall) backwards. Just as I was sensing the opportunity for a “hilarious photograph” my right hand reached out and grabbed hold of her. I have still yet to forgive said hand!

Once seated at Maya Devi with a cold beer an hour later my sister proclaimed that she was quite happy as she had now “officially bimbled!”
At that moment she had no idea what was going to happen a few days later…

…a few days later I was sitting at take off nervously smoking a cigarette…

Mum don’t read this bit!

{The reason for my slightly non relaxed state was because the flying conditions were far outside my very small comfort zone. The conditions were what you would expect at the end of March, some 6 weeks away. Strong turbulence, big gusts of wind etc etc. For someone with only 17 hours flight time and flying a lite weight wing it was not much fun! Plus hearing people far more experienced than me talk about how many collapses they were having on each flight wasn’t helping. Seeing someone crash into a tree just after take off made my mind up. Fuck flying today…I’m walking down}

Okay Mum, you can start reading again

…when my sister sat next to me. Half an hour later we had started the 45 minute walk down the mountain. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, birds were singing and the stroll down was gentle and easy. About halfway down I suggested a little deviation from our current route and Jude agreed.
Moving off the easy to follow stone paved track we descended into the forest on a steep leaf covered narrow dirt path. Soon the path disappeared and I led my sister, by now slightly pissed off, through the trees. On a few occasions she had to use her backside to get down some of the steeper inclines. As we made our way along we ended up on a piece of land with a river on either side gouged deep into the bedrock of the mountain. By luck we came across a path which then unluckily led to a big bit of nothing. A landslide had removed the path and with it our way down.

By now my sister was a little bit more pissed off, slightly sweatier with a hint of grumpiness on the horizon.

Being the amazingly thoughtful kid brother that I am I told her to sit down and chill out whilst I went to find a way down. About 10 minutes later I was on the bed of the river after climbing down a 25m rock face formed from the solidified muddy landslide. Sweet, I thought to myself, it’s all easy from now on. Then I remembered about my sister…bugger!!!!
As there was no way she could climb down the way I did I clambered up the stream to find someplace easier. When I say “someplace easier” I meant for me…for her it was “you’re joking right!” When I said that “if she wanted too she could go back the way she came, rejoin the easy path down and I would meet her later at Maya Devi” I was surprised she didn’t slap me. Maybe she was getting worn out after all!

And so began the descent…

Walking backwards down the crumbling mud fused aggregate that was the ground with my sister above me, guiding her foot placements and acting as a brake / airbag when she slipped took a while. Eventually we made the bottom, well actually it was the bottom of the top and before us lay a further 200m or so until it got easy.

It was fun! I was really enjoying it!! My sister on the other hand was having a nightmare afternoon. The hot sun, the lack of lots of water to drink, the fear of falling, the fear of rocks giving out underneath her etc etc. Honestly, some people just don’t seem to like bimberling!!! An hour later we were at the bottom. All we had to do now was climb down the waterfall!!!!!

Later at Maya Devi, with a cold beer in our hands I turned to my sister and said “Now you can tell people you have officially bimbled”

She was too tired to swear back!

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