Monday, February 13, 2006

We Made It!

I'm jet-lagged and weary from head to toe, but I'm pleased as punch to report that the Flying Yanks all reached the summit of Kilimanjaro on the morning of January 27!

There's lots more to report, but I figured you deserve a photo of the big moment at the top:

Stay tuned for frequent reports and new Kilicasts!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

No Muss, No Fuss

D-day minus two! Time to get rid of that pesky moptop.

It's haircuts like these (on that right, that is) that make the locals think the Flying Yanks are on a military mission. Hairstyles like the one on the left just frighten small children.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Sobering News From Tanzania

Three climbers die on Kilimanjaro

[BBC] Three tourists have been killed in a rockslide on Mount Kilimanjaro - Africa's highest mountain - in the north of Tanzania.

It is reported that at least one of the dead climbers is American.

One more climber and four guides were seriously injured as strong winds prompted a rock slide.

"A rapid change of weather forced several rocks to tumble and slide down the gradient," chief game warden James Wakibara told AFP news agency.

"The rocks hit a group of tourists who were en route to the peak and three were killed."

The accident took place at an altitude of nearly 5,000m, close to Arrow Glacier base camp.

Thius year entry prices were doubled for climbers, in an attempt to restrict numbers on the mountain to protect the environment.

Around 25,000 visitors climb Mount Kilimanjaro each year, compared to 15,000 visitors 10 years ago.

This is not exactly the kind of news you want to get about a place you're going to be visiting in a few weeks. The only positive thing the Flying Yanks can take from this sad news is that the Arrow Glacier camp is not on our route; it is widely considered the most challenging and dangerous route on the mountain. Still, this serves as a strong reminder that we're not just going for a casual walk in the park.

Closing In On D-Day

Haven't checked in with the blog for a couple weeks, mainly because of the holidays and the rising panic in my preparations to travel to Africa. Funny -- after knowing I would be heading to Africa all these months, I'm cramming at the end just like I crammed for exams back in school. Some habits die hard -- if ever.

Anyway, my fellow Yanks and I had our last formal pre-trip conference call last night, so I guess we're getting pretty close to heading out the door. I hope to still squeeze out an introductory podcast before I get on the big iron bird, so look for that in the next week. (If not then, then sometime in February, I guess.)

Oh! And I don't believe I have mentioned that I gave Mrs. Lt. Dan a trip to Paris for Christmas. When I return to Amsterdam from Africa on February 5, Mrs. Lt. D will fly to Paris and I'll catch a train to the City of Light. We'll spend a week there and get reacquainted with each other. As if I didn't have enough to think about -- now I need to learn how to speak French, too.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


I took the last of four typhoid vaccine pills today. Yummy. Guess that makes me as protected from the creepie-crawlies as I can get.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Tanzanian Elections Are Largely Peaceful - Whew!

Looks like Jakaya Kikwete (above, on the right) and the CCM party have won the Tanzanian elections. You might remember my post from October 31 that described some violence in early elections on Zanzibar, where we'll be heading in the first days of February. This story from the BBC says there was some additional trouble this week on Zanzibar, where the majority favors the opposition CUF party.

Fortunately for our trip (as well as for the people of Tanzania), it seems that this is one African nation that is starting to do a fairly good job of holding elections; the international observers involved in the election said things went pretty smoothly.

It will be interesting on our upcoming visit to see if we notice a difference between the Tanzanian mainland and Zanzibar. Politically, it appears that these two locations couldn't be more different. President Kikwete needs to figure out a way to bring his people together. It looks like he's won himself five years in office to see what he can do.