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Friday 17th February 2012      Day Two

We woke in our own time this morning, around 8am and had breakfast of fruit (papaya, melon and banana) and eggs, toast and sausage (frankfurter actually).  Don’t know what they feed their chickens but their egg yolks are very very pale!

We met Safari at 11am and he took us on a lovely walk where we saw a local carpentry shop.   

(Terry was very interested in this) with very primitive tools but excellent workmanship.  Terry intends to gather some tools at home and send them out there.  You have to be very careful how you do something like this because of the corruption that is everywhere.  If we send them to the local village half the tools will go missing before they get to where they’re supposed to go!

We then made our way to a waterfall


down a very steep and rugged incline with bamboo handrails on the side for support.  It was well worth the descent and good training for the mountain.  The waterfall was amazing, wonderfully high and extremely fierce and there just so happened to be some school children at the bottom on a school trip admiring the spectacle. 



A local showed us our first chameleons, one female and the male which has horns. 



After admiring the scenery it was back up the steep climb and on to the banana and coffee plantation.

Here we were shown how they grow the bananas of which there are four different types and the coffee of which there are two.  They are grown together and the banana trees shield the more delicate coffee plants from the intense heat and sun.  The plantation is run and organized by the local village to educate the locals on how to grow the crops and produce them in the most efficient way possible.  The farmer we were talking to was considered very rich because he owned nine cows!!


 Next we went to the caves which were extremely low in the tunnels and used for protection from the invaders in the bad times. They were extremely proficient and housed whole families and their livestock with ambush points at the entrances to stop the invaders.  They even had tunnels which led to the river where they could wash away the bodies of the invaders that they killed.


All these sights are run by the local village and the money they make (5$ each attraction) is used to improve the local schools and provide essentials for the village with a little put aside to maintain the attractions.

After another scenic route  back through a meadow, past plantations and footpaths by houses and mud huts we ended up back at the little bar we found yesterday where we had just the one beer and then back to the hotel for a rest by the pool. 

Bar being the operative word as they all had bars on them even the ones in the hotel.  This was also the same in many of the local shops.  Safari said this was because the locals can get aggressive especially once they’ve had a few beers!

We briefly met a group of 14 who had recently returned from the mountain.  They were extremely euphoric of their achievement and full of stories and tales of their expedition.  I did note that none of them looked any the worse for wear considering what they had just achieved.  All of them had made it to the top even though most of them had sickness and headaches and assured me it was extremely hard!

 Around 6pm it was time for our briefing with Godson who was the guide that would take us to the park gate and the start of our journey.  Here we met our fellow trekkers from Australia.  There was Richard, a doctor, John, a consultant and Johno, a lawyer (son of John) who had just arrived at the hotel today.


 Godson gave us a map of our route and a rough schedule of how the trip would go from day to day.  After answering our numerous questions and giving us as much detail as possible we were handed out our hired kit of thick down jackets, sleeping bags, mats and poles.  We were told our kit bags could weigh no more than 15 kilos each which made us all want to get going and pack and make sure we got everything we needed in without going over the weight.

 Dinner buffet style was next and adequate and we did meet another group that although were leaving a day after us we should meet up with them at the 3rd camp.  After dinner we were upstairs packing all our gear and getting excited at what lay ahead of us tomorrow.  A quick beer in the bar and then off for any early night ready for the start of our adventure.

Another briefing after dinner informed us of our schedule