Monday, August 23, 2010

And he shall be known as Shvitsil

Monday, 23 August 2010 - One of the advantages of living along side the Cascades is the views. Everywhere you turn, there are purple mountains majesty, and snow capped peaks with such beauty at which you can marvel.  The scenery on the coast, especially the Pacific Northwest is like nowhere else.  The mountains provide an unending playground for the adventurous and the not so adventurous year round.  There is the Grouse Grind which is a gruelling climb - part hike, part staircase - that sees hundreds of visitors every day.  Day hikes and weeklong treks, mountaineering and mountain climbing, skiing, boarding, snowshoeing, heli-skiing, tubing, tobogganing, zip lining, hot tubbing, clubbing, camping, hotel guesting...  the options seem endless indeed.

The weather on the mountains also provide excellent variety. In one day you can experience warmth, cold, fog, rain, sun and snow, and get a bit of all of it again on the way down. But mountain adventures are had all over the world.  What about the folks who scale Kilimanjaro, Everest, Mount McKinley, Mount McKay...  are they adrenalin junkies?  Or maybe they are short statured and looking for a leg up?  There are so many cool places in the world that can provide adventuresome travel, some places where you can go it alone, and others where you might want to consider a sherpa.

In the coming year, myself and a couple of mates are looking at a mountaineering trip to Peru or Ecuador. Maybe that doesn't seem like the relaxing vacations of the Caribbean variety, but I'm sure that the weather will be warmer than it will be here on the 49th parallel, initially anyway.  I have been assured that there are several days of easy'ish hiking as we ascend mountains, passing streams, lakes, rocks, and snow. The crampons that will adorn my shoes are what I will call "mountain golf shoes". There are tents involved, but I've also heard word of Inns and "porters." A porter I've been told, is like a sherpa, only they lug up your stuff, set up tents, look after you, and then wait for you at the base camp to ensure you come down off the mountain alive. A porter sounds to me like a vacation slave.  Now see... I'm finding positives in this trek all over the place.

I have always wanted a slave.  I shall call him Shvitsil.  He will by my house boy, pool boy, shoe boy, man servant all around handy dandy 'porter.'  I will hug him and squeeze him and treat him well, but I will have very high expectations of him.  If I were very lucky, I would also have a driver... and he shall be known as Hobdee. I thought about calling him James - but it's just so last year. The driver slave will be responsible for all the driving... something of which I could really be happy to do away. I'm not enamoured with driving... but I am all over the keeping of slaves. Here's hoping the United Nations doesn't link to my blog. Today is International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and it's Abolition.  I'm guessing sherpas and porters don't really fall under the category of slave trade. I wonder though if my porter will allow me to call him Shvitsil?

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