Monday, July 31, 2006


Mount Fuji - Peter Narun's greetings

Take Two Duo & Baobab 3
Peter Narun, one half of Take Two's Guitar & Violin duo, and a third of the wonderful Jazzy Baobab 3, left for a holiday to Japan and China a few days after performing for Lenny & I at our grandmother Bibi's 79th birthday at the Mount Nelson early in July.

It was just a small evening cocktail get-together of about 25 of her closest, and I knew Peter & Kerryn Torrance would be perfect for the evening. Not over-powering, subtly elegant, and so lekka to see them even enjoying themselves that they created a warm atmosphere on a cold Cape night.

He been sharing his experiences by updating us with travellogs, and I'm reminded how one so easily forgets how other cultures norms, can be so different to our own, as he describes:

"The hotel I stayed at in Osaka (Japan's 2nd largest city) required you to take your shoes off as you enter, and had only a communal bathroom, in which you all sit on little plastic chairs and wash with hand held showerheads before climbing into communal hot tubs or saunas. It was a capsule Hotel, so my "room" was the size of a coffin - you crawl in at 1 end, and pull down a wicker blind to gain some privacy. Needless to say I could hear the guy in the capsule next to me snoring as if he were in the bed with me. And yet these capsules are fully equipped with personal tv sets, air con, radios and alarm clocks. when I turned the tv on there was sumo wrestling showing, when I switched on the radio, I got Lloyd-webber's 'memory' !?"

His last letter we received this weekend explained how they had climbed Fuji-san, as the locals respectfully call Mount Fuji. And repsect is needed - I would tread lightly on a volcano that has been dormant since 1707!

Peter writes:

"There are two kinds of stupid people: Those that never climb Mount Fuji, and those that climb it twice.

In the two month window of opportunity every year when the weather is mild enough to attempt the ascent, hundreds of thousands of locals - and a few slightly misguided tourists - begin to climb in the early evening with the aim of reaching the top in time to watch the sunrise. They arm themselves with clothing to fight the cold, and the locals carry engraved walking staffs with bells attached to keep in contact with each other and ward off evil spirits.

Desparate to be in nature after the sensory overload that is Tokyo, I left the city with two equally dellusional foreigners and arrived at the base of the mountain to begin the all night climb. After a magical sunset, we followed the line of torches in front of us up the volcano, feeling relaxed and energetic.

Then the universe developed a sense of humour, and the first drops of rain began to fall. To cut a long story short, we arrived at the top after 8 and 1/2 hours of climbing, drenched, freezing, and grumpy, to discover that the clouds were so thick we couldn't even see the volcanoic crater a few metres below us, let alone the sunrise.

Needless to say I had something of a sense of humour falure, regressed by a good many years, and might even have been heard to mutter that I wouldn't mind just being at home:) After tolerating a meager 15 minutes in the rain at the summit, all that was left to do was begin the descent. 13 hours after starting to climb we arrived back at base camp, feeling even more drained than I'm sure we looked, but in slightly better spirits for having completed the challenge."

Next they are off to China - home to a quarter of the world's population! There will be more updates as they come in!

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