Photos From Malawi

[this post was lost during a server failure on Sunday 11th July 2004]

[the image in this post was recovered on Thursday 30th December 2004]

Here’s some photos of my trip to Malawi, as the group have now started uploading photos to me at last!


Dan looks down on Lake Malawi.


Dan on the descent.


Two baboons, at Vwasa National Park.


Livingstonia Hospital: This woman and her baby have both been diagnosed with AIDS
Thanks to ARVs, the woman’s condition is improving. Her baby cannot be treated and will die.


Beautiful waterfall, on a river running from Livingstonia to Lake Malawi.

Will post more when I can be bothered. Meanwhile, photos are continuously being uploaded to Scatmania’s Malawi Album [update: link killed 2006]

Lariam Dream The Fifth

[this post has been partially damaged during a server failure on Sunday 11th July 2004, and it has been possible to recover only a part of it]

[more of this post was recovered on Friday 24 November 2017]

Wierder than all the rest, this dream’s insane. Perhaps it’s time to be thankful that I only remember fragments of it. The bits I remember, in an order that seems to make sense in hindsight.

I’m travelling by car – down the A1, South, towards Leeds. Somebody is driving, but I’m not sure who. There are two other passengers: one is Claire, and the other is Not Claire. I don’t understand why I’m transporting both of them, but apparently I need them for something important in Preston.

We arrive at Preston, and go to my mum’s house. (recurring theme, anybody? – what’s going on in my head) I leave Claire and Not Claire there, and excuse myself.

I find myself at some kind of crypt, made with red bricks and with a black slate roof. (this particular building featured in a dream once before, when I was in primary school) I go inside, and find a dead horse inside a coffin. (spacial awareness was somewhat screwed by this point) The ghost of the horse was here, I knew, and, concentrating on it, I was able to see ‘through it’s eyes’ that it was looking over my shoulder at the body. And then, something else: I could see …

 

Back From Malawi

[this post was lost during a server failure on Sunday 11th July 2004]

[this post was recovered on Thursday 30th December 2004]

Yay! I’m back in Aberystwyth!

For my next task, I’m going to have to sift through oer 7 hours of video footage of my trip, to produce DVDs for the consumption of the cycling team. Which is nice.

It feels good to be back in Aber (it feels good not to be eating nsima!). To give me a proper ‘welcome back’, and really make me feel like I’d returned, Paul greeted me by telling me that the Troma Night web site was broken and that I had lots of work to do. Thanks, Paul. Just what I needed to help cure this jetlag.

18 hours of travelling time is a great way to fuck up your system.

Anyway – you’ll all bve hearing much, much more about my Malawian exploits over the next week or so, but for now, I need to start decompressing this video…

Off To Malawi!

I’m off to Malawi!

I’ve found my bus ticket (stupid train strikes), my passport (stupid immigration laws), my juggling balls (stupid… no, wait… juggling is good)… I guess I’m ready to go.

Contrary to my assumption that my bus would be leaving from the bus station, it’s apparently leaving from Plascrug… which is… somewhere… hmm…

Anyway, y’all, take care, have fun without me, blah blah blah, be thinking of you. Will try to update this blog (or at least phone-in an update that can be appended as a comment) while I’m on the road. And sorry I couldn’t get Product ‘X’ working better than it does before I left.

Hugz & kittenz;

Pre-Malawi Update

[this post has been partially damaged during a server failure on Sunday 11th July 2004, and it has been possible to recover only a part of it]

[this post was recovered on Friday 24 November 2017]

Here’s the state of play before I leave Aber for awhile, in answer to all the questions that people keep on asking me and that therefore I ought to answer in a centralised manner, here, to save them from doing so (and me from repeatedly having to say the same replies):

Yes, I leave for Malawi on Wednesday the 16th on June, early in the morning. Yes, I realise that this is Claire’s 21st birthday, and for this reason we’ve re-scheduled her birthday for the more convenient Tuesday 15th (meaning that she’ll get one day longer of being 21 than most people get… except for those for whom their 21st falls before February in a leap year, or after February the year before, I suppose).

No, I’m not taking my bike: I’m acquiring one out there. Yes, I’ll be back on the 30th June, string-and-balsa aeroplanes permitting. Yes, I’m aware that (despite now no longer being illegal) long hair on men is still frowned upon in some parts of Malawi, and I’ll be concealing mine tucked-under a hat.

Yes, the side-effects of the lariam have mostly stopped, now. I still have interesting sleep patterns and really, really wierd dreams (I haven’t been blogging them because they’ve all either [a] been more disturbing for those who’d read them even than the one about Matt was, or [b] because I’ve only remembered fragments of them).

Right; and on that note – I have things I need to get on with. I’ll post one more update, at least, before I leave for Malawi: other than that, I’ll be quiet on the blog front for the next fortnight.

The Doctor That DOESN’T Just Tell You What You Want To Hear

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[this post was recovered on Friday 24 November 2017]

I went to the doctor this morning to discuss the side-effects of the lariam tablets. I’d made the appointment just a week ago, when I was still having wierd mood swings and not being able to sleep, like, at all. Since my last tablet, though, last Tuesday, I’ve been pretty much fine: nothing worse than the wierd dreams, which I can cope with. I kept the appointment anyway.

“What I really want to know is,” I told the doctor, “Are the bad side effects – the ones I had in the first week – likely to come back? Is lariam one of those things that, if you get your body attuned to it, it’ll be fine from then on… or is it somewhat more random and unpredictable?”

“All I can say,” replied the doctor, and here’s the best line in the entire dialogue, “Is that if it were me, I wouldn’t be taking lariam.”

Lovely. Thanks, doc.

In any case, he’s agreed to write a prescription for a more expensive but less-contraversial drug, which I can collect later in the week if my third pill (tomorrow) makes me go wierd again. He seemed quite keen to switch me to it immediately, but I’ve opted to give lariam a go for a little longer yet.

Lariam Dream The Fourth

[this post has been partially damaged during a server failure on Sunday 11th July 2004, and it has been possible to recover only a part of it]

[this post was recovered on Friday 24 November 2017]

Perhaps the most disturbing dream yet since I started on this wierd medication. And I promise you that if you know the people starring in it, you’ll be scared, too…

Warning: Sexually Explicit Content – You Have Been Warned

I only remember fragments of the dream, but two particular images stand out:

  1. Lots of men in their 40s, all with beards, sharing a bungalow. With Adam Westwood.
  2. Matt Reynolds fucking me up the arse, and repeatedly telling me how much he was loving it.

Just thought I’d share those images with you so you know what my head’s going through. Fucking wierd.

 

Calling In Sick

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Feel rotten. And I’m supposed to be back at work, today. Called in sick, especially apologetically.

Had another lariam-induced mood swing yesterday, and became especially grotty to people, so went and excluded myself from them for awhile. I’ve made an appointment to see the doctor next Monday, pre-emptively: if these side-effects don’t get any better by then (I’ll be taking more of the drug today) I’ll ask about switching to one of the alternative meds. After all, as margi said, if I’m becoming intolerable in quiet company with friends, what am I likely to be like under the African sun with strangers.

And if today’s pill brings everything into line, I can cancel my appointment. Winner.

In other news, as promised, below is a picture of my beard in it’s new “Ming The Merciless” (Flash Gordon, for those of you with no film culture) configuration. And yes, I mean the 1936 one:

[picture removed]

It’s really quite scary to look at the original Flash Gordon and realise that…

Lariam Dream The Third

[this post has been partially damaged during a server failure on Sunday 11th July 2004, and it has been possible to recover only a part of it]

[more of this post was recovered on Friday 24 November 2017]

Another wierd dream last night. Surprisingly similar ‘cast’ to some previous ones.

Some friends and I, and my mum, are driving in a silver SUV-like thing to a hill in what looks like the lake district. The hill is tall and long, with steep sides – not unlike Wernside – and is covered with lush grass. We’re going to play hide-and-seek. I’m hunting first. But this hide-and-seek game is different from most – each player has to take a llama with them (on a lead), and the hunter can use his llama to track the other llamas (and by proxy, their owners). Llamas apparently have an amazing sense of smell, and can identify each other by it over vast distances.

My llama is called Molly, and we start to climb the bank on one side of the hill, to try to find the others. As Molly sniffs the air, she feeds back information to a device I’m carrying, which projects a heads-up-display onto my retina. This shows me the direction that the other llamas are in. It points out the direction of a llama called Mike. That’s Claire’s llama, I remember, and follow it. I find Claire and her llama in a cave, and we continue hunting together.

The next person I find is my mother. …

 

Lariam Dream The Second

[this post has been partially damaged during a server failure on Sunday 11th July 2004, and it has been possible to recover only a part of it]

Another somewhat trippy-themed dream since I’ve been under the influence of lariam:

I am at my mum’s house, and I’m watching some live chat-show-like TV program, and my little sister Sarah is on it: however, she appears a lot younger (6 or 7ish, and she’s wearing her primary school uniform) than …

Mood Swings

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Fucking hell; this stuff is wierd.

For those who might think to the contrary; no, it’s not usual for me to snap at something which wouldn’t usually have bothered me, and march myself out of Aber. Several miles (and two hills) later, came to a halt and wondered what had set me off.

Later, I completely broke down into tears and collapsed into a blubbering mess, for no reason at all.

Last night, I slept for the best part of two hours. Just couldn’t get settled. Which is insane, because after my little marching exercise earlier, I was completely exhausted and could have quite happily just lay on the grass on the banks of the Ystwyth and fallen asleep.

Still got a killer headache and occasional nausea. It’s hard to comprehend that, despite the fact that all I did was eat a tiny (well, actually – quite chunky, but you know what I mean) tablet, two days ago, and I’m still feeling the effects. Wierd shit.

Can anybody else out there who’s taken Lariam tell me: does it get better than this? If not, I think I ought to speak to my doctor before I start really …

My Final Exam… Like… Ever

[this post has been partially damaged during a server failure on Sunday 11th July 2004, and it has been possible to recover only a part of it]

I feel kind of odd. And no, I’m not just referring to my (still kind-of burny) Lariam headache:

I’ve just had my final exam. And I mean ever.

I know I’m not a graduate yet (assuming I even pass these buggers), but… there’s something kind-of final feeling about leaving that exam room. It took me a good few minutes walking down the hill before it really hit me that this is the end of it.

Five years.

I’ve been a student here at Aberystwyth for almost five years. That’s over a fifth of my life. That’s pretty much all of my adult life (going by the legal definition of ’18’).

I’ve been in apprehensive anticipation of this moment all year. Perhaps longer. I’m not trying to cling on to it – I know when it’s time to let go and get on with other things – but I still feel a certain… sadness… at something having passed by. It’s not unlike… the death of a pet. Or a loved-one moving away. It’s just a hole in me that waits – not fearful… but: presentiment at what is to fill it.

Five years.

When I was in my first year, I talked with folks like Rory

Lariam Dream The First

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I’d been warned that this stuff could give you wierd dreams. Last night I dreamt entirely in anime. Which is pretty impressive, I thought. I was a character in a Studio Ghibli-esque anime flick (it was dubbed, so I was moving my mouth in Japanese and somebody elses voice came out in English – the sa…

Lariam

This stuff is seriously trippy. Since mid-afternoon I’ve felt nauseous. Now I have a killer headache (paracetemol seems to be kicking in, now, though), and I can hear a whistling in my right ear. I’m still in the list of side-effects I don’t need to tell my doctor about, so all’s well.

Wierd stuff, though. I did a search online for things that provided relief for the side-effects, and came accross this rather depressing article.

Time for bed. Exam in the morning. Hope I feel bouncier then.

Oh! You’re Going To Malawi? While You’re There, Pick Me Up Some AA Batteries…

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As most of my readers will probably be aware, I’ll later this year be cycling around Malawi as a sponsored stunt with Cycle Tracks: “A Truly Charitable Bike Ride through a Truly Beautiful Country”. In any case; I’d never have thought that our group (11 of us) would be roped into so many other things while we were there.

Our team leader, Alistair, writes:

Eleven is also a fine number for a football team. So maybe at Phoka we could engage the local team in a game. Their handicap is that they are all under 12 and don’t wear boots. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be a walkover as we shall all be totally exhausted from cycling to Phoka and unable to walk never mind kick a ball.

You may be interested to know that we have been offered football strips, boots, footballs, gloves and goodness knows what else for the kids at Phoka. I haven’t figured out how I will get them out to Phoka. They are in 3 kit bags but I don’t know how heavy they might be. Might split it amongst the group for the flights.

Suddenly we’re delivery cyclists, too…

But that’s not all; we’ve got another mission while we’re there: a …