Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L. (emo_snal) wrote,
Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L.
emo_snal

Year In Review: 2014

Wait what? Yes the subject of this entry is 2014. Yes the current year is 2019. It's been bothering my OCD that I never did a review of 2014.

   So this will be a bit different from the usual review of a year just-past since I have the benefit of hindsight but moreover I barely remember what I did that year so I'm going to have to trawl through my LJ entries and rediscover it myself.



   Firstlyofall, here's the traditional yearly travel globe. Heck of a lot more travel than this year! 41,300 miles is not quite twice this year's but is substantially less than the years before and after.

   Starting with the 2013 Year in Review to see where we find ourselves at the end of the previous year, it's back in California, working for Bee Busters (bee removal and taking care of 100-200 hives for them) and "No idea as of yet what 2014 will have in store!" For context I had been in Australia for six months but came back to the states in May.

   Going through entries from January its just work and LJI entries mainly. First exciting thing of note, and it was really quite exciting I think was in May I assisted in a real life man overboard rescue at sea. Without a doubt one of the most dramatic things to happen to me in my life.



   In June I flew to Guinea in West Africa for the first time (that is first time in Guinea, not West Africa). This was ground zero of the then burgeoning "worst ebola outbreak in history" but heeey what's the worst that could happen? Oh, right, anyway lets hope we don't get sick hey. Got upgraded to first class on the flight over which I still fondly remember five years later. This was the first project in which I was housed in a local village instead of a hotel and I loved it and have requested such ever since. That first village has had a special spot on my heart ever since and on the two return trips to Guinea in subsequent years I always make sure to visit the village of San Piring. 24 hours before I was set to depart Guinea I developed an aching back and a cough and runny nose and ... oh look all the initial ebola symptoms.
   At first my only concern was getting out of the country, since being quarantined in Guinea seemed like a good way to wind up dead. It was only once I was sniffling on the plane that I began to worry "what if I'm patient zero now??"



   But first I was off to Sweden, where I volunteered for two weeks on the huge gorgeous sailing ship Gothenburg. It was really quite lovely, though I'd have enjoyed it more if I weren't, you know, feeling fairly unwell the whole time and possibly carrying a devastating disease.



   July - After two weeks in Sweden I proceeded to the center of France (Clermont Ferrand) to attend the wedding of the French guy I'd roomed with in Brisbane and the Brazilian girl who had taken over my half the room. The wedding was in a castle and being in the French countryside for the first time was really lovely, I loved the authentically delicious food the little hotel had for dinner like it wasn't no thing to just have a five course delicious meal for whomever happened by. Wedding was in a castle. I quite enjoyed it. It saddens me now that as far as I can tell from instagram they've since separated and she's still living it up in France hanging all over some guy with meticulous meticulous sculpted facial hair.

   From France I returned to the states, and though still exhibiting concerning symptoms of sickness I breezed right through the airports. This is in stark contrast to the following year when I had to undergo a medical evaluation in Atlanta (escorted to and from the examination area by someone dressed as if I had ebola!), and was then automatically quarantined for 20 days as a precaution. I asked what would have happened if the 2015 protocals had been in place when I came through in 2014 and was told they would have immediately taken me by ambulance to the high biosecurity isolation room (there's a reason they made Atlanta the required point of entry for passengers returning from Guinea). As exciting as that would have been it also sounds very tedious and this being America they'd probably leave me with a preposterously astronomical bill that would ruin my life.
   As it happens I had been getting better and felt fairly alright in France but my health suddenly got much worse shortly after I arrived in the states. I was kind of afraid to check in to an emergency room and start a panic by saying I was concerned I might have ebola. We called a family friend who is a doctor specializing in exotic diseases and after he questioned me a bit he declared in his opinion I did not have ebola.
   I was due to go sailing on the brig Pilgrim a few days after returning home and I went aboard even though I was feeling quite unwell. I keep missing the boat's yearly sail and this was the last time it would ever sail! Even though I felt very unwell I was enjoying being aboard and served my watches, did my duty, worked aloft, as we worked our way up the coast for a few days. But then in Santa Barbara one of the stuffy curmudgeonly big wigs of the organization came aboard and declared I had to go. ):
   After this I finally did go to the doctor to get certified ebola free. They didn't panic and it turned out I was indeed ebola free.



   Septamber - all this time LJ Idol is going on and I wrote many entries, some forgettable, some I rather liked, but I'd like to single out the story of Sir Helix as one of my all time favorites. (:



East Africa 2014
   In November I was off to Kenya for another exciting adventure! This would be my first trip to Africa organized by myself, and my first time in Kenya and Tanzania. The goal was to attend a beekeping conference in Arusha, northern Tanzania, and it was cheaper to fly in to Nairobi. My friend Doug (who recently (2018) visited me here in Australia) joined me on this trip. Booked my hotel on the way to the airport, traveling the way I like to, by the seat of my pants! Also, even though East Africa is as far from the ebola outbreak in West Africa as Los Angeles is from New York, because of the ebola outbreak everyone was afraid to travel to East Africa (::rolls eyes::) so the upshot of the ebola outbreak was all the hotels were super desperate and had really good rates!
   When I had looked up Tanzania on wikipedia after learning the conference was there, I noted that Zanzibar was in Tanzania and immediately resolved to go there based on the name alone. It could have been a dusty spot in the middle of nowhere (Timbuktu!) and I would have gone (I actually really want to go to Timbuktu but its really unsafe). So after a few days of seeing the sights in Kenya we flew to Zanzibar, which it turns out is a beautiful tropical island. There we enjoyed the white sand beaches, seeing monkeys in the tropical forests of the interior, and poking around the grand old labyrinthine streets of Stone Town.
   From there we flew to Arusha, Tanzania, where we attended the conference, went on a fun roadtrip / multi day "technical excursion" across the country and back, and met this nice guy Simon who invited us to the nearby town of Moshi. In Moshi we had many adventures as you'll find under that Moshi tag. Also of note we stayed in a cute little guesthouse and diminuitive Neema was our housekeeper.

On the road in Tanzania

   After Tanzania it had originally been my plan to return home but Doug was planning on going on to Ethiopia and I was easily talked into returning to Ethiopia myself, since I fondly remembered my last time there. A highlight of the many adventures in Ethiopia was a roadtrip with our friend Daniel's family from their home in Mek'elle to the ancient city of Axum for a religious festival at the site Ethiopians maintain they have the ark of the covenant.
   From there I continued on to Bahir Dar because I wanted to meet with people at the university there about potentially gonig there, which I did meet with them and they were enthusiastic about me joining their programme but ni the end nothing came of it.
   Then returned briefly to Addis, and then flew home and did utterly nothing noteworthy for the remainder of the year!


Festival of St Marie at Axum

   Well I don't know about the rest of you but I greatly enjoyed going back through these old entries, so many memorable stories I'm still telling.

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