Excerpt from the Book “Kilimanjaro”


Please enjoy this preview from my book Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill now available to purchase as an e-book, and in print on or before April 5. The first book in the World Adventurers Series, Kilimanjaro chronicles my attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. At forty years old and on the verge of a midlife crisis, I tried to change my life by climbing a mountain. This is my story of facing Kilimanjaro and other challenges at middle age.

 

Facing My Mountains

 

Kilimanjaro (1)I sat in the medical clinic desperate for a quick cure of my ailment. I was days away from departing for the climb of my life, and I felt miserable. I was in questionable condition to attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa‘s tallest mountain. My chest was tight, and I had trouble drawing deep breaths. My nose was stuffed up, and I was nauseated. I had no idea what I had. I fought my undiagnosed respiratory problem with a variety of inhalers, antibiotics and other medications, but nothing brought me back to health. Everything from a severe flu to tuberculosis crossed my mind, but the medics eliminated more possibilities with each visit to the clinic. As I sat in her office, the nurse suggested that I had severe allergies. She asked, “Are you sure you want to do the climb? You might have a difficult time breathing. Things may get worse the higher you go.”

I thought through my response. I could not make it to the top of Kilimanjaro if I couldn’t breathe. My mind told me to defer my climb until I felt better, but my heart refused. I pushed aside my misgivings and decided to go ahead with it. I felt better than I had the previous week, I reasoned, and would be recovered enough to climb before I traveled. After a brief pause, I told her, “Yes, I do. I’m feeling much better. Really.”

She looked skeptical but could see that I was determined to go ahead with my adventure. “Okay, then take a combination of the inhalers, and use this one if you feel tightness in your chest. If your condition gets any worse before you go, call me right away.”

“I will,” I said. I was relieved that I had the remedy I needed to get through my respiratory problem. I did not want to attempt Mount Kilimanjaro without some reassurance that I could handle the high altitude, low oxygen levels, and strenuous trek to 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level in my current condition. With one week left before the biggest challenge of my life, my mind was the only part of my body prepared for it. I left the clinic with inhalers and medications in hand, debating whether to climb. One by one, I dismissed my reservations with each footfall on the pavement.

I had never been seriously ill until I moved in 2009 to Zambia, a country in southern Africa with its fair share of pandemics, from malaria to cholera. Soon after I arrived at my new home in Lusaka, I developed severe allergies and high blood pressure, and put on a lot of weight. My health deteriorated precipitously, sapping my strength.

My wife, Jing, who was always my voice of reason, cautioned me not to attempt Kilimanjaro if I wasn’t ready for it. Several times she asked me with concern in her voice, “Are you sure you want to do it when you’re sick?”

“Yes, I’m sure,” I answered her every time. “I need to do it…for me.”

“Then why not postpone your trip?” she asked. Jing had reason to be worried. She summited Mount Kilimanjaro the year before and knew how difficult it was. Her suggestion was logical, but I had already invested too much in this climb. The trip had been months in planning, and I had gone to great lengths to get in shape for it in spite of my respiratory issues. After a brief pause, I said, “No, I can’t, hon. I need to get better and climb this mountain.”

She shook her head. “Okay, but think about it.”

The future weighed on my mind. Approaching middle age, I was overweight and out of shape, living a sedentary lifestyle, and stuck in a rut. A series of personal setbacks left me a bitter man. Every time I was convinced life would get better, another letdown hit me. A midlife crisis, something that just a few years ago I never thought possible, was brewing.

After Jing returned from Kilimanjaro, I decided that I needed to do it too. A physical challenge greater than any I had ever faced, climbing Africa’s highest peak was just what I needed to jumpstart my life at middle age. I was certain it would test my mettle and prepare me for whatever obstacles the future threw at me. Making it over this mountain would help me get over the hill.

 

Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill is now available to purchase as an e-book on March 31, 2012, and will be released in print on or before April 5. Now available to purchase at:

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

The Wordshop

 

M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

 

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

 

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

“Kilimanjaro” Book Trailer


Now On Sale!

KILIMANJARO: ONE MAN’S QUEST TO GO OVER THE HILL

A World Adventurers Book

www.mgedwards.com

Book Trailer (14MB)

Book Trailer for “Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill”

 

The first book in the World Adventurers Series, Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill chronicles the author’s attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. At forty years old and on the verge of a midlife crisis, he tried to change his life by climbing a mountain. This is his true story of facing Kilimanjaro and other challenges at middle age.

This book is for anyone who feels over the hill and needs encouragement to make a life change in the face of difficult odds. It’s also for the casual climber or hiker who is interested in climbing one of the world’s tallest mountains. Filled with insights and advice for those who are contemplating their own Kilimanjaro climb, this book will put you on the mountain and inspire you to go over it.

Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill features more than 60 photos from the author’s trek.

mge-kili-cover-front-small

 

 

E-book Available at:

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble

Goodreads

Smashwords

The Wordshop

 

Available in Print at:

Createspace

 

 

 

Find out more about Kilimanjaro and M.G. Edwards at www.mgedwards.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/migedwards and on Twitter @m_g_edwards.

When I Saw a Lion


When I Saw a Lion

by Alex Edwards

Clang! The car bounced on the dirt road. We’re on our way to see a lion!

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When it was two hours later, it felt like two years. We stopped at 6 o’clock to stop and see the sunset.

After an hour, we went to see a lion. When we saw the lion, I was scared and surprised. It was cute and cuddly, but I wouldn’t go out and cuddle with it.

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It was the best day ever. I wish I could see the lion again.

The End

Note: This story was written by my young son, Alex, after our June 2011 trip to South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, a country in Southern Africa. The lion in the photo is the same one that inspired him to write this story.

Map picture

M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories available as an ebook and in print on Amazon.com. His next book, Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, will be released on March 31, 2012. He lived in Zambia during 2009-11 and now lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

 

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

 

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Top Ten Things to See in Zambia (with Photos)


Update 4/3/12:  Many thanks to WordPress for promoting this post to Freshly Pressed! And thanks to everyone stopping by to visit World Adventurers and say hello. You’re most welcome. There are more than 825 posts on travel and other topics for your reading enjoyment listed in the Category Cloud below. Enjoy!

Here’s a list of the top ten things you should do if you visit Zambia, a country in Southern Africa. Zambia lies southwest of Tanzania, which is featured in my book Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill. The two countries are similar in many ways, with plenty of opportunities to see amazing natural beauty, go on thrilling wildlife safaris, and experience Africa’s unique culture.

This list is based on my own experiences when I lived in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital and largest city. These activities and destinations will give you a taste of what this interesting country has to offer.

1. Victoria Falls/Mosi-oa-Tunya (Zambia/Zimbabwe): Arguably the world’s largest waterfall, Victoria Falls in Southern Province never ceases to amaze visitors. This is Zambia’s — and Zimbabwe’s — biggest tourist attraction. It lives up to its local (Tongan) name, Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning “The Smoke that Thunders.” Most visitors stay in the nearby towns of Livingstone, Zambia or Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The upper falls is in Zambia, while the lower portion is on the Zimbabwe side. Both offer different and spectacular views of this natural wonder. Of special note are the two statues of the explorer and missionary David Livingstone (1813-73) locate on each side of the falls. Livingstone is still revered by many Zambians, and the City of Livingstone is named after him.

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The best time of the year to visit the falls is between July and September, when the Zambezi River is aplomb with water. In November and December, the falls are almost dry and look like a canyon. Heavy rainfall fills the Zambezi between January and May, and it’s difficult to see the falls through a wall of mist created by falling water.

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For a few weeks in November, the water level is so low that visitors can swim in the “Devil’s Pool.” It’s an experience of a lifetime and highly recommended if you visit at that time. The pool lies at the edge of the falls with a 105-meter (350 foot) drop on the other side. Although it looks terrifying, the Devil’s Pool offers brave souls the sensation of swimming in a whirlpool bathtub. If you’re an adventurous sort, there’s also bungee jumping or zip lining from the Victoria Falls Bridge and whitewater rafting in some unruly rapids below the falls. Keep in mind that these activities can be dangerous. In January 2012, an Australian woman nearly died when she bungee jumped off the bridge and the cord snapped, sending her plummeting more than 110 meters (360 feet). Thankfully, she survived both the plunge and the crocodiles below.

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2. South Luangwa National Park: South Luangwa National Park is one of many national parks in Zambia, and the most popular, because it’s filled with abundant wildlife. It’s a short flight or a ten-hour drive from Lusaka via Eastern Province. Flying is more convenient but can be expensive. The daytime and nighttime game drives in South Luangwa are fabulous.

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For high-end lodging, stay at the Chichele Lodge, the presidential retreat of former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda (1964-91), or at Mfuwe Lodge. There are numerous less expensive lodges and bush camps in and around the park.

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3. Lower Zambezi River: The Lower Zambezi River basin in Southern Province is a short drive south from Lusaka and a great place for a long weekend getaway. There are several lodges near the towns of Chirindu and Chiawa not far from the confluence of the Zambezi and Kafue rivers. It’s great for bush camp excursions, hunting, fishing, and boat cruises, and popular with tourists who want to fish for tigerfish or camp “in the bush.”

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4. Northern Circuit: Zambia is keen to promote tourism in Northern Province on the Tanzanian border. Kasaba Bay on Lake Tanganika, one of Africa’s Great Lakes, is currently under development as a major tourist destination. Once it’s completed sometime in the next decade, the area will boast several high-end resorts. Fly to the Mbala airport near Kasaba Bay, or into the regional capital, Kasama. Hire a car and travel the back roads through beautiful country with subtropical forests, colorful villages, and spectacular waterfalls overshadowed by Victoria Falls such as Chishimba Falls.

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5. Saturday Dutch Market: Every last Saturday of the month, Zambia’s largest open-air market sets up shop at the Dutch Reformed Church in the Kabulonga area of Lusaka. Artisans from Zambia and neighboring countries bring their arts and crafts to you. It’s one of the few places where you can find Zimbabwean soap stone sold next to Zambian copper plates. You can also taste a variety of ethnic dishes and buy produce. If you miss this market, try the smaller Sunday Market at the Arcades Shopping Centre in Lusaka that happens every week. Be sure to bargain – the vendors will reduce prices below their original quotes and expect you to barter.

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6. Lake Kariba: Spend a weekend on the world’s largest artificial lake, Lake Kariba, located in Southern Province on the Zimbabwean border. Stay in the town of Siavonga for a relaxing getaway. Take a boat cruise and visit Lake Kariba Dam. Dine on local crayfish. Click here for a detailed account of our trip to Lake Kariba in 2010.

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7. Western Province/Barotseland: Western Province, also called Barotseland, is a large and relatively remote province on the Angolan border. To get there, fly to the capital, Mongu, and hire a car, or self-drive. The province is home to Liuwa Plains National Park, the most isolated and least visited of all national parks in Zambia.

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It’s worth a trip in November at the end of the dry season to see the world’s second largest wildebeest migration, when the herds turn south and head to Namibia. A word of caution — the park is very remote and impassible by land during the rainy season. Even with a 4’x4′ vehicle, the roads are very sandy and difficult to navigate any time of the year. It’s better to visit with an experienced guide.

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Western Province is also worth a visit in April to watch the Kuomboka Traditional Ceremony held each year by the Lozi tribe commemorating the end of the rainy season. The date varies with the end of the season. Held at the Barotse king’s palace in Limilunga, it is arguably the country’s most famous traditional ceremony and a great example of Zambian culture. The gift shop at the Barotse Royal Museum sells local arts and crafts. With recent political unrest in Western Province, ask ahead if you’re thinking about attending a ceremony, and avoid discussing Barotseland with locals.

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8. Kafue National Park: Although not as famous as South Luangwa National Park, Kafue National Park in Central Province is a good weekend getaway from Lusaka. It’s Zambia’s oldest and largest national park. Although it suffered for years from game poaching, the animal population has recently rebounded. It’s an easy three-hour drive west of Lusaka, and after a paved road is built, north from Livingstone. Stay at Mukambi Lodge, which is easily accessible from the highway, or at one of several lodges that follow the Kafue River south to the Itezhi-Tezhi Dam. Go with an experienced guide if you plan to venture off the beaten path.

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9. Visit a compound: Most urban Zambians live in neighborhoods known as “compounds.” Ask a local whom you trust to take you in the daytime to one of the safer compounds. Try drinking Shake-Shake chibuku (fermented corn meal) at a local pub. Two of the largest and safer compounds in Lusaka are the Bauleni and Kalingalinga compounds. Walk around the compound and savor the unique flavor of everyday Zambian life. Meet new friends who will be curious why you’re visiting. Leave your valuables at home to avoid petty theft. Below:  Kipushi, a town on the Zambian-DR Congo border.

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The following photos were taken in compounds around Lusaka and Solwezi, the capital of North-Western Province.

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10. Kasanka Bat Migration: Each October, the world’s largest migration of giant fruit bats happens at Kasanka National Park in Northern Province. You’ll go batty with excitement or fear from the approximately eight million fruit bats that swarm harmlessly above you in a beautifully orchestrated dance.

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I couldn’t list everything you can do when you visit Zambia. Some honorable mentions include the Source of the Zambezi River, a place of special significance to the Zambian people, in the remote Mwinilunga district of North-Western Province; Shiwa N’gandu in Northern Province; the mines of Copperbelt Province; Lake Bangweulu in Luapula Province; and the Livingstone Memorial in Itala where David Livingstone’s heart (yes, his heart) was buried under an Mvula tree.

The Zambian climate fluctuates between the dry season (July-November) and the rainy season (December-May). Although the best times to visit are in May and November, Zambia is always beautiful and welcomes you with open arms.

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Note: This is an updated version of a blog entry originally posted in April 2011.

M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories available as an ebook and in print on Amazon.com. His next book, Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, will be released on March 31, 2012. He lived in Lusaka, Zambia during 2009-11 and now lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

New Prometheus Movie Trailers


Prometheus is a new science fiction movie directed by Ridley Scott set to release between May 30, 2012, and June 8, 2012, by 20th Century Fox. A prequel to the 1979 classic movie Alien, Prometheus is one of most highly anticipated films of the year.

A major reason for this is how the studio and Scott have done a great job keeping the project under wraps and built buzz through intelligent marketing. They’ve steadily rolled out teasers, trailers, and even a corporate web site for the fictional company Weyland Industries to build anticipation, giving away enough information to leave viewers in suspense but not spoiling the story.

Whether Prometheus lives up to the hype is yet to be seen, but it is arguably one of the best, if not the best, marketed films of all time. Here are the four major teasers and trailers, including three released over the March 17 weekend. Note how they unravel the story bit by bit.

Warning: The following clips may not be appropriate for all viewers.

Trailer 2 (International)-released March 18, 2012

 

Trailer 2 (U.S.)–released March 17, 2012

 

Teaser 2–released March 17, 2012

 

Teaser 1-released December 22, 2011

 

This fictional video clip of Weyland Industries’ founder and CEO Peter Wayland at the TED conference in the year 2023 (not a typo) lays the philosophical groundwork for the Prometheus Project, androids, and other concepts featured in the Prometheus movie universe. It does not appear to be connected to the movie, but has created quite a buzz online.

Peter Weyland, head of Weyland Industries, at TED 2023–February 28, 2012

Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors, with Guest Pranjal Borthakur on Lada Ray’s blog

Lada Ray Blog

Lada says: Everywhere around the world, Hindus celebrate Holi, the Festival of Colors, a popular springtime festival observed on the last full moon of the lunar month. Participants traditionally throw bright, vibrant powders at friends and strangers alike, celebrating the arrival of Spring and allowing everyone a momentary freedom.

Winter is over and spring arrives as nature awakens with its abundance of colors, joy and generosity. This is what this beautiful and flamboyant festival is all about.

This very special post about Holi, the Indian festival of Colors, is a joint effort between two people: Lada Ray, originally from Russia and currently residing in New York, USA and Pranjal Borthakur in Assam, India; and between two very different parts of the world, far removed physically, yet interconnected. Because where friendship, culture and art are concerned, physical borders don’t matter and distances are nothing! I am sure my friend…

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