Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Kilimanjaro – Part 5

In Uncategorized on February 4, 2020 at 11:00 am

About two years ago, ‘this guy’ and I started planning the trip to Kilimanjaro.  Most people probably don’t plan that far out, but given the school breaks and work schedules ( or lack thereof ) , the math dictated this was when we started to sort things out.

End of December through February is usually a good time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.  The short rainy season is supposed to be over by mid-December and the crowds of June – August are only there in June – August.  Please note that the short rainy season that was supposed to have been over by mid-December was not over by mid-December.

We took the seven day Machame route.  There are six nights of camping on the way up and one night of camping on the way down.  There are shorter/quicker routes, but given the ages of the little Stockdales it seemed prudent to make a slow ascent.

The entire climb is fairly structured and you camp each night at set camp sites.  Trails are very well maintained.  Your porters set everything up and tear everything down each day.  There are four porters per climber.

Wake up around 6:00 am.  Pack your stuff.  Have breakfast around 7:00 am and leave as soon as ‘this guy’ toxifies the surrounding landscape.

Each hike is about 8-12 kilometers ( which is metric for 6-9 miles ) and takes about 6-8 hours.  You’re done each day in mid-afternoon and have time to unpack, relax, and rest before dinner at 7:00 pm.   Once the sun does down around 7:30 pm the best thing to do is just go to sleep.

Since the short rainy season decided not to be over until after mid-December most of the days hiking consisted of changing into and out of our rain jackets as the light, but steady, rain fell.  Each day started with the equatorial sun out and a blue sky.  Then the equatorial sun warmed the moist equatorial air which rose up the side of the cold mountain.  As the warm and moist equatorial air rose up the cold mountain it found cold air and when the two mix, it rained.  The clouds would move in over a matter of minutes.  It was neat to watch, however after you spent an hour trying to dry everything off it could be rather disheartening to see all the dryness be replaced with dampness right before your eyes.

Food was good enough.  We weren’t staying in five star hotels, but it was warm and you were basically hungry enough to eat almost anything.

It was cold, but not really as cold as we were prepared for.  Had it not be raining, a mid-weight fleece and maybe a windproof layer would have been fine.  Summit day required a parka.  You basically start at sea level and work your way up to 19,000 feet ( which is metric for 5,000 meters ).  If the weather is right, Day 1 is shorts and a t-shirt.  Then each day you basically add a layer.

Nights were cold, but you have a good sleeping bag.  Getting up to utilize the facilities at night is a pain, but the sky is worth it.  The little Stockdales had never seen a real night sky after all the years in the big bright cities of Singapore and Seoul and Lake Lotawana.

Each day the terrain changes.  Big trees become small trees which becomes green stuff growing on rocks which becomes rocks which becomes snow.  The way down is snow which becomes rocks which becomes green stuff growing on rocks which becomes small trees which becomes big trees.

Not showering wasn’t fun, but it’s easier in the cold than the heat.

Each day you go a bit higher up the mountain.  On one occasion you descend for a day ( metric for go down ).  The idea is to gradually give your body time to adjust to the lower amount of oxygen in the air.  At some point we all took medication to assist with the symptoms of altitude sickness.  Mostly everyone had their ups and downs ( get it ) from the altitude sickness.

Water came from streams.  The porters filtered the water and then we additionally chemically treated the water with iodine tablets.  The last thing you want on something like this is some type of gastrointestinal nonsense.

As far as physical ability and necessary training, all that needs to be said is that ‘this guy’ made it and there is a lot more of ‘this guy’ today than when I met ‘this guy’ almost thirty years ago.  In all seriousness, you just need to be in good general physical condition and not mind the discomfort, the cold, the wet, and the potential to utilize the facilities after ‘this guy’.

Part 6 will start on summit day with eleven being as loud as we get get.  However, as mentioned, nine could only be heard from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Kilimanjaro – Part 4

In Uncategorized on February 4, 2020 at 10:12 am

Part 4 of this entry starts at Camp 2 and will end at Camp 5 because all these days kind of blend together.  Besides, there are only so many running jokes that can be needlessly perpetuated.

Still making ten louder with eleven, but today is the 25th so Merry Christmas to us.

Begin the day by drying a few things out in the eleventeen minutes of sun we get each day.


Get the occasional good view of the mountain.


Start hiking, take break, pee behind big rock, repeat.

Enjoy the occasional burst of sunshine.  Attempt to dry things off.  More rain.

Part 5 will be a bunch of words to kind of describe the trip.  Part 6 will start on the day we head to the summit.   Each part will start with eleven of us, but by the end of Part 6, nine will be as loud as we get.



Kilimanjaro – Part 3

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2020 at 11:33 am

Part 3 of this entry starts at Camp 1.   Camp 1 is where Part 2 ended.  Still eleven of us.

As you hike up the mountain, each day has a routine.

6:00 am – Wake up and pack your stuff.


6:30 am – Try and utilize the facilities, prior to ‘this guy’ utilizing the facilities.

7:00 am – Breakfast

7:15 am – Porters start tearing everything down.

7:30 am – ‘This guy’ utilizes the facilities.

7:31 am – Vacate campsite as quickly as possible.

10:ish am – Rest and have a snack and pee behind a big rock.

10:ish + 20 minutes am – Resume hiking.

1:00 ish pm – Rest and have a snack and pee behind a big rock.

1:00 ish + 20 minutes pm – Resume hiking.

1:10 pm – Rain begins.

4:ish pm – Reach Camp 2.

4:30 pm – Attempt to dry things out because it is not raining.

5:00 pm – More rain.

5:30 pm – Sun comes out.  Restart drying process.

5:40 pm – More rain.

5:50 pm – Visit guys in cooking tent.

6:00 pm – Highly competitive game of euchre.

6:30 pm – Stockdale family photo.

7:00 pm – Dinner and then sleep.  This ends Part 3 at Camp 2.  Part 4 will start at Camp 2 and end at Camp 3.  Still going to eleven.

Kilimanjaro – Part 2

In Uncategorized on January 23, 2020 at 4:02 pm

After you arrive at the gate for your route up Kilimanjaro, you eat your eggs and wait for a few hours while you Guide checks you in with the Rangers and your army of Porters have everything checked.

For every member of your climbing party, there are four Porters.  So, five Stockdales, plus ‘this guy’, ‘this guy’s’ wife, two of ‘this guy’s’ kids, ‘this guy’s’ brother and our Guide makes eleven climbers.  ( We considered making ten louder, but we went for eleven. )

So, fifty-five of us set about our merry way up the mountain for Christmas 2019.

This is how merry you look when you start.


These are the rules you are supposed to look at.

This is how you look at the first gate.


This is how you look in the jungle.


This is how you look at your first break.



This is how you look at Camp 1.

This is how you look a bit later when it starts raining.

This is how you look when you are trying to dry things out during the eleventeen minutes of sunshine you get each day.


This is how you look when you eat.

And, the next day you wake up and start again in Part 3, which starts at Camp 1, but still goes to eleven.

Kilimanjaro – Part 1

In Uncategorized on January 23, 2020 at 12:33 pm

Sometimes when you go on vacation, you go to a beach and drink fruity drinks with tiny umbrellas in them.   And, sometimes you take your family and try to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.  Regardless, the process is more or less the same.

First – pack.

Second – go to airport.

Third – it may be 4:00 am, but have a frosty malt beverage in the lounge.

Fourth – fly to Tanzania.

Fifth – pass the time until you leave for the mountain with some random family that coincidentally is staying at same hotel in Tanzania.

Sixth – watch ‘this guy’ either work from his mobile office or play Words with Friends.

Seventh -get ready to leave for the mountain, but first pack some eggs.

Eighth – put all your stuff on top of a bus.

Ninth – get in bus with ‘this guy’ and his family and drive to Mount Kilimanjaro.

Tenth – wait for Part 2 which could be tomorrow or could be in a few years.

Important Tote Bag Update

In Uncategorized on January 17, 2020 at 1:30 pm

Prior to discussing the most recent adventure of the Stockdale family, it is of great importance to mention all the tote bags that have been acquired.

New pair of golf shoes – free tote bag!

Big little Stockdale needs a new laptop – free tote bag!

Someone buys something – free tote bag!

Get the internet installed in Prague – free tote bag!


Crazy little Stockdale gets a laptop – free tote bag!

Buy some University of Stockdale merchandise – free tote bag!

Buy some rental property – free tote bag!

Run the Singapore marathon – free tote bag!

Run a half marathon with Mrs. Stockdale – two free tote bags!

I really don’t know – free tote bag!


Run a 5k with the little Stockdales – tote bags for everyone!

Go to Africa, climb Mr. Kilimanjaro, and go on a safari – four free tote bags!

Good thing we’re getting rid of those pesky plastic straws.

Not the one in Oklahoma . . .

In Uncategorized on January 24, 2019 at 3:21 pm

Mrs. Stockdale’s job just moved us to Prague, however not the one in Oklahoma.

Check back for updates.

Lots of birthdays to gloss over.

Also, a few first days of school for the little Stockdales.

And LOTS of totebags.  LOTS and LOTS of totebags.

Burma – Part 3 . . .

In Uncategorized on June 29, 2016 at 5:00 am

The last city in Myanmar ( metric for Burma, or is Burma metric for Myanmar ) we visited is called Heho.  Heho is home to Inle Lake.  We flew from Bagan to Heho.

Flying in Burma is safe, but there is a substantial language gap.  If you can’t speak/read/understand Burmese, there can be issues.  That is why our guides always help with check-in, etc.  However for security reasons, non-passengers cannot accompany you to the gate and assure you get on the correct flight.  Thankfully, they have a system for that – STICKERS.


At check-in, each passenger gets a color coded sticker with the logo of the airline.

When you arrive in the waiting area, there really aren’t gates, the first thing you do is find a local person with the same sticker as you.  Then when that local person who can understand/speak/comprehend Burmese gets on the plane, you follow them.

After following the correct sticker and arriving in Heho,  we went for a hike through the forest ( metric for jungle ).

We saw some cool trees.

At the end of the hike was an elephant park.

Where we got to feed the elephants.

And although we didn’t get to give a monkey a shower, we did give an elephant a bath.


The following day we toured Inle Lake in canoes with car engines.

Inle Lake is home to over 70,000 people whose lives depend on this body of water.  Fishing is just one of the many ways the local people make their way.

There are markets.

And textile factories.

And cigar shops.

Their entire lives can be spent on the water.

Although our balloon trip over Bagan was cancelled, we did get another opportunity.

To make things even more interesting, the pilots practice a water landing.

And landing on land is pretty fun as well.

The last bit of our Myanmar trip was taking the little Stockdales for a cooking class.



Without a doubt, our trip to Myanmar was one of our favorites since coming to Asia over six years ago.





Oh yeah . . .

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2016 at 3:21 am

Happy birthday to the crazy little Stockdale.


Happy birthday to Mrs. Stockdale.


Happy birthday to the furry little Stockdale.


Happy birthday to the middle little Stockdale.


And, look at all the new tote bags!


Burma – Part II . . .

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2016 at 4:35 am

The next destination for the Stockdales in Burma ( metric for Myanmar ) was Bagan.

If you were going to spend one single day in Asia over the course of your entire life, Bagan would be toward the top of the list of destinations you would consider.  In an area of about 20 square miles ( metric for 34-ish square kilometers ) there are over 2,200 temples.  No matter which direction you look ( except if you were on the edges and you looked away or closed your eyes ) all you see for miles and miles ( metric for kilometers and kilometers ) are temples.

The Stockdales were very lucky on this trip ( Mrs. Stockdale didn’t get bit by another rabid puppy of death and a month after our visit they stopped letting people climb on top of the temples. )

In Bagan, we had a guide.  She told us her name countless times, but none of us could remember it.  So, we just called her Betty.  Betty was a wealth of knowledge and Mrs. Stockdale thoroughly enjoyed the countless hours spent with Betty.

We saw many temples.

Inside each of these temples were many Buddha.  In Islam, you can’t draw Muhammad.  In Buddhism, you cover every square inch ( metric for two centimeters ) with his image.

Mrs. Stockdale especially enjoyed Betty explaining every single Buddha and why he is sitting, standing, laying, or his hands are this way or that.

I unfortunately missed some of Betty’s most captivating and interesting discussions because I was inconveniently ( metric for conveniently ) taking pictures or just wandering about trying to avoid the captivating and interesting discussions about when and why each of these Buddha were this way or that way.

On our second day in Bagan, the Stockdale awoke before dawn to go hot air ballooning.

When you go hot air ballooning, you get a free hat.

The best part of hot air ballooning is that when they send up the test balloon

and determine that it’s too windy, you get to keep the hat!  The free hat is even better than a tote-bag because it’s a constant reminder for the little Stockdales that they were supposed to go up in a hot air balloon, but their hopes and dreams were thoroughly crushed by the weather and some misguided idea that things are supposed to be safe.

After returning to the hotel for breakfast, we proceeded to see more temples, more Buddha, we watched some monks eat

and then we had a picnic.

Keep a close eye out for Part 3 when we give a monkey a shower.