The Eating Challenge

Trip Start Jun 08, 2005
Trip End Aug 18, 2005

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Monday, June 6, 2005

I'm at Stefan's house and the lot of them have gone to Sweden, leaving me to fend for myself. Not that I mind at all; it beats staying at home an extra 5 days...
I'm chilling out in expectation of hard travel in Ethiopia. Having just done a week long field course, I am still waking up naturally at 6-7am, so I force myself back into bed and usually manage to sleep until 9. There isn't a huge amount to do here so getting up early is unnecessary, and only results in boredom by 4pm.

The Norrgrens are determined to feed me up (a ploy of Stefan's no doubt) and have stocked the fridge with lots of food that is rapidly going out of date. Of course, this creates a conundrum: I don't need to eat all this stuff, but I am obliged to eat it so as not to waste it.

I have 4 days to somehow eat: 10 bagels, 12 croissants, about 30 pieces of ham, a tub of Philadelphia, 2 large bottles of Dr Pepper, 2 finest jam and cream scones, a tray of flapjack, 5 yogurts, 4 jars of chilli con carne (with rice), and 4 huge chocolate cookies which I only noticed this morning (having mistaken them for a packet of Lao coffee). I also went into Stef's parent's house (as opposed to his house, where all this stuff is) to find a tray of cherries and some grapes left out. And it is a sin to let cherries go off (especially when they are from Waitrose).


I have done my best. Bear in mind my eating skills are an amalgamation of Dad's stomach capacity, and Mum's work-dictated ability to snack at any convenient hour of the day or night. I've done them proud: 2 cookies have been devoured (not bad for one morning), as have 2 bagels, 2 pieces of ham, 6 croissants, 2 chilli con carne/rice meal, 1 tray of cherries, 1 tray of flapjack (8 pieces), 2 yogurts (one being spread onto flapjack, inventive eh?), and a partridge in a pear tree.


You may notice the Dr Pepper has remained untouched, since a) it doesn't really go out of date, b) I'm quite happy with hard water, and c) to drink fizzy drink would take up far too much precious stomach space with air.

To burn all this off, I have been lugging a blanket and book out onto the lawn, arranging it so as to avoid the puffballs, and then grabbing it to run back inside as it begins to rain. The process is repeated, about 4 times an hour.

Lying out on the lawn revising has created a delightfully seamless transition from one backpacking trip to another.
The neighbours have a large population of chickens, just over the fence, 5-15 meters away from my head. The crowing and the occasional barking of the dog is very reminiscent of that terrible night in Senggigi, Indonesia, where the captive fighting cocks conspired with the local canine rape-brigade (and the mozzies, and the mosque, and the hacking spitting locals..) to keep me from sleep.

Stef's house is also situated within earshot of an army firing range, and the air is frequently shattered with the rattle and pop of gunfire. Not that it bothers the chickens. Hopefully, we won't hear that sound on our trip, but you never know eh? What with the problems in Addis reported and all.

When it is raining my time is taken up sorting and re-sorting my packing. Dithering and indecisiveness are both directly related to the amount of time you have to pack. Which is why I always leave it to the last minute.
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