I woke up at 08:20 today, showered, got dressed, and then had breakfast (coffee, bread and jam, a slice of watermelon, mango, bananas, fried pieces of dough, baked beans, and a fried dish of sliced potatoes, onions, and peppers). I then ordered my flights to Nairobi and then Addis Ababa, as well as my accommodation while in Nairobi. Next, I tried to update my website, but the slow internet connection here is making it all but impossible to do it properly and entirely. I then returned to my room and typed out journal entries that I had neglected to do before, finally catching up to the present again. At about 12:30, I went downstairs to have lunch (beer, fried chicken strips with chili ketchup, and a green pepper, chili, and onion pizza). I then relaxed in my room some more. At 19:00, I went down for dinner, had some more beer, finished reading the last of Ernest Hemingway’s short stories, ate a ham and mushroom pizza, chicken bits (really cut up bits of a chicken including half its skull), and French fries. During and after dinner, I started reading ‘Islands in the Stream’ and eventually went to sleep.
. . .
Throughout the whole day I felt a hollowness inside me, eating away at the solid chunks still there. At first I attributed this to disgust on account of me freely giving in to my vices, showing no restraint nor self-discipline in the face of temptation; then I figured it must have had to do with living too much and spending far too much in the present and not giving enough thought or effort toward my future (those motivational posters championing living in the present are bullshit without regards to one’s future), being well aware that one day my travels will have to come to an end and I will have to do something productive and meaningful afterwards; but then I realized it was most likely on account of being alone again. I had just had a great time with four other strangers on the safari and now I had no one to communicate with or, more importantly, laugh with; they reminded me of past friends; there was a comradery that had emerged out of seemingly no where and all we had in common was youth and an experience shared together; now, like many before them, their friendship is currently survived only in memory; they say that each time you recall a memory, it changes a little; how will it look several years from now? Right now I can’t help but think of past friendships; there is no one from my high school class that I still remain in contact with, but, of course, we never had much in common other than classes together anyway; I still keep in contact with friends from university, but it feels that our correspondences are minimal, like the last few embers on an all but out fire, and I fear that if I ever meet them again, they will no longer be the persons I so fondly remember and what binds us at present may be irretrievably severed by differences that were never there before; right now I feel closest to recent coworkers and a few great friends from my youth, but one never knows what the future holds. I wish I had made more of an effort to keep in contact with people I had met on my travels; I regret not exchanging contact information with the German guy I met in Koh Samui; we were like kindred spirits and within twenty-four hours that Israeli woman we met in front of the convenience store even remarked how we looked like we had known each other for years. What a shame. And what a wasted chance at a great friendship. Of course, I had given my contact information to that French couple in Khatgal, but I never heard from either one. Either way, I now feel empty. I suppose one can’t help feeling like this throughout life; the ups are inevitably followed by the downs; friends come and go and all that remains are the memories. The greatest friendships exist in one’s memories, but the best are in the present, which will forever be fleeting.
. . . the greatest thing, you’ll ever learn . . .