Happy Birthday Neal Lantela
As Oxford thronged with tourists, I spent today reading. I belatedly finished this week's Economist, and moved forward on my books. It was a pretty slow day, really, but a bit of recuperation and a refocusing on work cannot go too badly wrong. I really need to buy whichever Christmas gifts I will be sending back to Canada, though it may be wiser to just buy things online and have them shipped. Postage here is criminally expensive.
This evening, I spoke to my friend Kerrie Hop Wo in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. She has been in Ghana, working for an NGO. Distressingly, she was diagnosed with "double malaria" two weeks ago, though she is now feeling better. Her husband Nolan also got a mild case. Thankfully, she says that she is feeling quite a bit better now. It goes to show the kind of dedication you need to have in order to commit yourself to spending a long period of time in a malarial region. It also increases my admiration of Andra Rozmer, in my program, who has been voluntarily infected with a particular strain in order to test a vaccine.
Along with Astrid's frightening description of the altitudinal effects of climbing Quilotoa volcano, it's enough to make me re-think the wisdom of Plan Kilimanjaro 2007. To quote: "[V]omiting, dizziness, headaches, and the craziness that it takes to continue are signs of cerebral edema, and one should descend. Unfortunately, one is then crazy enough to continue." While I don't envy her any of those symptoms, I have found her descriptions of various Andean adventures fascinating.
Tomorrow morning, I am having coffee with Sheena Chestnut: one of the eight young women in the M.Phil program. She is at St. Antony's along with Roham, Emily, Iason, Kai, Alex, and Shohei. She did her undergrad at Stanford and is planning to do her doctorate at Harvard. She strikes me - and many others - as a strong State Department member in the making. We're to go to a place called Brothers, in the Covered Market, where I have not yet been. Given the hostility many people here seem to have towards Starbucks, it will be nice to know of another alternative.