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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

PEARL'S ASHES: Chapter 7 Mount Kilimanjaro and the Heart of Africa

PEARL'S ASHES #10 and #11:  Tanzania

The next few ash ceremonies will occur in Africa.  Mount Kilimanjaro was why I even began this mission to spread Pearl's ashes around the world.  In Chapter 7, ceremonies PA#10 and PA#11 took place in Tanzania, a country larger and with more people than California.  While early roots of human life began somewhere in Africa, Homo sapiens, us, might have had our origins in Tanzania.

When Pearl grew up in Hilo, Mauna Kea could be seen from her home.  The volcano was especially awesome during the winter months when covered with snow.  If there was anywhere Pearl wanted to visit, but I did not, it was Africa, with Mount Kilimanjaro being her link to Mauna Kea.  Plus, there was the movie King Solomon's Mines, which was one of her favorites.  Thus, my initial thoughts to spread her ashes came from this specific feeling of guilt.

The trip to Kilimanjaro was one of my great grand odysseys, an around the world journey of two months.  In September of 2010 I flew from Honolulu to Japan, then on to South Korea, China, Switzerland, Kenya, Tanzania, Qatar, Norway, Netherlands, Italy, then DC, Austin and Las Vegas, before returning to Honolulu.

In Japan I gave two talks on the Blue Revolution, first to the Marine Technology Society, chaired by a long time friend, Toshitsugu Sakou (first person on the right), who was well acquainted with my older brother, Stan.  I had brought my $100+ Jim Thompson Thai Blue tie to accompany my blue sport coat.  Unfortunately, I forgot the cufflinks, so ended up wearing a black undershirt, not even a turtle-neck.  All the others in the audience wore a suit and tie.  When you're retired, you're allowed to wear whatever you want.

My second Blue Revolution talk was to Akita University, hosted by a former student, Ikuko Iwasaki, of former University of Tokyo Professor Shigetoh Miyachi.  He and his wife, Shizuko, accompanied me to Akita, and for reasons that now escape me, he and I stayed in one room, and Shizuko and Ikuko in another at Satomi Onsen.  You can read the details, but here we had a memorable encounter with a Yakuza group.  In Japan they cannot use an onsen, so what happened here was a first for all of us.  Everyone in this dinner photo is a full professor.

I'll yet get to Kilimanjaro, but Akita was the beginning of a side journey for me.  I earlier had begun a roots search for my father's father, Kenjiro (I was named after him), whose family came from this area.  Here is a gravestone I visited.  

More so, I decided to follow the path Kenjiro's parents took around 1872 when Japan feared the incursion of Russia into Hokkaido, so they were sent, first to Otaru, where Kenjiro was born, then on to Sapporo, when the population was about a thousand, and on to Utashinai.  It was from there that Kenjiro sometime in the 1890's, went to the USA to learn something.  On his way back to Japan, he stopped off on Kauai, got married, bore my father, built the first hydroelectric power plant on the island at Wainiha, and died in an accident at work at the age of 33.  Anyway, I caught the Shin Nihonkai from Akita to Otaru, where I met Maria, who was very helpful.  I treated her to some Sapporo Ramen.

My China stop was Shanghai, an extraordinary city, which was then hosting a World Expo.  You've been in 100 Yen ($1) stores in Japan.  China  has 30 Cents shops. 

Leighton Chong, who chairs Blue Revolution Hawaii, and I were invited to sign a cooperative agreement with Zhoushan Ocean University for the Blue Revolution.  We also were able to make special arrangements to enter the popular exhibits by the side door to avoid lines.  To the right, the Expo at sunset.

Finally, I'm in Africa, and confirmed why I just don't like it here.  The graft, disease, poverty and ...  The plane from Zurich landed in Nairobi, where the hotel warned me, don't walk out of the hotel even during the daytime.  I joined a Tauck Tour and we are flown over Mount Kilimanjaro to Tanzania.  Unfortunately, I was on the wrong side of the plane, so the photo to the left was provided by someone who I met in the tour, Arturo Gonzalez.

My original plan was to drop off Pearl's Ashes when I first landed in Tanzania.  However, I just couldn't find an ideal spot, so the Kilimanjaro ceremony occurred just before I left the country.

Thus, PA#10 was at the Nogorongoro Serena.  The  hotel reminded me of the Volcano House on the Big Island, where Pearl and I stayed several times.  Both Nogorongoro and Halemaumau (PA#6) are craters.  To the left is the view from my room where I placed PA#10.

Highlights of this portion of the tour were visits to a Maasai (formerly Masai) Village, Oldupai (formerly Olduvai) Gorge (here with Curator Samba Ikayo) and those animals (like giraffes).

Desperate to do something close to Kilimanjaro, I finally selected a nice spot at the airport, but took this photo to identify the location.  Yes, that's a beer sign, and that tree is not a Jacaranda, but I'm taking this photo from where the gel cap was thrown.

Next week, PA#12:  The Rest of My African Safari.

I might add that for my first time ever, more than 50,000 viewed this blog site in one month.  Today, records show that 50,715 clicked unto Simple Solutions for Planet Earth and Humanity this past month.

The Dow Jones Industrials will again break its all-time record today.  Here, just before the final bell:


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