Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday First Paragraph's # 4

Welcome to the fourth installment of my Friday First Paragraph's (original idea from Bibliophile by the sea).

To me non-fiction feels like going back to school and reading a text book.  Biographies don't interest me at all either, so when Touching the Void by Joe Simpson was selected as a book club read I can honestly say I wasn't thrilled. I'd tried watching the film some years ago with little success, so have not been holding out much hope for the book, but actually it's not a bad start. Having to read the first page or so to write this blog entry I've been pleasantly surprised, and am feeling a little more positive about it.


I was lying in my sleeping bag, staring at the light filtering through the red and green fabric of the dome tent. Simon was snoring loudly, occasionally twitching in his dream world. We could have been anywhere. There is a peculiar anonymity about being in tents. Once the zip is closed and the outside world barred from sight, all sense of location disappears. Scotland, the French Alps, the Karakoram, it was always the same. The sounds of rustling, of fabric flapping in the wind, or of rainfall, the feel of hard lumps under the ground sheet, the smell of rancid socks and sweat - these are universals, as comforting as the warmth of the down sleeping bag.
Outside, in a lightening sky, the peaks would be catching the first of the morning sun, with perhaps even a condor cresting the thermals above the tent. That wasn't too fanciful either since I had seen one circling the camp the previous afternoon. We were in the middle of the Cordillera Huayhuash, in the Peruvian Andes, separated from the nearest village by twenty-eight miles of rough walking, and surrounded by the most spectacular ring of ice mountains I had ever seen, and the only indication of this from within our tent was the regular roaring of avalanches falling off Cerro Sarapo.

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