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I made this interview with a beautiful woman Medyine, Haitian lady, in her adorable apartment, very creative one with that stunning feeling when you enter it that gives you oh-I-so-want-to-live-here. Medyine was a oh-so-positive person and I admired her aura that was bursting all around us..
Unfortunately she passed away few months after this interview was published.
With all respect to dear Medyine I am posting this piece of work that has a little to tell about big person as Medyine was.
“WE CAN BE MORE THAN THE BEST BASEBALL PLAYERS IN THE WORLD. WE CAN REACH THE LIMITS!”
“First they give you paper with three options to sign after that you continue your mission. I signed my death under option one – leave me on the mountain! And now I am here, proud Capitan of Dominican Republic Army and with possibility of sharing message between my people– you can do it” says Ivan Gomez, the second citizen of the Dominican Republic who climbed Mount Everest.
“My colleague Karim Mella who climbed mountain 40 minutes before me”, he answered my question; who was the first Dominican that climbed ME?
Ivan came on time to the interview. His blue shirt, black pants and shiny shoes made me doubt about his profession. Climbers usually don’t dress suits for interviews. The suits fit more to businessman. Exactly that Ivan is, too. To climb the biggest world mountain he left out his business for almost than a year. “It was hard to go back, but I had to. My company is my life, next to my family and climbing”, he explains.
We ordered water and by taking first sip from his glass, he stared out of window and said, “I was dreaming about ME 20 years and exactly that time was needed to complete my mission… I wouldn’t do it again, but I would do it for sure next time again, if I would fail first time but still stayed alive”.
The usual rout to climb ME starts in Katmandu ” there is not a lot to tell about that town; Lukla is the town we had to climb from to the base camp in 14 days. We flew from Katmandu to Lukla.” Before Ivan left for Lukla for his life wish (to climb the ME) he had to practice some quite time, where he was gaining physical and mental strength. Preconditioning took two months “the companies that you hire for organizing the climb (ING) need to see how well you are prepared. If you show just tiny piece of unpreparedness you are cut down, no matter how money you putted into your mission. First we had to climbed 6000 m Le Buche Mountain and after we did that we could climb up to the base camp where you start your real purpose. We had to stay in base camp 45 days to complete our preparation.” After almost month and half you start your real journey. How many of you were in-group? “It was 25 of us” and how did the rout went? “Every week we had rotation. We come first to camp 1 and than we go down to the base, rest three or four days and than we go to upper camp, and so on till the summit. Every reached camp turns you back to the base. When you do the last camp and you are back to base than you are ready for the summit. That filled expectation that was expected would be your ticket for the final. Every climbing need to start in the night or really early in the morning”, is it because snow starts to melt immediately when sun comes out and it is really dangerous? “ Yes, that’s why you have to reach point before sunrise. You need to be wise climber there. People who got late on the top of the summit, let say around 2pm, they stuck there and die.”
Who was taking care of your path, that you climbed safe? “My Sherpa guy, who climbed ME seventh times and Ice Doctors. They are group of local government employees who are taking care over route. They go before us, to make our path, to put ladders on right spot. Every four days they are replacing ladders and other object, because they get frozen and are not useable anymore. Also routs are all the time different. Here goes the part of the money that you pay to the government for. “ What was the total? “300.000 USD” For? “ING Company, Sherpa’s, permission for climbing, equipment, plane tickets and helicopter, plus crew of doctors and experts.”
Before the summit there is Camp 4 called Dead Sun “ Here you start to use complementary oxygen. Altitude is 8000 meters. You start dying slowly, you need to climb fast to the summit and down from it. I reached top, left Dominican flag, my son’s umbilical cord and went down with helicopter. Pleasure lasted 15 minutes.”
Is there reminder from the mountain that keeps you thankful for your life? “There are two of them. I stayed one night out of oxygen. It was necessary process just to see how would your body react if you would in real stay out of oxygen. I was totally spaced out. And the second one when Rick, one of my co-climbers died. I am really thankful to God who heard my prayers.”
The Dominican Republic ( 27 waterfalls , photo: sailsblog.com)
”A waterfall is a place where flowing water rapidly drops in elevation as it flows over a steep region or a cliff”, I read this on Wikipedia and thought of a geography lesson in middle school. Waterfalls are made by Mother Nature with the simple reasons of admiring them, like, The Niagara Falls, but sometimes they are there to have fun with them, like the 27 Chachaors in the Dominican Republic.
I always thought that the DR was an island full of passion fruit, sunny days and friendly laidback people. An island filled with tourists who basically do nothing but sun tan, swim in turquoise warm waters and view surreal scenery. The country itself is exceptionally laid back, until you head north to Puerto Plata, where the ocean is no longer calm; you are forced to move towards energizing adventures.
The 27 waterfalls of Damajaguja or as the Hispaniola’s call them, 27 Charcaros have existed for a millennium. In 1994 they became popular tourist attraction with daily visits of up to 50,000 people. This natural water mecca consists of two types of waterfalls, cascade and plunge waterfalls.
The adventure can last 2-3 hours. The first challenge consists of a 30-minute hike through a jungle of muddy and rocky paths that lead to the first small and picturesque waterfall. With the help of a guide, you must climb alongside the waterfall to continue the hike. Nothing you are not able to achieve it. The biggest challenge I faced was at the 8th waterfall. To climb past this waterfall you must stretch your legs in front of you at a 45-degree angle, then stretch your arms towards the guide who is above you and by this time the water is rushing towards you. It takes all the strength you have to lift yourself up. After we climbed up many waterfalls and made our way back down, this same waterfall became another challenge. This waterfall is 30 feet high but fortunately jumping off the waterfall isn’t the only option. Alongside the waterfall is a smooth sliding path, so I had to make a decision, jump off from a 30-foot distance or slide down. I looked at the sliding path and saw a girl who was stuck so I gave myself the opportunity to show just how fearless I was. And there I was at the highest point of the waterfall standing a whole five seconds when I jumped. I panicked all the while I was falling but once I emerged from underneath the water I became very prominent. It is a redemptive feeling when fresh water strews your body when jumping into it and its bitty cold water that conducts towards balancing your adrenalin, which grows minute by minute.
The falls are definitely a ‘must do’ in DR.
Pay special attention when buying excursions to the “27 Chacharos”. Most do not include all of the 27 waterfalls but 12 of them should be the minimum that is offered. Just be aware, sometimes more is said than to be offered.