the stupidest thing I’ve ever done

In June of 2004 I climbed Mt. Elgon, the 7th highest mountain in Africa, with a friend and fellow Peace Corps Volunteer. If you’ve read The Hot Zone by Richard Preston, you may remember Mt. Elgon as the location where a man contracted the Marburg virus (a relative of Ebola) from a cave on the mountain. The book is non-fiction. And where did my friend and I set up camp while we were on the mountain? That’s right, in a cave.

Oh, but it gets better.

Mt. Elgon is in Uganda, and just before my friend and I went there the US embassy intercepted a transmission from the Lord’s Resistance Army declaring their intentions to kidnap Americans. We met with the Country Director for Peace Corps Uganda and she made us promise that we wouldn’t venture north of Kame, something we agreed to heartily despite the fact that we had absolutely no clue as to where—or even what—Kame was.

The reason I mention this is to simply point out that my going to Japan this week despite an urging from the State Department that no Americans travel there now is hardly the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.

In my own defense, I must point out that I’ve been planning on this trip for weeks, and my ticket is apparently non-refundable, so I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t go ahead and go.

Aside from, you know, earthquakes, but still.

I hate the thought of being a tourist at a time like this, so if there’s any way for me to volunteer or help out in some way without actually impeding the relief efforts, I’m going to try and do it.


[Update: I’m not going after all. The hotel I was going to stay at cancelled my booking, and it seems that things even in Tokyo are not that great. There’s no way I would want to be a selfish tourist right now, and it doesn’t really seem like there’s much I could do to help out since I don’t speak Japanese, so it’s probably for the best that I just stay away.]


About Critical Awesomeness
I'm a 32-year-old American with a PhD in chemistry and a green hat. Only one of these two things is really important.

4 Responses to the stupidest thing I’ve ever done

  1. Bob Villa says:

    You started this blog because????????

  2. Dan says:

    Better off not going to Tokyo now anyway. The wind has been carrying radiation from Fukushima in a couple different directions, including Tokyo.

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