Dispatch from the Razor's Edge, the Blog of Michael Stephen Fuchs
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Intermissionary Position
"I am beginning to feel an attachment to this Town. I enjoy watching the beasts. I have grown fond of the Colonel and the girl at the Library. No one hurts each other here, no one fights. Life is uneventful, but full enough in its way. Everyone is equal. No one speaks ill of anyone else, no one steals. They work, but they enjoy their work. 'Tell me, then – what possible reason would I have for leaving this Town?'"
        - Haruki Murakami, Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World

    Serengeti, and Ngororo Crater, that's what reason we have for leaving. In Tanzania, the town of Arusha is the gateway to these places, and that's where we're heading today. But first a few last orders of business in town. There's a final stroll by the water, which is quite winning today. There's a last netcafe stop, to quickly fire one off. I decide to get a second, much better, henna tattoo. And – as should be needless to point out – there's the obligatory farewell stop by Amore Mio, to eat five scoops of sorbet piled on numerous hunks of banana and mango while savoring the (always lovely) view.

* * *

Waiting for the express ferry back to Dar es Salaam, I debrief with Mark about our semi-quarrel (and mainly about my failure of equanimity). I've decided that the incident was actually another good thing about this trip – for me, an opportunity for growth and learning (if I have). Strongly cementing this conception of it is the occurence of Mark sharing some good little strategies for mood management, in the (very germane) context of self-discipline. I'm pleased, and surprised, to hear these. And I thought Mark was just naturally an utterly nice guy! Turns out he's had to work at it – just like most all of us have to do with most everything.

Striking land in Dar, we're rounded up by out interim, pro tem tour leader: Laura. (Half the group went back early, mainly to do banking; and we're the stragglers.) She leads us on a chaotic march from the big ferry terminal to a little one, where we take a commuter job from the dirty streets of Dar to some dirty, but less urban, streets across the water – where our camp site lies. First we have to negotiate a ride (from the water to the camp) in a comically dilapidated mini-bus. In camp, Laura cuts out her hair thingies, briefly doing a great Raggedy Ann impression. In the morning, we do the drive to Arusha. The scenery  is  pretty. We arrange our excursions into Serengeti and the Ngorogoro Crater. We make camp. We wait.

Next: Serengeti – the Crown Jewel of the Trip.

* * *

My best clue that I'm getting a little weary of dispatching is the fact that they've gotten so damned long (and meandering, and unfocused). Consider this a break for the reader. Here's some more stuff on Paul and Jo, which you can skip if you're not interested. (As if you couldn't skip the whole thing, if you're not interested . . .)

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close photo of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Fuchs is the author of the novels The Manuscript and Pandora's Sisters, both published worldwide by Macmillan in hardback, paperback and all e-book formats (and in translation); the D-Boys series of high-tech, high-concept, spec-ops military adventure novels – D-Boys, Counter-Assault, and Close Quarters Battle (coming in 2016); and is co-author, with Glynn James, of the bestselling Arisen series of special-operations military ZA novels. The second nicest thing anyone has ever said about his work was: "Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt put in a firefight'." (Kirkus Reviews, more here.)

Fuchs was born in New York; schooled in Virginia (UVa); and later emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived through the dot-com boom. Subsequently he decamped for an extended period of tramping before finally rocking up in London, where he now makes his home. He does a lot of travel blogging, most recently of some very  long  walks around the British Isles. He's been writing and developing for the web since 1994 and shows no particularly hopeful signs of stopping.

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ARISEN : Operators, Volume I - The Fall of the Third Temple by Michael Stephen Fuchs
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