The Road From Mandalay

The last five birthdays for David have been spent on the road with Sebastian. Sebastian has a fine memory with an interesting flaw, he cannot remember birthdays. But it has to be said that this is improving dramatically.

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March 7 2005. Road to Mandalay, Burma. Midday. ‘Ohhhh, sorry sorry, I nearly forgot, happy birthday’

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March 7 2006. La Serana Chilli. 11AM. ‘Ohhhh, ahhhh, uhhum, happy birthday my friend’ This was a tricky one for him to forget. It was my fortieth, we were staying in a hostel after crossing the Andes by bike and he had told everyone that is was my birthday. An efficient German reminded him at eleven.

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March 7 2007. Dali China. 11AM. ‘Ohhhhh, no, sorry, ahhhh, I forgot happy birthday’. This time he looked so ashamed that I felt a twinge of pity, I did not let it show.

43.jpgMarch 7 2008. Lugu Hai China. 7AM. ‘Happy birthday old chap’. Not only did he remember but he had bought me a great present, a titanium coffee mug with a folding handle. I was touched and felt an urge to forgive his past lapses of memory.

53.jpgMarch 7 2009 Pasto Colombia. First thing in the morning a hearty ‘happy birthday’ and a cake. Osmosno Brothers are not great cake eaters but as it happened it was as good as a cake gets. moist but firm and not overly sweet. We climbed two thousand vertical metres that day. The end of the climb being cake powered.

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