Monday, May 09, 2005

I've seen bigger

No matter what I see for the rest of my life, I will always be able to answer with "I've seen bigger". It was the catchphrase of the trip, and been immortalized on our Rum Doodle (a restaurant famed for its summitteer board in Kathmandu) foot last night. The trek was absolutely fantastic. Great experience, great people. Today, most people left, and now its just David and I left in Kathmandu. I think we are heading to a party tonight with some people who are volunteering here. You just seem to stumble into these kinds of things here.

But the trek. Where should I start? For a start, it wasn't half as hard as I thought it was going to be, which was incredibly reassuring. I had fears that I wouldn't actually be able to enjoy the views and take in the whole experience because I would be lagging behind everyone crying in pain. In fact, it was completely opposite to that. I loved every minute of the trekking itself, apart from maybe the treks back to Gorak Shep and Periche. By that stage, I was just exhausted, and my whole body was on auto-pilot.

Constant themes of the trip, apart from having seen bigger, was conversations about food (mainly meat, because we weren't allowed any - buff burger anyone?), the state of the toilets, and endless games of yanesh, which is an Israeli card game. The toilets were for the most part asian-stylee, which means squat. Easy enough for a guy, not so easy for a girl who has been trekking for 9hours. Our Sherpa leader, Oam, told us to keep an eye on our pee, and make sure that it was clear, so there were frequent comments opn that as well. Its amazing how open you can be with people who you have only known for 4 days! For some reason, altitude seems to be a diurectic, because at one stage every time we went to the bathroom, we seem to pee about 3litres. Most disconcerting.

Staying in guesthouses was a lot of fun, especiallly since you saw the same people over and over. There were the group of posh girls we didn't like, the Isralis, the Ruso-Israeli couple, and the Danish twins. A nice little sense of community was to be had, and even today in Kathmandu we saw a couple of the same people. There's no escaping!

Probably the best part of the trip was the trek to Kala Patthar. Kala Patthar means black rock, and it was the literal high point of the trek, being at an elevation of 5,600m. And man was it a slog to get up. For the last 25m of black rock that you had to scramble up, I was nearly in tears, but up on making it, turning round and seeing a 360 degree panorama of the Himalayas, with Everest poking up encircled by a halo of cloud, and 3,000ft drops of both sides takes your breath away. Doesn't kill the appetite for a snickers though! Snickers were the lifeblood of my trip. Without them, I am not sure I would have made it beyond Namche Bazaar.


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