15 December 2005

Trekking to Everest base camp with Ram



Ara is back from trekking. Why is he speaking in the third person? Is it because he has completed a spiritual journey and now has a new outlook on life? Is it because he found Buddha and is now a deeper individual? Or is it because he hasn’t bathed for 17 days and the smell of his own filth has made him delirious? Ara thinks it’s the latter.

Over the last two weeks I trekked to Everest Base Camp, climbed to an altitude of over 5600m with a possibly fractured knee and crossed the notoriously dangerous Chola Pass; and in the process of all this, I was able to neglect my own personal hygiene.

More that half the people that attempt to get to base camp never get there, the majority of them succumbing to altitude sickness and having to descend, descend, descend before they DIE! I’m not being dramatic, this is actually true. I was fortunate to have a caring guide who was always on the ball. This entry is dedicated to my guide, Ram:

Ram loves pink. His water bottle is pink, his beanie is pink and his vest is fluorescent red, bordering on pink. His eyes lit up when I pulled out my pink water bottle. “I LOVE this color” he said with the same enthusiasm as a 9-year-old school-girl who just got a new Barbie. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I had no choice in the color.

Ram a generous person. On the trek to the highest airport in the world (3800m) he offered me half of his mandarin. I accepted without hesitation, before realizing he had been blowing his nose in his hand all day. I had even commented on how tasty it was… I guess he just marinated it well.

When crossing the glacier to get to Everest base camp, unaware at the time that it was a glacier, I asked, "Where does all this ice come from?"
"There's water inside the mountain," he replied. He called it an "Ice Lake".

"Does Gokyo Ri mean Gokyo Lake?" I asked at the start of the trip.
"Yes, you are right", he replied.

As we were walking down Gokyo Ri (the mountain), pheasants ran past us at a rapid ground speed. Unsure, I asked "What birds are they?"
"They are a kind of mountain chicken," he replied confidently, before trying to communicate with them and then throwing a rock at them when they didn't talk back.
"How many Gokyo lakes are there?" I asked.
"Just one," he replied as we walked past the third.
I then told Ram that I read there were five lakes. So the following day we took a guide to see the fourth and fifth lakes, which my guide of six years had never seen. A guide for my guide.

We sat by one of the frozen lakes and listened to the sound of the ice cracking.
At first I was baffled by the sound. "What's that noise?" I asked.
"The wind," he said.

He took me to a museum in Namche Bazaar, where we both stood for five minutes in front of a diagram explaining how the Himalayas were formed from the colliding of the tectonic plates. Later, he told me the Himalays were formed by volcanic activity.

Ram is a nice enough guy. He's been desperately trying to convince me to sample a Nepalese woman in the form of a prostitute... which he is more that happy to arrange. The other day he confessed his love of lesbians and his utter hatred and intolerance for all gays... this from a guy who loves pink.

By the end of the trek I was leading most of the way and accidentally blowing yak-meat farts down-wind into his face. Thankfully, I don't think he minded. In fact, he seemed to be walking with his mouth open.



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1 comment:

  1. dear Ara,
    this story is really very funny, unless I already heard the most of it. Why don't you write a book?
    CU!
    Sam

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