Hurry Up and Wait

I guess we’re lucky.  Another climbing team waited eight days to fly into Lukla – we now have heard that they made it to Lukla their gear did not.  I can’t imagine how awful it would be to be somewhere like Lukla with nothing.  Your gear in the mountains is like, well, its like absolutely everything…toilet paper, food, clothes, sleeping bag.  My gear is at the airport locked in a stone vault that smells like goat but its still in the same region of Nepal that I am in.

Today is day four for Brooke and I to wait for a flight.  The prolem is that we really weren’t supposed to fly to Lukla we were supposed to fly to Lhasa. Now we find out the Chinese will let Brooke and I into Tibet (that is as of today) but not our Sherpa.  We  won’t climb the Himalaya without Sherpa support.  Now the problem is that the monsoon season isn’t over and Lukla is still coveed by those big old monsoons.  We are a bit early in the season to climb Baruntse….so we wait.

Yesterday we waited for 5 hours at the ‘local’ airstrip.  Now ‘local’ is the key word here – the local airport is home to hundreds of monkeys who swing from the rafters and saunter across the tarmac.  Like the city of Kathmandu itself, the airport is nuts.  Security is a curtained room- one for men, one for women and you just walk through to the otherside.  There you sit and wait and wait and wait.  People watching becomes paramount to a world class sporting event.  Brooke and I trying to make sense of the variety of cultures and dress.  Nepal has 21 different ethnic tribes.  I think they are all represented at the airport.  We took to rating the women’s saris.  They are incredible, intricate and immaculate and how they manage to keep these long flowing garments clean in this part of the world is beyond me.

Today we awoke at 5, were down in the lobby at 6 to meet Karma Babu and head back to the airport.  We never left the hotel and waited it out in our room instead dressed in climbing attire (not easy in the high heat and humidity) watching the Republican Convention live all the way in Nepal!  If we weren’t hot enough from our clothes we were after an entire afternoon of that.

Besides the hours of waiting for the monsoon season to end we have had some incredible expereinces.  Earlier in the week we went on a spiritual tour of the region.  Hindu and Buddhists are two religions of which I know very little.  Not sure I know much more now but I love learning and so appreciate the people here far more than my last trip.  This time I have really relaxed and now interact with them and they are wonderful.  Great senses of humor and they love to tease- even the street merchants who drive us crazy to buy something we now will tease as we pass them.  Everyday they ask me to buy “Tiger Balm” or a wooden carving and everyday I laugh and tell them that my answer is the same as the day before.  Our banter goes back and forth and now when they see us coming they are already laughing and teasing us. 

The best was going to the town of Bhaktapur.  A nation wide annual festival occured this week for women only called the “Shiva Festival”.  All the women were dressed in their best red saris and waited in long long lines to enter the temple and honor the god, Shiva.  After they had made their offerings they would take over the town square with music and dancing.  The only men were the ones playing the instruments as women are not allowed to do this.  Brooke and I became encircled by hundreds of beautiful women who wanted us to partake in their celebration.  We couldn’t communicate by language but we were able to communicate a million other ways.  Although frustratiing to not yet be climbing I have been afforded so much more just by the time I have now had to embrace this wonderful, colorful nation.

Tomorrow we will repeat the waiting game yet again.  I will make many attempts to write at a cyber cafe inbetween the power outages.  I now know all the cafes and when I come in I tell them I will only use a very fast computer.  Hours later and many power outages we are leaving and laughing and nothing was written.  That’s the Nepali way and we’re loving it!

Climb on!


2 Responses to “Hurry Up and Wait”

  1. 1 lisa September 6, 2008 at 12:10 am

    Hi Honey

    The box has arrived. I have already sold a number of things on ebay. Great to hear from you.

    Stay safe

    Lisa xoxo

  2. 2 Wendy Drake September 9, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Hi Wen!
    Good to be keeping up with you. Hope no blog entry means you’re on your way. PR’d my IPR run on Saturday. The weather was perfect…again. For the last 2 miles of 24% uphill grade, I thought of you with every breathe/step, breathe/step, you showed me last year. Broke 4 hours and came in 11th out of 73 in age group. Hope you and Brooke are having a blast!
    Love and lots of strength to you from your posse in Boulda!

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About Wendy Booker

In June of 1998, this 55 year old mother of three was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS after experiencing balance problems, blurred vision and numbness on her left side. When first diagnosed, Wendy was devastated. But it took very little time for her to transform anguish into inspiration. She immediately turned her hobby of casual running into a continuous pursuit and has now completed nine marathons.

Mountain climbing became the next conquest. Wendy learned about a team of mountain climbers with Multiple Sclerosis who were attempting to climb Mt. McKinley (Denali) in Alaska. With no previous climbing experience, she dedicated a year to hard training and set off with them in 2002. Although weather conditions prohibited the team from completing, Wendy attempted the summit again in 2004 on her own and she succeeded!

The feeling of accomplishment she experienced propelled her next aspiration: to climb the highest mountain on each continent. Just five years later, Wendy Booker has successfully reached the top of six of The Seven Summits – Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. McKinley, Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Aconcagua, Mt. Vinson Massif and Mt. Kosciuszko. Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on earth, still awaits for 2010.


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