As was the case last April, I once again am celebrating a birthday in the Himalayas.
Happy to me! I’m double nickels…..that sounds a little better.
Ah but the day began most grand. First, we are enjoying a rest day after yesterday’s foray into the icefalls and some altitude gain. Second, we had pancakes (made out of rice flour but that’s okay) freeze dried blueberries from the states (Cosco does that count?) real US butter…. yes its true everything’s better with butter thank you Julia Childs! Real maple syrup all thanks to Brooke’s smart shopping in the US. Oh! But I forgot the most important delicacy – bacon. Yes that too imported from Cosco in a special cooler flown to Nepal onto Lukla, on a yak, on the back of a Sherpa and delivered a few days ago to EBC along with the butter and some good old USDA beef! Remember this is Nepal, 90% Hindu and pork and beef are on the big no no list.
And third for my birthday I had a shower –well not exactly a shower as you might picture it more like a 4 gallon bucket with a pitcher. A small tent has been erected for just this purpose. It offers complete privacy unless there is a strong wind gust and then everyone would be so busy running around catching their own gear no one would notice a naked woman covered is soapy water….at least this is what I tell myself. The tent floor is stone covered with a piece of plastic insulation so your feet don’t kill you. I knelt on the insulation and tackled my hair first. Since it had not been washed in quite sometime this took a lot more manpower and soap than usual. After the hair I work my way down to my now frozen toes. Despite the air temperature of perhaps 40 in the morning sun the entire process is overwhelmingly enjoyable and a lot of hard work on everyone’s part. Our cooking Sherpa have to gather the water from the glacier flow, heat it on a portable stove and carry it up to the tent. No wonder we bath so infrequently.
So now I sit in my tent covered in girlie girl lotion, baby powder, creams and just great smells. The only minor set back is that my shirt, pants and camisole are not nearly as sweet smelling as the rest of me. Bummer.
The days pass quickly despite the lack of electricity, cell phones, any phones, tv or news from the outside world. It amazes me that I am able to sit and write this from a Dell laptop and if we can get the remainder of the technology running you will be reading this shortly. Technology continues to defy and frustrate and I apologize for the lapses in my blogs. It is all predicated by the ability to get the internet up and running.
In the meantime we prepare to climb to Camp 1 within the next few days.