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; crossed the notoriously dangerous Chola Pass; took a piss in the Gokyo Lakes; and in the process of all this, 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. Due to my incessant need for alcohol whenever he is around me, I now call him Rum. But I think he likes Rum.
Rum 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.
Rum is a special kind of peanut. Chocolate coated, like an M&M. I believe it's because his parents are brother and sister. 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.And as we were walking down Gokyo Ri, i.e. 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 informed Rum, a guide of six years, that there are five lakes. So the following day we took a guide to see the fourth and fifth lakes, which my "guide" had never seen. A guide for my guide.
And as we sat by the second lake and listened to the loud and obvious sound of the cracking ice, I asked "What's that noise?"
"The wind", he replied.
I'm at the point where I now ask him questions to which I know the answer to see what brilliant answer he gives me. After taking me to a museum in Namche Bazaar, where we stood for five minutes infront of a diagram explaining how the Himalayas were formed from the colliding of the tectonic plates, I quizzed him "So how were the Himalayas formed?"
"Volcanoes". Yep, the books must be wrong! By the end of the two-and-a-half weeks together I actually found myself getting dumber.
He's 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 hence blowing yak-meat farts down-wind into his face. I don't think he minded. In fact it may explain why he always walked with his mouth open.
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- The flea-man
- Indian weddings
- The gay priest and the camel boy
- Beware of the Chilean Monster