Archive | November, 2013

10 cups of tea

28 Nov

I know that my cocktail party-sized readership doesn’t mind that I’ve been on hiatus. Just my dad (aka my biggest fan).

And I’m back! Just in time for a read-out-loud at our family reunion in Massachusetts. Hi all you guys!! I’m so sorry I’m missing out on book-chatting, downhill skiing, and yummy hugging this year!! Please smother my adora-bell parents (mother) for me, I wish I was there.

educational fact.

the only country in the entire world who has a flag that is not quadrangular.

Currently, though, I am residing in Nepal.
I arrived here two months ago with a very dear friend, Patrick Marti, and I confess to knowing next to nothing about this mutant-flag country before I arrived except that the Himalayas were somewhere nearby. Turns out they’re actually in Nepal. Which is neat, and so it took a mere 24 hours in Kathmandu before he and I decided to head for the hills.

Everest base camp.
I mean what, is it like 5,364 meters? (17,598 feet.)
We should just do it. Leave the next day. I mean, A. We’re here and there is no B.

Luckily for us The Sparkling Turtle – fabulous name – wasn’t able to make our flight reservation until 2 days later. On Yeti airlines. We had time,
Patrick bought sunglasses.

He's not confused, the sun's in his eyes

He’s not confused, the sun’s in his eyes.

We had both heard that things like food were significantly more expensive on this trek, which made sense. So, fueled by a Jew-y sense of economics, we went shopping together and stocked up on the essentials. Snacks.
Snacks is unarguably The funnest word to say which may be how our snacks came to consume us more than we consumed them: We talked about snacks, rationed snacks, wrote about snacks, sang songs about snacks, made jokes about snacks, and cared for their snack-y well-being. We did everything but share them.
And, like all good hoarders, we had our favorite: 50 prized Twix bars.

Here’s what happened:
The store we gathered supplies in prior to our trip was having a special on Twix, 2 for 1. Two for one Twix bars!!!!!?? I still can’t believe it as I’m typing it now. What a bargain!
We bought expired, deformed Twix bars for thirty cents each, a deal in any language, in any country, by any standard.

The next morning — with our bags noticeably heavier — we hopped into a taxi and boarded the Yeti plane which was miraculous because 1. That airport is utter chaos. and 2. We had no business climbing to Mt. Everest base camp; Patrick didn’t even have a sleeping bag.

The woefully unprepared

The woefully unprepared.

Our plane landed in Lukla 40 minutes later with perfect weather.

Day 1:
After a spot of tea we tightened up our laces/velcro and started trekking. It took less than one hour for me to decide that I loved Nepal and I absolutely wanted to extend my visa.

A mountains girl

A mountains girl

The rest of days 1-5 were sheer bliss; my entire journal is filled with how happy I am! The Nepalis were kind, we felt justified and pleased with our decision not to hire a guide, there were hardly any other tourists, and neither Patrick nor I had adverse altitude effects. Plus we did silly things to amuse ourselves while we hiked: When we passed people on the trail I would say ‘namas’ and he would say ‘stay’
We were using the local language and cracking ourselves up.

Almost religiously at 6:30pm darkness would come and forcing ourselves to stay awake became a formidable challenge. We would happily have an early night in anticipation for another early day.

On day 6 we were blanketed in fog.
On day 7 it rained and rained.
On day 8 it snowed. This was all problematic because our jackets weren’t water proof and the only pair of shoes that I had with me were my Vibrum 5-fingers.

I wanted precipitation like Custard wanted more Indians

I wanted precipitation like Custar wanted more Indians

Day 8 was miserable.
Here are some cons to hiking to Mt Everest in a pair of 5 fingers:
Zero insulation and no socks. Snow/rain/ice bring pain and frostbite threats.
Nasty, smelly. Friendships could literally be lost.
Wearing them is the equivalent to having a puppy with you; everyone wants to stop but only to chat about your puppy.
They attract small children, acting as a beacon for kids (gross) to touch me.
And pros:
My 5-fingers are super light and compact.
They make me feel like I am Spiderwoman; fun and empowering to hike in.
They don’t hurt my hips and knees which enables me to shoulder more weight.
My parents bought them for me so it makes me think of them (aw).

Day 9 we summited.

are we trying to break an ankle?

are we trying to break an ankle?

Mt. Everest

Mt. Everest

The motherland

The motherland.

We had done it!!! So of course we celebrated by eating candy and making up songs, a few even had nothing to do with snacks.

Here is a pie chart of the things we talked about:

@ We ranked people we just met based on how much we liked them * Free popcorn

Symbol Key
@ When we ranked people we just met based on how much we liked them
* Free popcorn

Moments in time:
-Cultural racism at the top of the world, “Keep out. Japanese, this means you.”
-Crying in front of sherpas because I ate too-spicy food.
-Playing Connect-4 with the man who’s climbed Everest 3rd most in the world.
-The biggest, brightest night-sky I have ever seen. With shooting stars.
-That Nepali who used a feather to clean his ear and then turned to share.
-Avalanche on the way to Base Camp.
-“I’ve got my headlamp on because my lodge is cheap as heck tonight”
-Movie day with a warm chocolate chip muffin.
-Sounds of being chased through the woods by an old person with a walker — who was really just a Korean with trekking poles.
-Brokering a party with Jeremy Jones, a world-renowned snowboarder.
-Leftover, cold meat delicately wrapped in a pink paper napkin.
-That day our budget had an audible.

Some things I learned:

it's probably fine.

it’s prooooobably fine.

-Yak steak is more yak-y than stake-y.
-It is possible to drink too much chai tea.
-An Everest marathon exists. (!!)
-I lurve me some boiled potatoes.
-Dhal Bhaat translates to more baby-wipes.
-Pizza might not look like you’d expect.
-A Sherpa earns double the amount of money that a teacher does for sherpa-ing tourists to the top of that elusive mountain.

we'll stick with Twix.

we’ll stick with Twix.

More to come.
Sending Everest-sized hugs,
‘mi (and Patrick)
Team Snack Attack