My little sisters first update from her Everest Base Camp Rotation:
Hi everybody! I’m writing to you from a place called Namche Bazaar. It’s at about 12,000 ft and getting into the larger mountains. I guess I’ll give you the run down of how the last few days went.
I flew from the Abu Dhabi airport into Kathmandu and arrived at about 8:30 pm. It was dark already and there was a mad dash of all the tourists to buy their visas. Got a cab which shortly thereafter drove over a big piece of wood with a nail stuck in it, had to have the tire changed,and finally got to my hotel around 10. Kathmandu is definetly a third world country capital, delapitated, sagging old buildings you wonder how they haven’t fallen down yet. Stray dogs running around everywhere and always the random trash fire burning. The hotel was in the tourist district, Thamel, which is considerably nicer, but everything is very dirty and polluted. I met two of the other medical students, Aaron from USC and Jess from UCLA, and finally fell asleep. The next day the three of us poked around the city, didn’t really do any shopping because we’d have to carry it all on our backs for the rest of the trip. We saw the Boudnath Stupa, one of the world’s biggest buddhist stupas, a large white edifice meant to be a place for prayer. You don’t go inside, but the outside is ringed with prayer wheels etched with prayers, so every time you turn one it is like you said the prayer. There were even a few giant prayer wheels guarded by midgets! Excuse me, little people. There are literally thousands of little shops and shanties selling knock off North Face gear. Most of the tourists coming to Nepal are here to do some kind of trekking or climbing, and it is crazy to see how much that influences the local culture. Everyone is walking around wearing fake North Face everything. I saw a little old man hoeing a field today in North Face pants. Later that day, we went to the Nepali International Clinic, where the study we are doing is based out of. We met Dr. Buddha Basynat, the Nepali contact for the study. He is a very nice man in his 50s, and brought out 3 liters of beer and told us it was Nepali tea haha! The day after that we got up at 4 am to go to the airport to catch a flight to Lukla. Unfortunatly I had eaten some indian food the night before and came down with a terrible case of vomiting and diarrhea. HORRIBLE. I threw up all over the airport terminal. But the plane ticket had already been bought, so I clamped down all of my orfices and made it through the flight. It was a little 15 seat plane, we flew so close to the actual mountains I couldn’t belive it. The landing strip is 20X200 meters with a cliff on one side and a big wall on the other. I took pictures and a video to show you Dad and Jonathan. The weather changes very quickly up there, fogmoves in and out unbelivably fast, and about a month ago there was a crash and 18 people died. We had very good, sunny weather, but I have to say right before we were about to land I said a little prayer. The hotels are called Tea Houses, and are little restaurants and places to stay that are all over the cities and along the trails. We sat and waited at a tea house to meet up with 2 Nepali medical students who were also coming with us. In the meantime I was back and forth between the bathroom, and threw up in a flower pot and on the stairs outside…. horrible. Once the students got there the decision had to be made if I was still going hiking or not. The other students meeting up with us were 2 full days behind us, and I hadn’t had a bout in about a half an hour, and had taken 1 antibiotic, so I decided I should at least try. We didn’t realize how long the hike was, and if we had I would not have gone. However, I did and it was a really hard day. All I was able to eat the entire day was 1 small banana, and we hiked for 7 hours and 8 miles, mostly uphill. That night we stayed at a tea house and every one was exhausted. We all fell asleep at one point or another while waiting for food, got our water bottles full of boiled water for drinking the next day and fell asleep. I woke up still feeling nauseous but much better, and made the decision to continue on. So yesterday we hiked up to Namche Bazaar, which is where we are now. It’s gorgeous here. We took a day hike to acclimatize today and saw a view which had something like 6 of the world’s 10 largest mountains at the same time. I took a picture of course 🙂 Everest itself was actually behind a cloud so it will have to wait for another day to show itself. There aer so many things to tell you but the internet is so expensive. I am taking lots and lots of pictures though, and Jess has her computer here for data collection, so I will be able to put photos on her computer to free up space on my camera. Tomorrow we hike up to Tengboche, and the day after to Pheriche. In Periche we start the actual study activities. We will be there for a few days and I will have more time to catch you all up on everything.
I hope everything is going well at home. I miss you all very much. I am having a truly amazing time. Every day I look around at my surroundings and am in awe of everything. I have never seen mountains as beautiful as these, and I am told it only gets better from here.
I will write from Pheriche!!