Hey guys! Checking in from the absolutely crazy and chaotic city of Kathmandu. Arrived Monday and have been exploring and wrapping up last minute things before we officially start the trek into base camp tomorrow.
As soon as I arrived Monday I was lured into a cab and driven through the heavily-polluted, cow-ridden, traffic-rule-lacking, funky-smelling, bodies-burning-in-the-distance, streets of Kathmandu. I'd say it was more overwhelming than being thrown into a cab in manhattan, NY, for the first time. I got to my hotel and was in a delirious headspace, having travelled over 35 hours to get there. I went on to sleep a solid 12 hours and was good to go by Tuesday.
Oh yeah, I lost one of my gear bags, but luckily it came the next day. One by one, team members started showing up and I've been getting to know them slowly but surely. Everyone is totally awesome and has a super cool background story. There's a former space shuttle pilot candidate, a nuclear pharmacist, a woman climbing for violence against women in Congo, a couple everest second-attempters, a wine-maker from california....all sorts of people. All really fascinating people and all stoked to climb this thing!
Did a bit of sightseeing Tuesday and Wednesday, but slowly the allure of this foreign land began to wane. It's polluted, hectic, and extremely poor...it definitely has it's charm though, and the locals are some of the friendliest people I've ever met, but honestly, I just wanna get the *beep* out of here! I'm SO ready for some mountains.
I bought myself a 3G sim card yesterday so I can use my iPhone on the mountain. The card cost 99 rupees ($1.30) and minutes are 6 rupees a minute (international to the US) - um, yeah, that's less than 1 cent per minute!! Absolutely crazy! Especially considering that my satellite phone is $1.10 a minute. If it works as well as it's supposed to up there, this could end up being amazing times infinity.
Today I'm just going to take it easy, get some cash for the trek in (35,000 rupees should do it - I'm so rich here! Lol), and then get some rest. We fly out to Lukla tomorrow morning, which is a small village at the start of the Khumbu valley sitting on the edge of a mountain.
Just an update on my health: the cold I caught last week is pretty much gone and I'm fully rested. I feel great. I've been very careful with keeping my hands clean and keeping them out of my mouth, as well as eating really carefully. So I haven't gotten sick....yet. Gotta keep that vigilance all the way up the mountain. Getting sick at altitude can end one's expedition in a heart beat, since it's extremely difficult to get rid of an illness when your body is also working to adjust to the altitude. There's always a but of luck when climbing these mountains!
I'll probably get to write again somewhere along the trek. If not, I have someone ghost writing for me in the event that I can't!