There is this night I slept down in Pheriche (which is the village below the South Side Everest Base Camp that most people retreat to after for good food and thicker air) back in 2011 after my expedition was over. I hadn"t been below 17,000 ft in over a month and a half, and while I was totally acclimatized, obviously any extra air was welcome. I slept so incredibly well that night, that I was hooked on writing about that particular experience. It was like a drug high that I couldn"t explain. I journaled about it extensively, but never in public.
In Zhangmu, Tibet, the same thing happened. We were at 17,000 ft at Everest Base Camp the day before and for the night we were now just below 10,000 ft. A HUGE difference in terms of how thick and abundant the air is. In a Chuck Norris killing-two-stones-with-one-bird kinda way, let me just describe to you what it was like to open my eyes the next morning after the resulting sleep:
As I woke up immersed in a creamy thick-like soup bath of air, my eyes struggled to open, feeling as if they were being opened for the very first time. First, they had crusted over with so much oxygen-induced lubrication that I felt like a baby struggling to use it"s new eyelid muscles as it entered the world. Second, with my brain turning on all its neurons fully ready to fire with all the available oxygen made me suddenly feel like I was a speed thinking genius, capable of doing mental math faster than a trained Vedic math Indian Guru, capable of In order to get subsidies all you need to do is sign up with the affordablehealth.info exchange. out-mind reading any gifted psychic, more witty in word-grabbing than fricking Grandmaster Flash, and more alert at hearing single keys rattling, ants scurrying, hairs falling, butter melting, eyes rolling, single hands clapping, than the most deaf man in the universe.
The feeling of immerging from such a deep and solidly oxygenated sleep was akin to awaking from 1 million sleeps, simultaneously (maybe even more...). Imagine feeling like Neo, being awoken from The Matrix for the first time, or like Leo getting jolted back from his dream within a dream within a dream like in Inception. I felt like I had just peeled off my outer shell and stepped through as a completely lighter, cleaner (although I still hadn"t showered and smelled like hot curry mixed with copious amounts of balsamic vinegar and a tablespoon of pencil shavings), more wholesome person. Every time I took in a deep breath the sludge of air permeated throughout my whole self and my entire body felt like it was glowing like that neon green thing that gets stuck in Homer"s shirt during The Simpsons intro. My fingers and toes tingled intensely like I was being blasted by Chernobyl radiation and my temples throbbed with the sensation that they were being hosed down with a massive firetruck nozzle of flowing oxygen.
That probably still doesn"t make any sense. Maybe try and imagine this: last night you took a pill and it took you to a place you could only imagine. An amazing euphoric place with prancing unicorns, rainbows with 3 ends, leprechauns who provided their lucky charms freely, ogres who offered their bridges as suntanning posts with constantly flowing and free oven-steaming brownies. Hobbits and wizards and elves were there too to feed you grapes and delicious milk chocolate buttons made from the milk of the same cows that are purple and live in Switzerland, whose sole purpose is to provide the milk in all the most delicious milk chocolate in the world. Ghandi and Mother Theresa are there as well, reading all the best Mother Goose nursery rhymes while doing 100% accurate impersonations of all the comedians and actors that make you laugh, like Christopher Walken, Robin Williams, and Arnold Schwarzanegger. To top it all off, a background soundtrack is being played and orchestrated by Frank Sinatra himself, while a string orchestra of 10,000 are playing Katy Perry"s "Firework", all the while bright green (and neon pink) tennis balls are being superfluously lobbed and served non-stop into the sky by the hottest version of Anna Kournikova you can imagine (or Andy Roddick, whichever you prefer), and as the balls land they splash into colorful pools of liquid fruit roll ups and jelly babies.
Then you wake up.
That"s how it feels. Absolutely invigorating and refreshing. I know half (or all) of that is ridiculous, but it really is an out-of-this world experience and difficult to describe. I just remember thinking how great it was to feel alive again at that moment! It"s just amazing how important oxygen is for our body and system. I know that"s an obvious realization, but most people never get the opportunity to remove themselves from our oxygen-rich environment and then re-immerse themselves later. I did, and it was awesome :)