One of the advantages(and possibly the only advantage)of being the only woman making this trip alone is that I get my own room,and when we head up the mountain I will have my own tent as well. That might not sound like a big deal but after you’ve traveled for 33 hours and finally arrive it’s very nice not to have a snoring stranger in the next bed. I know this not from experience,although who would argue the point, but from listening to the conversations at breakfast this morning. As each time zone entered the dining room a comment was shared about the sleeping arrangements. No one is used to having roommates anymore and I admit I’m very happy on my own. To everyone’s credit no one is complaining and that speaks well for how this group will perform once these “shared comforts” are left behind.
Trips like this are a built-in opportunity for personalities to clash. The physical discomfort, pre-race anxiety, western meals replaced by monotonous trekking food, 17 different cultures, etc can challenge even the most embracing personality. It doesn’t appear there are any big egos in the
group and that’s a relief. Quite the opposite we all seem to be enjoying the 3 major reasons that brought us here:
love of running
love of travel
We have been assigned into 3 groups. We had a post-dinner meeting last night which was an overview of what to expect over the next 3 weeks. This morning we met in our groups for further details, a medical “exam”, and equipment summary/
exchange. I dragged my 4 Season top of the line sleeping bag all the way here and had it immediately dismissed as woefully inadequate & possibly dangerous for the places we will be camping. My “new” bag which I had to rent only compresses to about 2x the size which is a concern. We are only allowed 12 kilos on the flight to Lukla and for the
porters to carry up the mountain & that is not a lot of gear. Anyone thinking of this as a vacation would be surprised to say the least.
This morning we are going for a 10k fun run and I’m curious to see where 75 people can take more than 2 steps without being hit by a car, motorcycle, rickshaw or Tonka truck. The signs of new affluence are evident in the increased number of vehicles clogging the dirt roads but no where else. No signs of better housing, healthcare, sanitation, or fewer beggars. The garbage problem is beyond description as is the stench that accompanies it. I have to remind myself that what smells like death to me is life to an entire country. Buddha and Vishnu smile down on these people in their own way. Yesterday while walking through town I saw 2 pigs crossing the river and they were enormous! Way bigger than any of the cars or trucks, or cattle that roam the streets. The river is so filled with garbage that even the mighty swine – standard bearer of filth, looked pathetic in it’s wake.