Everest Blog: Afternoon Day Three Of Trek - "Two-Step, Pause"
Afternoon of Day Three of Trek.
Now that the helicopter is gone, I’m ready to climb the rock steps to our hotel. It’s way past noon and poor Besee is starved. We follow him up the steps to the top of the Bazaar. Stupid me, I try to keep up with Besee who grew up at this elevation. I forget the two-step, pause, two step rhythm I was using up until now and trek as fast as I can after him. I’m thinking, it’s not that far up. But it is, the Bazaar is on the side of a mountain with the helicopter-landing pad at the base and Zamling Guest House at the top. My chest heaves. I’m sucking air and think, I’m almost there. I can do it. We get to the hotel and I sit down and feel terrible. My heart is racing and I can’t slow my breathing. I’m huffing way too hard, and don’t know what’s wrong. I can’t eat the lunch they bring.
Tim shows up to welcome us, sees me breathing heavily and says I have a look in my eyes he doesn’t like and tells me to just relax. I’ve pushed myself too hard. When I try to say something, he cuts me off and says, “don’t talk”. Tim leaves for a few moments and I put my head in my hand. What’s wrong with me? The rest of the men, who arrived here from trekking here the day before, come over to say hi. Then all of a sudden, I bolt to the washroom, don’t make it on time and puke all over the restaurant floor…. again! I see Jason and Will literally race out of the restaurant. I’ve never seen grown men move so fast. Great, now I’m going to be known as Puking Patty. But what a release! My body suddenly feels totally better and I can breathe again. Tim arrives with his Sidar (head Sherpa) named Carson and they look worried, but I tell them I feel fantastic! I try to convince them with a winning smile, but the vomit all over my clothes takes away the effect. Tim makes me go upstairs, change clothes and lie down. After I crawl into my sleeping bag, Tim comes into my room and tells me to start taking half a high altitude pill called Acetazolamide that Rob’s doctor has prescribed for him, then Tim hands me two gravel pills supplied by Jason. Rob takes out his Swiss army knife and tries to cut the pill in half but it just crumbles. We try to approximate a half a pill then I lie on my bed and stay quiet. Rob takes my pulse and it’s 90, exactly what Tim says it would be. Rob comes back later and takes it again and it’s lowered to 83, which is a good sign. He tells me that Tim wants me to try and come down for dinner. It’s a good thing I do, because if I didn’t, Tim told the guys he was going to send me home. Most guides would send a client with Acute Mountain Sickness home at this point, but I’ve bounced back so fast, Tim’s giving me a chance. (Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) can happen at high altitudes above 8,000 feet (2,440 meters). Three-quarters of people have mild symptoms of AMS over 10,000 feet (3,048 meters). Zamling Guest House, at the top of Namche Bazaar, is at 11,295 feet (over 3,445 meters). When I arrive for dinner, everyone is quiet. I’ve probably just taken their appetite away remembering what I looked like a half hour ago, except for Tim. He can eat through anything. I assure them I’m fine and definitely not contagious. After dinner I sit around and watch them practice tying knots for the ascent to the true Summit of Lobuche East. There are so many knots for so many different conditions; I can’t keep track of them. Some of the men struggle, except for those who went to boy scouts who have a few knots under their belt. Tim will be reviewing the knots every night.
At the back of the restaurant sit several girls watching TV. These are the girls that Tsedam Sherpa and his family, the owner of the Zamling Guest House, have taken in after they were orphaned, or their parents are still missing from the earthquake. After the earthquake, men from India had come into the country kidnapping orphaned girls and boys to smuggle back to India to put into brothels. Some brothels were started here. Here at the Zamling Guest House they are safe until the Home Away From Home is rebuilt for them that was destroyed by the earthquake. Peak Freaks is donating all the money we are paying for this trek to rebuild their school. Because of Tsedam and his family, through the support from their lodge business, these children are protected from child trafficking sharks.
But not everyone staying at the Zamling Guest House know this. There are three Russian women glued to their computers. They have been here for a month doing high altitude training for their sport. Another man downloads videos on his computer, which sucks the broadband so that others can’t get on. Yesterday when Tim arrived with the men, an Italian man was so mad about the lack of Internet that he got into a fistfight with the downloading man. Tim had to break up the brawl. The Nepali are so sweet and giving, some foreigners not so much.
After dinner I have a shower. Even though the rooms that we sleep in aren’t heated and I’m freezing after I dry off, I make sure I savor every minute of the hot shower because it’s my last one for the rest of the trek to Lobuche East base camp, which will take several days. Tomorrow we will start out together as the group we were meant to be. I cross every finger and toe that I can keep up with them.