Number of survivors: 8
Today was our second day of hiking! Last night we slept in a field on a slight tilt, so when I woke up, my tent mate Alda’s head had traveled two feet away from where it had been when she had fallen asleep. The morning was pretty beautiful, but the day was overall pretty drizzly and cloudy. It was nice for hiking because it wasn’t too hot. Wongchu is now leading the way, and every couple spots he tells us a cool story about the land or Sherpa holidays (we saw a lot of people carrying juniper trees back from the top of the mountain for burning later).
So I don’t remember what night it was in Chyangba, but there was one night in the middle of our stay when Alda and I found in our tent a creepy bug from Hell. It was like a cross breed of a centipede, a scorpion, and that tiny crawling Decepticon from the first Transformers movie. As in it had a long body like a centipede, pincers in the front like a scorpion, long legs like a spider, and it moved FASTER THAN LIGHT. (But actually. This thing crawled super fast.) And this was at night, so we had to SLEEP in our tent, and we tried squishing it but it was so large (like two inches long!) and moved so fast that all we really did was scream a lot and it disappeared into some masterful hiding spot where we couldn’t find it. No one believed us, but then the NEXT night Andrew and Erin found one in their tent and Andrew killed it (after screaming about how fast it moved). And then the next night, when Alda and I had just started to believe it had left our tent, we saw it crawling on the ceiling, a little damaged from our scuffle the night before but active and on the prowl. So we screamed for help and brave Phula came in, like a tiger on the hunt, and squashed it for us. Later that night we totally heard the porters making fun of us screaming because of a bug. It was really scary bug. I just thought it was really important to tell everyone.
But that was a few nights ago. This morning Lisa and Kim said they found black little bugs crawling all over their pillows (which we SHARE between moving). Also, Erin and Andrew saw a few fleas in their sleeping bags. So now we’re all freaked out about bed bugs and fleas, since the pillows and mattresses go into random tents every time we set up new tents. But Lisa offered to share her detergent with us once we got back to the Yak and Yeti, so that’s nice. And most of us were going to soak our clothes in hot water as if there were no tomorrow anyway, which Kelly says should be effective to kill whatever parasites are mooching off of us, so I don’t think any of us are expecting to itch because of bed bugs for too long. Just for the rest of the hike.
Also, one of our integral meal conversations is almost always farting. So Erin and Andrew often have a number of farts coming from their tent (source disputed; Erin apparently often blames Andrew, who apparently rips very smelly ones, but none of us would know), Kim silently farts in the tent and Lisa says she’s gotten used to it, Frank and Kim fart whenever they have milk, Kelly snores so that covers the farts coming from his and Frank’s tent at night, and Erin and Andrew say that they’ve heard farts in the night come from Alda’s and my tent. But if so, they’ve been when we’re asleep, so we don’t know who the culprit is. In case you were wondering about our GI tracts, as far as I know also all cases of diarrhea or constipation have been almost completely resolved, and we’re all eating as much as possible because Mingmar is a really good cook. I haven’t seen any worrisome stools in the “little blue tent” (which is our makeshift latrine that I always seem to come back from with at least one baby leech on my pants) anyway. Also, a number of us have developed the need to pee in the middle of the night because of the elevation, and it sucks because it means getting out of the tent to go to the little blue tent. But since we figured out that Purell and salt kill them (or at least Purell gets them drunk), it’s not been too bad.
Today we took a different route than scheduled, because the original route was apparently too slippery and underused. So by lunch we got to Peakey Peak base camp, and tonight we’re staying at the monastery place with the cute old woman and puppy. If you know what that means. Anyway, we saw some REALLY cute yaks and baby yaks along the way, and then it started raining and a number of us slipped and fell. But everyone is good so far, other than Kelly’s knee hurting a little. I think our guides are so good at their job that we couldn’t get injured on the hike if we tried.
You could think of us sort of like the Fellowship of the Ring. We are indeed nine people including Wongchu, and we are hiking all over the place. Everyone agrees that Erin and Andrew would be Merry and Pippin, but the rest of us are undecided. Also, we don’t have a ring. Also, we eat too well. Also, we have guides and porters to help us. Also, we’re in Nepal, not Middle Earth. But other than that, we’re exactly like the Fellowship!
Alda and Erin and Kim sang more songs, but because they cycle through them so fast I think by the end of the day they already were running out of songs to sing.
An hour before dinner started we conglomerated and just talked about all the food we wanted to eat. We mentioned deep dish pizza, ice cream, steak, tempura, wonton soup, pasta, and other things. The best thing was though, when dinner came around we had momo soup, and momos are Sherpa/Nepalese dumplings that are basically wontons! We also had fried vegetable fritters, just like tempura! And pasta, which we convinced ourselves, was basically deconstructed pizza! So Alda decided that if we talk about the food we want badly enough, our wonderful cook Mingmar will magically procure it for dinner. Truly, it was so good. Frank had 3 helpings. He would have had more if his stomach wasn’t going to explode.
Frank also showed us this funny picture of Kim sleeping on the way from Kathmandu to Jiri. She sleeps with her eyes and mouths a little open, so it looked like an intentional photobomb or something. But it was just her sleeping.
We continue to have a couple of leeches here and there, but fewer bites overall. Well, leech bites. Not sure about the potential bed bugs or fleas or other infestations.
People are getting ready for bed now (it’s only 8pm). Hello to family and friends. Oh, and thank you SO MUCH to the Goldfields for lending me those rain pants; saved me from a number of leeches! And Mom, I forgot to mention before, but after seeing what happens to your teeth after not cleaning them, and after losing my floss a few days into this trip, I implore that you schedule my yearly dental cleaning AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. I want to have good teeth when I get old! On that note, good night to everyone with Internet, indoor plumbing, and clean beds. We’ll be rejoining your world soon!