return to Kathmandu after two months of snow and rocks
has been quite a shock. Everything here is in Surround
Sound and at the end of each day I find my eyes are
tired from all the action and color. I've discovered
that my toes face a greater risk of loss in K-du from
Rickshaw than from frostbite at Camp 4. This is no
town for the weary, and I take caution as I sneak from
bakery to bakery sampling the local delicacies.
anniversary celebrations here have been incredible.
I've enjoyed most of the events from a distance after
realizing that my travel preferences are a bit more
modest. I prefer to eat from the street vendors and
enjoy the local celebrations instead of dining at
banquets with the king and staying at four star
hotels. It's a habit that developed in Base camp where
I frequently took my meals in the Sherpa cook tent
trying to win their trust while staying close to the
warm cooking stove. Nepal is an incredibly divided
culture and my European climbing partners and I have
gotten in the habit of having breakfast together to
share stories of our daily adventures. The stories are
all wonderful and I've decided that our strategy is
the best one possible. Between us, we are taking it
Yesterday Rudy and Robert
were invited by Peter and Edmund Hillary for a visit to the British Embassy
where they toasted the finest champagne and swapped stories from many years on
the mountain. Our Sirdar Pasang Tshering Sherpa had an audience with the King
of Nepal where he received a special medal for his dedication and previous
summit. The day also offered countless meetings and parties for Everest
Summiters, but Pasang and I preferred to wander the streets enjoying the
bakeries and watching the various street dancers and parades pass by.
By each evening the streets
are packed shoulder to shoulder, and the colored lights and balloons that have
been strung between the buildings cast a mysterious light over everything.
Last night I turned down the most crowded street where a group of Nepalese
dancers were performing and discovered my friend Sean seated upon a great
throne in the middle of the crowd. He was seated like a prince floating on top
of an ocean of people and as the lights flickered away I could see that he was
talking. Finally I noticed that there was a camera hidden in the mob, and with
shock I realized that Sean was conducting an interview with CNN! What a
Sean suffered severe
frostbite on the summit trip and has since landed himself a number of
high-profile interviews. With his black fingers and bandaged feet he has
appeared in USA Today, CNN and ABC World News Tonight!
The parties ended last night
and the finest hotels offering free stays to the Summiters discontinued the
offer. Today I have seen my friends, once again homeless, resurface on the
streets of Kathmandu with stories of feather beds and swimming pools. I've
been sleeping on the floor, but the idea of a swimming pool is curious...
Finally, I would like to
thank you all once again for all your emails. It's great to see that our
team is still so strong. It has meant more than you'll know and I hope to have
the chance to thank you all personally very soon.
Pasang has become mystified
with Iowa and our crazy antics. We have applied for a tourist visa with the
hope that he will come for a visit in August. He wants to do some climbing
while he's there, and I tried to tell him that he might just have to settle
for the Field of Dreams. Of course he's never heard of baseball.