Kathmandu, Nepal: Well, I've been keeping busy here in
Kathmandu resting and healing. I've finally been able to
unwind and savor the satisfaction of having scaled the
world's tallest mountain.
The frostbite on my
fingertips is healing up nicely. However, my toes are still pretty bad.
Gabrielle has been a great help and has taken on the task of changing my
bandages and cleaning my toes with out once complaining. The doctors have
still not been able to give me a good answer on whether I'll lose part of my
toes. My guess is that I'll lose part of both big toes. The right one is the
worst. Dead skin and flesh are continually sloughing off. The question is how
much will grow back. Right now, they're holding their own, but they sure look
bad. It'll be some weeks before it's clear how much I'll have left. Maybe my
streamlined feet will make me more graceful. Ha!
In addition to the treatments
on my feet, I spend the day running errands and paying bills associated with
the expedition. I had to just drop lots of unfinished business to concentrate
on the climb, and now it's all come back to demand my attention.
Of course, the Nepali
government regulates access to Everest pretty tightly, and they keep pretty
accurate track of everybody on the mountain, so they know who summitted and
who did not. Since I'm still here, I've received lots of both official and
unofficial recognition for having reached the top of the country's biggest
tourist attraction. The most impressive has been the official Everest Jubilee
celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first successful Everest climb. I was
presented a medal and got to shake the King of Nepal's hand. Very cool.
Hillary was there and was given honorary Nepali citizenship by the King, not
only for his great climb, but also for his continuing humanitarian work for
the Sherpas. I didn't get to talk to Hillary, but I listened as he told
reporters that it was the greatest honor he'd ever received. Greater even than
being knighted by Queen Elizabeth?
It's funny; when I was here
in Kathmandu on the way to Everest, the town seemed a shabby backwater. Now,
after two months of living in a tent, it doesn't look bad at all. It has a
charm that grows on you. Of course, being able to sleep in a bed, take hot
showers, and eat a variety of foods helps quite a lot. Being a mini celebrity
helps. What helps the most, though, is having Gabrielle here and being able to
spend time with great friends that we met on Everest. When you share great
hardships with other people, the friendships become very close. It's been
great to meet with these wonderful people over a meal and beers and relive
It seems that I've been
discovered by a German film company. They keep calling me back for more
interviews. I don't know yet what will become of that.
I've been overwhelmed with
the ton of warm, supportive e-mails that I've received from all over the
world. I know that I've been slow to respond. I guess I'm intimidated by the
sheer volume of them. So I've been reading my e-mail, savoring it, and trying
to clear out the important business I need to take care of before sitting down
to answer it all. I will, though. Thank you, everyone.
I'm working on trying to set
up return flights back home. Nothing has been finalized yet, though. I'll let
you know. Sean
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