BootsnAll Travel Network

7 Days in Tibet: Day 6

. 5200 Meters = 17,000 Feet .

Wake at sunrise and reluctantly crawl out of bed into the sub-zero room.  Stare at the strange ice crystals forming on the inside of the window and then make my way into the common from for a cup of hot coffee, instant noodles and the warmth of burning feces.  Our driver says he’ll meet us at base camp by noon, and our group sets off on the eight-kilometer hike towards Mt. Everest.   

It turns out to be longer than anticipated, as we take a multitude of photos and joke around during the ultra-thin air trek toward the looming snow-capped mammoth in the distance.  Some time shortly after noon, as we are approaching base camp, the van drives towards us with its horn ablaze.  The driver and translator get out, protesting our tardiness again.  We firmly let into them that this is our trip; we are their bosses, and honking the horn while we are trying to enjoy the trip we paid for is extremely rude!  We tell them that we aren’t happy with the way they were treating us and continue the last leg of our hike.

The last half hour turns out to be the most difficult part of the trek.  Faint traces of oxygen in the air, oppressive sun and biting cold collaborate to make the barren rocky terrain a true challenge to transverse.  It looks and almost feels as if I were Frodo struggling up the side of Mt. Doom to purge the ring of power into the volcanic fire at the end of Lord of the Rings!

At the end is the perfect reward: a breathtaking (literally), unobstructed view of Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on this planet!  Our group cracks open the near-frozen, slushy PBRs and we all enjoy our highest beers in the world.  The buzz comes a bit quick due to the half-content oxygen, or maybe it is just the rush of seeing the impressive peak obscuring the horizon with its majesty.

see all of my photos from Mt. Everest and the Rongpu Monastery

After another irritating round of horn honking from the driver, we go back to the van to lecture our tour-guides in proper etiquette and behavior towards their paying clients.  The tension is already at an unbearable level as we drive to one of our final stops, Old Tingri.

Upon arrival some friends, who already arrived in the town, recommend a superior hotel where they were staying.  However, our clueless interpreter insists that it is not a guesthouse of any sort and we should stay in the one he recommends.  For me, this is the last straw.  I am fed up with the treatment we were receiving and seek escape from this road trip from hell.  Luckily, I manage to get passage on a land cruiser leaving early the next morning.  It will save me two more days of sleeping in un-heated rooms and putting up with the BS from our guides.


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