Monday, March 19, 2012

"Rest" day...

Sunday, 18 March

Well, so much for Ambien land...Corell and I both took pills last night, but our sleep was minimal.  The interesting part is that we were not that beat during the day.  I've had such little sleep that the past couple of days have been trying.  On re-reading my post from yesterday, I realized how exhausted and down I was. Perhaps sleep, or rather, no sleep, had something to do with my mind set. (I actually had to amend the blog because in my stupor I'd forgotten to add a poem that John had emailed.)  Corell and I are so frustrated that we have each contemplated taking from the other's Ambien stash- thinking that our own must have been a bad batch! And so, we are having a "competition" to see who gets the most sleep...and there are many "nanny nanny boo boo"s flying in the mornings.  I think Corell is winning...

We have also been reading daily devotionals, as this is Lent.  It helps to keep our minds on higher things while we challenge our bodies here on earth.  It's great to have Corell as a room/tent-mate, because while we can laugh at so many things, we also share a penchant for deeper thought, even if only for a few moments.

Upon awakening this AM, I was reminded again how much I love my sleeping bag!  As our Seal Team leader John McGuire says, "There is no such thing as bad weather- just bad gear." And I'll concur. We are so thrilled when our -40 degree bags keep us warm- and then we realize that we need them to keep us warm if the temps are down around zero...or maybe even below??? Brrrr.  Still, it's great to be warm for the moment!

Today was a "rest" day- which means that we won't move up to a higher elevation.  Instead, we took a hike out of town.  Linden has been writing a wonderful blog, filled with imagery, and I simply cannot "compete" with it, so please check it out!  (The RMI blog link is to the right...)  We climbed up out of town, and a couple of hours later we reached the Japanese-built Everest View Hotel, hidden in the trees.  It was a gorgeous day, with blue skies, warm temps, and a spectacular view of Everest, Ama Dablam, and the upper Khumbu. So, we lingered over tea on the back terrace of the hotel.  It was certainly a photo op, and Laura, with one of her frequent quick and clever comments, said, "We look like an advertisement for overpriced sportswear!"  She is another team member who keeps us laughing. 

After our lounge-in-the-sun-time, we headed back down the mountain to a nearby town of Khumjung, where we had hoped to visit the Sir Edmund Hillary School. The School was closed for exams, but some kids were still hanging around.  I had been walking with Naga and Phuru, two of our guides, and our conversation quickly turned to Buddhism. I learned that the five colors of the prayer flags have meaning. Yellow- skin, green-earth, red-blood, white-heart, blue-sky.  Naga and Phuru told me that this is also seen as the pathway to nirvana- from the external skin and earth to the internal blood and heart, to the spiritual, other-worldly sky.  They also gave me a new insight into the architecture of the chortens (or stupas, in Nepali).  The terraced plinths represent earth/mortality, the white dome- the life-giving force of water; the face- the spirit; the segmented spire- the 13 steps to Enlightenment, and the finial represents the sun and moon. There is just so much rich symbolism here.

After passing through the school, we climbed back up the mountain.  Along the way we saw a young boy of around four doing cartwheels on the side of a hill.  He was adorable, so I asked him in Nepali if I could take a photo. He said yes, so I tried to capture him. I've brought numerous pens with me to give to kids as a thank-you for photos...or just simply as gifts. I gave him one. We made it back to Namche by early afternoon, and after a quick shower, we walked down into town to grab a bite to eat.  I then went to the nearest internet cafe, and jumped on.  I am still trying to post photos, but connections have been difficult.  I will try again in the AM.

Life is "athisundar"  (beautiful) here in the Khumbu, but now I am hoping, and praying!, for "Ramro sanga sutnos"  (Good Sleep!)

(Photos to follow...)

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