Text Box: Nicholas Rice
Extreme High Altitude Athlete
Text Box: Xpedition 8000

2007 Xixabangma Expedition

Dispatch Two: August 29th, 2007

Day Two: Free Day In Kathmandu

After falling asleep early the night before, I awoke at 4:30am to a very noisy morning. The convenience of having a hotel located in the commercial center of Kathmandu (Thamel) is balanced out by the fact that there is an enormous amount of traffic (all of which feels obligated to honk their horns constantly) resulting in a large amount of noise beginning quite early in the morning. After showering, I worked on my task list for the day, which included some last minute shopping, a meeting with Ganesh to discuss yak loads, logistics, and the short term itinerary for the next few days, a stop at the bank and pharmacy (to stock up on medicines for the expedition first aid kit which needs to include a huge number of antibiotics for the various types of infections that are easily contracted in countries like Nepal), and a meeting with a potential Sherpa whom I met in Skardu after my Broad Peak Expedition. When this was done, I headed downstairs to the Lotus Restaurant in my hotel for the free breakfast. I was pleasantly surprised, as they served far more food than I was anticipating and I left with a satisfied appetite. Afterward, I headed out to do some shopping, navigating my way through the very complicated alleys of Thamel to a shop that I recalled had a good selection of food. On my way back, I bought a few more smaller duffels for the items that I intended to leave at the hotel while I was on the expedition, and some prayer flags, as after Broad Peak, I felt I needed the gods on my side! I returned to my hotel for lunch which consisted of a very strange spaghetti bolognaise and Sherpa tea, and checked email for awhile. I constructed my pharmacy shopping list consisting of about twenty different antibiotics for almost anything  I could conceivably contract, and headed around the corner to the pharmacy. The wide-eyed pharmacist looked over the list and got me nearly all that I had requested and I returned to the hotel to catalog the contents and check on the Chinese laws for drug policies (as “drug trafficking” is punishable by death in the People’s Republic of China and their definitions of illicit drugs varies quite a bit from US standards). Once this was done, I returned to the lobby to find Pasang waiting to talk with me. He said that Monterosa Treks and Expeditions had already received the Chinese group visa and it would cost extra to include a new name. I called Ganesh and he explained that it would be an extra $2000.00 to cover the additional costs. I decided that that amount in addition to the $3,400.00 that Pasang had requested was ridiculous and that I would stick to my original plan of a solo ascent without the aid of a Sherpa. I returned to my room, somewhat relieved to be rid of the extra complications that dealing with a Sherpa would have imposed (tipping, language barrier, and unfortunately sometimes thievery, although it isn’t as common in Nepal as it is in Pakistan) and headed to bed.

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