May 4, 2010
Tengboche to Dingboche

Namaste! (Hello)
Mmmmmm nothing like the smell of yak poo in the morning. Or the afternoon. Or the evening for that matter. Yep, lots of poop. However you zone the smell sense out and your other senses become more aware. I hear nature. See nature. Touch nature. I am currently at 14,440 feet!!! We climbed just over 2,000 feet today. We are high above the tree line. Shrubs only and they too will slowly fade from here to Everest. Day 5 with NO SHOWER! I really don't feel that dirty. I just want to wash my hair. Crissie would be so impressed with the rat nest I have growing on top of my head. It blows my mind that I have blogged my way here, and have not had a shower. I may attempt to wash tomorrow? Maybe this is a test. Today was a well rounded day. Lots of pictures. Great views. It is getting colder. Yesterday I added a layer, today I added another layer. Thank goodness I will have my parka for base camp, I am going to need it. Dad and I have been talking up the project to a few curious trekkers, all very interested. It appears we should get a good reception upon arrival. We still have three more days to go before our destination of base camp. We are taking it slow but with good pace. Neither of us can risk getting AMS, we need to be in good health for the project. The wind is picking up now. Time to grab some hot tea and warm up. Everyday this country leaves me breathless, literally and metaphorically speaking. Unfortunatley the political situation in Kathmandu is still poor. The city is shut down due to Maoist rallies. I hope you who read this are all keeping safe.
May 3, 2010
Namche Bazar to Tengboche

It was to our luck that the second part of our day was full of rain. Another 7 am start this time we have learned to eat just a small breakfast if we want to survive the uphill battle. At the top of Namche, we walked a scenic 2 hours along the Dudi Khosi river. Steep valley carved by water 10,000 years ago. Dad points out Ama Dablam. The Matterhorn of the Himalaya. I pointed out a blue partridge, Nepal's national bird. Dad gained momentum on our downhill portion, I was impressed. We took shelter from the sun under a covered veranda where we took another home cooked meal from Nanda. Dad ate little, I ate a little more. We both knew what was ahead. Up. Quickly the clouds came rolling in, this was a good sign. I plugged my Ipod in and we begun the journey up to Tengboche, awaiting us atop the mountain. The music helped. A German passed by with the same idea, giving me the thumbs up saying "the musik gives you power!" I chuckled as I waited for the others to catch up. I was feeling very light on my feet today, very frisky as Dad called it. We reached to top and in utter amazement was engulfed by the beauty of the monastery. We took off our shoes and took a little peek inside. Took a few flashless photos and made a small offering. Camp for the tonight was just down the hill 15 min through a rhododendron forest of white and pink. It was magical. Camp is outside the Rivendell Lodge, straight out of Lord of the Rings. The rain began to pour hard and we were ushered inside to wait for we beat all our porters with our things. Dad was quick to meet an Austrian women and also a fellow Canadian, former CSIS. We are currently watching the sun set behind Mt. Everest as Nada is preparing the next feast. Still shocked the higher we climb, the first sign at the next lodge is always "high speed Internet". Good night for now.
May 2, 2010
Night Two -Namche Bazar

It rained all night. Pitter patter on the tent. I had to pee so bad. I was trying to fight it. When I finally got my head light on I noticed water leaking into my tent heading straight for my camera. Yikes! I threw everything on top of my MEC bag and made a run for it through the rain to the toilet tent. Oh the joys of camping. It took a while to get back to sleep with the howling dogs, drunk Russians and cows nearly walking over your tent.

Today was equipment test day. Dad and I went for a morning walk to keep our bodies limber. Found a stuppa on top of Namche and did a little "off trekking" down to examine the new heli pad. Once we arrived back to camp Bhim turned the generator on. POWER! Dad and he plugged in the batteries and we got all our gear charged up. Then it was my turn to be the study volunteer. Dad had the Habipap mask around my head and I was plugged into the heart monitor. All the porters were watching curiously. I learned fast what needs to be done for the experiment when it is my turn to test climbers at base camp.
May 1, 2010.
Phakding to Namche Bazar

Patient # 2. ME? Well I at least feel like I am dying. The Diamox is working. My fingers and toes are tingling.That means the pH of my blood is becoming more alkaline. Today was hard. Very hard. Any exertion up hill is slow and leaves you breathless. Today we climbed 3,000 feet to Namche Bazar. Bhim pointed out our destination 2 hours into the trek. The white dot on a mountain at least 4 more hours away. The only thing I really miss is ice. Dad and I pant for water while all the porters pass us with 40 plus kilos on their backs stop for smoke breaks. You stop caring about taking pictures and become more concerned with breathing. One breath for one step. Dad says that ratio is only going to get worse. Arrive Namche Bazar. 25 min after arrival my heart rate is 112. Sunburn is killing me. I curled into a ball on the ground. I miss cold water more than toilets. The squatting I can do. Saudi taught me well. Dad tells me to keep drinking more coffee and tea, the only way to keep hydrated. The sound of monks chanting from the neighboring lodge is music to the ears. I would be lying if I say I felt great. I feel good with what I have accomplished today. We have two nights here to acclimatize to the altitude. Day trip tomorrow. Dad is keeping me well medicated. We lean on each other for moral support. After his two rounds of radiation therapy he definitely feels the strain on his body. His camel back is his life saver. Fog has just rolled down the mountain. We are literally in the clouds. The wind is picking up and I am still waiting for my bag to arrive with my warm clothes. I could go to sleep right now and its only 5 pm. We did leave this morning at 7 however. We had a lovely lunch on the riverside. Nanda is a great cook and very funny.
One of the large batteries a porter is carrying for the project has started leaking battery acid. Burned the poor boys pants. This may pose a problem because it is only day two of the trek and the batteries are fundamental for power when the generator is not running. Dad and Bhim are brainstorming now.
Note to self: do not cross your legs at high altitude. Poor circulation and my calf falling asleep was one of the most painful parts of my day. More so than not being able to breath. Our spirits are high. We joke about how out of shape we are. But once we can rest, we are recharged, this is a good sign.
Oh and the funny part of the day. My bag was so late arriving because the old man that was carrying it was found at the first bar at the bottom of Namche, pissed drunk and passed out. I guess he had a hard day too and just needed a little drink.

(these are just little side notes of my journal from the trip, i have gone into far too much detail to type it all. Namche is a very large village compared to Phaking and where we are headed the rest of the trip so this will be my last post before our return down the mountain. I was shocked to see the sign that said "High Speed Internet" this way. I thought I would humor everyone. Anyway, I should run along and help Dad test the generator and all the medical devices before we go any higher. Love to all and I am happy, healthy and having the time of my life! and yes I miss Dante :D )
April 30, 2010
AGNI AIR Kathmandu to Lukla.
A Dornier 228-101. 12 passengers. A short flight through the mountains. As we approached our destination, no need for a descent. We landed on a 700 foot long airstrip right on the mountain face. (most airstrips are usually about 10,000 feet long to give you an idea how SHORT this one was) Any mistake would result in us crushing poor local homes. Bhim quickly sent us on our way to collect the rest of our cargo that arrived two days early. Dad has brought a mini hospital with him. We have 15 porters to carry all the equipment for the project. We had a lot of curious watchers. I kept forget it was only 7:30 in the morning. We had a great first day trek. Approx. 2 hours to get us warmed up. Camp site one is Phakding. I was amazed by the beauty of the mountains and the warmth of the Nepali people. So humble. Dad has administered me my first round of Diamox. 500 mg. He doesn't want to take any chances with the AMS. It was hard to get down with the heated orange drink. Everything must be boiled because the water is not clean. We have come down 1,000 feet, currently at 8,380. Our recovery time was fast today. I sure could feel the altitude change though. Prayer flags were flying high from homes and across all the bridges. Each symbolic of the elements. Earth, fire, water, air, sun. Our cook Nanda is hard at work preparing us lunch. It is very easy being a vegetarian here.

Patient # 1
Local Nepali worker. Fell through roof, landed on right side.
Age approx. 22
*Fractured elbow
*Fractured skull [blood in ear, needs immediate x-ray]
*Seriously bruised lung
Dad administered 75 mg. voltaren [injection]
Man was carried by 6 men back to Lukla. No more flights back to Kathmandu today. Dad saved his life. Quiet the start to our trek. Dad never seems to get away from work. He loves to help when he can.
April 28, 2010
Kathmandu, Nepal

A short but sweet visit to maple circle. Record time across the causway. I believe I was in Saudi under 22 hours. Plenty of time to play catch up with the family, open some birthday presents, re-fuel, take a shower and get some very needed sleep. Before I knew it, I was out the door again headed to the airport with Dad ready to embark on our Mt. Everest adventure.
Five flights and two days later I have gone from cramming for final exams to sharing crowded roads with cows. Kathmandu is very different from what I remember from my first visit here in 1996. Still very poor and very polluted. Humans are stripped of their dignity laying in garbage begging for food and money, worse off then the dogs.

The line for VISAs reminded me of my the first few trips to Arabia, no concept of forming lines, just pushing and shoving. All our bags arrived and my Dads friend Razzu was eagerly awaiting our late arrival. A very humble man, born in Tibet and self exiled as a young boy to Nepal.

We were dropped off at the Shangri-la, our hotel. Wasting no time at all, Dad and I took off by foot to Thamel in search of a few last minuet warm clothes for the trek. I managed to find an extra battery for my camera to my surprise. The time change catching up with us fast, we scooted back to the hotel to take a nap. Hot as can be, I jumped into the pool for a quick swim. Both Dad and I enjoyed a Gorkha beer, authentic Himalayan brew.

I did not want to get out of bed when Dad woke me for our dinner plans with Razzu. I was dealing with a bad sleep hangover. The restaurant was very colourful. As we ate our dinner we experienced Nepali music and dance.

Up bright and early after a great nights sleep, I am sitting now in the beautiful garden of the Sangri-la Hotel. Flowers surround. Enjoyed my lunch of vegetable momo and kalo dal.

Dad and I met our shirdhar this morning, Bhim. A very soft spoken and kind man from the Solu region just below Khumbu. Everything is in place for the trek. All of the medical equipment and cargo will be waiting for us upon our arrival in Lukla tomorrow morning.

The rest of the day will consist of relaxation. Dad has already briefed my on the HabiPap project. He has put a lot of work into this research and the week at base camp is going to be very rewarding mentally, spiritually and physically.
Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia

You know you’re an expat from the Middle East when. . .

1. You can’t answer the question, “Where are you from?”
2. You flew before you could walk.
3. You have a passport, but no driver’s license.
4. You have sat in a “men’s” or “women’s” section in an airport, hospital, or restaurant.
5. You run into someone you know at every airport.
6. You have ever gone to the “hammam” or endured a “shamal.”
7. Conversations with friends take place at 6:00 in the morning or 10:00 at night.
8. Your life story uses the phrase “Then we went to…” five times.
9. You can speak with authority about the quality of various international airlines.
10. You feel self conscious around all white people.
11. You are used to giving directions according to landmarks, not street names.
12. You live at school and go home for vacation.
13. You treasure pork and root beer as highly-valued commodities.
14. You have ever had to wait for prayer call to be over to finish shopping.
15. You got days off school for Christian and Muslim holidays.
16. You think VISA is a document stamped in your passport, and not a plastic card you carry in your wallet.
17. You’ve heard of or tried a “hubbly bubbly.”
18. You get all the jokes in Aladdin.
19. You are used to being stared at.
20. Rain is still one of the most wonderful sounds in the world.
21. Your wardrobe can only handle two seasons: hot and warm.
22. You know the geography of the rest of the world, but you don’t know the geography of your own country.
23. Your school memories include duck-and-cover drills.
24. You call a chicken burrito a “shwarma.”
25. Your dorm room/apartment/living room looks a little like a museum with all the “exotic” things you have accumulated
26. You know that it truly is a small world.