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Himalaya

Day 53: to Annapurna Base Camp

Michael Palin - HimalayaI wake up, wrenched from sleep by some chest-wracking cough, and am seized by near panic. Everything is pitch black, silent and cold as ice. I have no sensation of where I am. Perhaps Nawang and Wongchu have found me a flotation tank. I scrabble around for my head-torch, sending a bottle of pills clattering across the hard stone floor. For a few minutes I simply lie there, staring up at a circle of slatted, paint peeling board above me and waiting for my heart to slow down.

All sorts of things go through my mind. The one thing I can't dismiss is that I might have to think the unthinkable. That, for the first time in any of my journeys, I may have to face the possibility of failure. I'm sixty, after all, and there has to be a point at which the body puts its foot down, as it were.

For a depressing hour or so I can't escape this profound feeling of being defeated, physically and mentally, by the Himalaya.

When I next wake, though there is absolutely no physical sign of time passing, I know, even before I search for my torch, that I've been out for a while. And in that time some sea change has taken place. I'm no longer hot and feverish, and the sense of survival seems stronger than the sense of doom.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 53: to Annapurna Base Camp
  • Country/sea: Nepal
  • Place: Macchapucchre Base Camp
  • Book page no: 122

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RELATED LINKS

  • Health and Hygiene
  • Day 12 
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day 27 
  • Full Circle
  • Day 2 
  • Pole to Pole

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