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Himalaya

Day 52: Derali to Machhapuchhre Base Camp

Michael Palin - HimalayaEven the majestic scenery shapely Fish Tail and chunky Annapurna fails to lift my spirits. I feel completely busted. The merest movement, to take food, to peel off a coat, to unpack an overnight bag, requires major physical effort. After a cup of garlic soup I decide there is nothing to do but take to my bed. Because of my condition, I'm upgraded from tent to room.It's standard mountain lodge accommodation, a stone-walled cell, eight foot by ten foot, with a flagged floor that traps the cold and damp like a cheese store, and a wooden bed frame on which is a thin mattress and a pillow. There is not much else to do but turn my back on one of the finest mountain panoramas in the world and climb, fully dressed, into my sleeping bag until whatever it is passes.

'You eat,' orders Wongchu when I surface a few hours later. 'Need food.'

No-one else says anything. I think I must frighten the crew a bit. They've never seen me quite like this: glum and unresponsive.

Force down some garlic soup, enlivened with shards of spring onion and green pepper. My neck and forehead are feverishly hot, and once I've finished, all I want to do is to go back to bed. Wongchu and Nawang deal with me most tenderly. Despite all my protestations, they prepare a bowl of steaming inhalant and insist I use it. Nawang gets fresh hot water from the cooks and helps me bathe my feet. Then they guide me into my sleeping bag, with Wongchu applying massage as I go. I feel rather as if I'm being laid out, and I must say at this moment the Grim Reaper would not be an unwelcome visitor.

Wongchu wants one of the Sherpas to come and sit with me through the night, but I dissuade him, and, watched over by an inanimate but impressive array of tablets, tissues, ointments, creams and sprays, I close my eyes and wait.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 52: Derali to Machhapuchhre Base Camp
  • Country/sea: Nepal
  • Place: Macchapucchre Base Camp
  • Book page no: 119

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RELATED LINKS

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  • Pole to Pole

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