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Himalaya

Day 62: Rongbuk to Everest Base Camp

Everest base camp, Tibet 
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Everest base camp, just before Sunday lunch. In early summer this would be packed with hikers and climbers, today there’s just us, and the yaks and their herders.
Michael Palin - HimalayaThough the herders seem not the slightest bit sentimental about their furry charges, theirs is one of the most one-sidedly symbiotic relationships between man and beast. In return for some grass the yaks give their owners milk, cheese, butter, meat, fuel, building materials, clothes and transport.

I join the herders around a fire of brush wood and bamboo kindling, which they keep alive by tossing on the odd yak nugget and pumping hard with an ancient sheep's bladder bellows. Sitting in a circle, eating cake made from tsampa, the barley flour and tea mix, they're jolly company, naturally given to smiling and cracking jokes, most of which are at my expense.

Their clothes are made from skins and fur and look as if they have been part of their bodies since they were born. Their complexions, skin textures, their whole physiognomy is a reflection of the life they lead. Coloured by the wind and rain, stunted by the bitter cold, their features sculpted in a craggy resemblance to the weird and wonderful landscape around them, they're elemental figures, created by and in the likeness of the mountains.

Maybe all this accounts for the ease of their manner. They know what to do here. They know what to expect and how to deal with it. They have slope cred.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 62: Rongbuk to Everest Base Camp
  • Country/sea: Tibet
  • Place: Everest Base Camp
  • Book page no: 148

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