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Himalaya

Day 65: Lhasa

Michael Palin - HimalayaLater in the day we go to visit him at the People's No. 1 Hospital, getting lost in a series of functional modern blocks separated by strips of lawn, which they've tried to cheer up with pagodas and play equipment.

Eventually find the Mountain Sickness Unit (largely financed by the Italians) and in a small, friendly ward John sits up in bed, a drip inserted into the vein in his right hand and an oxygen feed taped, rather ineffectively, to his left nostril. Even John, who suffers from almost terminal cheerfulness, cannot disguise the fact that he is in quite a bad way, though not as bad as the only other occupant of the six-bed ward, a young Korean with the much more serious cerebral oedema, or fluid in the brain. Both are casualties of the punishing pressure that the body progressively suffers as oxygen levels decrease. It can affect anyone who climbs above 8000 feet (around 2500 m), and no-one really knows why some suffer more than others.

We find a more congenial place to eat tonight. A small, Western-style, climber's bar and restaurant called the Summit Camp a few doors down from the hotel, cold as the grave, but at least built of brick and wood rather than the self-important chrome and glass of the Himalaya.

Over a Tibetan pizza we have to face the reality that John will not be able to continue with the journey. A temporary replacement is coming in from Beijing, and until that time Pete will carry the tape recorder and microphone, as well as everything else.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 65: Lhasa
  • Country/sea: Tibet
  • Place: Lhasa
  • Book page no: 158

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RELATED LINKS

  • Eating
  • Day 5 
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day 3 
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  • Day 6 
  • Pole to Pole

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