844 days, 20,256 hours, 1,215,360 minutes, or 72,921,600 seconds. That is the approximate duration of my world tour. I never wanted it to end and now, in a manner of speaking, I suppose it never has to. If you wish to go by country do so by clicking on one above. They are numbered in the order I visited them, more or less. If you enjoy reading about it even a tenth as much as I enjoyed living it then you will not have wasted your time. Grab a refreshing beverage, settle in a comfortable chair, and make a journey across the world, experiencing it as I did. Then get off your ass and check it out for yourself. You're not getting any younger.

Kala Pattar to Dzongla (Three Passes Trek, Nepal) Part VI

March 28th, 2010 - Kala Pattar is the place from which to view Mt. Everest. Anybody who is anybody goes there to get their panoramic fix. I am not just anybody. I'm Ploomer. I have a plight. You think I won't, but then again I might. From the Upstate hood, with my homies I'm tight. Intruders from Bulgaria I fight (see a previous post for context). Turn darkness into light. Go fly a kite. Fill my enemies with fright…..sorry I just blinked out of reality momentarily. Must be the altitude.

Gotta see the sunrise. Everyone's just gotta see the sunrise. Everywhere in the world you have to get there for the sunrise. It's cloudy? You're sick? The earth's magnetic poles just switched thereby auguring in the end of days? Doesn't matter. Gotta see the sunrise. To do otherwise would make you a complete a-hole. You don't want to be an a-hole, do you? As it happens, notwithstanding the brilliant reflection of matutinal (I'm a big fan of word of the day) light off the nearby mountains (probably worth the trip in its own right), the morning is not a great to time to see Everest. Sure, the chances of clear weather are increased but the sun rises from behind the face itself thereby blanketing Everest, Nuptse, and Lhotse in darkness. 

Still worth a look but not the picture most are hoping for in my estimation. And the morning is cold. Real cold. I cared little for seeing the sun actually break the plane but I thought a morning hike might be rewarding. I tried to time my departure so the sun would be falling across the trail as I made my way up. Sunlight warm. Richie likey. I left about 6:30 am (as opposed to the normal tourist yak train departure of 4:30 or 5 am) but this was a bit premature as most of the trail was still shrouded in darkness as I made my way up. It was a bit nippy. Richie no likey. Time for the beating of the dead proverbial horse: the views were fantastic. Standing at the high point one is presented with a 360 degree view of the surrounding valley. So Everest is a mere shadow. Doesn't matter. The panorama is exquisite. Ever snort cosmogonic cocaine?

That's Everest in the middle right

Gorak Shep from above

I lingered for a time braving the periodic bouts of butt clinching icy winds. You never want to loiter too long in a place like that. I could sit up there forever and a day but I think it important to always leave such a place wanting a little more. It's better that way.

I started back down in a state of cosmic bliss. No 'Zip-a-dee-doo-dah' this time but my slow trot turned into a near sprint. When the gradient permits it is often a blast to run down the side of a mountain. A few of you have joined me in this activity in the past. I started hopping down Kala Pattar like a jackrabbit on amphetamines. I passed an elder group of Irish lads and lasses I'd met previously on the way down. They thought me foolhardy and full of youthful exuberance. Their guide advised me to slow down. At that point I was not human. I was a force of nature. In other words, I was a child. Might as well piss into a hurricane, pal. No stopping me when I'm like that.

Back to my lodge in Gorak Shep for the breakfast banquet. The night before I learned a lesson, a lesson I think we all learn again and again: Don't judge a book by its cover. The previous day I'd watched two gentlemen enter the lodge with enough gear to cross the Arctic and donning Mohawk haircuts. They did not look particularly friendly and, I am ashamed to say, in my mind they might as well have been carrying a Lite-Brite with the word "DOUCHBAGS" on it. They sat down and engaged me in conversation. They were Italian doctors and had just walked all the way from Jiri (some people opt to take a bus from Kathmandu and walk from there in lieu of a flight to Lukla). They were extremely friendly and personable. They decided on the unique hairstyle as a 'shits and giggles' approach to their hike. As it was happening a crowd watched in gleeful awe as the two reshaped their noggins. Very funny. Guess what? That makes me the douchebag.

It was now time to head for mountain pass number two, the Cho La. This day would take me from Gorak Shep to Dzongla, a starting point for the pass. I spent most of the day alone, passing a group of trekkers only now and again. Here I go. Beat that dead horse, Rich! Beat it! The journey was amazing and took me through scenery difficult to fathom. The wind was slapping me in the face like nobody's business but I did not much care. I was too mesmerized by what I saw. More cosmic cocaine. More tuning fork like sensations. Lonely, haunting, wonderful. The kind of energy you just can't find in a Red Bull. 

The trail was gentle enough for me to let my mind wander. And wander it did. My thoughts were soaring higher than the Flying Lama, the fifth reincarnate lama of Rongbuk Gompa in Tibet. Known as Sange Dorje he supposedly brought Buddhism to the Khumbu via supernatural flights around the area. I am not quite there yet but I'm working on it. As I walked along I wrote two songs (The Cho La Song and The Cho La Song Rap Remix) in my head as a motivational tool for the pass to come. I have absolutely no excuse. I am going to blame the altitude. 

After a long slog I found my way to Dzongla, parked at the Green Valley View Guesthouse, and began consuming Herculean volumes of food. I arrived fairly early so I had time to relax, enjoy the outrageous views surrounding the guesthouse, and compose my masterpieces. 

I was fortunate enough to meet a German man who also had designs on crossing the Cho La the following day. He too was without a guide and suggested we hit the pass together. Richie had a playmate.


"You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life."
Albert Camus


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