May 17, 2006

Well, we are Alive...

Well, the past few days sure have been interesting. One day we traveled from Lhasa to Shigatze, then the next day Shigatze to Tingri, then the next day Tingri to Everest base camp. I must say that it was an exhausting trip. We had a convoy of about 7 jeeps, so we all piled into them and headed on our way. The past few days have been nothing but jeep rides... I'm sick on sitting in a jeep.

But our jeep rides were interesting. From Shigatze on, there wasn't any paved roads. So, we traveled by dirt roads. These roads were long, narrow, and very bumpy. And often we road on the side of a steep cliff, without a guard rail to protect us from a 150 foot drop.

And the weather here in Tibet is insane too. It literally changes every hour. One hour it could be rainy, then snowy, then foggy, then dry as hell. Traveling on dirt roads when it is dry really sucks - all the dirt from the previous jeep kicks up into your jeep. Bleh

Ok... so I just want to tell everyone - we are all ok, and we are not injured. This is key for my next paragraph. And I don't want anyone to worry about us, because we are doing fine.

So we were about an hour away from base camp, traveling down a dirt road on the side of the mountain. The road was windy, and there were many switchbacks going down the mountain. All of a sudden, our driver starts yelling something in Chinese and stops the car. We thought we had a flat tire or something, so we came outside to take a look. But it wasn't a flat tire. The jeep immediately behind us flipped down an embankment. LUCKILY, the jeep fell down a part where there was just a 2-4 foot drop. It could have been a part where there was a 20+ foot drop. Anyway, we saw the flipped jeep and ran towards it. Since it was flipped over, we pulled our fellow groupmates from the shattered windows. Our professors were obviously pissed at the driver, because it wasn't really a dangerous curve. The curve that we had the accident on was one of the most timid curves we saw. It sure was scary at that moment - we didn't know if anyone was injured or hurt. But, thank god, everyone walked away from the accident. We were shook up from that, but we fought through.

We didn't know whether to scratch the rest of the Everest trip or not. But we had enough room in the other jeeps for everyone else tho. So... our trip went on.

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We got to Everest base camp, and wow... what a site. The mountain was amazing - and we came on a fairly good day. There were just a couple of clouds in the sky. I took a ton of pictures, and then we went to our little hostel we stayed at for the night. It was probably the worst place I've ever stayed at... well actually, it was. There were 9 of us to a single room, sleeping on old matresses. There was no running water, electricity, or heat. It was a miserable night.

Also, at that altitude, the simplest things can tire you out. We climbed a flight of stairs, and we were winded after we were done. There is just not enough oxygen up here, and we definitely felt it. Plus, since it was so dry, everyone including myself got nosebleeds, because we just aren't used to this. So, breathing was a definitely a chore.

The morning after we were all thrilled to leave base camp, because we were all miserable. But the 11 hour jeep ride that followed didn't really help either. But, we are over this hump, and ready to continue on our trip.

I'm pretty exhausted at the moment, so I'm gonna get going... hope everyone is doing well!

6 Comments:

At 6:32 AM, Anonymous Your Mom said...

Praise God for His mercies when the jeep flipped over! Our prayers were answered for the safety of all. The rosaries offered for your safety were not in vain. Thank you Blessed Mary and St. Joseph for answers to prayer and for your protection!

 
At 9:50 PM, Anonymous Your sister said...

Mark,

I'm so proud of you! Your stories and the pictures posted on the Duquesne blog are awesome! Keep the spirits up and keep taking those pictures... can't wait to see them all!

 
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