One of the other intended highlights of our trip was a visit to Everest Base Camp – the Tibetan version thereof, that is, which can be reached by 4×4, as opposed to the one on the Nepalese side of the border, which you have to hike into….for about 7 days. Of course, this was all a bit blasé for James anyway, since the last time he saw Everest (from the Nepal side – very inferior views I’m told), he was on top of it. Wearing a parachute. Difficult to top that one really, but I figured Tibetan EBC may be worth a go. Of course in the end we couldn’t go anyway. The Chinese – wait for it – cancelled our permits. Admittedly, this one we’d known about before (a whole 2 days before!!) we actually arrived in Tibet so it wasn’t quite such a kick in the teeth as the hiking debacle. But still.
Our guide did however tell us that we could get great views of Everest from the Friendship Highway – there being a convenient little viewing spot complete with toilet.
I was sceptical.
Not least given the mention of the toilet. Now I pride myself on being a wizened veteran of a traveler, unfazed by some of the more “rustic” models of toilet that the Asian world in particular likes to spring on one from time of time. I’ve developed thighs of steel in an effort to cope with the squat model – a far more intensive workout than anything a personal trainer can come up with. I can hover at will and am never without a personal supply of paper, wet wipes and hand sanitiser. I’ve become adept at going without breathing for…well, however long it takes.
The Tibetan toilets, however, are disgusting. Some of this is just a generic sort of over-reaching that we’ve noticed along our trip; the sort of mindset that decides that it would be cool to put a porcelain squat toilet on top of that short drop toilet that’s been put in place specifically because there’s no available water source (let me tell you something about porcelain when there’s no running water. It’s sticky. ‘Nuff said.). In other places, like the hotel we stayed at for our last night, a more serious problem had set in. The bucket of water supplied to wash away any…..issues….had frozen solid. As had said issues, carefully lined up as they were to sit horizontally across the drain hole. Three in a row in the gents’ apparently, which makes a first for me in seeing James go green.
Anyway, I digress.
The loo at Everest gets a special exemption. Sure it’s filthy and stinky, but it has perhaps the most kickass view in the world, and I find I can forgive a lot for that.
Besides which: I had altitude dehydration