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April 29th, 2017

Back to “civilisation”

Dear reader,

It’s just as well you can’t actually see me right now, as it’s not a pretty sight.

Not. At. All.

Sunburned face, peeling skin, and a look of total, swollen, puffy-faced exhaustion.

Two days ago, I returned to a world of hot showers, beds and intermittent phone signal – that’s the “civilisation” I was referring to – after a totally brilliant 2 weeks, high in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh, where I was on a mountaineering course and then a climb of Friendship Peak.

It’s always difficult to come back down to earth after a trip like this, and even though, yes, it’s good to sleep in a bed after 2 weeks in a sleeping bag on the ground, and yes a hot shower is indeed wonderful, but oh the beauty of the snowy peaks, and the silence, and the sheer majesty of the Himalayas…as I said, it takes a while to come down from such a high.

Then there’s the unattractive sunburn. Despite being pretty vigilant, I’m burned and peeling.

I am also. hungry all the time, and I sleep for hours.  From Solang, where our climb ended, I cabbed it down the Kulu Valley and then back up the Tirthan valley, to meet up with hubby dearest, at our friends Shefali and Christopher Mitra, who were polite enough to hide their astonishment at my swollen exhaustion, unwashed hair and (I suspect) rankness.

I slept and ate and ate and slept, feeling stronger with each passing hour, and then after a day we piled into the car and drove higher up the Valley to a village called Bathad, where our friends Shalini and Dam have a gorgeous home and two cute guest cottages, and while Himmat and the Bahadurs fish in the river that runs past their property, I eat and sleep and eat and sleep.

As of now, I have no aches and pains from the climb, other than my  old knees which took a bit of a hammering on the long steep descent from Base Camp.

The days are lovely and sunny here in Bathad, but the evenings are distinctly chilly. As in needing a hot water bottle, it’s that cold. We are at nearly 2300m and I’m trying to cling onto this feeling of cold, knowing that when we return to Delhi in 2 days it will be to burning temperatures.

Staying in Himachal for a few days after the climbing trip has been a great idea, as it’s a gradual process of coming back down to earth. The altitude is less,  but I am still surrounded by mountains and there was snow last night on the peak you can see from Shalini & Dam’s.

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