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Laundry at high places

Everest North Base Camp (5,300m)
“Hey,.. Haven’t I seen you wearing this jacket for the whole of last week?”, someone’s yelled at you!

“Haven’t you got any other stuff to change?”, said an American friend at base camp.

Well, if your skin is particularly thick and can’t possibly be measured by a vernier calliper – then perhaps, you could get away from it ! The whole idea of having to wash your clothing is actually for your own cleanliness and hygiene. However, it seem like other people awareness of your daily or weekly attire simply take over the upper hand!! You might be quite lonely if you insist of not washing and changing your clothings.

Hey,.. the air at this altitude is so fresh that any amount of smell could be easily detected by the human nose if there is no strong wind blowing. Well, on many occasions, trekkers and climbers have to congregate at the well enclosed dinning tent for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The distance that you are sitting beside each other is close enough to sense any strong smell that will deter conversation anyway!!!

After a whole lots of explanation above about the importance of “Laundry at Base Camp” , I suppose the task now is to do it !

Look for a sunny day to do this if you don’t want the prospect of having all your clothings turn into “Steel Rod” or ” Sheet metal”, meaning, frozen hard. Sometimes if the wind is strong enough and persistently blasting for the whole day… Well, he he he? The nasty wind will rob the sun energy away and your stuff will harden. So,.. be very careful to keep a watch out for the wind!!!!

Next, you gather all your smelly clothings (socks, underwear, fleeces, hats, etc) in a bag and enclosed please!! Ask the kitchen cook about an hour before to prepare for warm water,… and I really mean “WARM” water. If you can get the water hotter, so much the better.

Go to the shower tent or somewhere that has good shelter from the wind to do your laundry. Once you get started,… remember, the same thing like taking a shower. Be quick or else the water get freezing cold in such a fast time that will surprise you!! Fast action certainly helps you get away from having numb fingers!!

Lastly, remember to hang and tie off every single piece of clothing. You don’t want to go against the “Wind Of Everest”, having to chase after your stuff. Next, don’t forget to retrieve your stuff in time. Bending and hammering your stuff is no fun, especially if you don’t get sunny days for the next entire week. Well, WHO KNOWS,….. after all this is Everest Basecamp!!!
Beng Cheong

PS: Hey Mom, I’m finally doing my own washing!!!.

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