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Showers?

Beng Cheong in the shower tent, holding the portable shower set. The wooden plank on the ground prevent cold feet.

SHOWER AT EVEREST NORTH BASE CAMP (5,300M)

First of all, not everyone is ready for it, until…… a certain time is reached and a particular smell become unbearable to your friends. The final and the ultimate stage is reached when you’re pretty confirmed that you really require that wash up,… is when you can’t stand your own smell.

Secondly, you have to choose a particular day where the weather is definitely sunny for at least the first half of the day…. and you will have to take that shower at a particular time if you do not want to rush it. You may ask WHY? Well,.. the reason is simple! That particular time I’m talking about have to be around 10.30am to 2.00pm. Any time outside that range has NO Guarantee of warm (23 to 26 degree Celsius) atmospheric temperature that is ideal for taking shower at this harsh Tibetan plateau. Even inside the shelter of a tent fabric, the bone chilling wind from the Rongbuk glacier will be good enough reason to deter you from having your shower! We have for the past 60 days observe the good weather pattern happening at Rongbuk Basecamp. Even for the best day we ever had, those nasty clouds will soon start pulling in slowly after 2pm.

Thirdly, you have to inform the Basecamp cook early about the time you want your shower. They will need time boil your water and get ready the pump and the shower tent for you. Well, this time round I’m pretty lucky. A standing shower tent was pitched up only 2 days ago when a group of trekkers came in to visit the base camp. For the first time ever, I experienced potable hot water standing shower after more than 60 days at the Rongbuk base camp. Before the standing shower tent was installed, we have to make do with a sitting down low ceiling tent for washing up. Quite awkward !!

Finally, when everything is set,….. meaning, you got everything needed for the shower ( soap, shampoo, towel, hot water, etc). You will still require to have speedy actions, before, during and after shower. Because, your naked body haven’t been exposed to high altitude (5,300m) air for quite sometime. So,.. you will naturally feel the great different in temperature. Once your skin sense the cold. . . . your brain will automatically be informed and eventually instructions will be passed down, “Hey pal,.. better speed up your action, I’m getting cold !!”.

In conclusion, my advice is, unless you are really damn smelly, don’t do it too often!!! You need a hell lots of practice, to get it perfect!!!
Ting Sern

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