12 April 2009: The day started the usual way with me...
The day started the usual way with me having breakfast with the cook staff in the kitchen tent, but the rest of the day was anything but normal. Our Puja (ceremonial blessing before the climbing sherpas will enter the icefall) was suppose to start at 9 AM, but I'm quickly learning that sherpa time and Jamaican time are one and the same, which might explain my seamless adjustment so far with my expedition.
The Lamas finally showed up just before 11AM and the Puja began immediately. Hopefully I get extra blessing for sitting with the Lamas for the entire ceremony. Basically, the Puja is an offering to the gods to ask for safe passage on the mountain and long life. Ours was the third puja to be performed by the Lamas and they certainly showed the effects. At each Puja they are obligated to partake in the festivities, which include Chang (rice wine), whiskey, and all sorts of food, prayers and the hoisting of the prayer flags around our compound. The Icefall Doctors, the docs and other visitors immersed themselves into the festivities. At the end everyone got painted with Sampa (sherpa flour) on their cheeks. We all had good times.
Chris Bonington and Rohan
Later in the day we got a special surprise in our camp. As I walk into the medical clinic where Dr. Eric was attending to a patient, he casually introduced me to the legendary Chris Bonington, pioneer of some of the craziest climbing routes in the world and on Everest and subject of many books. He was in EBC with his son who's on a virgin trek of a trekking company he's starting. Made my day!!!
Puja - Pemba hoisting the prayer flags at the end of the Puja