The toilet flooded and the shower a bucket – facilities in the Himalayas – as usually in the mountains – are somewhat basic. But as mountain veterans readily confirm, there has been remarkable progress. Double rooms with clean sheets and warm blankets are now the norm. Gone are the days of smoke filled dormitories with half a dozen people snoring simultaneously. Okay, the snoring is still there, penetrating the thin pressboard walls. But then again, good sleep is rare at high altitude – with or without disturbances.
Still, the right attitude is important. “Where’s the hairdryer”, confidently inquired a fellow traveler to their guide in the common room. Sheepish smiles go around the room. Electricity beyond Namche is expensive and unreliable. I’ve spent numerous evenings wolfing down dinner in the light of my headtorch. A hairdryer is a particularly unlikely piece of equipment to be found in the mountain (but who am I to say what’s important to whom).
Consciously letting go of some of the comforts makes adventure trips much more enjoyable. Certainly, it takes some time. It’s hard to suppress a feeling of disgust entering some of the toilets you encounter. But sure enough, it not only becomes normal, but there is a point when you appreciate even the most basic facilities. Adventure trips are not only an opportunity to push boundaries but also appreciate adaptability. I’ve paid 7GBP for a hot bucket shower in Gorak Shep – luxury beyond 5-star hotels. So the next time you’re out there, pay attention to the change in what you perceive as normal and celebrate your own flexibility.
In the lodge in Namche, no hairdryer could be found. But a gas heater was readily recommissioned. Flexibility wins.