Dingboche. Or is it Dengboche? The plan for the morning of this 'rest' day is to nudge 5000m and stay up there for an hour, shocking our bodies into acclimatising. The route up was pretty hard going really. We got some group shots and there was this stupa half way up where we took some more photos. The guides showed us the way that we were going the next day from that point. The valley lay on the other side of this hill where we were going (Lobuche).
Today was also Kinsey 'Kimbo' Hern's 28th Birthday and the guys had arranged a little something of a 'show and tell' for him, unbeknownst to himself. I was a little afraid that I didn't know Kinsey enough to write him a poem especially for him despite my asking him over the course of the past few days a random set of questions, which I thought might help my understanding of Kimbo. He's one of those enigmas that follows their own logic but seems rather odd to the outside world. I completely identify with that so I thought I'd re-write something that I wrote when I was 28. I'll take the references out of breasts 'giving up their milky goodness' and the passages lifted from Blake. And I don't think the girls would want to hear about 'fizzing at the bunghole' either. I mean it's just too too rude, even by my standards. Perhaps in quiet pubs in Hampstead but not when you're trying to climb a mountain.
The climb up this particular hill was tiring and was meant to take only 2.5 hours to get up and 30 mins down. It didn't seem to be doing that. The trek up took nearly 4 hours for me and over an hour down. I was only able to rest for about 30 mins instead of the hour that we were meant to get. Not sure if that was any good for me. We reached about 4900 metres which is the height that we'd be sleeping in tomorrow night in Lobuche. The views of the Khumbu valley were amazing. I never expected the world to exist in a place of such beauty. Only in films. From where we were we could see the journey we will be taking tomorrow, all the way up this valley, all the way for what looked like miles and miles of steady sloping valley floor, past stone houses, past streams between mountains that stretched to the sky and ended in clouds like benign volcanoes. Beauty. Beauty. Beauty. As far as the eye can see.
Jameau Pederskin, Kimbo Hern and Jambo 'Kenya' Markby
Kimbo wasn't sure how to answer ' Do you like wolves?' question. He was a bit back footed. I mean, it's a simple yes/no question. But no, he'd never met any. (I knew I get Kimbologic to these questions, excellent). What's your favourite sandwich? (Easy - Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato. I like the fact he didn't say BLT. It shows a savouring of those words, like he wanted them right now. I fancy a nice sandwich at that time, no bacon though).
What would you usually be doing on his birthday? Did he expect to be doing this?
Walking down I'd noticed that my hand had swollen up. Rather worrying. I thought this was the start of the angio-neurotic oedema. Hells teeth. It had gone by the time I'd descended. Speaking to Dr Nick he said peripheral oedema was quite normal at high altitudes. Oh good.
There was an internet cafe in Dingboche which was 25 rupees a minute. Updated my twitter. Some of the boys went to play snooker (or was it pool?) which the owners had helicopter flown.
That evening was the Kimbo Birthday Surprise Show And Tell. I think that was even better than the Everest Factor because it was more personal and it had everyone (or most everyone) doing something or other for Kimbo. Goonit asked if I was going to sing but all I knew were ballads or Joni or lovesongs. Not really appropriate for Kimbo. Really. Nice looking as he is. Even I can't do that. Chris Martin (not from ColdPizza) emceed the event and a great job. We got more of a taste of his stand-up style, which I preferred to the charity gig that he did (ain't that always the way). Goonit and him did a song to start the proceedings.
There was a damn fine bit of garage rap and beatboxing from MC Shark (Joe Williams) feat. Miles Nathan and Jules Staveley. There were also stories and jokes told by other people. For the first time on the trip I'd heard Simmo speak and was pleasantly surprised at the joke he came out with, loving the opera impression he gives. Lucy Brooks shared with everyone a photo of Kimbo in his youth playing on the beach as they were childhood friends.
Here's the poem I recited for Kimbo, should you be interested.
It was the Summer of My Youth
We were on holiday in Scarborough
When I came into myself.
She was older than me
Mousey haired, looking for marriage,
Wore a green pinny
And worked behind the glass
At the BP garage
Over the road.
She came over on her tea-break
To smoke the fags
I'd bought my dad an hour ago.
I kissed her body -
This was Yorkshire -
She smelt like kippers
I walked around the holiday home
And wore her like slippers.
She said 'Can you prove your love?'
I slipped my hand in and wore her like a glove.
The North sea spume splashed
On her promenade walls,
The spray ran down in rivulets
On her high harbour front.
Her mouth was full
With talk of years and ages.
She protested I could be her son!
I replied, 'I'm the little brother you never had -
Now kiss me.'
I realise now that I missed a trick there, not rhyming 'front' with anything other than 'son' but hey, that was the re-write at the 11th hour. I recently recited this to a mixed group of artists and performers, some women were of the age the woman in the poem could have been and they found the last line incredibly sexy. I found that reaction a little bizarre but perhaps it means different things to different ages. Such is the power of Art.
The other question I asked Kimbo on the hill which I forgot about was "What would he usually be doing on his birthday? Did he think he was going to be doing this on his birthday?" Because he lives in the countryside of Herefordshireshire Kimbo doesn't usually spend his birthday with his friends because most of the time it's half term so they used to go on holiday with their parents (how old are his friends?) so he never usually gets to see his friends so this was kinda different for him. (Yes, that, and the fact that we were 4000 metres above sea-level.) I was happy that my comedy poem was part of the fabric woven into that birthday blanket. (WTF is a Birthday Blanket? I think the altitude has either affected my handwriting or my mind!)