Please Don't Feed the Superpower


We were talking about weak stomachs with four Nepalis: Rajendra, who had guided us to base camp; Ganesh, who had carried the backpack; Mr. Boddhi, who ran the snowbound lodge; a man with one arm whose name we never knew.
      "Americans always sick," Mr. Boddhi said.  "You do not like the dirty."
      Rajendra bowed to my girlfriend.  "Please, what to have for dinner?"
      "No daal baht," she said, winking at me.
      I had lost fifteen pounds climbing up this mountain.
      The man with one arm started laughing and slapping the table.  "TV dinner!  TV dinner!" he cried, until Mr. Boddhi smacked him across the face.
      With cold rice for breakfast and lunch, we climbed.  We ignored the weather and climbed.  We carried Ganesh in his canvas sneakers after he fell in the snow and twisted an ankle.  We climbed until we reached the summit, and then we stopped.  Rajendra shook my hand and I took pictures.  My girlfriend said, "Look at this.  There's nowhere else to go."
      Back at the lodge, Mr. Boddhi cooked us daal baht and fired the kerosene heater to dry out our socks and boots.  "Americans always sick," he said.  "You do not like the dirty."  The man with one arm was not there anymore.  
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