The evening before my flight to New Delhi, as I packed feverishly, I had cold feet with the top-of-the-line backpack Anish has bought. After a rush trip to the store to give it back, we not only brought the huge backpack home but we now also had purchased a top-of-the-line daypack, a smaller version that my Tibetan porter shall be carrying, or so I think.
My travel buddy Mallik's new duffel bag had broken while packing. Its twin - my duffel bag was at high risk as well. So I packed everything into the usual large international suitcases - the sixth trip to India for these bags in three years, they are sturdier than I am.
In the end, it was not the backpack and duffel bag I have been packing into for a week, but my veteran suitcases and the bought-today daypack that I was carrying to Tibet.
It is highly recommended to practice pranayam - yogic breathing exercises, daily for the weeks before this trek. I did not do this though I could easily have used one of our many pranayam DVDs. Breathing right is crucial to survival at high altitudes. Anytime anyone mentioned the lack of oxygen at high altitude and the breathing problems people have had, I had to immediately take a deep breath and wonder how it will feel not to be able to fill your lungs.
I had been taking chloroxygen daily for 4 weeks before leaving for Tibet. This is supposed to increase the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood. I am not sure there is an official verdict on this, but from my personal experience, drinking 3 liters of water a day with the required chloroxygen for 4 weeks before the trek appeared to work for me. I also know that it did not agree with some people when they started it 4 weeks before the trek, so they stopped taking it. My doctor had no opinion on it. It is sold on many internet sites, and at Whole Foods where the packing is quite substantial - Bhavna had bought one bottle for herself that she had shared with me.
Hope all the 9-mile walks I have completed with Bhavna and Anish around White Rock Lake help me in the Kailash trek. Bhavna is super-fit, and has patiently walked with me at my speed that has brought me to my almost-fit level. Shiva is the master ego-buster. I have told him enough times already that I am nothing, I have left everything to him and I reminded him again today that if he wanted to have a fan club, he needed to take care of his fans.
On my last evening in Dallas before this trip, I visited the DFW temple to get the priest's blessings. He tied the sankalp around my wrist - a red thread to pledge my commitment for this undertaking.
Aum Namah Shivaaya!!