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Getting to Kathmandu

This weekend I read iWoz by Steve Wozniak and Ed Viesturs’ No Shortcuts to the Top. I was disappointed by iWoz. It felt like it was written for a very low reading level, like it was targeted to middle-school kids. While I have to give Woz credit for all the work he did, the book was a big ego trip under the guise “I’m not trying to brag, I’m just very proud of what I did.” He did go into detail on how he worked out timing of video and DRAM cycles and disk controllers, like he was revealing a age old mystery. Anyone want my copy? I’ll be glad to give it away.

Ed’s book, on the otherhand, was much more interesting. He spent a good time describing how he wound up in Seattle and getting into Himalayan mountaineering. After all that, went into great detail about his 8000er climbs; you felt like you were along for the ride. I agree with Ed, Paula is a hot, hot, hot woman. Ed is actually going to be in Austin on November 16 for a signing as part of his book tour.

I was bored so I started pricing fares to Kathmandu and treks through Nepal. Interestingly, you can get from London to Kathmandu overland via an assortments of trains and buses. The trip looks something like this:

London -> Paris -> Vienna -> Budapest, Hungary -> Bucharest, Romania -> Istanbul, Turkey (3 days)

Istanbul -> Ankara, Turkey -> Talvan -> ferry across Lake Van -> Van -> Tabriz, Iran -> Tehran, Iran (3 days)

Tehran -> Kerman, Iran -> Bam, Iran -> bus to Zahedan in eastern Iran (2 days)

Zahedan -> Quetta, Pakistan -> Lahore, Pakistan -> Amritsar, India -> Delhi, India (2 days) – oh, and the train from Zahedan to Quetta only leaves on the 3rd & 17th of each month

Delhi -> Kathmandu

And that’s just to get you to Kathmandu. You’d then have a several day hike to Everest Base Camp. Then back. Or you could just fly to Hong Kong or London, then to Kathmandu.

If I had a month or two free, was going with a couple of other people, spoke Turkish or Farsi, and wasn’t afraid I’d get robbed/kidnapped because I’m an American citizen, that sort of sounds like fun. If anything, it’s a fun exercise in geography to see where all those cities are. If I were really bored, I’d track down the rail routes and make a handy Google Earth map.

I like how REI words this warning for their Nepal trek: “However, each person should be equipped with a “spirit of adventure” and a willingness to undergo the potential hardships of outdoor living and long days on the trail.” That’s awesome. Makes it sound like I might have to eat a body to stay alive.

Sunday I went to the range. I seem to have broken my flinching and all of my shots were biased to the left. I decided I was limp wristing while firing. I tightened up my left-hand grip and then my shots started centering on the target. Still not a close group, but certainly enough to kill a person. The guy in the next stall over made me envious, he put an entire magazine into a 3″ group, blah.

Tonight I went running. After 2 miles I felt really good, running was effortless, focused on staring at the light switch on the wall while listening to the Final Fantasy soundtrack. At 2.74 the mother of all side cramps kicked in. I tried to control my breating when I felt it coming on and then run through the pain, but it totally broke me. I walked for a bit, then ran another quarter mile, then walked another mile. Doing a bunch of situps yesterday probably didn’t help.

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