Updated by Linda McMillan
Monday, April 3, 2006
Date in China for Tom, Linda, and Pete
Pete flew into San Francisco yesterday to join Tom and me for our flight to Beijing, where they meet with George, who has been in China for a week already. At their hotel that night, the team is joined for dinner with Tahir, a bright young man who served as interpreter for Tom, Pete, and Chad McFadden on their climb of Mustagh Ata in western China in 2003. This was a "warm up climb" for Tom in preparation for his climb of Everest in 2004.
Tahir is of the Uighur ethnic group of western China, which is of Turkic origins and Muslim faith. Tahir is studying French, adding to the many, many other languages he already knows. It was great fun having Tahir and his friend Sultan join us for dinner that night.
Tuesday, April 4,
The next morning, Tahir kindly accompanied us to the airport the help translate and get our baggage checked in successfully. Air China was exceptionally helpful to us!
The flight from Beijing to Lhasa stopped for about 45 in Chengdu, which is near some spectacular 7,000 meter peaks. We marveled at their snowy beauty as we flew over them. Pete and George had GPS units, and noticed that the pilot kept the cabin pressure steady at about 6,000ft until the last 10 minutes of the flight. In those 10 minutes the pressure was dramatically lowered to that of 12,000ft. Quite a surprise for most of the passengers, including us mountaineers!
We left the plane feeling light-headed and unsteady, We were met at the airport by our trip facilitator, Guo Jin Wei, who took us to the lovely Himalaya Hotel in Lhasa to rest. We were impressed to see that supplemental oxygen machines were part of our room's furnishings.
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