Susan of the Everest Bakery (and Pizza Hut) has graciously allowed me the use of his porch for the night (saving me yet another dollar’s worth of accommodation costs).
Why the Everest Bakery porch? Well, for one, because they said yes to my (apparently) ridiculous request to sleep outdoors (free of charge); and for two, because there are rumors of expected precipitation tonight and the porch is covered (which has made it popular with stray dogs in the area as well).
After a failed venture to locate my Aussie friends, I return to the bakery where I carbo-load on pasta for my acclimatization day tomorrow (which I am just using as an excuse to eat whatever I please). Susan and the staff close up shop, ask me once more to confirm I am certain about sleeping outdoors, and head off to wherever it is they go at night (Gambling? Opium den? Sherpa fight club? Can I go?).
Hiker midnight is quick approaching and knowing that I won’t be able to sleep in (being that I am outdoors in the middle of town), I decide it’s time for the sleeping (and perchance another night of crazy dreaming?).
I put my camera, electronics, and valuables at the bottom of my bag to ensure they will survive the night (short of me mashing them into pieces with violent hypnic jerks). My pack, now completely empty save my extra layers and some snacks, goes under the head of my sleeping bag and is crowned with my improvised jacket-pillow.
Finally settled and comfortable in my sleeping bag, I realize that I am next-door to one of the town’s many bars; and this bar has decided to loudly play music until well beyond my decided bedtime.
I’ve made a huge mistake.
Muffled ballads of decades past accompanied by the occasional shout and door slam is not the white noise I am accustomed to carrying me off to sleep. However, the two dogs lounging on a nearby bench do not appear worried (they told me so) and so I figure that things will settle down soon.
Drifting in and out of consciousness for what feels like hours, the music eventually stops (I think?) and I manage to fall asleep for good. Or so I think.
Pillows usually go under your head, right? Yeah, I thought so too, which is why I find it strange waking up and finding mine to be elsewhere. Where elsewhere? I don’t know.
Reaching around the darkness, I come up with only splinters. Am I really going to have to sit up? Maybe not – I am relieved to feel something next to my leg and so I reach down to grab my jacket-pillow. Except it’s not my jacket. It’s a dog.
Dammit dog what are you doing here? Stealing my heat? I sit up to shoo it off and in doing so, discover jacket-pillow’s whereabouts: another dog has stolen it and made it his bed on the other side of the porch (this one obviously has a death wish).
Staying in my sleeping bag I roll myself forward to within reach of the thief. I grab the sleeve and yank my jacket out from underneath the stubborn bitch (who literally just sits there refusing to move).
Too tired to worry about what fleas, diseases, or bodily fluids may now cover jacket-pillow, I lay back down and return it to its position under my head (hello lice). Back to sleep I go.
The next time I open my eyes I am first crushed to see that the sky is still dark as ever, and second terrified to see the face of robber-dog just inches from my own. OHMYGODGETAWAYFROMMEDOG. Dog number two is again curled up next to me, and I am really too tired to do anything about either of them.
Just let me sleep, dog.
This cycle continues the rest of the night. It is just enough to drive me crazy, but not enough to justify going in search of a new sleeping spot (which will undoubtedly occupy the second half of my day tomorrow).
When morning finally comes, I have zero idea how much I managed to actually sleep, but it’s safe to say that it was one of the more terrible nights I have ever had (but at least I wasn’t cold).