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August 12th, 2013

Sand Stops Work at E-base

Day two of the expedition and it is time to get in gear, after arriving in the new accommodations we all headed to the E-base together for the first time. Once there we got about our separate missions, cleaning the floors and windows. Moving the book cases into the base and putting up the signs and banners. You can see in my image below the sand storm that was slowly on its way towards us. Yesterday when Rob and I saw the base for the first time there was some evening winds ( A daily occurrence in Leh) and with that some sand. However today was a full on sand storm. As it got nearer and nearer more dust and sand was picked up and we could feel it hitting our faces. Eventually it was too strong and painful to be outside in so we all sought shelter in the base. Because of this our operation for the day was ended and we will have to make up for it tomorrow morning before the inauguration happens later in the day! It was a very dramatic scene as we ran around the sand grabbing cameras, bags and whatever else had been left outside and then scurrying in as fast as possible.

After leaving the e-base we all got into a Bus and headed to the Leh presentation hall, where we would receive a cultural presentation from the local children. This involved a display of many of their intricate traditional dances originating from Leh’s first settlers. It was fantastic to see such history alive and all the traditional dress.

This was all a part of the official welcoming from the Guru Bihikku Sanghasena, he is a local Lama, a disciple of the Dalai Lama, and the region of Leh is under his protection. He is the man that granted Paras permission to build the e-base for the local schools, and this was  their chance of welcoming our team to this fantastic place.

In the final dance we were encouraged to join in,  and boy were we bad!

We also had a Birthday celebration today! Joost from the Netherlands, one half of the incredible Cycle for Water team, he and Michiel cycled alone from The most northerly point in Alaska to Ushuaia where they met with Robert Swan and the 2041 team for IAE 2012, and they continued their cycle in the Antarctica peninsula!

 Oli Wheeldon