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From lack of breath

from Saturday, January12th of the year2008.

Read here the New York Times’s obituary for Sir Edmund Hillary, the first to climb mount Everest (along with Tenzing Norgay). The obituary is amazing for several reasons, most notably, the picture they chose to use! 11hillary02_600.jpgI think the rule is that anytime anybody called “Hillary” has to appear in the news, he or she should look like the undead. One of the most touching and lovely parts of the obituary is Hillary’s account of achieving the summit:

There was a modest celebration. “We shook hands and then, casting Anglo-Saxon formalities aside, we thumped each other on the back until forced to stop from lack of breath,” Sir Edmund remembered. They took photographs and left a crucifix for Colonel Hunt, the expedition leader. Mr. Norgay, a Buddhist, buried biscuits and chocolate as an offering to the gods of Everest. Then they ate a mint cake, strapped on their oxygen tanks and began the climb down.

Mmm, mint cake. I wonder what that means, exactly. Does anybody have any recipes, historically informed? Tenzing? You out there?

I also draw your attention to this picture, also taken from the times, from a few weeks ago:


Click click click.

I am back in New York after a harrowing multi-part commute in London, involving a bus, the tube, the Heathrow Express, several miles of underground passages at the airport, and then the vast expanse of Terminal 4. I am completely, completely obsessed with Airport Architecture and planning. When I was a kid, I would maniacally draw out plans for imaginary airports in imaginary cities, so it was with great pleasure that I indulged in a several-hour Heathrow Terminal 5 exploration on the web the other day. Check out this little audio page of people reading one sentence each about how great it’s going to be. I love how they give everybody a picture except for poor Justin Churchward! Justin, girl, write to BA and tell them you demand to be seen!

Also, did anybody know about the “ride your bike to Heathrow” scheme? And did anybody know about this website, exploring the archaeological history of the area that Terminal 5 now occupies? I’m sure this was some kind of Penance Dot Com after some bearded archaeologists raised hell, but it’s kind of fantastic.


  • It is Kendal Mintcake, have you never had it?!? For hill-walkers and mountaineers & endurance athletes–absolutely delicious…

    You will get a kick out of the flavor names…

  • Mintcake is Tibetan slang for sherpa foreskin.

  • Mmm mintcake, indeed! Fabulous stuff and well worth trying next time you’re here. Almost worth engineering some sort of walk in order to have the excuse to eat it (given that it’s about 95% sugar)! Random trivia: it also turns up in one of Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” books (I think it was “The Amber Spyglass”). It’s the food the angel chooses to eat 🙂