October 31, 2007 – Trekking 'Pole' Through the Beautiful Khumbu Valley

Who has the right-of-way?

After a terrific breakfast (especially if one is an oatmeal lover), we began making our way up the exquisitely beautiful valley of the Khumbu. The worn pathway is like a crowded Himalaya interstate, but with no motorized traffic. Everyone travels by foot, and loads go on people’s backs or trains of yaks.

Suspension bridge “watch for oncoming traffic!”We had no trouble with the “on-ramp” as it was early in the morning and traffic was light. Throughout the day, we were treated to one fantastic view after another.

Along the way we experienced several major traffic tie-ups when a train of zopkios (a cross between a yak and a cow) going up the valley encountered a zopkios train coming down the valley. It was something like bumper cars as they worked past each other with the help from the herders.

We also experienced a very orderly process of zopkios and trekkers and Sherpas passing each other on the one-lane suspension bridges. If there’s a yak train coming towards us on the bridge, we know it is best to wait until they are clear of the bridge before we start across.

As we climb toward the higher altitudes of the village of Namche, our guides insist that we move slowly. In fact, the key phrase for the day was pole pole, a Swahili saying that means slowly slowly.

Everyone is encouraged to travel at their own pace. Michelle stopped to photograph a dog and a puppy. Roger requested that it be noted that at the pace comfortable to him he still passed two trekkers (who weren’t even sitting by the side of road).

We see some examples of grammatical translations. At a rest stop, for example, the restroom has the doors labeled leadis (for “ladies”) and geants (for “gents”).

Tomorrow is a rest day so that we can acclimatize at 11,000 plus feet. Hopefully it will be a clear enough morning for us to catch pictures of the sunrise hitting Mount Everest.

Butter for Sale:  Local market – Namche Bazaar

All Text, Images and Audio Files © Berg Adventures International 2007

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