November 1, 2007 Enjoying the Many Pleasures of Namche
The morning started as we had hoped. The sky was clear and beautiful. So we delayed breakfast and did a short hike up the hill to see Mt. Everest in the morning sun. It truly was breathtaking. It was easy to imagine climbers ascending the final stages to get to the top. After many, many pictures, we returned to the lodge for breakfast.
The lodge itself is top notch. It would be hard to imagine a more comfortable, cozy place to stay. The rooms are almost a parent’s delight. You never have to say to the kids: “Close the door, you’re letting all the heat out!” The beds are so warm and comfortable, some of us did not even use our sleeping bags. For those who are concerned about our well-being, we have all had the opportunity to shower. In addition, the lodge has a laundry service. They specifically ask that to conserve water we do not wash clothes in our room.
After breakfast we wandered down to Namche to check out the shopping. I need to paint you a word picture of Namche. Think about a dozen horseshoes in increasing bigger sizes stacked on top of one another. The “ground level”, which is at 3450 meters, is part farming fields and part Tibetan market place. Traders from Tibet come to Namche to sell their wares. Each “horseshoe” level of Namche consists of houses, lodges, the markets. The group sort of divided into two groups: the real shoppers (Terri and Michelle with Karl as escort) and the amateur shoppers (the “guys”). The guys got off to a smashing start. Paul, who professes to be a negotiator by trade, when told that an item cost 1200 Rupees, promptly said OK. After much chiding from the group, he cleverly negotiated instruction in how to make his singing bowl sing. So be sure to ask him for a demo when you see him.
We gave the kitchen crew a break and decided to experience the local culture for lunch. So we ate in one of the bakeries in Namche. The menu had many tasty items, but pizza seemed to be the favourite. It was reported that some team members had brownies and cake, but this reporter does not have first hand knowledge of that decadence.
Following lunch Terri, Michelle, Karl, David, and Mike decided that they did not want to rest and “lose the competitive edge”. So they hiked up the hill above Namche, another 200 meters in elevation, to get a better view of the afternoon fog setting on top of the mountains and us. On the way up, we watched the KDOT at work. KDOT is the Khumbu Department of Transportation. The vast majority of the trails thus far are paved with rocks that are arranged as a walkway and chipped level. This not only makes it significantly easier to traverse the terrain but significantly enhances the conservation aspects of the trail. (In case you are wondering about the other members of the team, they decided to rest exemplifying the “you snooze, you lose” philosophy.)
One member of the “competitive edge” team, we discovered, needed remedial altitude training. This team member, who will remain unnamed, said not to worry, when they felt nauseous, they would just barf and drive on. We will turn that team member over to Leila at dinner this evening. One final note, it does appear that Darren is coping well after almost seven days without Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks coffee. We may have to form a support group for him, however, before the trek is over.
More tomorrow from Thame.
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