10 March 2016

EBC Part 6 The Last Leg



Day 12 continued:
Leaving Namche knowing I would probably never return, I felt very sad



Kat and Far being dare devils
They didn't actually do anything risky

I had stopped on this bridge to take a photo, only for a few seconds but a yak herder on the other side didn’t wait for us to get to the end before letting his 2 yaks go. We couldn’t go back, they would have caught up with us. Phurba tried to shield me but the first one was carrying a wide load which caught the top of my leg. I was scared and screamed, which I felt pathetic and embarrassed about afterwards because I wasn't in any danger, the sides of the bridges expand slightly. I think it was an impulse thing, seeing those two powerful beasts with no brains or brakes closing in on us! It didn’t do any serious damage, just a big bruise. Thankfully the second one wasn’t carrying very much. Phurba was furious and had words with the herder. I think some herders don’t like trekkers, perhaps they think we get in the way. Although in the herder’s defence the yaks may have got impatient and ignored instructions.



Monjo
The longest day of all – 11 hours walking for Bonnie and me! It was dark by the time we arrived, it was a bit of an adventure though, Phurba knew the trail by heart and we had our head torches. Tsurin & Josh walked me to my room, I fell over a step, then on my way back to the dining room I fell over again!!! I think I was light headed from such a long day. 
Very nice lodge with en-suite, lovely hot shower. I had 2 sore toes from so much downhill trekking, and cystitis! but I caught that in time with antibiotics. 
Delicious pizza and apple pie for dinner.
Kat took this photo the next day. I was too tired to do much of anything other than shower and eat! 

 

Day 13: Monjo to Lukla
And finally back to where we started, the arch at Lukla. We did it. Bonnie & I were crying tears of joy & relief.



This wonderful, kind, patient, caring man had got me to Everest Base Camp and back.


Throughout the trek Phurba, Tsurin and Far ate their meals with other Sherpas, never with the clients. On the last night in Lukla though we all had a very nice meal together at our lodge, it was a lovely evening. We also met and thanked our porters and gave them our tips. We had only ever seen them early morning disappearing into the distance with our kit bags! There were three of them, each one carried two kit bags!! They work so hard for very little pay. 

Day 14: Leaving Lukla
A very sad day, we had to say goodbye to Tsurin and Far. They gave us lovely scarves and went with us to the ariport. Phurba travelled back with us to Kathmandu.


I felt very sad leaving this beautiful area.



Hotel Malla, Kathmandu


View from my room


It was so nice to relax beside the pool and get some fresh air and sunshine on my sore toes! My feet and toes had been fine until the penultimate day, then these toes got sore from all the downhill trekking. Bonnie had some tubular sponge dressing that she cut to size which protected them nicely.


Phurba took us out for a meal at a lovely restaurant this evening.


The next day we visited Boudhanath Stupa


It's a World Heritage Site, one of the largest & most significant Buddhist monuments in the world, and one of the most important places of pilgrimage. 



Major festivals were being celebrated at the time of our visit so there were many visitors, but it wasn't crowded.



   Bhaktapaur Durbar Square


National Art Museum


Royal Palace



Street Life
None of the dogs were owned, but all the ones we saw weren’t like wild or stray dogs, they were very calm, looked well fed and happy.


We thought this little fellow was quite old, but he looked happy enough. He reminded me a bit of our dog Buster.


Women tended to the burning of incense, it was considered bad luck if any fell out of the baskets.



A popular form of transport a cross between a tractor and a bike!



Monkey Temple
I don’t know why I went here because I don’t like monkeys, actually I can't stand the little buggers, they are a menace. We had only been there for about 30 seconds when two of them swooped down and grabbed Kat and Josh's ice creams.

A wishing well and a Stupa.

The places we visited today were very nice. Kathmandu is steeped in history, culture and architecture. But driving through the countryside and walking through the town a lot of what we saw resembled what I imagine a war zone would look like. Buildings that are either part built or part demolished, pot holes in the road, piles of bricks, cabling, pipes lying around. We were told that when the money runs out building comes to a halt and everything is just left. Everywhere was very dusty, I bought some masks for the couple of days we were there. All kinds of animals roam the streets, not just cows and dogs but chickens and goats. Even places like our hotel and the luxury Yak & Yeti are situated in a little oasis in the midst of chaos. I can cope with chaos, I loved travelling around India but I just didn't take to Kathmandu. Nepal is so poor and the people are so nice, they deserve better. 



Our last night together, a meal at Rum Doodle

Although some of the trek was very, very tough we were all very sad when it came to an end and it was time to say goodbye. Ken and I were the first ones to leave the next day, Kat and Josh stayed an extra day and Bonnie and John stayed 2 extra days. Phuba was with us right up to the airport, it was particularly sad saying goodbye to him, if it hadn’t been for his skill and patience I would never have made it.

As a very dear friend of mine said “A great achievement for an old girl”! 

Thank you for your lovely comments.


And now I'm off on another adventure. On Sunday I leave for Cuba. 
Stay warm and well and I will tell you all about it when I return. x




5 March 2016

EBC Part 5 Leaving EBC and Kala Patar


Day 10: Leaving Gorak Shep, next stop Periche


Lunch stop
Seconds after this was taken I burst into tears, I just couldn’t stop crying. I did more crying than the rest of the group put together, actually I was the only one who cried! 
It had been a very long morning‘s walk, the weather was glorious and the terrain was mostly flat and easy and I had walked too quickly. When we reached here I was exhausted, I had used every joule of energy, my battery was flat and I felt that I just couldn’t continue. Thankfully after some food and rest I felt much better and was able to walk the 2 hours to our lodge easily.


Approaching Periche


Public toilet on the outskirts of town!


Snow Land Lodge Periche
Very nice lodge, good western toilet, not smelly. Shower not working though! Again I was stood in a shower shivering with nothing on. The owner was trying to figure out why the water wasn’t getting hot, they used those large gas canisters. She was in the shower with me, wearing a down jacket, I had a towel round me! She was talking to her husband upstairs through the ceiling. Eventually I said to give up as I needed to get dressed and get warm. Wet wipes again and the same pair of knickers on for 3 days!! (I was using panty liners). They managed to fix it later but by that time I was warm and cosy in the dining room and didn’t want to move. Besides there’s something quite liberating about not washing!!  


Josh with the owner, they were a lovely family with two darling little children. 

This was the second of my three favourite lodges.
All the lodges supplied plenty of delicious energy packed food - Sherpa stew, pasta, pizza, apple pie, spaghetti bolognese, fresh fruit, pastries, dal bhaat, soups, curry. All washed down with a plentiful supply of chai. 

And every night the lodges boiled water for us. Phurba collected our metal water bottles which we used as hot water bottles in our sleeping bags then as drinking water the next day. We also bought bottled water but tried to keep this to a minimum. Disposal of them is a problem as everything has to be transported back to Kathmandu for recycling. 
The day ended well – the dining room was blissfully hot and cosy, I had a fantastic pizza and pudding and my socks turned up! Phurba had phoned the lodge where I left them, they sent them with someone who was coming up as we were going down. How good was that. Love that man.

Day 11: Leaving Periche




Pretty yaks enjoying some tasty lichen and cooling off 


Nepali graffiti


Far with lunch stop in the background


After lunch we visited a monastery


Which had information about the Gompa (Religious residence of Buddhist Monks) and and festivals.


According to local legend a venerable old lama tore out his hair and threw it around the Gompa. The large black juniper trees that now surround the Gompa sprouted from those hairs. Due to their spiritual significance the trees have grown incredibly large because it is forbidden to cut them. Juniper is important to the Sherpa people, they use incense from the leaves to perform Shang (purification ceremonies), and religious ceremonies. Sherpa climbers use the incense to worship the gods and goddesses to ensure their safety. 
The forest also provides an important habitat for wildlife species to prosper.  


Phurba seemed to know everyone, he lives near Namche and regularly escorts people on various treks in the region. 
He knew this monk who gave us some blue gentian flowers and a blessing for our journey.



Rough, rugged and scary terrain. I think we were heading to that bridge middle left of the picture above.



Our next stop ahead


Peaceful Lodge, Phortse
7 hours walking, a very arduous day. 
A nice lodge, warm and cosy, the third of my favourites.
Had a fantastic shower and put some clean knickers on! Good food, played cards, talked about the day's events, lots of laughs especially when the conversation included lavatorial anecdotes!! 




Day 12: Looking back at where we had been


This man Pasang Lama Sherpa collects donations for the building and maintenance of the main trail to Everest base camp. I think he is there most days.


Back at the Yak hotel in Namche for lunch. It had been a long morning’s walk, the sandwiches and chips were delicious, just what we needed to set us up for the long trek to Monjo.



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