I expect that I’ll be coming home having gained about 10 lbs.We seem to spent most of the time eating. I’m starting to think that I got on the wrong bus.
I missed the one for the Everest Base Camp trek and instead boarded the Everest Base Camp All You Can Eat Buffet Bus.
Breakfast is an assortment of either porridge, pancakes, bacon egg and ham, toast. Lunch is club sambos, soup, huge omelettes, macaroni and cheese, pizza, fried rice, spring rolls. Dinner selections include steak, chicken, mo-mo (local filled dumplings), Dahl (a rice dish) and all of above lunch and breakfast offerings.
Seriously, the food is a big surprise. It is all excellent but we have been advised to stick to the lodges that we are staying in for meat dishes.
The whole hygiene thing is interesting.
We are all scared of drinking the water as it will make us sick. It’s difficult when we’ve always grown up with clean water.
It’s the small stuff that gets you.
Rising at 5.30am it’s easy in your half sleep to squeeze the toothpaste into a straight line on the tooth brush and shove it under the tap.
That’s when the inner sirens go off and the toothbrush takes on the threat of a ticking bomb.
“Oh Jesus, oh Jesus, oh Jesus…”.
Now fully awake and more than a little freaked out –
The toothbrush is washed thoroughly with treated water from a flask, dried thoroughly, rubbed through with disinfectant gel, rinsed again with treated water.
And only then – gingerly refilled with toothpaste and rubbed up and down on your ivories while mentally reciting a decade of the rosary.
In the shower, breathing is kept to a minimum lest a stray infected molecule is ingested.
Last night, both Sherpa & I took sleeping pills and they worked a treat.
At last a decent nights sleep and as today is an acclimatisation day, we didn’t have to rise until 7am.
Our day consisted of a 30 minute trek to a ridge over Namche which is home to a Sherpa museum and a statue dedicated to Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, who with Edmund Hilary was the first to summit Everest.
Sherpas believe that Everest is inhabited by Miyolangsangma, a tibetan Buddhist goddess. She started out as a demon but was converted by a great Buddhist. She rides a golden tigress and hands out jewels of wishes to those deserving. It is believed that she allowed Sherpa Tenzing Norgay to be the first to summit Everest.
As is appropriate – there is a nice view of Everest from the statue.
It looks a long way off which leads me to believe that the hardest days are yet to come.
Having taken many photos and Marks obligatory group selfie (man his arms are long), a game of football breaks out.
The pitch is some scrub ground and the ball is a pretty soft half size ball. We all form a circle and the goal is to pass the ball to each other.
It’s fair to say that Barcelona FC aren’t going to be calling any of us soon.
Then it’s down to a Sherpa museum to learn a little more about their history and how they live.
While here I was caught short and asked to use the bathroom. The lady pointed me round the corner.
The sign at the corner said toilet and the sign on the door said toilet. Both are incorrect and contrary to the trade descriptions act. What I found was NOT a toilet. It was in fact a hay loft with a hole in the floor. Literally!!!
The floor had a 6 inch x 12 inch hole cut in the floorboards. The back wall had a shelf running the width of the room with pungent hay stacked high.
The mission, should you choose to accept it was to squat over the hole in the floor, project your disposal through the hole and onto the hefty pile below. Clean yourself with the sweet smelling hay (Nepal version of the dock leaf) and then pull up your pants – all without falling through the hole.
No thanks. I clenched and walked on.
Having returned to Namche for a Pooh – and lunch (oh sweet Jesus, more food) we all wandered the town and picked up bits and pieces that we feel we might need for later in the trek. A sleeping bag mat, a warmer jacket, another pants, batteries etc, etc.
All shopped out, at 3pm, we found ourselves in the Liquid bar as they were screening a movie about George Mallory’s death on Everest.
In the evening we again returned to watch the superb documentary about the tragedy on K2.
I couldn’t help but remark that the bar owner should really refrain from showing films containing the words Everest, Tragedy and Death.
Please someone send a dvd copy of Paddington 2 to the Liquid Bar, Namche Bazaar.
Funnily enough, we also found our way to the Irish Pub.
Yes. Shock Horror. Namache has an Irish Pub and it’s run by Evan.
It’s a super little spot with a pool table, hot stove, easy chairs and great tunes. Evan is a great guy and friends with John Burke from the Armada Hotel in Spanish Point who SUMMITED Everest last year. We passed an hour playing pool and chatting.
Lemon tea and coffee were the order of the day as until we return, alcohol is Verboten.
Dinner is at 7pm (anyone know if there’s a branch of Weight Watchers in Namache?) and is the usual convivial gathering.
Tonight we are joined by three members of another Ian Taylor group that has arrived.
After dinner, we have a surprise for Katie, our little Miss New Zealand.
The lights go low and off stage from somewhere deep in the kitchen a low humming of happy birthday begins. Suddenly, our entire table joins in heavily and the decibels rise, Happy Birthday Dear Katie….. the lady of the house arrives with a wonderful chocolate and cream cake adorned with candles. (Not a candle for each year of Katie’s life as the Fire Officer objected).
Gifts from our group (thanks Ursula) and the Guides/Sherpas we’re both sweet and funny. It was really a nice moment for Katie and all of us.
As the days pass, it’s funny how we’ve all settled into each other’s company.
Initially, we were strangers thrown together and there was a little guardedness about our interactions.
As the distance from our real lives grows bigger, the distance between us grows smaller. With each day, we have more to unite us than to separate us.
I love our group and know that together, we will make it and have the craic doing it.