In April of 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook Nepal, taking the lives of thousands, destroying buildings and entire livelihoods, and creating a wave of aftershocks, landslides and avalanches.
One year later, Nepal is still struggling to rebuild, crying out for crucial funds to repair this crumbling country.Now tourism has always been one of the main sources of income for these people, so on the anniversary of the earthquake, I traveled to Nepal, to understand firsthand about their struggles, to discover the natural beauty of this country, and complete a two-week trek to Everest Base Camp.I flew to Kathmandu from Bangkok with Royal Thai Airways. I had an excellent on-board lunch and a comfortable flight, at an affordable 400 USD round-trip.
Now, here is my trekking map of the Everest Region to orient yourself. I first flew to Lukla, then trekked clockwise, reaching Gokyo Ri, crossing Chola Pass, summitting Kalapatthar, and conquering Everest Base Camp (E.B.C.). 😀I chose a package tour through Nepal Social Treks, which included all meals, accommodation, guide, porter (to carry my bags), trekking permit, and internal flights. Upon arrival I was greeted by Ram from Nepal Social Treks and transferred to my hotel.While in Kathmandu I stayed at Hotel Arts- a modern hotel in the tourist district of Thamel.
On my first night in the city I had dinner at the “Little Italy” of Kathmandu. 😛
I ate with Ram and Basu, two friends that had been running Nepal Social Treks for over 10 years. Basu speaks fluent Nepali, English, Mandarin and Japanese. He also has the travel bug like me. 🙂On the other hand, Ram just got married, hosting a wedding with over 700 people, and now his wife works for the company as a receptionist.Along with trekking, the company is also a social enterprise to aid mountain communities in times of natural disaster.
We discussed a lot over dinner, about the struggles to rebuild after the devastating earthquake- many villages have yet to repair the roofs on their homes, which will be essential prior to the monsoon season in June.Additionally, since September 2015, Nepal has experienced a humanitarian and economic crisis- a blockade with India, meaning denial of fuel, gasoline, vegetables, and supplies, like vaccines.
Basu and Ram both seemed optimistic about the future of Nepal, seeing that tourism is on the rise, and any income generated will greatly support the rebuild of Nepal. 🙂
Anyway, after dinner, I bid adieu to the boys and made my way back to rest up for an early morning, and the beginning of my trek to Everest Base Camp. 😀
Flight to Lukla
I left the hotel by 6 AM, bound for Lukla airport- the world’s most dangerous airport.I flew with Goma airlines, along with 16 other people on my flight.Emotions were running high as we packed into a tiny Twin Otter Plane and I was told to grab a seat on the left for stunning views. Surely, I was not disappointed.My palms began to sweat as the plane swayed to a fro, gliding over white capped mountain peaks, and feeling comforted only by the knowledge of my safety manual, and the sweet taste of the hard candy given to me by the stewardess. 😛
No fooling me though! This was no sugar rush I was experiencing, but pure adrenaline, baby. 😀
What makes this flight so dangerous is not only the turbulent ride, but the fear of a safe landing- navigating without GPS– only visual cues. Thankfully, after a quick 35-minute flight, we had a safe landing, as everyone clapped and cheered, and we proceeded to baggage claim.At that point, I met my guide for the trek, Norris.
Do you know that feeling you get when you meet someone, and immediately feel like everything’s going to be OK? That’s how I felt when I met Norris. 🙂He was calm, with a friendly smile, and a genuine concern for my well-being. From Lukla, we began a two-hour trek to Phakding, where we would break for lunch.
While on the trek from Lukla to Phakding we passed through many local villages, and Norris talked to me about the vegetation here, like wheat, barley, potatoes, cabbage, and onion.
All of which ceases to grow after 5,000 meters.For the rest of the food and supplies, the lodges depend on mules, yaks, and horses to carry it up from Lukla. Speaking of food, once in Phakding, we feasted on a Nepali staple called Dal Bhat- a vegetable set of lentil soup, potato curry, and rice.Now don’t be surprised if you hit the salt shaker multiple times on this lack-luster dish. The only good thing about Dal Bhat is that you get free refills. If you want them, that is.
Luckily, as part of my tour package, I was able to choose any dish I wanted for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It may sound fabulous, but on this trek, ordering anything off the menu was like raiding a college dorm fridge or maybe a fallout shelter. Hah! 😛
Yes, I’ll take the cheese macaroni sprinkled with a few crackers, or maybe a nice ramen sandwich. Carbs with a side of processed cheese, please. 😛
The irony here being, that even the most basic of ingredients are not budget friendly- especially the higher you climb.
These must be some fancy chickens. 😛All jokes aside, the inflation here is mainly due to the manual labor necessary to bring up the food and supplies. These people surely deserve every cent for what they do. 😀
Anyway, after some Dal Bhat fuel, we powered on Jorsalle, where we would stay for the evening.
Trek to Jorsalle
On this leg of the journey, we crossed a series of six suspension bridges. Now don’t get too worried! If the horses can cross it, so can we. 🙂On our walk, I got to know more about Norris and his life. He was raised in a mountain village with his 10 brothers and sisters.He received no formal education, aside from three years in his local school. When he was seven his father died, and four years later, his mother passed away. At that point, he decided to leave his village. At only 14 years of age he left for the city of Kathmandu, where he lived and worked for a Nepali man. The man taught him how to read and write English, and how to cook Western food. When he was 19, he became a trekking guide and has been so ever since. 🙂
Along with Norris, the porter who carried my backpack was Yvbraj, which means “prince” in Nepali. Oddly enough, Norris’s real name is actually Ufraj, which means “king”. I told them I felt fortunate to be surrounded by such royalty. 😉On the trek Norris gave me many tips for the trail. He reminded to keep drinking water to avoid altitude sickness, to apply sunscreen daily, to stay close to the mountainside when livestock was crossing, and above all, he kept telling me to slow down and enjoy. 😀
He said he wanted me to take in the scenery, and make my experience as memorable as possible. No worries there. 🙂
Anyway, after two hours of trekking, we arrived in Jorsalle and settled in for the evening.
Trek to Namche
On day three we trekked to Namche Bazaar, elevation 3440 meters. This stretch was three hours of stairs, laced with brief stops to let livestock pass.Luckily I had a furry companion keep me company along the way, and some Enrique Iglesias music to keep me motivated. 😉The trail was extremely dusty today, and I alternated watching my step along the rocky trail, and gazing up at the glorious mountain peaks. 🙂
Upon arrival in Namche, we checked into our accommodation, the Comfort Inn. The named seemed to be the ultimate irony, considering the “comfort” promised was in short supply. 😛I will say though this was the best food I’ve had so far. For lunch I decided on a delicious buffalo steak with garlic gravy. Superb! 😀 For dinner I had the roast chicken with vegetables. Absolutely divine!I was told it was OK to eat meat in Namche, or so I thought… 😥
The lyrics speak the truth. If I could turn back time. If I could walk away. I’d put the fork down. Period. 😛
You see, once you enter Sagarmatha National Park (a.k.a. the Everest region), it is prohibited to kill animals.
As such, all meat is flown in, then carried to these lodges by porters.
This process can take days or weeks, with the meat sitting in hot and unsanitary conditions. Yuck! For this reason, I got extremely ill from the steak and chicken. 😦
Now dietary indiscretion is the last thing you want when trekking for long hours, so from there on out I went on a strict bland diet.
Anyway, after lunch I visited the Sherpa museum and local monastery. I learned how the people of Namche had come here from Tibet over 300 years ago. They were initially very poor, barely surviving in this community, with the struggle of growing proper produce at this elevation.Then, after the first expedition to Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary, this area saw a boom of tourism. People from around the globe came here to see Everest, and with it, they brought their money.It was because of the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation that a school was established here, and a hospital.On our walk, we even saw a ceremony for the construction of a new hospital. Fantastic! Overall, the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation played a large role in boosting education in the region, and particularly helped a man named Mingma Norbu Sherpa. He met Hillary when he was a small child, and was one of the first students to attend his school. He later received a scholarship to attend university in New Zealand and in Canada. Later Mingma established the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee, which keeps the region clean.As a local, he understands the importance that religion plays in that movement. He was once quoted for saying, “If the llama talks, everyone listens (referring to Buddhist Dalai Llama). If a politician talks, no one listens.” Basically, in order for cooperation, the Nepali people need to be told by religious leaders.
Fittingly, after the school, we stopped by a local Tibetan monastery where only one monk lives.
It felt very personal, like stepping into his home. Norris translated as he told us about his preparation for the annual ceremony at this site. I appreciated his time, so we made a small donation, then returned back to town.
After our walk, I was free to walk the village, so I wandered into a cafe with WiFi for a coffee and pastry. I met a women sitting behind me from Brazil and immediately began to converse with her about the trek. She was on a trek with an American based company called G Adventures. She was the only girl with three other Europeans. Talking with her I learned that I was getting a good deal with my company, since she paid the same price, but her trek did not include meals. Later, a woman from New York came to join us. She had chosen a private tour, which included a helicopter down from base camp- a whopping 7,000 USD. Wow! I guess it pays to do your research. 🙂
Anyway, after coffee, the three of us went shopping in the village, and I picked up a wool hat and Nalgene water bottle. The Nalgene water bottle is glorious, and serves many purposes:
- Tap water is non-potable, so your only options are boiled water or bottled
- Bottled water can be expensive and bad for the environment
- At higher elevations, temps are frigid, and cradling a Nalgene with boiling water can be a source of warmth in the night 😛
Anyway, after shopping I retired to my hotel for a shower. They have gas operated hot water, so the water was great, but these “luxuries” like basic hygiene come at a hefty price-$4 a pop.
Anyway, our plan now was to stay in Namche for two days total. The main reason we stay so long is to avoid AMS or Acute Mountain Sickness.AMS develops at higher altitudes, and although it may start with minor symptoms, such as fatigue and shortness of breath, it can be fatal, causing cerebral and pulmonary edema with delayed treatment. The key is to ascend very slowly, and travel with an experienced guide. 🙂
Acclimatization in Namche
Case in point: the next morning I awoke to a Russian DIY traveler laying in our lobby, hooked up with oxygen support. He had started coughing up blood in Namche, and his O2 level had read 28%. He was later evacuated to Kathmandu via helicopter for emergency treatment. I was so thankful that I could put faith in my guide, and the only thing I was suffering from was a slight stomachache and a sore ass. Hah. 😛
Norris even checked my oxygen, which was an excellent 96%.Acclimatization is so crucial, and today Norris took me up to a higher elevation, Hotel Everest View, then back down to Namche to sleep low, as a way to test my body against the altitude.It doesn’t hurt that the hotel was quite swank, and we had a spectacular view of the Everest summit from their luxe terrace. 🙂Anyway, upon return to Namche I visited Cafe Danphe for an apple cinnamon tea, free WiFi, and my last taste of civilization, as the next morning we would press along towards base camp.
Trek to Phorste Thanga
On day five, we left for Phorste Thanga. The trail was dusty and windy, and we trudged along the rocky steps, becoming one with the herds of yaks in our path. Any bit of anguish I felt was quickly masked after I saw old men like this, carrying an armoire up the mountain, strapped to his head. We also passed runners training for the Everest Marathon- a race from base camp to Namche on the anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary’s expedition to Everest. That’s enough motivation to keep anyone going! 😉For lunch, we stopped in Mongla. Oats and hard-boiled eggs have become my staple at this point. Safe eats and a healthy source of protein. 😀I will also mention that, although I always offer, Norris refuses to eat with me, and takes his meals in the cook’s kitchen. This is mainly cultural, due to the country’s emphasis on a caste system.
Anyway, after lunch, we made our to Phorste Thanga. This is where the trail forks and we took the scenic route to base camp via Gokyo Lakes. It may cost you a few extra days, but it’s totally worth it. Trust me. 😉On this walk I began to prod more at Norris about his hopes and dreams. Norris told me his dream was to have a small house one day, with a simple garden in the backyard, where he would live with his wife and maybe one child. 🙂In turn I talked with him about my family and my father’s gifted gardening talents, as we walked by rhododendron trees- the national flower of Nepal. 😀
It seems Norris craved simple things, but felt that in Nepal, where living isn’t easy and unemployment runs around 40%, he may never fulfill his dreams. I told him that if he wanted something hard enough, he could make it happen.
Ambition and perseverance make dreams come true. 😀
After two more hours, we arrived at the tea house where we would stay until morning. From that point my time was spent finishing the book, “The Alchemist” which appropriately spoke of fulfilling dreams and discovering your destiny, and afterwards I made my way down to the lodge with a deck of cards. I sat down next to Norris, ordered a ginger tea, and placed the deck on the table. All he could say was, “Thank God.”
Life in the mountains is not easy, and boredom in the afternoons is enough to drive you mad. 😛In an age full of technology, it’s easy to entertain with internet and television, but without, you are left to seek more simple types of entertainment. What an appropriate meme, considering Norris taught me a Nepali card game called, “Kitty”, and quickly the porters joined in on the action. He also taught me how to count to 10 in Nepali and order myself another tea. By nightfall, the cook had stoked a fire in the lodge and I cozied up to my next book, “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” Quite a fitting tale on this isolated journey. 😉
Trek to Macherma
On day six we left for Macherma, and entered the mountains of Nepal.As I walked along the path, I reminisced with Norris about memories of nature back home- summers spent up at my family’s cabin, fishing by the lake and laughing by the fire.In turn, he talked of God and nature- this invisible force that surrounds us, always watching after us.
He reminded me how no animals are killed in this region, especially the sacred cow, and how many years ago, people here worshiped not religion, but the natural world.
Seems easy in a place this beautiful. 😀This was also a spectacular day for spotting wildlife. Norris eyed up a mountain goat from a distance, and I got the brilliant idea to chase him up the mountain for a better shot.We were also very lucky to spot a musk deer- unusual in these parts due to deforestation and development.I told Norris his next job was to spot the rare mountain lion. He jokingly said he found one for me at the next lodge, and even captured me taming the beast. 😛That was in Doyle- elevation 4,100 meters. We were here to rest an hour, acclimate, and take lunch. Overall, I was beginning to enjoy this nomadic lifestyle. Walking the countryside during the day, taking rest in a tea house, with the intention of staying only one night.Each place had its own charm- family photos hung on the walls, hand-sewn fabrics furnishing the chairs, and their own collection of aging non-perishables. Dusty Snickers anyone? 😛And at the end of the day, all lodges held the promise of bittersweet relief from the cold- a nice warm fire fueled by stinky yak poop. 😛
Anyway, after Dohle the scenery changed dramatically.The trees and shrubs disappeared, and the land became a barren desert.The earth beneath my feet felt bouncy like fresh tar on pavement, and the wind blew with a vengeance. The only signs of life were the small rock piles left in our path- assuring we were headed in the right direction. After walking three hours we arrived in Macherma- our rest stop for the evening. At best, the accommodation was much less homely than the last place; however, temps had dropped at least 10 degrees and there was a bitter chill in the air. We spent the evening huddled around the fire, again fueled by yak dung. There were seven Nepali men, one Frenchmen, and myself. It was one of those moments I wondered where life had taken me, but I wouldn’t change a thing. 🙂
Trek to Gokyo Lakes
On day seven we left for Gokyo Lakes. I was huddled up, snug as a bug in a rug. 😉I found this hike to be most challenging due to my impatience. You see I had dreamed of going to Gokyo ever since I read about it months ago. I mean, wouldn’t you want to get here as fast as possible? So beautiful!Anyway, after almost four painstaking hours, we past Gokyo lakes 1, 2 and finally 3- the most beautiful of lakes. Just check out that color! Wow! ❤In Gokyo, we stayed at a lovely lodge, but this is also where I learned I may give up showers for a while. With these frigid temps, my only option was a bucket of water in a drafty cubicle constructed of plywood. Now, I was reluctant to even take off my long johns, let alone undress, and douse myself in cold water, exposed to the elements. No thanks. I’d rather stank. Hah! 😛Anyway, I spent the afternoon walking the gorgeous lake, hopping large boulders, and traipsing in the sand. At night I discovered this lodge to be the most lively, with trekkers gathering from Israel, America, England and Mexico.Pictured above are the travelers from Israel who had just finished up their required military service- two years for females and three for males.
Climb Gokyo Ri
Now bright and early on day eight, we left to climb Gokyo Ri, elevation 5,360 meters.As the sun began to rise, the water changed from a deep, dark blue to a piercing turquoise hue. It was a steep two-hour climb, and literally kicked my butt all the way to the top. I told Norris I’d get there faster if there was a Starbucks to look forward to at the top. 😛Sadly no Caramel Machiattos, but the views were stunning nonetheless. 😀Finding these beautiful places is never easy, but it’s always worth it in the end. 😀
From here, we were able to see all three lakes, and had a great view of mount Everest as well.
The biggest challenge when climbing here is to start early, because after 10 AM the wind kicks in, and it’s brutally cold. A group of crazy Mexicans had gone up there at 1 AM to film the stars and sunrise, and when we arrived they were still up there with a small cooker making some dehydrated stew. Loco! 😛Now the path down the mountain was sandy with small pebbles, so we took it slow to avoid slipping, and to savor the view.So perfect! 😀Now that afternoon in the lodge dragged on, and most of the time was spent people watching.
I could tell as people walked in, who had been trekking for a long time and who had just started, based on their appearance. 😛
While some people looked fresh as a daisy, others looked like Encino Man, with greased hair that could stand on its own. Hah! 😛
At least these stinky people had each other to bond, and ironically we later watched Man Vs. Wild-fitting for this untamed bunch. 😉
Trek to Thangna
On day nine I threw fashion out the window, as we headed towards Chola Pass and crossed Ngozumba glacier.I slung a tank top around my neck to serve as a makeshift gator/ handkerchief. It was a brief two hours to make it to Thangna, but we’d need to rest up there for the following day. Without internet or any form of entertainment, I sat there and watched the yaks for a few hours. 😛I guess we both had the same idea, as the yaks stared right back. 😛Now the men had brought them home that day from a trek, and as a reward for their hard work, the yaks received, and quickly scarfed down a giant tub of potatoes. 😀Later I watched the women take the yak poop, mold it into circles, and fling it on the walls to dry in the sun.While here, Norris washed his clothes outside, and Yvbraj hung out in the common area snacking on Pringles. 😀 Later I found the two asleep on a bench, taking a mid-day siesta. There are only 19 people who live in this village, so there wasn’t much to do other than keep warm by the fire, and prepare for tomorrow’s big day.
Cross Chola Pass- Trek to Zhongla
Now crossing Chola Pass was single-handedly the most physically demanding task, yet also the most rewarding by far! Who knew trekking meant rock climbing without a harness on a frozen glacier. :OChola Pass is one of three passes in this region; however, it’s the most technical and dangerous of all due to frequent avalanches, and an unsteady vertical rock wall.We left at 5 AM to start what would be a 6-hour journey. I felt like I was at a haunted house at times-afraid to look around me, just following blindly behind my guide. Temps were below freezing and the sun had yet to rise. I couldn’t feel my hands or feet, and the numbness began to hurt after a while. It all seemed worth it as we reached the top of Chola Pass, and looked upon the Chola glacier. 😀Absolutely stunning!I’m a Packer in a real-life frozen tundra. 😛From here we trekked across the glacier and the mountainside to Zhongla.
The lodge there had gorgeous mountain views, and the snow had just begun to fall.I spent the night conversing with a Brazilian who has traveled all over the world, and had some of the craziest travel stories I’d heard yet.At this point, I was starting to get a cold from the climate change, and the shock to my immune system. He joked that growing up in Brazil, he never wanted his mom to know he had a cold, since she would throw full heads of garlic, onion, and honey in a blender, then make him drink it for his health. Yuck! He said it worked, but tasted terrible.
Trek to Gorakshep
On day eleven we left for Gorakshep.Now on this morning, like every other, Norris asked me, “How is your feeling? You have headache? Anything wrong, please tell me.” 🙂
Well, today turned out to be a low point, as my cold was in full swing, and I ended up chipping my lower molar during lunch. Also, Gorakshep is the last available lodge prior to Everest Base Camp, and for some reason I expected it to be a little more posh. On the contrary, it was the coldest town, and my room was a plywood box, lacking insulation. The worst fact was, that for a lodge accommodating around 100 people, they had no sinks! No sinks to wash your hands or brush your teeth. So gross!
I ended up asking the kitchen staff for a cup of boiling water and washed my face like a vagrant in a field. 😛
Obviously there are no hot showers, and honestly it had been nine days, so why stop now. 😛
I mean I was reluctant enough to stick my bum on that ice block of a toilet seat, let alone go nude. I’ll stick to moist toilettes, thanks. 😛
Anyway, at this low point I became willing to shell out $4 just to purchase internet, so I could contact my mom to vent my troubles, but sadly, I learned the WiFi wasn’t working. 😥
I guess I’d just have to grin and bear it- hillbilly chipped tooth and all. Hah! 😉
Climb Kalapatthar – Trek to Everest Base Camp
On day twelve we left at 6 AM, bound for the top of Kalapatthar, elevation 5,500 meters.
From the top you can take in stunning views of Mt. Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse.The trek was a serious uphill battle, but again, worth it for the views. 🙂 Here I am pointing to the summit of Mt. Everest- elevation 8,848 meters. After Kalapatthar we made our way to Everest Base Camp. They say the Himalayas are unpredictable, and sure enough, it was sunny when we left, but snowing by the time we arrived.The trip took two hours and the trail was full of trekkers.Base camp was chalked full of tents, and the day before my friend from Brazil had met two Thai trekkers on an expedition to the summit. If successful, one will be the first Thai female, and the other, the oldest Thai male, at 65 years old, to reach the summit. Even better that they are a father-daughter pair. 🙂Massive chunks of ice and stunning blue glaciers surrounded base camp, sending a chill down my spine. Once we arrived, I made sure to leave my mark at the top. Although I didn’t have a sharpie, I creatively used some black eyeliner. Hah! 😛Overall, with the 6-8 hours of walking each day, in combination with the lack of internet, extreme climates, and unsanitary conditions experienced the last few weeks, I was feeling beat. I told Norris that this trekking wasn’t fun anymore.
He said, the mountain is always a challenge and he’s right. Not everything in life is easy or fun, but it’s all a learning experience. I feel so thankful to have seen firsthand how people live here, which really makes me appreciate my life so much more, and makes me proud to have conquered all these physical and mental battles on this trip, including the goal of finally reaching E.B.C. 😀That being said, after all that walking with my cold, I retreated to the lodge for the evening, ordering myself a plate of potatoes with cheese, doused in half a bottle of ketchup. Just what the doctor ordered. 😉
Descend to Pangboche
On day thirteen we began to descend towards Pangboche. The weather had changed for the worse, with zero visibility, cloudy skies and a thick blanket of snow and ice covering the ground.At least there were a few signs of life to speak of. 🙂I could not begin to express how excited I was to get down the mountain. We would be descending over 1,000 meters, which meant warmer weather and more oxygen. Sleeping in Ghorakshep with my cold was near impossible due to lack of oxygen, along with my nasal congestion. I smiled the whole walk down as my ears popped away, the greenery began to show, and the weather became more tolerable. 😀On the way down we passed Memorial Park, which honors all the lives lost in this region.Many people die each year when attempting to trek or climb these mountains. One notable hedge stone was that of the first Sherpa to reach the summit of Everest without oxygen. Anyway, after five hours of trekking, we arrived in Pangboche.
Once there I enjoyed a bowl of garlic soup– the Nepali cure for altitude sickness, and all that ails you. 😀It was delicious and I’d consider garlic the Nepali version of Windex. Norris said he even rubs garlic cloves on his forehead for headaches. 😛I also attempted a shower here, which was pathetic at best, scary at worst. I was told not to turn the gas on first, since it could start a fire, as he pointed to the black ring at the ceiling, proving his case. When the shower began, it was a small trickle of scalding hot droplets. Not enough to wash your skin, but enough to burn it. Anyway, after slathering on a layer of vanilla scented lotion, the next best thing, I met a fun group Aussies who were heading down after the trek as well.Four people from their group had actually been airlifted to Kathmandu for altitude sickness, and they said they meet a group of eight Americans on the way to base camp- all breast cancer survivors in remission, one slightly balding from her recent chemo treatment. Talk about an inspirational tale, and an empowering journey to show your strength. 😀
Descend to Namche
On day fourteen we headed back to Namche. This leg of the journey really renewed my spirit, as we passed by mossy greenery and the breathtaking Tengboche monastery.Other than that, Namche is familiar territory, so it was just a waiting game here before our last day of trekking, and the journey back to Lukla.
Trek to Lukla
On day fifteen, we left at 6:30 AM, with blue skies, bound for Lukla. 😀The trek took around six hours walking up and down hill. Other than a few “traffic jams”, the trek was a breeze, because I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. 😀
I arrived in Lukla at the Buddha Lodge, and had a room with my own bathroom. Woo hoo! Unfortunately there was no hot water, towels, toilet paper, soap and the WiFi hadn’t been working in the whole town for the last 3 days. Hah!At least I met a nice Dutch traveler, who made me feel better trumping my record- 30 days without a shower. Yikes!
In the evening, I joined my group of Aussie friends at their lodge for a few bottles of Spanish wine and some impromptu dancing. There was a long-standing joke during their trek, since one couple felt pressure by the family to get engaged at Everest Base Camp. The boyfriend obviously didn’t propose from peer pressure, but the two did feel like sending their family a funny picture of another guy from their group making the move on his girlfriend. Hah! 😛
Flight back to Kathmandu
Now day sixteen I was supposed to fly out of Lukla airport at 6 AM. The clouds were thick, and the chances of flying seemed dismal, considering the airport had been closed on-and-off for the past two weeks. Luckily, after five hours of waiting, we got news planes were flying in from Kathmandu. Yay!
Our 35-minute flight was turbulent at best, and frightening at worst, as our pilot was munching on cookies during the landing. Geezus! Imagine if he swallowed wrong and we’d all be goners. 😮
Luckily I arrived back in Kathmandu safe and sound.
I had been fortunate to see so many beautiful parts of Nepal during my trek, but the journey was not over yet. 🙂
After two days of rest, and multiple showers, I headed south to Chitwan National Park, where the climate was tropical and the wildlife exotic. 😀Stay tuned to hear all about it in the next post. Until then. 🙂