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Friday, 31 October 2008

Trekking in Nepal 2008

Thursday 9th October
Left home at 7:15 am with enough time to park the car in the free car park at the airport. Arrived Gatwick at 12 noon, took train to East Croydon where we were picked up and taken to Malcolm's (Chris's brother) house in Shirley. Stayed with them for a couple of days.

Saturday 11th October
Set off at 10am giving us plenty of time to travel on the underground to Heathrow Airport. We struggled a little with the super duper wheels we had bought to carry the trek bags on. Managed to get there with loads of time to spare. Changed planes at Doha with only about 15 minutes to spare.

Sunday 12th October
Arrived in Kathmandu about 9 am on Sunday morning. The KE rep was waiting for us at the airport. We ate loads of stuff on the flight so did not eat again until Sunday evening.
Got picked up from the airport in a mini bus and taken to hotel shanker.
Finally arrived at the hotel in Kathmandu

Chris noticed that the Thamel district of the city was still the same as her last visit 11 years ago. The pollution is really bad with traffic, bikes and animals on the roads, it is utter chaos!! Our hotel was great it was an old royal palace with lots of wood carvings and an ornate dining room. The bedrooms were average but good for Nepal. It had lovely grounds that were tranquil to say they were in a busy city. Had dinner in the hotel and met the rest of the trekking party. The hotel had an outdoor pool.

Monday 13th October
Had breakfast and went on a tour with the rest of the group to a Hindu temple - Pashupatinath and a Buddhist temple - Boudhanath then went to Mikes breakfast bar which was really good, it didn't just do breakfast it was set in a lovely courtyard with a pool and trees, had a lovely lunch.


Walked around the Thamel region, changed some money then went back to hotel. Later went to 3rd Eye restaurant which was very good and had an early night as we had to be up at 5:30 the next morning, we did not sleep very well.

Tuesday 14th October
Hotel alarm call got us up and we had breakfast. Had about 2 hour wait at airport for flight to Lukla (2860 metres).
Tarmac on runway luxury
Lukla from the airport
Started walking

The airport had improved since Chris was last there, it was no longer a field but a tarmac runway. Went into the lodge to the right of the airport repacked our stuff then had lunch before starting the walk to Phakding (2610 metres) . It was an easy walk with a lot of downhill. Camped over the river on the left hand side of the village. It was quite warm in the tent.

Wednesday 15th October
Following the Dudh Kosi valley where we had great views of Kusum Kanguru (6367 metres).


Had lunch at Monjo before crossing the river and making a long ascent to Namche Bazaar (3440 metres) the village had grown and the houses looked bigger than Chris's last visit.

Thursday 16th October
Acclimatization day in Namche. After breakfast had a walk up to the army camp above the village where we had good views up the Dudh Kosi valley and great views of Ama Dablam (6812 metres), Lhotse (8516 metres), Lhotse Shar (8383 metres), Nupse (7861 metres) and Everest (8848 metres).
Ama Dablam, Lhotse and Lhotse Shar
Everest
Namche Bazaar

Walked up towards a hotel near the airport at Shyangboche where we had lunch and then some free time to look around the shops and have a shower (200 rupees). Had dinner and went in a lodge near the campsite for a mint tea. Whilst we were there we used the internet and found that our flight from Coventry to Malaga had been cancelled, what joy.

Friday 17th October
Packed up gear, easy day in Namche we went into the Junto lodge for a mint tea some of the group went on a short walk through the village to have a look up the Theme valley, river Bhote Kosi. Had lunch, Cyril could not eat very much. We took an easy walk on a contour around hill to next camp Kangjuma.
View from Namche Bazaar
Couldn't see much of Ama Dablam as the clouds were down. Had a great view of Everest all along the walk, we could also see Tengboche monastery. Rest of the group took harder trail, we got back to Tent well before them. Cyril went for a lie down because he had had a bad stomach. Had to change tent because we had someone else's they were not very happy. Cyril just had potatoes, rice, boiled egg and veggy soup for dinner but he had to run out of the dinner tent to the toilet which was a hole in the ground with a tent around it. Went to bed about 8:30 Cyril had a disturbed night.

Saturday 18th October
Had a 6am wakeup call but Cyril was in no state to carry on so we decided to stay in the lodge near the campsite for a night. The rest of the group carried on to Dole. Cyril spent the rest of the day in bed recovering and took some tablets which seemed to do the trick. Met a Czech man while having dinner at the lodge and he had been up to Machermo (4465 metres) where he had a heart attack. He had Arrhythmia just like Cyril has and he had not slept for 3 nights before he had the attack. Had to be given oxygen and then had to come down to Kangjuma.

We had a house meeting and decided not to go any further as it seemed a bit risky. Caroline (the guide from KE) phoned us and we told her our plans to stay low and not catch them up. Our Sherpa Indra and porter Arjun stayed with us. We had dal bhat, rice and cheese omelette very plain but good for Cyril's stomach which seemed a lot better. Had a good sleep in nice beds much better than a tent.

Sunday 19th October  
Got up a 7 am had breakfast Caroline phoned at 7:30 to check what we were going to do. Started our walk at 8:30 up to Everest View Hotel brilliant views towards Everest. We all had tea at the hotel then walked via Khumjung to see Hilary school and monastery.
Ama Dablam again

Monastery 

Went up to Khunde (3840 metres) to see hospital, 50 dollars to see a doctor so didn't bother, walked back to Kyangjuma had noodle soup for lunch, played cards then had a strip wash in a bowl of luke warm water, luxury !!!!
Packed our bags ready for tomorrow then went to bed.

Monday 20th October
Got up at 6:30 had breakfast of porridge, apple and toast it was very good. Started walking at 8:30 walked down to Phunki Tenga over the river Dudh Kosi. After the river crossing we started the long climb up to Tengboche (3867 metres). Indra our Sherpa carried Cyril's pack for him and we took it very slowly having loads of rests and arrived at Tengboche at about noon Indra went to find a lodge.
Indra the Sherpa carrying Cyril's rucksack
Tengboche monastery 

It was OK only 200 rupees a night. We bought our men a cup of tea and then had a wash in a bowl of water again. Went to look at monastery, it was really great inside. Went back at 3 pm to hear the monks chanting, we could not meditate as our feet were too cold. Had dinner about 6:30 pm then played cards with Sherpa and porter. Had a visit from Ram another Sherpa with the KE group, he had walked all the way from Machhermo to tell us that Tom was coming down to Tengboche on Wednesday because he was suffering from altitude sickness. We arranged to meet him here on Wednesday. Didn't go to bed until 9pm late night !! Had a good nights sleep.

Tuesday 21st October
Ram had to get up early to go back to the group at Gokyo climbing nearly 1000 metres. Hope he made it ok. We had American breakfast scrambled eggs, potatoes, toast and coffee it not very good. Started walking at 7:30 am. Everyone in the lodge was up early. Went downhill first and then slowly uphill to Pangboche. Stopped for a drink of black tea then slowly on to Shomare for lunch. A steady climb and then a flat bit until another climb to Pheriche (4243 metres).

It was a little cold

This was our Everest as we were not going any higher. Indra found us a lodge which was a bit quieter than the one in Tengboche. We had dinner and played cards with Inra and Arjun. The dining room was quite warm with the stove going. Went to bed and it was freezing we had to use 2 sleeping bags and we wore our hats in bed all night. Woke up the next morning with ice on the inside of the window.

Wednesday 22nd October
Left Pheriche about 8 am and slowly walked down past Shomare and on to Pangboche we took the high route to see the monastery.

Had lunch in a quiet lodge, had potato soup. As we were passing through Devoche we met Tom and Arjun's father who had come down from Photse Tenga. Indra went on to Tengboche to see if we could get a room but he came back and said no so we stayed in a lodge in Devoche. It was good because it had a double bed. It was very cold until they lit the stove. We chatted to Tom who was going to try to catch the group at Lobuche by going up through Pheriche. We had dinner and played cards. Arjun and his father had to sleep somewhere else so they could not play cards with us. Went to bed about 9pm.

Thursday 23rd October
Left Devoche at 8am after having porridge for breakfast. Said goodbye to Tom and headed on a route down towards the river Imja Khola. The path was very steep and narrow down to a bridge over the river we didn't see anyone else until we started to climb up on the other side of the valley. We headed to Phortse (3800 metres) for lunch where we had noodle soup and boiled potatoes with cheese and butter, had to take the skins off the potatoes before eating them.
You too could be the owner of this guest house if you climb Everest 7 times
Monks performing while we had tea and biscuits

The lodge was owned by a sherpa who had climbed Everest 7 times, his name was Panuna. Went steeply downhill to the river Dudh Kosi and then uphill to Mong La. Stopped for tea and got good views back to where we had started the day. Walked downhill to Ama Dablam View lodge at Kyanjuma, it was very empty so had a choice of room. There was one at the end of the corridor that was being used as a Buddhist temple, it was decorated just like the monastery at Tengboche.  The monks who mostly came from Tibet do a ceremony in there about 5 or 6 times a year. The owner of the lodge Trica fed them with momo and chicken soup. We went in to join in and got a cup of tea and a biscuit it was a bit bizarre. They were playing musical instruments and chanting in between eating their food. Went down to dinner and met a Frenchman from Chamonix who was 70 years old and still a mountain guide, he was the only person drinking red wine!! Started talking to the owner of the lodge and he used to be a sherpa, his name was Ang Tasmi sherpa, he had climbed Everest twice, once with a team from USA and once with Canadians. Played cards again and Indra did not seem as happy as usual.

Friday 24th October
Got up packed and went down for breakfast at 7:30 am had toast, porridge and coffee. Arjun took our bags down the short route to Namche we went up to Khunjung and Khunde then over by the airport at Shyangboche and down the hill into Namche, an easy day today. There was the weekly market on today which had one area for food and one for clothes, there were loads of people about.


Namche Bazaar market

Booked into lodge for 200 rupees, where we got a small room but with a double bed. We had sherpa stew and boiled potatoes for lunch. Had a look around the market but only bought a toilet roll from one of the shops and priced up some trousers but decided that they would be cheaper in Kathmandu. Arjun had to sleep somewhere else with the other porters tonight. Hope he is ok!! Went down to dining room for dinner it was very cold. It took ages for our dinner to come maybe thats a good thing because at least you know it is being cooked there and then. The lady got us a really old electric fire and put it near our legs, it looked as if it was made about 1930. Anyway it did the trick and warmed us up a bit. Eventually the food came which was sherpa stew, rice and dal bhat. Went to bed early as it was too cold to stay up and had a good nights sleep in the double bed nice and cosy!!

Saturday 25th October
Woke up about 6 am and there were lots of people already at the market outside. Packed and had breakfast of cheese on toast, don't know what the cheese was made from maybe Yaks milk? Set off about 8 am walked up out of Namche up the valley of the river Bhote Kosi towards Thame, stopped there for a cup of tea and then walked further until we stopped for lunch at Sunshine View lodge and then carried on until we reach Thame at about 2:15 .


Stayed in Indra's cousins lodge did our usual washing, then read and had a rest. The stove was on in the dining room so we played cards in there. There was a group of French people and another group of Germans but none of them were very friendly so we didn't bother to speak to them.

Sunday 26th October
Got up and didn't have to pack our bags so had a leisurely breakfast. Only took one rucksack and Arjun carried it for us. Had a communication problem today told our men that we should walk up the valley to a village called Mingbo. We got to a point in the path and then we had to climb straight up the hill to the left. Cyril really struggled with his breathing in the altitude, so it was slow going. Managed to get to the top only to find the village old and deserted. On the way up we had to move to the side of the path as we met some Yaks carrying stuff from Tibet.
Move over I'm coming through 

We had planned to have lunch there so it was a bit of a problem until the boys told us to sit down and they produced two packets of biscuits for us to eat. We walked down through the deserted village and made a circular walk down a very steep drop back into the river valley. We were out for about 5 hours had lunch when we got back to the lodge. Had a rest on the afternoon then did the usual playing cards and having dinner.

Monday 27th October
Left about 8 am gave Arjun my black ski hat because it was cold and he did not have a hat. Walked back down the valley to Namche and had lunch, dal baht in Indra's cousins lodge. Tried the bank for some money could only change dollars. Went back to the hotel in Namche and managed to get 5000 rupees with our card had to pay 500 rupees commission. Got enough money now until we get back to Kathmandu. Carried on after lunch down to Monjo where we found a lodge to stay. Talked to am American woman who was a writer traveling on her own, she had come up from Jiri.  We also talked to some Australians who were on there way up to Everest Base Camp. Had a bucket shower which consisted of a bucket of warm water, it cost us 150 rupees but it was nice and we felt better. Chris has developed a cold today and she had a bad nights sleep waking up through the night.

Tuesday 28th October
Didn't set off until 8:45 after our usual toast and porridge for breakfast. Walked quite fast up and downhill to Phakding for lunch. Had homemade veggy soup had to wait a long time for our lads to eat their dal baht. Walked to Lukla, loads of people coming up got fed up saying hello so didn't bother in the end. Indra took us to his house in Lukla for a cup of tea. It was quite big he had a shop on the ground floor and what looked like a cafe upstairs but he said that he didn't do food. His wife and child were there and also 4 lads playing a game that looked like shove halfpenny. We didn't find out who they were it was all a bit strange. We found out that his other 3 children were down in the village somewhere living with their grandparents and going to school. We went to the Buddha Lodge near the airport but could not get a room so we tried the Himalaya Lodge and managed to get in there. We settled in and had a wash. Indra and Arjun went in the dining room for spaghetti and noodle dinner. We treated ourselves to a bottle of beer and some pringles 600 rupees wild or what!!
Played cards on our own, the room was filled with all nationalities mostly waiting for planes the next morning. Paper thin walls in the hotel room but we managed to get a good nights sleep.

Wednesday 29th October
Got up and had a nice breakfast and then packed our bags. Loads of people waiting for planes and then loads coming in from Kathmandu. There were some children dancing outside the hotel as it was a festival day. Indra turned up at 9am to take our bags to Buddha Lodge where we got a luxury room with twin beds and its own toilet.
Children dancing outside the lodge
Party time for the Sherpas and porters

Had a lovely shower and felt a lot better. Later in the day we met up with the rest of the original group of trekkers and that night had a party the all of the sherpas and porters which was really nice. Everyone put some cash into a kitty for them but because we had spent most of the time with Indra & Arjun we gave them extra and also gave them our Ice Axes and high altitude sleeping bags which they could sell.

Thursday 30th October
Got up and had breakfast and packed up ready for our flight back to Kathmandu, it was pot luck as to whether we would get on one or not as there were lots of people waiting and we were not sure who determined who got on which plane.
What are those people doing on the runway? Waiting for their flight
Looked inviting at the hotel in Kathmandu so we had a dip

We eventually got on a plane but by this time we had been waiting outside the lodge on the airport runway and lunchtime came and we were served lunch on the runway. We flew safely back to Kathmandu and were taken to The Shanker Hotel were we spent the rest of the day round the pool, had a little swim and later had a nice meal in the hotel.

Friday 31st October & Saturday 1st November
Got up and had breakfast and were taken to the airport where we got on the plane and flew back to London without any problems. Spent some time in England with our families before returning back to our home in Spain having had a wonderful holiday.







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