Feeling: ABOUT 3400M HIGH – OH WAIT, WE ARE!
DAY THREE: Chheplung to NAMCHE!!!!!!!
So what we were told should take five days we’ve smashed in three. Almost 100km.
Not for some afflictions though; I awoke and fell over as the calves were staunchly stiff this morning. An unpleasant pulling sensation at the base of my big toe announced the presence of a bulging big blister. And the mirror presented a very unshowered, blonde Macy Gray. Au natural baby.
As per, we had masala chai and Craig had a French Press coffee made from Himalayan Sherpa Coffee beans in the a.m. As we were sitting, my heart was slightly heavy as there was no sight of Phaplu – but Craig suddenly pointed out (in the right direction this time) and THERE SHE WAS!
I called and she came; it was a reunion like no other. Coconut biscuits for breakfast for her indeed. I wonder how much it costs to take a dog back to NZ? And the process for quarantine? To look into.
The teahouse we stayed in felt really homely; a grandfather, a couple, their 15-month baby Paljom and a 13-year-old girl. You could tell they had a bit more money and were quite educated – the husband had a Mac and there was a high tech-ish pram nestled in the corner.
The night before, the mum had been feeding Paljom while she watched videos on YouTube. Ones like, Old MacDonald Had A Farm, Twinkle Twinkle, etc. So this morning I introduced them to the joys and absolute glories of Baby Shark – somehow, I feel we won’t be welcomed back after that gets stuck in their heads for a few days.
And then the Trekking Trio set off – Craig, myself and Phaplu. Through to Phakding, past Monjo, right through Jorsalle and then up the big climb to Namche Bazar.
So much happened and there were so many laughs, but I will keep it to a couple.
Somehow – and I don’t know how it happened – we acquired a fleet of dogs. At one point there were seven canines; Mufasa, Dal Bhat (renamed from Rockout when we realised he wasn’t the most courageous), Masala, two not yet named (the criteria was to be with us for more than a hour) and of course, our Phaplu. They dropped off and new ones joined on, but by the time we reached the National Park it was purely the three of us again. (With five bloody bridges to coax her across – thank above for Coconut Crunchy biscuits to bribe with).
Also unsure how it came about; we have this thing where Craig has to feed me water. So every drink stop, he has to gage how much to pour as I get my hydration stance on. It is very often quite comical with h20 all over the show.
Early on, my left heel started howling with the birthing of blisters. I limped along until we found a shop with plasters (after many false starts trying to bridge the language gap of what I was after), where we padded it up and found it wasn’t quite the sufficient saviour. However, by a stroke of sheer fortune we bumped into a Nepalese man we had met two days previous, this time at his little home; he gave us Masala chai each and then gifted me a handful of Compeed – namaste, Pasang Sherpa.
Also an unfortunate episode where I went to relieve the bladder, and in my haste released with too much force and had some splash back from the squatting toilet (how good are aloe wet wipes?).
Another tea stop then up the hill; somehow we took a wrong turn and went on an intense incline for ages, winding up at the very top swing bridge instead of down underneath with a rock climb like we expected. We got a Nepalese porter to take a pic of us at the entrance but the camera was on selfie mode, so I have a stellar snapshot of him instead.
Then it was the last hour or so up (first time of the trip we had headphones in!) and into the magical realm of Namche.
My number one frothing happy place.
Currently in the Mountain Dream Lodge in the heart of Namche, Craig deep in an Everest beer and both of us sporting a sort of hot toddy (lemon tea spiked with some whiskey). We ordered Phaplu some fried rice but she’s gone for a walk about, so it may need to be her breakfast. Craig had dal bhat (the meal, not the dog from today) for the fourth night in a row, and the lodge owner just appeared with a plate of mushrooms for us (“Don’t eat any below 2000m, or you will die”). Tomorrow we are aiming for a sleep in (anything past 4.49am is one for us), some yoga, a shortish stroll (so two or three hours or so) and then it’s into book writing for me.
And four days of it here. What more could you wish for?