Feeling: THE KHUMBU LIFE
NAMCHE DAY 1: Fitting being a Sunday, as we took a day of rest.
I arose at 3am and awoke Craig by playing him a video from the previous day; he was lovely enough to converse with me for a few moments, before telling me to go the fuck back to sleep.
So I tuned in my Beats (thanks Mummy Dee Dub) until 5, when I managed to snuggle down for an extra 40.
It was a morning of pure taking our time. Prosing postcards over masala chai, a little roam around the labyrinth lanes, passing over our bag of washing (seriously that thing reeked; it aromed like something had died in there) to be cleaned and settling in at the bakery-cafe for five hours where I wrote and wrote and Craig journaled and ate and we played cards a’plenty.
Early to bed at 8.30 with a 9pm out-light time.
One thing I really rate: the teahouse-running women all rock around in pyjama pants. And the polar fleece, patterned kind. And anyone who knows me knows I’m very much one for my pjs. Could totally see myself setting up shop here and donning the look too.
One dampener: Phaplu has left us. I hope to think she has found a pack of pups and they are frolicking in the forest, her a happy hound. Not being allowed inside the teahouse, I told her to stay in a little nestle spot I set up for her; when I came down with dinner, she was gone. Very much did break my heart, but we did have her for 40km and gave her lots of love. (Little bitch could’ve vacated before we got her fried rice). (Kidding: I love and miss her dearly).
NAMCHE DAY 2: It was decided an overnight excursion to Tengboche was the order of the day, up to 3800m.
Four to five hours of a deep descent and intense incline ahead, we awoke at 7am (had an actual sleep in) and prepared our packs. As the post office had been closed the previous day, we hung about playing cards and drinking tea until it opened at 10. (I have to say, quite different to the workings of the Cambridge Kiwibank). Then we were on our way (when we found the right route).
We smashed it in less than three hours; all set for a serious climb, I thought I had an hour more left when Craig popped back around and said we were there. How fab!
An afternoon of writing, cards, Craig eating dhal bhat for dinner (again) and me on the potatoes.
The simple life.
“NAMCHE” DAY 3: Being in Tengboche at 3800m, we saw it silly to not take it up to 4000m. So we mapped our way to Somare at 4040.
Told it was a three-hour each way there then a four-to-five back to Namche, we were chuffed to do the whole thing in 6 hours 40, back in our cafe bakery by 2.30.
No sign of Phaplu, but I did temporarily take a new lad called Laddy; he followed our feet from the deep down crevice up to Tengboche, then caught on as we came back through and is now here with us in Namche.
The rest of the day is dedicated to doing whatever we please. When we got back I saw my Tibetan Handicrafts Shop friend was back – the other two times I’ve been here I’ve always bought a headband from her, and I was so sad to see her store all shut up when we arrived. But – praise be! – she is here for only two days, so headband heckling it shall be (not actually – she likes me so usually gives me a good price).
Tomorrow is our final day up here, before we blitz down to Lukla on the 2nd. It’s fully a day devoted to Seedless Green Grapes, with maybe a flit up to the school to see some smaller souls.
Staying tonight and tomorrow Khumbu Lodge – the very place where former US president Jimmy Carter stayed with his wife back in 1985, would you believe. (Something tells me they didn’t stay in our dingy room). They have a library corner, so I’m going to immerse myself in books and eat a potato rosti for dinner. (Addition: I did just that, and soon on told Craig I was tired and ready for bed. It was 7.37pm).
Just a fun fact on Namche (can never have enough of those!): traditionally the cliffside community was a trading post among the mountain people. Those from higher would meet those from lower, to trade yak cheese and butter for agricultural items. But when Sir Edmund Hilary (yeah Sir Ed!) and Tenzing Norgay summited Everest in 1953, the dynamics of Namche changed to a bazaar as touristing trekkers flocked in to follow in the peaking pair’s footsteps.
It’s crazy; Craig and I haven’t had more than 40 seconds apart in a week and a half, but we haven’t at all gotten sick or annoyed at each other (well, so he agrees – I know I can be bloody too much at times). It’s so refreshing to just be so able around a person, who gets you and you get them and it’s all just good.
I’m so gross: my feet look like a dead person’s and I smell of stale sweat. My hair has gone beyond Macy Gray and taken on the tone of Goldilocks – and I’m talking kitchen scoura, not three bears. I probably look the most unattractive I ever have in my life (apart from the other two times doing this), but I feel the most alive and free.
Going to buy some headbands now. Like scrunchies, keyrings, hair extensions and travelling trinkets, you can never have enough.