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Everest Base Camp Treck II

Day 7 - Day 14

Day 7:
Today, on day 7, I am just exhausted! The altitude is really getting to me. Not only that my headaches are coming and going but I am also finding it very difficult when it is steep. It is difficult to breath and it is just so tiring. It's difficult to sleep too, which makes you even more exhausted. Apparently once above 4000 m it's much harder to sleep due to the lack of oxygen. We had to leave Jason and Leslen behind today, as Jason is really struggeling with the altitude and really suffering from no sleep. He stops breathing at night and then wakes up in panic and anxiety. Shame we had to leave them behind as they were quite entertaining.
This is certainly the hardest thing I have ever done and it is amazing how the lack of oxygen affect you. We have met a whole group that is doing research on it. They are riding exercise bikes at different hights, even up in Camp 3! Absolutely crazy!
The scenary here is completely different now. Its really harsh and sparse. We haven't seen any trees in a few days and it is all rocks and sand and dust now. Never seen a landscape like that. Although it isn't as beautiful as such, you are now much closer to the mountains and the harshness has it's own beauty and reflects quite well how I feel: exhausted, tired....
We are now in Labouche at 4930 m and tomorrow we are finally getting to Base Camp. I can't wait. 2 weeks of trecking is a long time and I start loosing my willpower a bit.

Day 8:
The big day! From Labouche we went up to Gorakshep where we had lunch and from there we went up to Base Camp. The walk was much longer than expected and much harder. Apart from the really dead scenary, just rocks and and dust, we also past some really beautiful glacier lakes. However, the altitude sickness finally got me. It started with a banging headache which was just horrible. It got so bad that for the first time I actually took two tablets but they didn't seem to help. It was just getting worse. It was really difficult to breathing and every single step seemed like a marathon. I could hardly walk anymore and just stumbled along. I have never felt so exhausted in my life. I certainly understand what it means now to push your body beyond the borders. It got so bad that I was convinced I wouldn't make it back down to the teahouse. I really thought that they had to find me a tent and I had to stay at Base Camp. It is difficult to describe how it felt, but I never felt like that before.
I was sometimes close to just throw all my gear and sit down and not move any further. But somehow I couldn't give up so close to it and somehow I managed to keep pushing myself. As impossible as it felt to keep on walking as impossible it was to think of giving up. I just had to make it and get there. Afterwards the others said that I did look dreadful and they were quite worried but they didn't want to say anything then.
By the time we finally got there I was too exhausted to even care, I was just glad it was over and wanted to rest. But the others kept walking around aimlessly which made me quite irritated, feeling the way I felt. Fortunately it didn't take us too long to find a tent that offered us seats and water. They said straight away that I need to drink water and eat something. Fortunately they had some boiled water left from the night before, as I had run out. It was such a relief to sit down. I still wasn't able to say much by then but at least I had water and a place to rest.
They were journalists from the Philipines who just got to Base Camp themselves and were waiting for the first 3 women ever summiting from Tibet and coming down in Nepal.
Base Camp is basically just an accumulation of tents with people either acclimatising before their summit or people waiting for others who attempt to summit and hopefully come back down again.
It's complete chaos, tents everywhere, in between the flags of each summiting team and prayer flags. Not a single house or shop or anything. It is based just at the foot of the Khumbu icefall, which all climbers need to pass in order to get to Camp 1. Base Camp is at 5334 meters. It is so basic here that they of course don't even have toilets, so people set up their own "toilet tents". Waste is really controlled here now which means all rubbish needs to be carried down now, which includes the toilets. So, as some poor bugger has to carry down that stuff, they charge you $11 per kilo. Therefore a lot of people pee outside the toilet tents to reduce the weight! ;-) Incredible!
So I finally made it to Base Camp and felt shit and didn't even want to eat the famous Apple Pie. Everyone we met and has been in Base Camp told us the unbelievable thing that within all those tents a crazy German set up his tent and is baking proper delicious hot German Apple Pie which was meant to be divine. And I didn't even care.... We eventually after some rest went to look for it and found the famous blue tent. Absolutely unbelievable when you think about where you are, what altitude you are at and have a look at the chaos and simplicity of tents that you can buy a piece of hot German Apple Pie.
Once in the tent the smell was too tempting for me to resist and I have to say it worked. The applie pie was divine, even by German standards, and straight after eating it, I felt better. The guys could even see in my face without me saying a word that I was feeling better. A complete strange even said that I must be feeling much better as I was suddenly smiling and talking again. I was so relieved and was so happy that after all that at least I had a bit of time left to actually enjoy being at Base Camp.
It seemed the rest, loads of water and the pie made me feel good again. The tablets might have kicked in by then too... maybe they need longer above 5000 m.... who knows...
We couldn't stay too long, as we wanted to get back in daylight, so we left the 2 Americans we walked up with behind and went on.
Although I felt much better but it was still so exhausting and the treck seemed never ending. But we made just before sunset and went to bed by 8pm as we were all so tired and also had an extremely early start. Our teahouse in Gorakshep was at 5200 m and the sleep was therefore not very good at all. Damn lack of oxygen...:-(


Day 9:

The next big day! From base camp you can't actually see Mt. Everest. In order to have a good view at Everest you have to go up even higher to Khala Patar at 5545 meters!
So, the day after Base Camp, still feeling absolutely knackered we got up at 4am to go to our final destination, Khala Patar, the highest point of our treck.
The hike was absolutely exhausting again as it all went up hill and was really steep. It was freezing cold but the view, once it got bright as we left in the dark, and the whole atmosphere was amazing. We were lucky and had absolutely clear skies and the views we had over Everest, Aba Dablam and the rest of the Himalaya was just spectacular, absolutely breath taking (literally...:-).
There aren't many places from where you can actually see Everest, so it was a perfect finish. The rising sun behind Everest is something else.... and I am so glad I had the luck and opportunity to see such an incredible and beautiful thing. What a magical moment... and it made all worth the efforts and time to get up there.
Unfortunately the altitude got me again. Being smarter this time I took 2 tablets straight away as I was awaking already with a banging headache. Just before the peak, being already totally exhausted and struggeling with the climb, I lost past of my vision. First I was hoping it might be my lenses or the really birght rising sun, but after a while of stumbling and slipping around, I just had to admit to myself that I couldn't see properly anymore. Everything was double as if you were drunk and blurred, which is not great when you are climbing over huge rocks trying to reach a peak at 5545m. There was no path anymore and it was really dangerous. After slipping a few times, Senge our nice porter, grabbed me and literally pulled me up. He grabbed me so firm that I really felt safe, otherwise I couldn't have continued. Reaching the top I almost fell over backwards as I was so dizzy. It's a tiny little peak, decorated with prayer flags and cliffs around you and there certainly isn't a lot of space. The 3 of us just managed to sit at the top. It's so easy to slip and fall. After I sat down, had some water and some salt and sugar in the form of chocolate and Pringels (great breakfast) I felt better again and regained my vision which was nice :-) Everything was back to normal, well as normal as you can possibly be at that hight, but it was scary. I have to say, both events really did scare me and I realised I don't really have any control to what is happening to my body. I am sure some think, that that happens every time I have too many drinks too, but at least that I usually can't remember....:-) ha, ha...
Suddenly something happens to you and you can't influence it. Amazing what exhaustion, the altitude and the lack of oxygen are doing to your mind and your body. You are not really thinking as clear up there either. Some of the notes in my diary which I am using to write this blog, just don't make much sense.... Again, I am sure some are not surprised to hear that either and say that that happens at sea level too...:-)
Still, the experience was amazing and the view spectacular, once I could enjoy it again. We all sat down on the peak and had some breakfast consisting of pistachous, Pringels, chocolate etc... Wonderful! Maybe not the nicest breakfast I have ever had, but certainly the one with the most spectacular views ever!!!
Coming down took us another 1.5 hours, going up around 2 hours,so we had proper breakfast around 9.30. What a start to a day!
It proved to be a very long day though.. We went down to Dingboche again, despite the bad luck of last time, as that tea house had the best shower on the treck and were looking forward to their warm sun room. The night before in Gorakshep was the coldest one I have ever had. I could now even see my breath in my room and had to wear hat and gloves + 2 fleece jumpers and 2 other tops. I started to get quite fed up with the cold. Can't wait to be in a warm place again.
Back in Dingboche I enjoyed a well needed shower which was just fantastic. You certainly start to appreciate the simple things here. A warm bed, a shower, a Western toilet etc. We also found out that the day we went to Base Camp and heard several avelanches, 2 Koreans got killed by one of them. They were really experienced and have done the 7 summits and Everest before they got killed yesterday. Terrible....
It's scary how many lives the mountain still claims and it makes you realise it's not mankind manning the mountain, it's up to the mountain to decide whether you get up there or not. I read in my book that they leave the bodies up there. It's awful. Some them are never found and no one knows and ever finds out what happened up there. But I am glad that I can now go down. Well, we all are. After the experiences I had, I am glad we are getting lower down where you can sleep and breath again.

Day 10:
After a very exhausting day yesterday I had a fantastic sleep which was badly needed. Since the night my stuff got stolen I hadn't had a proper sleep anymore.
We decided to speed up our descent and shorten it by a couple of days. Rather having very long days than hanging around in cold teahouses where we have seen everything already, you can't do much, are constantly cold and don't have decent facilities we rather walk 7-8 hours a day (at least) but get back to Kathmandu 2 days earlier. Once you have been to Base Camp you just want to get down.
That should give us time to arrange Tibet, Internet, get our laundry done most importantly... don't envy the person to wash our hiking socks... hee, hee....
Today we walked 8.5 hours all the way down to Namche Bazaar. It was a very tough day again and my legs and especially knees are really hurting. It was a great day though and it is nice being surrounded by vegetation, trees and all that again, after the dead scenary higher up.
We also had our first beer today to celebrate! Hurray! Can't remember when I have been that long without alcohol ever.... How delicious! :-)

Day 11:
The last day of our treck we started in Namche Bazaar. I felt much better after comind down and having 2 nights proper sleep. Our first stop was Namche Police to get my report for the insurance.
We arrived at the so called "Police Station" which wasn't to be recognised as such and it was quite an experience. It was a dirty building smelling of toilet with goats and dogs running around. They tried to set up a tennis court (just the lines in the sand) outside the station, so they don't seem to be too busy. We were asked to take a seat outside on some plastic chairs. After RAbi had spoken to several people we finally got the right guy. The chief officer who was wearing long underpants and flip flops. Only one guy was wearing an actual uniform, a couple of other were wearing washed out camouflage suits and everyone else jeans or track suits.
I could see into the building were they were eating. They just seemed to have boiled rice to eat which they were of course eating with their right hand, as they use the left one to clean themself on the toilet. After they finished they poored some water on their aluminium plate shook it slightly poored the whole thing outside the building and done were the dishes! Nice! Thank God we weren't invited for dinner!
After long discussions and debates I finally got my police report. In Nepali of course written on a type writer! Let's see what my insurance will say to that.
Again, like the the previous 2 days, our last day was tough. All 3 days we walked between 7 and 8 hours. My legs were really sore now and my knees were killing me. Going down is much harder... well at least for your joints. We had lunch again in Phakding and it was a nice day. I recognised so many places and it was nice to walk in the forest again. We were accompanied by a cute dog for a very long time, a cow and a pony. Completely knackered but happy and all in all feeling great (thanks to the altitude) we arrived late afternoon in Lukla, had dinner and even a couple of beers which went straight to my head and we had a great evening.

Day 12 to 14:
Today we were meant to fly out at 7.15 but unfortunately the weather is rubbish, meaning cloudy and foggy so they can't fly and we have been sitting and waiting here all day, which is quite frustrating, as there is not much you can do here and also e have been pushing ourselves quite hard to get here 2 days earlier and now we are stuck anyway.
Hopefully we can fly tomorrow, as today seems pretty hopeless.

But things in Lukla got far more exciting than expected. While having an afternoon nap, Rabi woke me up to tell me that my stuff got stolen by our porter Lagba.
The way he found out was, Lachba after getting his money and a very generous tip (the poor guy had to carry so much) got pissed and was telling his sister in law that his clients have given him loads of cash, a mobile and an MP 3 player. That girl then told one of her friends who happened to be a waitress in the teahouse where we stayed so she told Rabi and he put two and two together. So Rabi went to his sister in laws house and searched his bag but couldn't find anything so he invited him for a free lunch back to the teahouse and confronted him there. After some serious shouting he admitted that he took the stuff from me. Rabi took 19,000 Ruppees of him, so that I got my money back plus the tip we have given him and Lachba told him that the other stuff he left with friends in the last village Phakding. Rabi promised him if he got the stuff back he wouldn't go to the police and Lachba said he is going back to get them. Needless to say that the guy was never seen again.
But I was in a great mood, at least I got the cash back which was unexpected. So I decided to use the money for a wise reason and invited everyone to drinks and have a huge party. After all that stress I was in urgent need for a drink anyway. We had such a great evening. After several beers we decided to have a look at the Happy Hour Pub which was unfortunately closed. On the way Shiva almost fell into one of those huge wholes they have in the middle of the street. They are so big that you would actually disappear in it. We went back to our teahouse and even had some music.
I actually managed to spend more that night than the of us spent during the whole treck! Ha, how funny is that!!!
The next day I felt really rough and slept until lunch time. Not much to do anyway as there were no flights again and I didn't really miss much.
Lachba didn't turn up and my good mood sank a bit....
Being completely bored we went out to explore the excitements of Lukla. Jon found a pub called the Wave that had Happy Hour from 2-3pm. I was too hung over to have one of those "Exotic Cocktails" but the boys did. Jon had a Pina Colada with some rotten cream and floating bits in it and it looked absolutely disgusting. Definitely not the place to have Pina Coladas. Thanks to the Happy Hour they even got 2 cocktails each and fair play to Jon he actually finished both of them. Urghhhh.....
After that highlight we moved on to find something else to do an did - the 'cinema". But nothing is what it seems up here, so it turned out to be a TV and a dodgy DVD player where you could pay to watch movies. Better than nothing and we could even order popcorn.
We saw an Everest documentary that was filmed during the 1996 disaster about I read the book too. Really good movie. After that we saw Hotel Ruanda which was a great movie too but certainly not for cheering up.
Like everywhere along the treck, Lukla also had a German bakery where we had some nice cheese cake.
In the evening I learned the Nepali game Tiger & Goat which is really good and I surely get for myself as a souvenir.
Before dinner we went to the police in Lukla to give them a picture of Lachba as he failed to show up. Somehow I got the feeling that Rabi was a little hesitant and I really don't understand why. Surely it is in his interest too to make sure he isn't working again. Anyway, we went to the police and that was again quite an experience and a really strange situation. I was glad the boys came with me.
First we were told that the guy in charge wasn't around and need to come back tomorrow morning and then somehow we were asked to come in. They was based in the deserted airport building and it turned out that he actually lived there. the building was pitch dark due to another power cut. So we were wondering over the runway in to the pitch dark building. The whole situation was really funny and fortunately Kirby had his head torch handy. Those things are just brilliant! Really bizarre and we ended up talking to a police man we never saw like the guy behing the shadow wall, it just was very strange.
Later on in the evening continued with a completely drunk Aussie guy kicking off because his chips were 5 minutes late and starting punching the teahouse owner, so the whole teahouse ended up in a big fight and we just sat in the middle in complete disbelief.
On Wednesday which was our original flight day it was still cloudy and foggy and I got really pissed off. I just felt so dirty like never in my life before and just wanted to have a proper shower, a proper toilet get my laundry done and be warm again and eat loads of meat which we still haven't had. Jon seemed to loose faith too and got really fed up, only good old Kirby remained optimistic still talking about the steak he was expecting to eat in the evening. I had written off the day already, but fortunately we finally flew out later that day. What a pleasure! The visibility was still quite limited and the take off was probably the most spectacular I have ever had. That tiny short run way, going downhill and by the time you get to the end you just jump over the cliff and hope you'll make it. There isn't even a door or curtain between the cabin and the cockpit so you could actually look out of the front window. The flight was really bumpy and I didn't feel too good and was very relieved when we finally landed.

All in all the last 2 weeks have been fantastic and certainly a very unique experience that I will probably talk about until the rest of my life.
The landscapes variing from dense forest with little villages in between, the big river, dodgy bridges, the Himalaya with it's great views over Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam etc. up to the very dead and sparse landscape where everything living seemed to have vanished apart from a couple of birds. The views were amazing and it was quite an experience to see the top of the world and its surroundings. My company was great and couldn't have been better. It all went so smooth considering that we were all pretty much strangers coming from complete different countries, it's quite lucky. We had the same pace, ideas and it just fitted. We had fun and a lot of laughs but also a lot of quiet moments where we just sucked in the environment and atmosphere. Nothing worse than being on a treck like that with someone who never shuts up. We have been extremely lucky with the weather (until now....) The first few days were cloudy with only one wet day and when we needed the good weather and sunshine then it was there. Perfect. I was lucky that I made it physically, considering how un-fit I am that I didn't get any blisters in my brand new hiking boots was quite unbelievable too! I am glad I made it and didn't ruin it for the guys. It was such an incredible experience in all means. I have never been so exhausted and never been pushed so far to my limits - physically and mentally!
A bizarre feeling what altitude and lack of oxygen can do to you. The headaches, the sleepless nights, the weird dreams, the constant out of breath feeling, exhaustion etc. up to the loss of vision....
An experience I wouldn't want to miss. If I would do it again though, I would make sure I am fitter. I think I realised that I really have to do something.
Everest Base Camp - what an experience!

Posted by Julia1976 02:54 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

Everest Base Camp Treck I

First 6 days of the treck...

Day 1: I have now managed my first day on the Everest Base Camp Treck and it has been great. We were picked up at 5.30am in a tiny little taxi where the 4 of us plus driver just about managed to squeeze in. The petrol tank was in the boot, the luggage on the roof and I think we were all releaved when we got to the airport.
Our very old 18 seater plane looked a bit scary and it didn't make us feel better when they announced "technical problems" which were apparently solved within 30 minutes.... not a great feeling to get on the plane. After landing at the smallest airport with the shortest runway by doing pretty much a hand break turn we arrived safe and sound. The airport is build on the hill and as the runway is so short they had to help landing and taking off by building it in an angel, so the moment you land you straight away go uphill to help the plane breaking and when you take off it goes downhill and suddenly drops into nothing and you just hope you have managed the edge and stay up in the air.
After breakfast we met our porters and started the treck with a nice 3 hours walk. The scenary is absolutely stunning. Green mountains with a few local houses in between with some cute little sherpa kids sitting on the doorstep, yacks carrying several bags for the big expeditions summiting and the very happy little Nepali porters carrying up to 100kg each on their bag strapped around the forehead. Incredible how they can carry so much and then go uphill in that altitude and not even wearing proper shoes. Most porters wear some sort of plastic sandals/flip flops.
The yaks are really cute, I fell in love with those hairy creatures straight away, although you have to watch out for them, as they will push you out of the way. Several people get pushed off cliffs or bridges by them every year.
The porters/sherpa have to carry everything up the mountain, like bottled water, drinks, food everything. They even carry whole or half animals that are not preserved in any shape, not even covered up as a matter of fact. So, you can see a whole yak leg in a basket carried by a porter. We therefore have been advised not to eat meat for the whole 2 weeks. Great!!! But if the meat could have been carried for up to 10 days, it actually isn't that tempting anymore.
Our cute guide who is only 20 seems very nice and we also met some nice people on the treck, so it has been quite funny so far.
I have strained my calf a bit, but I suppose that's what you get when you as unfit as me.
So far, I am absolutely loving it. The accomodation on our first day in Phakding is very basic but what else do you expect.
I had my first Dhal Baat (traditional Nepali dish which our guide eats every day) today which I enjoyed and also tried Yak Butter Tea, which is absolutely disgusting. I thought kava on Fiji was bad. It is basically tea (I think) and they put yak butter into it, so all the grease is still swimming on the top and also quite a lot of salt, so it is salty tea.... Nah, not my cup of tea. Even Michael Palin found it revolting, but you have to try it....:-)

Day 2 and 3: Our second day was really tough, no more nice short walks ;-) We went up 800 meters in altitude to a place called Namche Bazaar which is apparently really famous with the trecker community, so not to me.... never heard of the place before...:-)
I just started to read the famous book of Jon Krakauer Ïnto Thin Air" which is about the disasterous Everst summit in 1996. It's a great book by the way, and hopefully it will bring me up to speek and get me into proper trecking mood.
Although it was a very hard day, I just love it so much. The scenary is so spectecular. The hills, the yaks, the prayer flags everywhere, the prayer wheels, stupas etc.
Also, I never expected hiking to be so rewarding and I am really getiing into it. I really love it and are getting more confident that I will make it. The guys and I have the same speed and we walk slowly but continously which is great. Not so good if you have people who just storm off. I really had enough after my second day but it was a really hard day and at the end of the day we got completely soaked too.... So far we doing well with timings and usually need less time than the guide says. The straining in my calf is not gone but apart from that I am coping much better than I thought and fell less under pressure now.
The only thing I worry about is the cold. Already now I sleep in my down sleeping bag, plus a sleeping sheet inside it and a blanket on top. I am also wearing a pyjama, a jumper and socks and a hat. Not sure what to do once we get up higher. We are currently at 3400 meters which is the highest I have ever been and hopefully the garlic soup is going to help me to avoid altitude sickness...
I think it is also a state of mind.... everyone was shocked when they found out that I am brushing my teeth with tap water and not bottled water as you apparently get sick from it. It might explain my stomach cramps but apart from that I am fine. I think you can also worry too much about food, water, altitude sickness and might increase the chances if you constantly think about getting sick.
The evenings are quite entertaining and we are usually hooking up with Les and Jason. It seems that none of the teahouses are heated apart from one stove in the main communal room which they fire up in the evening, so everyone spends the evening in there, as your room is just too cold. Even the main room is freezing occasionally and our bedrooms only have 0 C. It also seems that Namche is the last place where we can shower, as it is just getiing too cold. When I had a shower yesterday I could actually see my breath because it was so cold.
But so it is a unique experience that I certainly wouldn't want to miss.
Today was our first acclimatisation day. So we went up another 400 meters in altitude up to 3800 m to the Everest View Hotel. Unfortunately the weather was still quite bad so we couldn't see Mt. Everest. Apparently if the weather stays like this it could happen that we never actually see Everest which would be a right bummer. All that exhaustion and then you might not even see the damn mountain....:-)
On your acclimatisation day you are not meant to rest, like some people believe, but have to go up higher and then come down again and sleep low which will help you to cope with the hight over the next couple of days better, so I am really glad we went up all the way to the hotel.


Day 4
: Day four was another very tough day for me. We woke up to glorious weather and went up to the Military Point to have our first look at Mt. Everest. It looked amazing but it was so far away that it is difficult to imagine that we eventually get there. We visited the museum there too which was quite good and very informative. That little de-tour was well worth it.
For some reason I was really struggeling today. My muscels were really aching and in a lot of places it was really steep. I also had constant mild headache. We were meant to walk to Tengboche within 4 hours but it took us 5. We were walking through amazing scenary again, fantastic forests with huge rhododendron trees. The weather was fantastic so that was great. The views over the mountains were incredible, Mt. Everest at 8848 m, Lhotse and others. We also had the Milk River next to us for the whole time. We went all the way down to the river to have lunch which was a great place although the toilets seem to be getting more and more basic the higher you go. We have now reached a hight where it was basically just a wooden shed where they have cut a whole in the wooden floor. Underneath are leaves piled up which are also inside the shed to cover your business, so they don't even use water here anymore to "flush". Apparently the mixture of leaves and excretes is used as fertiliser for the fields. Nice! That explains the occasional strange smell on the treck. And I was blaming the yaks or my fellow travellers! :-)
After a great lunch we had to walk all the way up again which was so exhausting and seemd so pointless and I was really struggeling here, but so were the others.
By the time we got to Tengboche, another famous place within the trecking community my headache was getting worse and I was getting a bit worried as it is still much further up to go. You need to drink so much up here, that quite easily that can cause the headache, so I might just need to watch out for it a bit better. I think I need to start carrying 2 wather bottles from now on. Maybe that altitdude sickness thing is a bit more serious than I thought. Maybe the others didn't make such a bit fuss after all, maybe I just under-estimated it.
At Base Camp you only have half the oxygen you have at sea level. That thought is quite scary.... Just read that in ïnto Thin Air"which is a fantastic book.
Kirby is suffering big time too, so I hope he is not altidue sick already.
Tengboche is great. We are at almost 3900 m and it's only a very small village with wild ponies running around. They seem to use ponies in these high altitudes. You also have a fantastic view over Everest, Lhotse and the lot. Incredible views. Hopefully it will be clear tomorrow morning.
They also have the biggest monastery of Nepal here which we visited. On two hours a day you are allowed in and can watch the monks praying and meditatin. Quite and incredible experience.
Our teahouses are getting more and more basic too, the higher youget. I don't really mind that at all, but I am really worried about the temparature here. The toilet which is just squatting whole is almost outside and freezing cold. I think it's time to make use of my hot water bottle for the sleeping bag.
I also just experienced my first Mars pie which is basically deep fried Mars bar. How bizarre to have that in a place like Tengboche. Blackpool maybe but here at 3900 m??? Delicious is all I can say.
I am also just overhearing the conversation here in the communal room of a German talking to to two monks talking about his next expedition to the summit which he will be doing next year with a British expedition.
Also, one of the rescue helicopters crashed recently and we saw today how they recovered some of the parts by helicopter and the guy sitting accross to me just said how that helicopter crashed into their camp where they had their kitchen. The group fortunately had just left an hour beforehand.
Amazing to meet people who actually make it all they way up there, especially when I am just reading in my book how dangerous it is and how many people still die every year.

Day 5 and 6: Yesterday was a good day. We woke up to glorious weather again and had fantastic views from Tengboche over the mountains. We saw two guys that were flying with paragluiders and attached engines of 200 horse power over Mt. Everst. They were filmed by the Discovery Channel and apparently they were trying to set a world record by by trying to hit the jetstream above Everst and then glide down. That was probably one of the craziest things I have ever seen.
The hiking was really good and not too hard. We got to Dingboche in the afternoon to a really nice teahouse, the Peaceful Lodge. They have the best shower on the whole treck and also have a cute little cow with an even cuter little calf which is completely fluffy.
Unfortunately the evening didn't end so nice, as my room got broken into. When I tried to get into my room it appeared to be locked from the inside and they have just taken out the window climbed in and locked the door from the inside and went through all my stuff. They have taken all my cash, about 15,000 Rupees, my mobile with all the numbers and birthdays, my MP3 player and first I thought my camera too, which was of course the worst. Fortunately I found it the next day, as they must have dropped it. They have taken it out of my fleece jacket and must have dropped it into my rucksack. Apparently it has never happened before. The strange thing is, in order to take out the window out of the frame in my room (without braking it) someone would need to be in the room, which would mean that it was an inside job. I feel so violated and disappointed. It's really one of the last places where I would have expected this. The Nepalese are so friendly and honest that it is very disappointing. Fortunately I got my camera back, but the phone is still quite bad, as I won't be contactable anymore, so if anything happens....

The boys kindly offered to swap rooms with me, so that at least I didn't need to stay in that room, and theirs was going into the courtyard so was much safer. Needless to say that I still didn't get much slepp...

Today, 6th day, was a strange day. I was just really down all day although I found my camera in the morning which was great news and I have also taken the whole thing quite well, but still... It could have been much worse, that I would have been robbed and maybe attacked or they would have taken my passport or anything like that but it still feels strange. Now that my backpack is all I have it almost feels as if someone has broken into my flat. Had really strange dreams too but hopefully I can leave that behind me very quickly.
The owner of the teahouse went to see the Lama about the whole thing and he actually said that we won't need police or anything like that, as the stolen goods are very close by, much closer than we think.... If only we knew how true that was...
Everyone is really nice. All the guys offered me straight away to give me all the pictures and take them for me going forward whenever I want to (that was before I found out that my camera was still there). The MD from British Oxygen who I met the night before as they broke into his room too, but just took cash, he even offered me his memory card for the camera. Everyone is also helping me out with money, as I haven't got anything left now. Hopefully there will be enough money for some souvenirs....:-)
To call the police we had to go to the next village, Pheriche, which was a 1.5 hour walk over the next mountain (not easy these things here...), just in order to get to a phone. We all went there and Rabi made the call for me, so at least I won't need to interrupt the treck much more. On our way down, I just have to stop in Namche to go directly to the police and get a report for my insurance.
So today was another acclimatisation day. After we have been to Pheriche we walked up a hill. Everything here that is not 8000 m is just a hill.... so we walked up that "hill" but I didn't make it to the top and neither did the boys. They went a bit further than me, but I felt so down, that I just decided to stop at 4700 meters and sit in the sun to get a proper sunburn! ;-) I hope it was high enough to acclimatise, as tomorrow is going to be a really tough day where we will go up to just under 5000 m.
I have also decided today that I will have to skip Chitwan National Park and with that the bath with an elephant. Gutted but I won't have enough time and it's enough hassle as it is to change my flights, arranging Tibet, shipping everything and so on.
Hopefully it will at least give me enough time to upload all my pics in case anything like that will happen again. So far that was really the only bad experience on this trip (apart from Kalkuta of course...:-) and hopefully it will be the last one.
On the positive side, they have a georgous little Sherpa girl here in the teahouse that I played with all evening and that certainly cheered me up. We played cards for hours and as she is only 3 it meant you had to through away all your cards as quickly as possible and then raise your hands in the air to signalise that you have won. As the rules changed while we played along it was of course here who won all the time...:-) Also did a bit of colouring in which was slightly more successful. Amazing to see with how little the kids are happy here. I don't think she has any proper toys.... but such a cute girl. Very entertaing to watch when she is chasing the baby calf so much that they both end up in the mud. :-)

Posted by Julia1976 03:11 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

Nepal - Kathmandu

sunny 26 °C

I am now half way through my trip and on my way to Nepal which will take me 3 days, from Fiji to Sydney to Bangkok to Calcutta and then to Kathmandu. Also discovered that I have spent my entire budget apart from GBP 500 already! great!
After carrying a package from a Monk on the plane, i was hoping to not have done the biggest mistake ever. Everyone knows the horror stories about people getting caught with drugs in thailand and what does Julia do? But he was a monk so I was hoping for the best and fortunately it all worked out :-)
It all seems to change now and I think I need to prepare myself for the culture shock. I am already the only Westerner on the entire plane! Quite strange...
kalkutta was a right nightmare! What a shit hole. Later on I was told by one of the Nepali trecking guides that India stands for
I : I
N : Never
D : Do
I : It
A : Again

and that certainly goes for Kalkuta. the place is complete chaos and doesn't compare to anything I have ever seen or experienced before. difficult to even describe it. Poverty and dirt everywhere, chaotic, no apparent traffic rules. You just beep when you pass someone and I was convinced several times on my journey that we would crash into another car, run over pedestrians, rikshas bicylcles or cows. Yes, cows!!! who happen to be in the middle of the road.

First lesson learned : don't ever go to kalkuta without booking accomodation. They didn't have anything at the airport to book accomodation so I tried to find something close to the airport. The first hotel the taxi was trying to drop me off wasn't too good, as I was too scared to even walk down the alleyway where it was based in, so that wasn't good, the next one didn't have A/c which at 37 C is even for me not acceptable and the other two were apparently booked out. So, getting a bit nervous I evetually found something. The taxi charged me 3 times the agreed amount as i didn't want to stay in the first one. Needless to say that the other hotels were less than 1 minute distance from each other. He then of course conveniently didn't have any change, so I ended up paying a fortune. Well, you live and learn.....
The hotel was probably a complete rip off too and didn't even have toilet paper.
Also needless to mention, that a hotel that doesn't even have toilet paper of course doesn't have Internet either, so there were my plans on catching up with my blog gone.
For the first time on this trip I was actually scared and really didn't like the place. I was too scared to even leave the room, so I just stayed in my room, which I couldn't even lock. so no food for me then.... AS I didn't eat anything in the evening or morning, you can imagine my delight finding a snack shop at the airport the next day selling Twix and Pringles! Hurray, I thought the world was great again and I didn't even mind that I paid a fortune for it. Not until I discovered that the Twix had melted so many times that there was no chocolate left at all and the Pringles had a broken seal and not one of them was whole anymore. they were smashed into so many tiny pieces that it far more resembled to Pringle Powder! they wouldn't even let me go back to the shop to bring it back. I was wondering whether the security guy was owning half the business! Damn! As I said I didn't like that place and was glad to leave.
I started to wonder whether this was really for me. It's one thing to say you want to experience different countries and cultures but it's a very different thing to give up things like toilet paper and use that disgusting bucket next to the toilet and your left hand! Yeah, sorry, but that's not me. I hope I just get around certain things and probably have to start carrying tissues and toilet paper with me from now on....:-)
Kathmandu promised much better straight away. I found a nice hotel in the Lonely Planet for around GBP 5 and have a very nice clean room with toilet paper so I am happy again! :-)
Kathamandu is even more chaotic, really don't know how to describe it but this is certainly like nothing I have ever seen before. Unbelievable! There are again no traffic rules and couldn't even find a traffic light for the first few days. cows still in the middle of the road and everyone is carefully manouvering around them, as they are sacred and you get 2 years in prison for killing one! It is still different though, as I straight away loved it and felt safe.
Got some info on the Everest Base Camp Treck but it is informatin overload again and I would prefer to walk with a group and not by myself. I get the impression that the guide in the hotel doesn't want to link me with other people, so I think I have to find them myself somehow.
On my way back to the hotel, I got lost and had to take a riksha. it all looks the same here, not sure I am going to manage here...

The next morning, after telling the hotel I need to find a different trecking agency in order to get a group I finally was introduced to an Aussie, called Kirby who lives in London too and he wants to do the same treck and was looking for someone.
We went out into the hectic and chaotic Thamal areo to get some more quotes. We also got quotes for Tibet which seems to be the same everywhere but the trip is much longer than I thought. It is 8 days minimum. So I definitley have to extend my time here and probably have to skip Chitwan National Park which is a real shame as you can see tigers and rhinos and also can have a bath with an elephant which I was really looking forward to, but I have made up my mind that i rather skip that than Tibet. That has been a dream of mine for such a long time now....
I still haven't got my visa as they just sent me away and asked me to come back the next day with no reason whatsoever. I went out for dinner with Kirby who seems really nice.
The next morning I met Jon, from New York but he lived in Amsterdam for the last couple of days. After many discussions and us pushing our treck by another day back, we agreed to go together and cancelled his treck. It's now the 3 of us, a guide and two porters. I can't wait but I am also very nervous. The guys seem much better prepared and have done quite a bit of trecking before so I am really worried that I won't make it and ruin the treck for them. It also seems like a childhood dream for them which makes it even worse, as I just stumbled accross that treck and didn't really know anything about it beforehand. It should take 14 days of trecking up to 5545m which is a lot.
for the next 3 days, we finalised our treck, I sorted my visa and went shopping to get all the stuff for the treck. They were quite surprised to find out that I didn't even have trecking boots. i think I am probably the only person who does that treck with a pair of brand new boots! :-0
The longer I am in Kathmandu the more I love it. It's so chaotic, hectic and polluted but it's a great atmosphere that is difficult to describe. The smell of incense everywhere, people constantly spitting with the most disgusting sound, cows in the middle of the road and someone on every corner trying to sell you tigerbalm which seems cure everything! :-)
So far I find the Nepali very nice and friendly and usually quite sweet and also very honest. It is sometimes really hard to see the poverty but I suppose that is just part of it. They are one of the poorest countries in the world after all.
While the 3 of us were having dinner on one of the many really nice roof terraces suddenly the rain started. Bloody hell, that gave me quite a good idea of what the monsoon must be like. Streams of water everwhere, even inside the restaurant. There was water everywhere, running down the stairs, from the ceiling and every attempt to catch it with buckets seemed hopeless but very funny.
We managed to squeeze the 3 of us into one riksha and a very funny evening. I think I will have a really good time with the boys.
after finalising my shopping the next day, Kirby and myself went to Durbar Square for some sight seeing which was great.
The square has 48 different temples, Buddism and Hindu, shrines, stupas and all that sort of stuff. We were even lucky enough to see the Living Goddess. She is elected when she is 5 years old and has to fulfill 32 different criteria, i.e. needs to be from a sacred family, needs to be born at full moon etc. and then she is tested for her strong heart meaning how brave she is.
During a festival she has to watch how 329 animals are slaughtered in a temple and she has to spend 3 nights by herself in a pitch dark room in a temple where they try to scare her with making noises, putting a buffalo head, a rattle snake and loads of blood into the room.
If she gets through all that, she moves into a temple to live with a priest and his family and is only allowed to leave once a month. She hardly sees her family and as soon as she gets into puberty they kick her out and she is no longer a Goddess anymore. She can't get married as all men are scared of her,a s the tradition says any man who marries her will die within 36 days of vomitting blood. It's really awful for that poor little girl, as she has no saying in it. Seems like a pretty bad curse to be a living godess.
we also saw some really cute monkeys around the temples that were throwing berries and seeds at us and a huge monkey. He was absolutely massive, so not quite sure whether that is still called money or something else....
Right, everything is sorted now and the big treck can begin. I am so excited and I am sure it will be a very unique experience either way and I really hope I will make it all the way to Base Camp.

Posted by Julia1976 03:15 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

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