Namaste Kathmandu, reminiscing, krypton factor toilet moves and greeting my fat dog!!

So I’m completely alone in Kathmandu for the first time. No roomy to chat to or meet with! I wander around for my last afternoon, off shopping to get the last few items. I buy a blue and purple yak rug for my campervan, I get a cd of the monks chanting to music that will remind me of Nepal and then stop for lunch on a roof top restaurant just so I can watch the hustle and bustle below. Now as I have said it’s not my favourite place due to the noise etc but it is unique, and it has been great to experience it. Even the wiring of tv and electricity cables is a mele of madness, hanging in hug bundles, no seemingly order to them but all works well enough! I enjoy my last afternoon and head back to the hotel to pack and chill for the evening.
Wake up at 6am nothing new there! Try and dose then bloody realise I haven’t checked in on line!!! Damn it. Go to website and no window seats for long plane ride left, do get extra leg room though so bonus. Wide awake now so go down for brekkie. Try the hotel special. Not that impressive to be honest! Sausages cut like cheese string advert, fried potatoes a bit raw, nice eggs though! Realise this morning after just five weeks that milk tea is actually a cup or pot of hot milk with a tea bag in. I’d thought it was so weak due to milk going in first. What a plonker!! Lucky I don’t mind milky tea. Nothing beats the chai tea from the orphanage though. There’s a stray cat wandering around so I feed it the delightful sausage, happy catty! Feeling a bit lethargic and end up sleeping for two hours. Body must be shutting down after hectic five weeks. So decide no monkey temple which is what I had planned to do today, but one last stroll through the noisy, dusty, narrow streets of kathmandus thamel region. I will find my way there and back today without a rickshaw!
Buy a couple of tops, trying to be more girlie. Well I do need to find a bloody man!! Now I know the ex hubby has a new girlie I’m kind of jealous I haven’t. Not that when I saw the picture of them as a couple it bothered me, in fact surprisingly quite pleased and intrigued!
Whilst wandering the narrow streets I pass some men playing a game on the steps of a shop, chalked markings and some pebbles. The simple life, love it.
So after wandering the streets, in the non prostitute way, a few wrong turns it’s time to head back to hotel. I only bloody manage it! After 4 days of walking getting lost I now know my way around, stupidly proud of myself!! Did get begged for money from a local boy mind, he’s chatting to me saying hello, I ask why aren’t you at school he tells me it’s Mother’s Day here. Well after a bit more chitter chatter he then gets onto his task of saying he needs money, he can’t eat. To be honest didn’t look dirty enough to be that hard up but I gave him my bottle of water and 5 rupees which is nothing but better than nothing! Little scally.
Sit in the courtyard chilling, eating my last meal and it had to be momos just because, and finish another book, the one roomy started on the trek and got bored!! Eat, pray, love. I’ve seen the movie so knew what to expect, is a slow read though. I sit and reminisce the last five and a half weeks, what an awesome time I have had. And although I am ready to go home I would not change the travelling for all the money in the world, an absolutely amazing time that I will never forget. So after the memories it’s time to pack.
I managed to get a late check out, they call it half a day but it’s actually a whole 3 1/2 hours for the brain price of half a day! Still worth it though to relax in the room.
Hotels website very misleading. Says complimentary airport transfers but when I asked for my free taxi ride to the airport they say it means pick up, they never drop off. I do argue and say I’ve stayed here twice and neither time did I get a hotel pick up, but it doesn’t work so lucky I’d saved enough cash for emergencies!
I end up sharing a cab with German man so it is cheaper at least! Half way there though he realises he left his laptop back at hotel. In no rush so we head back. I quite like the traffic madness. There are no traffic lights just police men with their white gloves at major junctions. And I’m sure there’s more bikes than cars on the roads? Just a mele of noise.
German man starts to talk more on second effort at airport. He hates Kathmandu, too aggressive and dirty. He told me that money is smuggled out of the capital to Las Vegas, Europe, anywhere they can. Smuggled on flights cargo holds and then the rich people head out and spend it on casinos or lavish trips, instead of helping their home city and pumping cash back into the country! Interesting to hear. He learnt this from a friend in the mountains he’s stayed with for three weeks.
When we arrive at airport he pays most of the fare seeing as we did it twice! A man with a trolley tries to help German man but he shoos him away after some effort and wheels the trolley himself! He has to stay outside to smoke so I say farewell and head inside. It’s fairly small and simple enough check in, although in front of me is a family who clearly have too much luggage, so they no have to unpack, pack, move items around and it takes forever so I change lines. Then there’s a woman who has no print out of her boarding or booking so they have to search by name and that takes forever so I move again! Finally a quick queue. Small and simple airport. One shop, I get a coke and snack (should of stocked up in Kathmandu really, much cheaper!) was going to sit on internet but no wifi working so just read, chill, and wait. Nearly find myself using a squat toilet for one last time but fortunately if you checked the cubicles there was actually a choice of western too, how novel! Flights half hour late but otherwise all fine. I have the biggest grin on my face, so looking forward to going home. Have had an epic time but am tired and in need of some home comforts!!
Have a window seat on first flight, small plane, get dinner, watch the rest of the movie the Queen, the Mary poppins movie and then it’s time to change planes. Now the check in for plane two was bloody ridiculous! Had to queue three times (if you bothered to queue rather than wait that is) for probably half hour before finally being let on the plane. One staff member checking tickets for 400 people, stupid!! Have a lovely leg room seat, just harder to sleep without window to lean against. Get about three hours sleep, watch another movie, chat to Aussies next to me which was nice, they are touring the UK. So I land at Heathrow, hooray. Baggage claim all good, there is a tube strike today so it will be a slow journey across London. I’ve picked a route I think will work though. I get a cuppa and then wait for limited Heathrow express. Lots of people trying to get across the capital, fortunately one kiwi girl has brought her tube map so we can all check our routes. It’s easy to start with, get to terminal four then get on jubilee line but when I have to get off at hammersmith it becomes hard. I wait 15 mins for a tube and then it’s packed when it arrives. I can’t squeeze on with my huge suitcase! Not waiting another 20 minutes to not get on the train again, getting a bit annoyed now!! So I ask train man for help and he says circle line is working so try that. I head over to the other station and lo and behold I get on within ten minutes, straight around to Liverpool street, doesn’t go to tower hill which I wanted but I can at least get home. I need the toilet and at Liverpool street you have to pay. It’s ok, luxury comes at a cost! Not easy as a single traveller as I have my suitcase and backpack to squeeze into a cubicle. It’s like a krypton factor task! So I head for the train, it’s a more expensive route from Liverpool street but my parents will pick me up at station near them. That was less stressy than I’d thought and quicker!
As I arrive at the platform I see my mum in the car park and as I get off the train I see my dad and dog! Yay, however my dog is sooooo fat, can’t believe it, he’s just got a square body. So pleased to see him and parents though. Neither say I look skinny or tanned, blow rude! I’m sure I am both??
So back in sunny England. After some food, a cuppa and a chat I head home to a clean house thanks to the lodger, my cats pleased to see me and some home comforts. I still can’t believe how fat my dog bloody well is, I’m embarrassed! So straight out for a long walk this afternoon, get him moving again. Everyone I meet on the walk is in shock at the state of him!! Chilled out evening, get washing on, watch crap tv which I haven’t missed to be honest. One day off tomorrow then work hopefully Friday to start earning some money again, home sweet home though!

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Road trip to Pokhara, white water rafting, paragliding and sunset over the river.

Pokhara
So today is white water rafting day, followed by a night or two in pokhara! I’m awake at 5am due to damn noise from outside, loud car horns (nothing new for Kathmandu I know) and a man shouting which seems to be right outside my window but I can’t see anyone when I look!!
I’ve got over an hour to get myself sorted before I meet my guide.
Realise I may need insect repellent in countryside so unpack to find it then pack again, it’s moments like this I wish I’d just paid for the room for the nights I’m away, but it’s £32 saved, every little helps!
Downstairs for 6.15 so I can have brekkie before the meet time of 6.30, and man is already waiting! I’m then given a note from reception saying the meet time has changed! Well that’s handy after the meet time!! Tough I’ve ordered breakfast and wish to eat it before I head off on a four hour coach ride. I had planned to take hot chocolate with me in my flask but boiling water provided is not hot this morning, at least it’s less weight to carry in my bag!
Off we walk to bus stop, sweet little man, speaks good English and we make some small talk along the way. There are lots of beggars out early doors. Not something you notice during the day as it’s so busy. There’s a homeless man wanting spare change, girls with limbs not properly formed asking for cash, that’s very sad but I say no to them all. The bus is full, seemingly half with rafting people and the other half local people. We are all at the back as a rafting group! No idea if all together, no one really speaks to each other, just read or listen to music. I have a man sat next to me who has earphones in, so unfriendly but cosy!!
Roads are bloody awful, just how I remember but had chosen to forget!
You just get comfy when you hit a huge hole in the road and are flung in the air. We pass what looks like the local sports stadium, there must be about 700 people there playing different sports. Cricket, football, yoga, running. What a great site!
OMG this is such an uncomfortable ride, and it takes about three hours to get there. When we arrive, a large group were dropped off about five mins before us, the rest here but there are loads of people, about 50 just at our start point. Very inappropriately dressed some of them, I mean who wears jeans for white water rafting??
There are no changing rooms so I have to get changed in a shed, and then it’s a squat toilet again damn it!! Ah well it’s not like I’m precious about these things after trekking!
We get our safety gear, helmet, life jacket and paddle. There’s a large group of Orphanage boys with us, they are so cute. There’s a couple of Polish people who seems to be in charge of them. So we walk to river. Orphans, polish, me, a couple of Israeli dudes, French man, Mexican man and some more staff from the orphanage.
I start in the adult boat. Fat polish man and French dude at the front. I’m second, behind fat dude and with a local girl behind me who can’t bloody keep time paddling!
She is one of those uncoordinated paddlers. Not in time with us ahead of her and I keep wacking her paddle! Gggrrrr
After about 10 minutes the other boat that has the kids in and two Israelis have arguments going. The Israelis have already pushed each other in, instructor shouting at them to listen to him and now polish teacher arguing too! Another five minutes and they ask to come in our boat. I’m fine with that until they say we want to tip the boat. Now if it tips that’s all good and well but I’d rather not cut my head open making it tip. Boring git hey. Anyway all of us go on kids boat and leave Israeli nutters to their own devices! I’m at the front now and have lost the annoying woman to the other side. I even give my camera to one kid so he can video etc although I think I have a video about 10 minutes long with not a lot of the actual rafting, bless. The French dude is a tad annoying, he did this about a week ago for the first time and now thinks he’s the expert. Keeps giving us advice. Shush now!!!! Then he starts counting so I keep in time. I need to count to 10 and keep calm!! Some major waves hit so we are all soaking, the kids and French dude have water fights, Israeli nutters trying to push our instructor in from their boat but this upsets Mexican bloke who is clearly scared of water and shouts at them to leave him out of it. Slightly over reacting as they aren’t getting him! Orphans only do half the trip as second half is quite hairy and we need the space to get in boat and stop it turning over. So they head out and get a minibus to the end point and we continue through some great waves!
All in all an awesome experience. Lasted about three hours so completely surprised and hungry as we were told we’d get lunch. We got food at four o’clock instead. And it’s my favourite, dal baht! Yay! The Mexican and French share their annoyances at the Israelis from the other boat and in general, and tell me no one likes Israelis and lots of hotels refuse their custom as they are renowned for partying and damaging property! Well I never knew!
I’m off to pokhara to paraglide tomorrow so wait at the side for local bus. The others are going back to Kathmandu. When we get on it it’s packed but we do manage to get a seat. The Israelis are late but do get on our bus just in time! Some French group get on with me and two of the girls have the most infectious laughs, no idea what they were laughing at but love listening. The locals are just staring at us all like we are aliens! The bus journey is bloody awful again, tenns machine here we come once more. However I’m loving seeing the green paddy fields and the countryside again. I decide Kathmandu makes me depressed, too dirty, dusty and noisy. I miss chitwans isolation, the mountains cleanliness (not the toilets though) and the clean air of both. Think I’ll enjoy these three days. I have a smelly woman come and sit next to me for half the journey, what a delight!
At 8pm we arrive in the pouring rain in pokhara. More built up than I thought. I run to a taxi, shout my hotel and name and off we go. However the taxi driver then tells me he doesn’t know where it is, tosser!! He asks two of his mates, then by chance I see a sign for it. Then he tries to charge me more as it’s further than he thought. Erm who’s fault is that? Anyway I don’t have the right bloody change so have to pay more, ggggrrrr!
Get to hotel, en suite, tv, what a bonus, can’t complain. Have a walk around local streets to orientate myself, realise I have no long sleeved tops for the cooler nights so buy one from the shops, have a shower and read my guide book on what to do tomorrow.
Good night.
I wake up early as there’s people outside talking, about 6am. So read a bit, watch tv then head to breakfast. There is me and a couple of girls and that’s it. Not the most upmarket dining area it has to be said. Very quiet. I only have a light brekkie, don’t wish to throw it up in the air!
I’m picked up by 4×4 with a Chinese man from the hotel and taken to the meet place, fill out forms, look at pictures to see what I’ll be doing then meet our guides. A couple of the glider customers did it yesterday and loved it but said it was very short. Disappointingly only five mins, so let’s hope today’s a longer glide. We drive up the mountain in a 4×4, and stop to see what a hold up is and one of the Paraglide guides gets out and is chatting when we start to drive off. He jumps on the side trying to get into the truck whilst moving and falls off truck, nearly gets run over? Bit bloody scaring but he seems ok, pissed off obviously as feels stupid. Hope he’s not my instructor may be injured! We have a nice Venezuelan dude chatting in back with us. My fellow gliders are a Russian couple, two Chinese and me. Instructors, one Russian, Venezuelan and spaniard that I’ve clocked so far.
On truck two locals jump on and hold on to side, madness but clearly the norm! It’s a bumpy twisty ride up (no idea how they stay holding on) but views look amazing already. We get off and meet our guides, I’ve got the faller!! Ahhhh. Actually he’s lovely, very chatty. Used to be a builder then a firefighter but said is such a poorly paid job in rural Spain. Here for three years now but it’s so cheap for tourists they need to increase price or it’s not worth working due to over heads. Fair point as only cost me £50 for my glide! I’d of paid upto £75 I reckon. Seems very sincere though and glad he’s my instructor. And he liked my tattoo, forget their view is of my head and neck!! He’s getting something similar. Cool!
So he straps me in (less attractive than it sounds!) we sit and wait for thermals!! Others go off early, just run off the mountain! Very funny to watch as some forget to run, others are still running when in the air. We go after about half an hour when albatrosses start to float in the air. That’s the key to a good thermal! So it really is as simples as run when the instructor says, down and off the mountain. Love it, so calm, quiet and beautiful. Much better than sky diving, we rise up and down in the thermal streams with a baby albatross below us. Just awesome. Everyone should try it! After about 20 mins we make our decent and even that was easy just run again when told and stop!! Great!!
We celebrate by going for a drink at the most awesome hotel. It has an outdoor pool with a view of the lake and mountains. Beautiful!!
Back to the hotel and no idea what to do for the rest of the day, it’s only 12pm.
I decide to wonder around town, and head to the riverside to have lunch, then watch sunset over the lake.
Got a lovely table for two by the steps and perfect view of waterfront so I can watch sunset and pop down nearer for pictures. Unfortunately next to me is the most annoying
bloody girl talking so damn loud it’s easier to listen in than ignore.
And it’s all rather personal stuff I’m not sure we should all hear! ‘My mum said I was beautiful on Facebook, what won’t she say it to my face?’ ‘My boyfriend loves me so much but doesn’t want to know what’s in my head’, Erm, but we we do??!!
‘My brother is a heroin addict’
‘I want to use my body to challenge myself’, ‘We are all the same including animals!!’ I mean what on earth!! The poor girl she’s with hardly gets a word in, and I say next to me but actually she was three tables away and I could hear every word!!
Lovely European couple next to me. Sit and read for a few hours, with a beer and tea, then they go to the water front and kick a ball about together. That’s what I want, what a lovely couple!
So I’m chilling watching the sunset, thankfully annoying girl has left!, I’m taking sunset pics and the ladies selling stuff hassle you when you’re standing there, but nicely not rudely. I try ignoring them but one after constantly trying to engage me, then calls me mrs blue, (I’m wearing a blue top) it makes me chuckle! Good try and genuinely intended to go back after dinner and buy something off her.
Dogs gather on waterfront at sunset looking for food. Shooed out of restaurant, but wander the shore line fighting, playing, watching and hoping for some food!
Bless one dog snuck under the table of the couple next to me as they had food and just laid there. Not begging just waiting. He was shooed (nicely) away but that was so sweet!
I ordered fish as it’s caught fresh from the river, it was lovely. And a glass of rather nice red wine too.
Lovely three hours by the river, very chilled. No other single travellers here all chatting in their groups but I’ve enjoyed myself.
And then a random cow walks past! It is just surreal here sometimes.
The ladies selling stuff have packed up so I can’t buy something from my ‘mrs blue’ lady. Never mind. Walk slowly back to hotel enjoying fresh air. And early night for me.
Woken by snorting men outside again. No idea where but sounded like they were right outside!! What a delight. However the birds were singing so went to read on the roof top terrace, it is called snow view lodge after all! It is a lovely view but very hazy this time of year. Bet it’s awesome in the winter when no haze around. I sit up there for about half an hour then pop down for breakfast.
Brekkie in a completely empty restaurant this morning, but one of the staff came to chat with me which was quite nice. He is very interested in uk. He earns 8000 nepalease ruppes a month which is only £40!
He is my taxi to the airport. There are lots of kids on way to school with their ties like Waterloo road which I didn’t expect to see.
I am quite early at the airport check in is literally a room with some stalls. There’s a weird looking Irish lady next to me, I say weird maybe just different as her fringe is like her mum put a bowl over her head and cut the fringe only! Mullet!!
I go through to departures which is a larger room with some seats and a yeti shop. I have to buy something as it’s so cute and end up with a mug that changes colour when hot hoeing a picture of the yeti! Cool. My airline is posh in comparison to the Everest flights, we get inflight drinks and newspapers! Better than Ryan air and easy jet! And I get a front row seat so can see take off and landing.
At the airport I go to get a taxi, quite expensive to get back to airport. But hey ho. Just sorting out a deal when two Russians also want to go to town so join me. They don’t really speak even though I try and engage in conversation. And then become very rude in cab when being dropped off, ‘you will
not drop us in road’, ‘no you reverse to our hostel we have luggage’, ‘no you go down there we have luggage’, ‘you help with our luggage’!! Annoying bloody twats!!
Anyway I finally made the hotel, took less time to fly from pokhara than to get taxi from the airport with traffic and annoying Russians. My new room has a double bed, wow, luxury!
Had a fab time in pokhara, miss the views already!

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Living alone again, rickshaws, and erotic carvings in Thamel Square!

So after a chilled afternoon by the pool, enjoying our last bit of luxury at the Shang Ri La hotel, roomy and I head off to our respective hotels to settle in before coming back to meet the remaining Trekkers for an evening meal. My hotel is a bit out of town? Down a dirt track and middle of nowhere?? But they great me with a free drink, and all seems quite nice. I’m on the third floor and fortunately a porter takes my suitcase up for me. Two single beds, a very 80’s looking tv and wet room/toilet. But my first room to myself in 5 weeks!! There are two sets of taps and the top two both say cold! Damn it. Have to have a crouched shower using the hot tap before I then head out to find roomy. I put some laundry in as I have so few clean clothes. It’s a bargain though. Five t shirts, two pairs of shorts, trousers and some underwear all for just £3. I get it back in 24 hours. Fortunately my new Sherpa tops are doing a good job of clean clothes for now.
I walk in the direction I think is thamel where roomy is but after 20 minutes realise I’m lost and get a rickshaw! Catch up with roomy at her very posh looking hotel, maybe I should of stayed here! Although she’s not that impressed. We do some shopping, I book my excursions to pokhara, although the manager thought both of us were going so he is a tad moody as I think the fab deal I had was based on two!! Never mind, he honours it!! It takes longer than we planned so are late to meet the others! Decide to get a rickshaw again, bless the man riding us. His little legs working so hard and some of it is uphill. It’s quite a ride to the Shang Ri La, about 20 minutes. We feel bad for him so give him a tip. Not sure the Shang Ri La are used to rickshaws arriving there, it’s a bit common, so we get funny looks!! The door staff are not as friendly once you’ve left!! We still get a salute from the guard as that’s his job but the bell hop is rather off as he knows we left to stay elsewhere!! We are half an hour late so go to find the others. Gragma is eating at the hotel on his own, he tells us that ex pat and Hagrid are at the same place as last night and mr miyagi and son are opposite hotel. We leave him to finish his meal, feel a bit bad but don’t fancy another night there! We wander to the restaurant and luckily find ex pat, Hagrid and Mexican with there starters. Better late than never!! We have a nice evening, no food needing to be sent back which is quite an achievement for old Hagrid! They have to head off at 8.30 as flight is later so we walk back, say goodbye as they squeeze into a tiny car with their four bags and themselves. The taxi service at the hotel is very weird, no one wanted to take them to the airport? Missing out on money how weird!! So a local taxi had to be called. Anyway it was quite a sight seeing them head off! Roomy and I then headed back to out hotels and had an early night. We plan to meet up tomorrow as it’s my last day before going to pokhara. I arranged to meet her and gragma at the square to do some sightseeing at 10.30am.
First night in new hotel was rather noisy! You can hear everyone outside from early doors!
There’s a man shouting outside at about 5.30am, pain in the arse! Anyway I can’t get back to sleep so I head down to courtyard and have a lovely breakfast outside. It’s very picturesque out there, nice tables set out, trees all around, you do have buildings surrounding the walls but otherwise is quite relaxing.
Roomy not replying? She was supposed to walk to my hotel and then we head off to the square? So I assume she’s not bothered or asleep? so walk myself there to meet Gragma. It’s really quite an easy walk, about ten minutes and I’m there. What greets me is a mass of tourists, locals, pigeons, tour guides and religious monuments. I frantically walk about looking for gragma, trying to wave off the advances of tour guides wanting my business! But he is nowhere to be seen. One particular tour guide has tried so hard to get my business so eventually I relent and let him guide me. He shows me the rude wooden engravings, I’d never of spotted that on my own. Very sexual bunch these Hindus, who’d have known!
We go in to a courtyard by a religious building to see the ‘living god’ which is actually a girl who is chosen when very young for this task by an absolutely bizarre ritual. They are put in a dark room, scared to death and if they don’t cry when screamed, spooked, scared etc then they are deemed to be the chosen one and then live a life of what I can only describe as spoilt princess. They have maids, staff, luxurious clothing, everything they need or could want and in return pop their head out a window in a building for tourists to see but not to take photos of. She doesn’t smile or interact, in fact looked positively bored, then just disappeared when she’d had enough!! What a premadonna! Anyway on we head to the square with thousands of pigeons being fed by tourists, they are apparently sacred, but equally as annoying as at trafalgar square. The guide takes some photos of me but to be honest is no David Bailey, they are pretty crap! Still better than nothing! He does tell me some fascinating stories and tales about the place so I am pleased I have a guide. I pay him about £4 but had agreed £2 so he’s at least got some money. That sounds mean but that is a good price out there and I didn’t ask for him! Am I trying to convince myself or you?? I finish at the nine floor temple which does have awesome views over the city, then head down to get a drink in a cafe. Harder than it sounds!! Only one big cafe that is very western so I have to stop there, it’s like a Starbucks but a Nepalese version. I chill, use free wifi, have the most expensive shake, then decide to wander back. Now there is a live band playing in the square. Well I say live, they played the same song out five times over the speakers whilst the band was setting up, then when they were singing live it was over the soundtrack again so was really just miming! Everyone loved the song though, dancing in the streets, singing along.
Back at my hotel I have lunch for one, which ended up being popadoms with the spiciest mix on them so I had a burning mouth for about five hours after!! I finally hear from roomy. She’s been ill all day so was asleep when I was trying to get hold of her. I go for a sleep as knackered but we agree to meet later. I manage to look like I’ve bloody wet myself as tap spurts out all over me!
As I’m chilling for some reason I decide to unblock my ex from Facebook and see what he’s up to. He has met someone new, that’ll be why I thankfully, haven’t heard from him in 7 months!! I wasn’t bothered by seeing him with another woman but maybe slightly annoyed he’s settled down again first?? I then need to pack as off to pokhara in the morning, kind of wish I was packing to go home. Had enough now, but I am sure the weekend will be awesome. And realise the top shower taps actually do have hot water even though they say cold on them. So my crouched shower yesterday was completely unnecessary. What an idiot!!
So after packing, watching a movie and a good chill I’m off to meet roomy. Hoping not to get lost again walking through the streets. Er no, manage to bloody get lost again so have to get another rickshaw to meet her! It was a tad weird seeing her again even though it’s only been a day. Maybe because for 18 days we saw each other every minute and then suddenly all alone again!
We went for a dinner on the terraces of Kathmandu shops. Nice to look down on the streets below, saw our first road accident as well. Bike and car collided, fortunately everyone, although in a mad rush, can only go about 5 miles an hour so they literally bumped, the bike slid then after dusting themselves off drove off! I have fajitas for dinner though I’m not sure I’d call them that, it looked like dal baht, rice, veg and beans?? And the tortilla was more like Tibetan bread (nan like) so hard to wrap it up!! Still had a fun night, even with a sick roomy, and I had to say a final farewell to my smelly clothed, young, laughing, friendly, Aussie room mate from the last 20 days!! Sad as may well never see each other again! I rickshawed back to the hotel, passing a quite busy Kathmandu nightlife on a Friday night, and back to my hotel to get ready for a 6am start in the morning. White water rafting and paragliding here we come!!

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The final frontier, dirty stop outs, showers, breast massages and drunken chats!

Another great sleep, oxygen is underrated in day to day life! Roomy seems ok this morning after her sickness last night, bless her, let’s hope she is ok on the walk. Someone else however was ill in the night and there’s blood sick in the sink, what a delight. Still cleaner than at the base camp tea house, and is has a light and a flush still working in the morning. At brekkie I find out that Mexican and mini miyagi didn’t come home last night. They went out drinking during dinner but the tea house locks it’s doors at 9.30pm. They tried to get in at 2am and couldn’t so slept at a shop owners place until 6am when they came back home. Poor mr miyagi who was going spare all night wondering where his son was! Oh to be young and in the party mood! Mexican pulled a Danish girl but wasn’t interested, he said she hadn’t washed for 8 days so that was gross. Erm hello who are you calling gross?? So of course we took the mick out of him for hours!
I seem to have lost my trouser legs! When I stripped to shorts yesterday i have left the bottom halves on the mountain somewhere! Oops. Last day of trekking, hooray. This should be a two day hike but because we couldn’t fly on the first day this is where we make the day back up. So off we go, shorts and t shirt as it’s very warm being so low down. I can’t remember the route up here but others remember there is lots of uphill for us as we had lots of downhill on the first day. Oh joy. First part is good, roomy is struggling so I stay with her at the back and have a chat about jobs, travels and just life. I don’t think I had asked her all trek what her job was. She is an airport controller ground staff dude, (can’t remember the actual name). As usual we meet a stray dog who follows us for ages, he even starts to come across one of the long bridges, very brave. My dog at home won’t even go over grates or drains. But the poor doggie freezes about a third of the way in, and good old gragma and his puts his own fears aside and encourages the pooch across the bridge and they conquer it together. Gragma says it gave him something to think about other than the fall to your death below! We pass the last view of Everest. Sad to say goodbye after two weeks of the views. I will really miss sagmartha!
Our first stop is at our tea house from the first night. So much has happened since we were last here. This is where we met the doctors climbing Everest, and I got my bubbles out for the first time. It seems like such a long time ago. Roomy still feeling rough and is just about coping. Gragmas tooth ache has disappeared with coming down the mountain. Mr bean is dripping with sweat it’s gross (I know he can’t help it), he has an army like outfit today which is green and just shows the sweat!
Second part of the walk is not too bad, down and up hill sections, still loving the colourful horizon and butterflies etc. Lunch is at the stop that we would have been staying at, lovely view, quite busy though with people on their way up and down. We have passed lots of people on day one of their trek, looking all fresh faced, out of breath and clean! I have continued my namaste tradition so far and am again on about 95% response rate. Sad keeping count I know!
I have momos for lunch and order vegetable ones but get meat. Didn’t want meat on the mountain but never mind, taste quite nice. We sit and chill for a long lunch, nice surroundings, sunny, life is good.
The afternoon drags. I walk at back with ex pat, gragma and roomy. She is really struggling with tiredness having hardly eaten for 24 hours. I find out that mr miyagi is actually a doctor/consultant even though he told everyone he was involved in finance. Why would you lie for two weeks? Ex pat found out at the hospital they visited when he said to them he was a doctor. All in shock at this bizarre lie. Also just realised that hagrid has harboured an annoyance (to put it politely) with mr miyagi all trek. I had picked up on the odd comment but didn’t quite get the whole picture. Others have told me today and I had heard some sarcastic comments from hagrid on the walk this morning. Maybe because I walk at the back I don’t see so much or I’m just not paying attention?
Passang had told us the walk would take about two hours after lunch, at the two hour mark he says it’s about an hour left. Very annoying when we are so tired of walking and you set your sights on finishing times and it changes. All having a good old moan this afternoon, and Passang still hasn’t said two words to me since being ill! We stop for a well needed drink by a little shop. There are three little girls that live there and they are having their feet washed. Looks like its a treat to be washed but the youngest screams when being scrubbed. Bless her. We continue up some very steep sections, I really don’t remember going downhill so much on day one but it’s bloody hard. My legs are pretty knackered. After a mere 6 hours of walking today (and three and a half after lunch!) we get to the gate that marks the start and finish of the trek! Roomy makes it but looks spent! Hooray, hooray, hooray!!!!
The tea house though is another half hour walk through the town as it’s beside the airport.
We traipse through at a very slow rate, passing lots of shops, pubs, tea houses, restaurants, kids playing in the streets, stray dogs sunbathing. We lose half the group into a pub we think, but the rest of us continue to the tea house and toast our triumphs with a glass of wine. Pleased to be at the final hurdle, relaxing and cheerful. The tea house has flags and signed t shirts all over the walls and ceilings. It’s nice to have a read of them. Lots of kiwis and Australians have been here. The rooms, well what can I say, en suite!!! What a luxury! Cold showers, toilet roll and flushing toilets, as well as a sink with running water. We don’t bother with the shower, there really are no clean clothes left to put on so it is a pointless task, well maybe not for sweaty mr bean who stinks but for less sweaty people like us girls!!
I sit outside and watch the last sunset over the mountains. Very relaxing out there, looking over the runway. The guides head off to see family and friends. Mi-ma lives in a house just down from the runway, I see him playing with his daughter outside. Ne-ma goes off to, I think his parents, and Passang visits his aunt. So it’s just us Trekkers at the tea house for the afternoon. There’s a really annoying American dude in here. Loud, a bit weird and just annoying to listen to in general. Quite funny though, his room mate has gone into town and taken the key with him so he is locked out. Shame!
The missing group members return, some a bit worse for wear!! Kiwi lass is rather drunk, they’ve been at the Irish pub and she only had a couple of drinks but clearly can’t handle them.
We have a celebration evening, the porters come for food and to be given their tips from us. We all put in about $80 for the porters and assistant guides to share. There are 8 porters and 3 assistant guides and with 14 people putting in a total of around $1300, that’s a pretty good tip for these poor boys who don’t get paid much. Their little faces were so happy when they got the money, so appreciative and came and shook all of our hands. I ordered yak steak for my dinner, just because one should try the local delicacy. Well it was burnt to a crisp so i can’t tell you what I thought of it as couldn’t taste it!!! Never mind, you live and learn. We ordered red wine to drink this evening, old mr miyagi has taken over the choosing of the wine, rather than hagrid or indie, not sure why but as long as it’s nice. Kiwi lass is getting more drunk, and starts playing the guitar again but it’s out of tune so she tries to tune it. Oops, she breaks a string so it looks like no guitar playing. However Passang manages to source another string so kiwi heads out the room to tune it once more. Maybe interesting whilst drunk!! She appears about an hour later with a tuned guitar, and manages to play well whilst drunk!
The dirty stop outs from last night can’t take the pace and aren’t drinking tonight, both on soft drinks. I’m pretty sure I could drink night after night at mini miyagis age, what a Larry lightweight! We had a lovely final night but most are still knackered after the walking so it’s not a late one. I’ve had about three quarters of a bottle of wine so did need to drink some water half way through the night so I’m not too drunk, just merry!
Last wake up call, I’m going to miss this! ‘Good morning, washing water please’. I was sound asleep again, still loving the oxygenated air! We leave any unwanted clothes and toiletries for the porters to share out. I leave some t shirts and jumpers, gragma has brought loads of Adidas clothing to give them. Wish I had more to leave. We didn’t have time for breakfast and shot off at 6am to get to the airport, it’s only a quick walk down the alley to the check in. It was all a bit rushed, bags were opened and checked, hand luggage weighed, then told to go through security. Didn’t even get to say goodbye to the guides. Passang travels back to Kathmandu with us but the others live here. The women had the longest bloody line at security, men through in a minute. We had to queue for about eight minutes as the security were looking through bags, body searching and then asking loads of questions. Security lady even opened my lip balm tin to check it was lip balm and made ex pat empty her tampons from her pocket. However never checked our camera bags? Clearly the men look less suspicious than us women!!
Finally through to departures and we are flight three so shouldn’t need to wait too long. I had a cup of tea whilst waiting and an alpen bar for breakfast! First flights land and out go flight two, then four, then five. What about bloody one and more importantly three? Passang was on flight four so he’s gone already, let’s hope we aren’t stuck here if flights suddenly get cancelled!
It’s ok flight three gets called next to a big cheer from us. Poor flight one though! I wondered who would get in the front seats this time, pom and gragma did on the way out so would only be fair for others to get to see the view of take off and landing on the way back? Nope, Pom rushes to the front and gets front view again. Very selfish but am I surprised? At least gragma sat near the back. Ex pat got the other seat. Less bumpy journey this time and thankfully I didn’t feel sick. Lovely views of the Himalayas as we fly away. Touch down nicely and herded onto a bus that takes us to baggage reclaim. We have no idea what time we can get our rooms at the hotel as it’s only 8.30am, but fortunately do find Passang at the baggage reclaim and head off to the bus and to the hotel. You forget about the dirty, dusty, noisy streets. I miss the mountains already. Random cows in the road again, horns blaring as we sit in traffic. Everyone so angry and in a rush. We get to the hotel an unsurprisingly the rooms aren’t available so we all go to buffet breakfast which costs a whole £6! We eat like we haven’t for a month! Western breakfast what a treat. Pancakes, bread, croissants, orange juice, normal (well cats piss) tea. Lovely. Rooms still not ready after brekkie so some of us head to the pool to sunbathe. We do look a sight in our trekking clothes and trekking bags taking over the joint! We don’t swim though as we don’t have our gear and quite frankly we are filthy! As others guests start to come around the pool we start to go inside and wait, free wifi and all that and then oh yes the rooms are ready! Roomy lets me shower first, age before beauty I know!!
Oh yes, what an awesome experience. A hot, powerful, luxurious shower! I spend probably an hour in the shower. I have to shave, wash and condition my hair, wash more than once to get the dirt off my legs for a start!! It feels good to be clean!! Roomy was sorting her suitcase out in that hour and still hadn’t finished!
Roomy and I head into town to visit the huge Sherpa store. We get a taxi from the hotel but they misunderstood us and took us to the Sherpa mall. No idea where we are so just walk to the shops we know. I drag roomy into several trip companies, up seedy stairwells, down alleyways, all in the name of getting me to white water raft and paraglide in my few days before I go home. It looks possible though, I can head off to white water raft on Saturday, then afterwards continue the coach journey to pokhara stay over night, then paraglide the next day, stay another night then fly back to Kathmandu. Can’t spend another whole day on one of those coaches. They are so uncomfortable and it’s a 7 hour journey! And all of this for about £160 what a treat!
We get a rickshaw back to the hotel just because we can!! And then head in to see what others are up to and hear about their awesome massage, so off I head to get a massage. It is the funniest thing ever. The first half she bends me into all kind of weird positions, I feel like I’m going through the karma-sutra book! Then she offers me a bottom massage. I say yes why not! Then I have to ask her to repeat herself as I’m in shock at the next question, ‘do I want a breast or tummy massage?’. Really, a breast massage???? What kind of massage place is this!! Hilarious. I decline!
I feel quite battered, bruised and slightly abused after the hour and a half massage, and I’m covered in weird smelling oil, but I’m sure it did me good?? Now it’s time for my eyebrows to be threaded. Now what a treat that was as well. Into another building that has no electricity so she’s doing it in partial darkness only helped by light through the windows. She kneels on me to get close to my eyebrows. I do feel like a giant next to this petite Nepalese lady, probably only about 4ft 8. After some painful plucking and asking me to check, I can’t really tell, it is dark after all I think it’s all over. I say yes it’s great (get me out of here!!) she then notices something she wants to change more than once! I finally leave not sure I’m relaxed or more beautiful but still. (Back in the Uk I realise my eyebrows are very uneven!)
Back at the hotel the group are all sat down discussing the trip. Hagrid is not happy with the finer details of his tour. He’s tried to work out why it costs so much when we now know the cost of accommodation and mountain passes etc. He also didn’t get picked up from the airport when he arrived so isn’t best pleased about that either. It is bloody expensive. Tour cost is £1500 without flight or food so it’s cost me about £270 for the 21 day tour! Maybe they should put us up in a less expensive hotel before and after the trek, because to be honest anything is luxurious after trekking and it might reduce the price! I find out ex pat accepted the breast massage, in her words ‘it’s the most action I’ve had in weeks!!’. Love it.
We discussed at various points, getting tour t shirts. I love a tour shirt myself but don’t think I discuss it with the right people. Ex pat is not a t shirt girl, and roomy just nods along. Mr miyagi would of helped me organise it but seemingly we have run out of time!!
We head off for our final meal out as a group. Passang is with us and we go to a nice restaurant down the road. I order the special that is from BBQ Wednesday! More because the man behind the BBQ looks bored stiff and I want to give him some work. Passang and indie headed off to get souvenir rum in bottles shaped like a Nepalese knife and are gone for about forty minutes?? The meal is supposed to be a goodbye to Passang as well as all of us but he hardly sits at the table as he’s off chatting to friends constantly. Bit rude? But then maybe we shouldn’t have put him on the end of the table with mr bean and mr miyagi beside him. Should of been with all the other men in the middle so he felt more sociable? Or maybe he’s just not that fussed to spend time with us Trekkers?
The starters come out and I am suddenly adorned with my Wednesday BBQ meal that turns out to be a starter!! Oh great. About 6 bits of BBQ meat for my meal. Luckily loads of people have large meals that they can’t finish so I clean their plates for them and get more of a meal than a starter!!
On the red wine again and kiwi is drunk once more! She pulls the funniest faces when drunk, looks so serious you laugh. Hagrid has a steak but sends it back. I’m sure this is about the fourth or fifth meal this trek he has returned. His steak is just a plate of gristle, so fair enough that he wants a piece of actual meat to eat!!
They have these lovely cosy looking seats at the side of the restaurant so kiwi and I head over for a lie down. I could sleep in there, like a cocoon! We are a bit like Billy no mates mind, no one joins us so we head back to be sociable and well it’s desert time too!!
There’s a band playing at the restaurant which is pretty cool. Although we are the only people here to listen to it. Hagrid does a little presentation for the constantly AWOL Passang. He brought over a necklace from New Zealand and presents it too him. We then say our goodbyes and head back to the hotel for drinks! The oldies (well not all oldies) head to bed but 8 of us stay up in the bar and socialise. We have tequilas due to Mexicans influence, cocktails because they look nice and generally have a fun evening! Ex pat with some Dutch courage asks mini miyagi why his dad lied about his job. His response “he’s just a bit weird about it!!” Mexican opens his heart and tells us that his girlfriend died in a car crash last year, and that’s why he’s come on this trek to try and help him clear his head. He then pays for all the drinks, apparently that’s what they do in Mexico and we are not to argue it. Must be a fortune with 8 people drinking shots and cocktails!! Bless him, such a lovely man and not voldermort like at all! As the bar closes I am knackered and head to bed as do a few others even though there’s a continuation party in hagrids room. However when I get to my room I decided its stupid to go to bed, I’m only here once so have a cup of tea to sober up and head to the after party, although I’m on water now. Party ended up in ex pats room and the late night party animals were ex pat, roomy, Mexican, mini miyagi, Pom and Swiss! So hard core!
Mexican spills his heart out some more, said he didn’t love the girlfriend who dies and feels guilty about it. Poor boys head is a bit of a mess! Swiss and Pom head off at 1.30am in true weasley twin style, following each other, the rest of us last until 2am before ex pat kicks us out! What a fun night with my new friends!!
In the morning we get up at 8.30 to say goodbye to kiwi and indie. Pom left early doors. It’s sad to say goodbye. The group is dispersing! After a huge hangover breakfast it’s time for more sleep, so much so we check out late!! What an awesome experience these last three weeks have been, namaste.

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Back to civilisation-toilets with flushes, seats and sinks with working taps!!

Had the best nights sleep of the whole trip, I don’t think I moved all evening, walking down 2000m clearly enabled me to finally sleep. If only I’d had this kind of sleep yesterday I may have been less poorly! I did however wake up all worried about the poor trodden on dog left outside, worried that she’d have broken ribs!
I am so awake I even get my sleeping bag into its bag for the first time in about 5 days, such a relief!!! Head down to breakfast full of energy for once and what did I do, bloody trod on the dog! The poor thing, she was all curled up by the seats and I didn’t see her. Feel so bad! I fed her half my alpen bar to make up for it and let her sit on my lap.
I chose Tampa porridge for breakfast, it’s gross! What a waste of a meal. Little cliffetta broke my heart, she didn’t care about me, went off to the other group to get fed, how rude! Found out the loud annoying group from Australia weren’t all together. Father and son and then a single traveller, then a group of three friends. That’s got to be hard when the other 5 in your group are with friends and you are the only solo traveller, glad I’m with my group of independents! However she is so bloody loud, it’s like she’s trying too hard to be involved and noticed, and she would do my nut in! The tensions are showing in their group as well, the two separate groups of three are moaning about each other’s timings, lateness and generally making little digs and it’s only about day 3 for them. I am very lucky to be in our awesome Harry potter group!
So the Harry potter names that gragma and I came up with what seems like weeks ago:
Swiss and Pom the weasley twins,
gragma-dumbledore (the wise one)
roomy-hermione (everyone likes her),
me-professor mcgonagall (it’s the teacher in me, although not sure I liked being such an old character),
hagrid need I say more,
mr miyagi-mr weasley,
mini miyagi-Ron weasley,
indie-mrs weasley (she was mistaken for mr miyagis wife earlier in the trip, with her Indonesian looks and his Japanese roots),
mr bean-neville (the nice guy of he group),
Mexican-voldermort (it’s the quiet mysterious ones!),
kiwi-ginnie weasley (another quiet talented one),
ex pat-madame pomfrey (she is a doctor after all),
Lead guide Passang -snape (although there is nothing nasty about him but he is integral to our trip as snape was to every movie),
The three assistant guides, Draco, malfoy and Crabb! Just because here are three of them,
and finally luna because she is just so special!!
It was a fun time naming everyone and I will never see Harry potter movies in the same light!!
So off we head once more, chilly morning so started in full waterproofs but soon got hot and ended up in shorts and t shirt. Everest for the first time had the wind blowing in the opposite direction, It’s weird seeing the snow blown the ‘wrong way’! To use my excess energy up I say namaste to everyone we pass, must be over 100 times. I reckon I had about a 94% reply rate! The small things to pass the time hey. I am more positive today after the hell of yesterday. I have talked to kiwi and indie and they would do Kilimanjaro with me if we can find a good cost and date. Positive plans! Roomy has blisters on her feet that she burst and treated this morning but she isn’t walking very comfortably. At least it’s on the way down they have become bad. Going to be a long day for her though. I realised today that our guide hasn’t spoken to me since he sent me down the mountain yesterday apart from briefly saying am I feeling better. Maybe he was annoyed I went back up the mountain I don’t know, but he does seem to be avoiding speaking to me? Or can he sense is as bloody annoyed he didn’t really bother to help me? I chatted to ex pat, roomy and gragma a lot today. Roomy is thinking of getting a campervan and touring Australia. Of course I encouraged it!! Although she is only 21 so has her life ahead of her. I do like gragma, he is so lovely and doesn’t bitch or moan just listens and chats. I should learn from him! His children are awesome table tennis players and compete for Australia. He is their and the teams coach so gets to travel around with them. Pretty awesome. His boys are in china at the moment competing or promoting or both can’t quite remember which. Quick pace today but it is downhill, even the uphill parts we whizz past other groups who are struggling, with our oxygen filled lungs! We have a long break at a village by a monastery. This is the place the group at our last tea house moaned about. The town is lovely, awesome bakery, a few shops and the views of Everest are superb. We had hot chocolate at said tea house and well the toilets are luxury! Flushing toilets, sinks with taps and mirrors! No idea what they were moaning about and boy do they have some treats in store in the next few days!
We could see a fire in the valley ahead, Passang tells us that it is the cremation of one of the Sherpas who died in the avalanche. It’s very moving to see the smoke rise up in front of Everest.
At the tea house we met two Londoners who have been travelling for a few months. The bloke however is ill and can’t even walk to the shop without wanting to throw up. Ex pat gives him some drugs but he has already booked and paid for a helicopter to take them back to lukla so he can try and recuperate then try again to get the base camp. The helicopter was a mere $1000!
What a lovely drinks stop, very chilled and enjoyable. Befriended another doggie that we fed scraps too. We head off and back over the long bridges over the valleys. Good old gragma went across with no hands. He had a fear at the start of walking across bridges and the heights, and held on for dear life to both hand rails and cut his hands doing so, so to walk across without holding on was awesome! We passed a dead yak on the way. Horrible to see, it was just laying there lifeless on the path with its eyes open. Poor beast.
At lunch it was boiling so we even aired our smelly sweaty feet for an hour. I saw a yak hearder go past and commented on how nice it was that he was letting the yaks go at their own pace and not hitting them, as everyone turned and looked he bloody whacked the yaks so hard, and everyone laughed at the irony after my comment! Hagrid was desperate for wifi contact and shopping so he didn’t stop for lunch and went off early with luna. He must of left a good hour ahead of us so you knew people would try to catch him after lunch. Luna is the slowest walker in the world. This lunch stop had one of my favourite toilets, a hay long drop. No dirt, no smells just a simple hole and hay dropped in it! I’m so weird about toilets now. There were some village kids next to the tea house so I got my bubbles out and blew them over their way, they were watching with intrigue so I gave them my last bottle. Job done! Last part of the walk until we are back to namche. Ridiculous that it takes 2 days to get back but 10 days to go up! Madness. Gragma informs me that lots of men are checking my legs out, well I’ll take that as no one in the UK will bother so good for me! We pass a yak with a wig on, how cool, and a bright red one at that. Nice to see the hearders having some fun. As you watch the world go by on the walk you notice the change in scenery as you come back down, butterflies fluttering around again, flowers adding colour to the views and bins once more! It is however so dusty on the track and we are all filthy, not that we were particularly clean! It took me, roomy, mr bean and gragma an hour and 40 minutes to get back down to namche, most of the group had shot off miles ahead. I’m not that fussed about wifi and would like to enjoy the scenery on one of the last few days before Kathmandu and it’s pollution is all we see. We did however have to put up with mr beans running commentary all the way down. ‘Mmmhhh steep, mmmhhh nearly there, nice view’…..aaaahhhhhh!
Back to namche and it was nice to see civilisation again. The room looked bright and airy, clean and comfy. The toilets looked luxurious with sinks to clean our teeth in. We all laugh about how our standards dropped dramatically over the weeks. This tea house didn’t seem luxurious 12 days ago when we last stayed here!
Roomy nearly breaks our being dirty pact. She’s talking madness about having a shower, it’s ok though as I manage to convince her it’s a pointless exercise and how nice will the shower in the hotel be in Kathmandu after 15 days!
After a quick change of clothes into town we head. I buy some souvenirs, go on wifi, went to get some nice jewellery for my mum but mr miyagi and I clearly had different ideas on what is a nice necklace as these were cheap and cheerful not a 70th birthday present. Back in the bakery and meet up with hagrid, gragma, roomy, ex pat and the weasley twins. All on free wifi and drinking beer! Think the men will have a good few beers over the next few days, hoping they are happy drunks.
At dinner roomy is sick and can’t eat, heads off to bed early. We watch the movie Everest, well I say movie, they don’t have movies out here they are documentaries! It’s from the same year as the book I read so interesting to see another perspective. Very sad story. I write some postcards, chill a bit but am left alone at 9pm when everyone is in bed??? I do wander down the street to get free wifi and see if my mum has replied. The streets are deserted at night, very different feel to namche, the odd cak passing but otherwise very quiet. One day to go then we fly back to Kathmandu and a clean, comfy bed. I can not wait!!

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On the way to base camp when the biggest disaster in Everest history occurs!

Roomy found a porter crying in the toilet this morning. Bit weird, he just ran off apologising when she opened the door. Not the nicest toilet to sit and have a cry one other! Feeling down and miserable again, cold room, dirty toilets etc etc!! Another restless night feeling ill, need to be sick but can’t. Then realise period has started, what a time for that to happen, just before two tough days! But as usual once I am up and walking love being here!!! I’ve set today’s daily roomy challenge after a break yesterday. Photo bombing! Who can bomb the most photos. So funny to start with, even at breakfast I jump into hagrids picture, we both keep popping in everyone’s photos on the walk in the morning including random people to. I saw a. Woman taking a picture of a statue so quickly walked into shot and posed!! Ex pat noticed and had a good laugh at me. We do soon realise that we may become annoying to everyone though but at the moment everyone is laughing at us. All good fun. First part of the walk is desert like, baron, windy, never ending, reminds me of the friends scene when Joey is left in desert after film folds, so I keep humming the tune (I walked through the desert with a man with no name? I think??). Warm weather again so back in shorts, getting a bit of a tan on my pins!! we stop for a drink at Thukla which is a busy point just before a big climb, but not stopping for food because it’s apparently the least hygienic place!! No one even dares use the porter loo! Nice. It’s now very busy, loads of tourists about. Hagrids response was ‘fuck it’s the first time I feel like a tourist!’. Miss the quietness of the last few days, we’ve been lucky going off the beaten track. Lots of helicopters passing today, we’re all hoping there’s not injuries from people starting to climb Everest as it’s that time, we’ve heard camp one is climbers current position.
We start the walk to the memorial stones along with hundreds of others. We bump into the 5 lads from the hotel who are doing island peak. All seem fit and well however they do tell us there’s been an avalanche near base camp and six are dead and 15 missing. We are all in shock, how awful. That’ll be what all the helicopters were about! The mood changes as we wait to hear more info from other guides and groups. Passang our guide has friends who are missing so it really is close to home.
As we continue our walk we pass many people struggling to walk up, music blaring from stereos, phones and the most colourful outfits going. It’s a great place to people watch!! It is a tough up hill walk and it’s pretty hard at times, I’m glad I’m with a group as you can stop and chat to each other, encourage one another, and generally have more fun. At the top you walk into a huge area of shrines. Scott Fischer from the 1996 disaster is the most colourful and decorated. But I take time to read even the smallest. So many tributes, so sad. Even more poignant today after the sad news of the avalanche. Many Sherpas have memorial stones as well as tourists although never as lavish or prominent. The update on the disaster is maybe 21 dead. Worst ever day on Everest.
Our walk continues to lobuche, 4950. In the book ‘into thin air’ it was a shithole in 1996, as base camp was over flowing with climbers loads stayed here, and there was literally shit everywhere as toilets overflowed. Fortunately we find it fairly clean and pleasant. Busy tea house unlike most of our stays where we’ve been the only people. A large Chinese group are in one corner, we take over another and then some kiwis take the last large table meaning any small groups have nowhere to sit!
As we start to relax our minds turn to what our families will think when they hear the avalanche news on the tv. I know my mum will panic when she hears about it. I have no phone signal though!! Were off for a walk up higher to see base camp from afar so I take my phone up in case I can get a signal to call home. I have a signal but it won’t bloody work! Damn orange phone. In the distance we can see the colours of tents which is base camp, tiny little specks. Not what I expected to be honest. I think I thought it would be more like a small town of tents with some other facilities? Just tents though.
Back at the tea house I pay for wifi and message mum and Facebook status of I’m alive! Feel better now that people shouldn’t worry! On the web thee are various stories of the disaster, all who dies were Sherpas or guides, no climbers. Just shows you how much these Sherpas give up to help westerners climb!
The long drop toilet has a bonus point for its lovely mountain view out of the window, if you face backwards, however someone has missed the hole and left a nice present in there when facing forwards so it’s in your bloody eye line!! Pleasant hey!!
Chilling in the communal area and in walks a black man. I realise it’s the first black person we’ve seen all trip, wonder why it’s such a white excursion and why it made me double take?
The news on the avalanche is that 17 have died, 2 of our guides friends included. Passang tells us that there was an issue with the ladder so there was a queue which meant they were just trapped when the snow fell on them.
Gragma was quiet today. We find out he has an awful tooth ache and felt like absolute shit and didn’t complain just got on with the walk, poor thing.
The tea house rooms are basic, but do have a lovely painting on the door to brighten the corridor up. There is a bucket with a tap for running water, that’s quite a luxury. Now back at home I’m not sure many of us worry about how much toilet roll we use, however suddenly when it’s on rations you become quite pedantic about it!! 2 sheets at a time unless a number two! Note to self though, be careful wearing a head torch to the long drop toilet, by instinct you look down to place your feet and I got a lovely view of a pile of shit mounted up looking at me!! What a great sight just before I go to sleep. Off to bed Early to bed as up at 5am.
Not a great nights sleep, creaky floor boards, lots of noise from people going to the toilet throughout the night. Have a bad stomach ache to add to the tiredness, may be a long day!! My bloody socks are wet when I go to put them on, clearly too damp in the corridor where they are left to smell and to dry so have to put dirtier socks on from another day. After a quick brekkie off we walked heading to base camp. Mexican headed off ahead of us and as he had his music on he couldn’t hear us tell him to stop! So we didn’t see him until lunch as he just kept walking and walking. Walk was awesome today, the glacier in view throughout with caves, crevasses and ice formations everywhere to amaze you.
We arrive at tea house we’ll be staying at tonight, very busy, cold as doors don’t shut but seems ok. Just having brunch before heading to base camp. Exciting times! Luna has put suntan cream on in the style of tribal paint! She asks if it looks silly, I say well no but it is a bit different. Actually yes she looks bloody stupid but thats her choice! Off we go, via a sign that says way to Everest base camp so we need to stop for obligatory photos! And we are off!! You pass a lot of wet patches! It hasn’t rained at all, yep you guessed it they are toilet stops, but right on the path, bloody men!! Everest pops in and out of view. Very cloudy so not the best views today which is a shame. Lots of helicopters in and out of camp again today, each time we hear one its a reminder of the disaster.
The group is rushing again today. I started at the front and am quickly near the back as others just trudge onwards. It’s a shame as you miss the views, even in the cloudy skies!!
I didn’t see indie at all, she is suffering with altitude sickness so walks slowly at the back. Hope she makes it, she keeps throwing up. I’m constantly wondering how on earth the yaks manage to walk up the steep hills, over huge boulders, across unstable steps. Clearly they are fine as they do it every day but I’m clearly such a softy!! There’s the Danish guide who pissed off some of our group with his talk on how Everest is now a commercial climb, not for real climbers. And when they said our guide had done it last year he just dismissed it, arrogant arse is what hagrid called him! Anyway we pass him on route and he manages to annoy a yak shepherd on the walk, makes the yaks stop so some of his group can pass, then stops 5 mins ahead so the rest of the group who are behind the yaks can catch up. The shepherd calls him an idiot and rants in Nepalese! Love it. He cuts up gragma without an apology as well so not the most popular guide around. So there it appears, Everest base camp, you arrive at a memorial stone with hundreds of prayer flags. Lots of us have photos, I lay a prayer flag and write a message on it, roomy leaves one for her nan who died last year. Have a photo and pom and hagrid photo bomb me, very funny!! Everyone poignant but happy. Swiss and Pom head into the camp itself, we’re not supposed to go there. I head down to near it, call home. Dads still in bed but mum is pleased to hear from me. She thought I’d died! Tells me how when she heard the news she ran to my dad and cried, then saw my message saying I was ok. Silly mare, bless her though. My dog was ill and she thought its because he could sense I was in danger?? Er no I never was mum but whatever you think. Whilst on the phone I see a helicopter with a rope and what looked like a body bag on the bottom, I later found out it was. They’d found another body in the ice fall. Very sad. Bloody Danish man turns up with his group and stands in front of the memorial talking about base camp etc so no one for 10 mins could get a clear photo for themselves. There really was no need to stand there for the talk, plenty of space elsewhere. So base camp is literally loads of tents, satellite dishes and flags on a glacier, nothing glamorous, nothing spectacular. We spot the English doctors on their way back to base camp, think their trip will be over as it’s rumoured the mountain is closing for the season after the disaster. Indie makes it, really pleased for her! So we get a group shot although the weasley twins are missing. I have an Everest beer to toast the achievement with mini miyagi and Mexican!
After a lovely hour at the memorial we started to head back. No sign of the weasley twins still as they are still in camp? It takes two hours to head back, pass lots of people on the way try and encourage them. It’s tough and we had more acclimatisation with gokyo. Back at tea house and we get to relax again. We find out that our assistant guide lost his cousin in the avalanche, the stories just get sadder. The weasley twins turn up covered in snow 3 hours later. They went right into camp and even sat in on a meeting about the mountain that Sherpas led. They were with our guide so didn’t just invite themselves. It’s snowing hard outside, typical as we have the highest climb tomorrow and now it’ll be freezing and cold under feet making it harder. What a day though, Everest base camp ticked off the bucket list!!

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Hairy women, runny noses but making out way to base camp!

It’s a clean trousers and shirt day. Oh the simple things!! I seem to have a bit of a cold but think that’s the norm here, you spend all day with a runny nose due to cold wind. Didn’t want to get out of my warm doona (duvet) this morning, feels like Groundhog Day. Wake up to ‘good morning, washing water please’, feel crap, cold outside, have to wash in luke warm water then put dirty clothes on (treat today with some clean ones obviously!) Clean teeth outside in freezing cold, go to breakfast in freezing cold, then head out still bloody freezing! We walked a fair bit today, lots of downhill and into warmer climates! From 4400m down to 3935 and 8 km. I walked at the front just because I could after my shitty efforts yesterday. Such a competitive person!! However at about half way of the downhill steps my knee started to hurt so got my poles out and slowed down. As it got so warm we all stripped down to one layer. I kept my legs covered mind as far too hairy! Ex pat had the hairiest armpits and realised it after about 5 minutes so stopped lifting her arms. Hagrid stripped to his underpants to get long johns off!! No one cares though, we’ve lowered our inhibitions after a few days together. So the nicknames we have, some are just so apt. Luna lovegood really is a space cadet. Plods along at the back, miles behind everyone. Not a care in the world, smiling all the time, in her own world. The weasley twins take twin selfies constantly, and play pranks on each other. Swiss was having a pee stop and pom made a spectacle of him! Hagrid, well he is just the BFG. Stand him next to a porter and he engulfs them, so funny. And need I say more about mr bean? He even stands like mr bean, arms folded kind of waving his body forward and back. Now may I add I didn’t come up with all the names, roomy and gragma had quite a day in it.
We pass back along the route from a few days ago, past ice falls which have melted somewhat. Ex pat chatting lots today, getting along well as a three with roomy too. Just me being hard to talk to maybe at start, really like her. She does like to talk rather than listen though. I’m enjoying the trip again after the anguish of yesterday, I think the warmth helps. A little local boy walks up the hill with us, very sweet. I give him a Mars bar, others give treats too. He keeps some for his sister, others he eats. Dirty chubby little face, as is the norm out here. At the top of the hill we are at the village, and are greeted by a stupa, quite a nice entrance. Photse is the town, a mixture of old and new. The tea house is nice, our room not by a toilet, hooray, ex pat has that joy this time, but they are squats. Curtains have a 101 dalamations pattern on, quite a nice touch. We had a free afternoon so lots did their washing. I have enough clothes to spread out across the trip so wasn’t intending on washing stuff, but did smell my fleece armpits and decided that needed a wash!! Soap, warm water and drying in the dusty air!! Ah well. May be cleaner smelling but dirtier in other ways. Roomy due to illness hadn’t cleaned her teeth for two days. She said they felt furry, I’m not bloomin surprised. Ex pat and I take the mick big time!! Boys shower again, so clean! The shower is a woman standing on the roof pouring a bucket of hot water into a container, high tech stuff! I do at least shave my legs so I can be in shorts with some respect. Ex pat also shaves and plucks eyebrows, we all openly chat about it. Just roomy who is going hairy, even her top lip (not that you can notice but she’s aware)! We take a trip to the local shop. It’s half house, half shop. Cheap biscuits but that’s because they are out of date! I buy some Horlicks to fill flask with at night. It will make a change from tea. I buy a 30p face towel to help washing routine, wet wipes are running low. The house had satellite tv, it’s weird seeing a tv after so long and in the mountains when they have limited electricity. The other side of the house has about 7 beds, the kitchen at the back of the room and no idea where the toilet is, maybe outside. So basic here.
There’s a guitar at our tea house so kiwi plays some acoustic music, she’s pretty good. More than words sounds amazing. Passang the guide also has ago, very shy with it though. Guides shower and wash clothes too, so us girls lead the dirty way. Roomy loves my English sayings like ‘buggar off’ and ‘Sod off’, she laughs when I say them.
Washing didn’t all dry outside so it was brought in to dry by fire. Hagrids pants were steaming, his response ‘they always are darling!’. What a man hey. Some of the lads upset passang. He explains that tomorrow we can’t boil water at lunch as porters are further ahead than us. That if we want water then, that we can buy it. Now at the start we all paid $40 for hot water morning and evening along with washing water. We’ve been spoilt at lunchtimes quite often getting extra water, so when Hagrid and pom pipe up saying we should get water it’s rather harsh. All feel rather uncomfortable and passang tells us he’s nervous talking to us all every day. Poor boy! The girls all smile and say it’s all fine!
As we try to sleep the bloody chefs or cleaners, who knows, are shouting at the top of their voices, bit bloody rude I say. Night night!
So today is a 7 hour day, starting our journey towards base camp!! The miyagis had soup and noodles for brekkie. I was chatting to mini miyagi and asked how he slept. He thought I asked how his soup was so answered. I just played along but roomy heard. She then asked me how my soup was and I nearly choked with laughter. Easily pleased me!
Back in shorts with my nicely shaven legs!! Lovely views, lots of yaks, waterfalls, rockfalls. However we are now on the more popular route and pass so many other people, Hagrid called it a bloody circus! We stop for a toilet break, and the delightful squat toilets have carved footprints so you know where to put your feet. That’s kind, I’m always unsure!
Group must be tired as not much chatting and lots have ear phones in with music playing. Roomy is bouncing along to her music in front of me, just like a little child skipping along the path, very funny. Ex pat and I gang up on roomy a bit, laughing at her dirtiness!! Not that we can talk. Due to cold and tiredness I’ve been a bit homesick so called parents at lunch. They were so pleased to hear from me, it’s good to talk!
Mr bean at his best ‘oh it’s steep’, ‘oh nearly there’, ‘oh yak’. The weather turns at lunch and we all wrap up for afternoon walk. Snowed again as we arrived to town. Dingboche. Last big settlement before base camp. There’s shops to buy supplies etc. Again the boys shower! Us girls can’t even be arsed to get wifi at cafe so sit and read in communal area. There’s the funniest toilet here. They’ve tried to mimick a western toilet with a box but then carpeted it, all above a long drop. The carpet is stained and gross, the squat is our preference for a change, however kiwi and indie chose to take a seat on the loo!! The tea house fire doesn’t work so we’re a bit cold, but I do manage to get my camera batteries charged all in an hour. Result. Power monkey charger still bloody shit, 15% from a day in the sun. I would not recommend it. Roomy a bit poorly still so orders plain boiled potatoes. They arrive unpeeled!! Love it, so she has to sit there and peel them before eating them. There’s chocolate pudding on the menu so quite a few order it. However it looks like shit!! Not good. I’m feeling a bit ill, upset stomach. Hope I can sleep it off. Swiss and mr bean have blocked noses so are treated to a eucalyptus steam session. Big girls blouses.

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