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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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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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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