Well time has passed and I didnt manage to blog all the way up and down to Everest Base Camp for a couple of reasons – 1: Internet Cafe’s out of action 2: No Internet Cafe within walking distance and finally 3: I am exhausted at the end of each day and all Cafe’s were downhill! So here I am back home in Perth and surrounded by all the comforts – Nepal already seems like another life 🙂
We are all getting into the daily routine of wake up, washy-washy water left outside our doors. A quick swill down, bags packed and dumped outside the door for our Porters to lug up to the next spot, a mad flurry of backpacks, water bottles and hiking poles and Phew! Sit down for breakfast!
This is where we discovered that not only is there “Altitude Sickness” but also “Altitude Thickness”! As you can imagine a few of us suffered this more than others – or maybe the others hid it better than some 🙂
So back to the routine – One of the Sherpa’s duties was to make sure our hands were clean before every meal – he was in charge of the hand cleaner and called out “Washy-Washy” and before you knew it you had a big glob of hand cleaner in your hands. This Sherpa is called “Pemba”. Ah yes – I now know the names of the two other Sherpa’s that are with us – Raj and Silah. So not too much Altitude thickness on my side YET?
After breakfast we set off at a blistering? pace up hill. My breathing certainly is giving me food for thought. Did I do enough training for this trek? Would I make it? So I decided on day 4 that I would put one step in front of the other and ignore the “leaders of the pack” who were on the heels of the Lead Sherpa every minute of the day.
We only had a short walk today which I was very pleased about. Along the route we stopped off at a place called Hotel Everest View which is at 3880m. Guess what? No view of Everest for us as it was a very cloudy day. Never mind I am sure we will get a view before too long. If not – I will buy a postcard 🙂
We arrived at our destination for the night in the small village of Khumjung (3970m) at about 1pm. So once again its out with the menu for our lunch and then after lunch we have to order our dinner – another routine behaviour that has been instilled in us. Putting a routine in place really helped us all put our focus on what we needed to do at any point during the day. Smart move from our Leader – Tek. He knows the importance of getting us on to the same page as quickly as possible.
So after lunch we were asked if we wanted to go for a walk and see the Monastery and the Hospital. I suffer really badly from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) so of course I went to have a look around – even if all my body wanted was to curl up with a good book in front of the Yak Dung fire with a steaming pot of “Hot Lemon”.
The walk through the village was great – snow was falling gently and the stone houses and walls gleamed with the rays of sunshine that kept on creeping out from behind the snow filled clouds. Awesome!
We “popped” into the Monastery and found it full of Nuns and Lamas (Monks) who were all chanting from some old prayer books – from 10am till 10pm! Thats dedication for you. We were allowed to take pictures inside the monastery and were asked for donations too. I thought the donations were to allow us to see the monks – but they were in fact for us to view the contents inside the locked cabinet. As you can imagine with 14 of us – there were a few that didn’t donate and had no idea what was going on….there was so much happening around us all – that’s nothing new and am sure over the next few days we will all get to understand how each one of us operates. The joys of going on group tours?
Anyway – back to the content of the locked cabinet. Can you believe it? A yeti scalp? OMG! I took a photo of it and hoped that I could have a more detailed look once back in Perth.
There is a difference between a Monk and a Lama which I didnt know until now. A lama is a Buddhist teacher (translation of the Sanskrit word “guru”) and a monk is a man who has renounced worldly life to (usually) live in a monastery and follow the monastic rules that were decided by the Buddha. Many lamas are monks, but there are many monks that are not lamas and there are lamas that are not monks. Confusing hey?
Once we left the Monastery three of the ladies returned to the Guest lodge – I must admit I thought about it – but once again FOMO took over and I carried onto the Hospital with the rest of the group. It was a long walk through the village as it was all uphill (Nepali Flat?) and once we arrived there I was very relieved to have a seat on a stone bench outside the Doctor’s office.
Kunde Hospital was established in 1966, in Kunde Village which is now part of Khumjung just north of Namche Bazaar. It was the second major project of the Himalayan Trust and now services over 10,000 Sherpa’s within the Khumbu District.
The Hospital administers a number of immunization programmes which are funded by UN. These include: Vitamin A, Polio and standard child immunization. Kunde Hospital has a number of key facilities which helps to provide the much needed medical services. These include an x-ray machine, oxygen concentrators, ECG machine, an ultrasound, and fetal monitors. The hospital does lack adequate facilities for testing bloods and storage of blood products.
It was an amazing place and we got to have a chat with the Doctor on duty about the sort of problems that he came across. Sounds like they have a great hospital running there. I find it hard to believe that it is the only one around for miles and the mountains that the patients have to climb to get there are so hard! We are soft in the Western world – that’s for sure!
Anyway dinner back at the lodge and bed – this time sharing a room with the lovely Gemma – An Irish Lady always on the look out for that elusive Irish Pub. Hope I don’t snore and keep her awake!