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The little adventures of Jo! Travel with me on my overdue gap year around the world :)

Namche Bazar

NEPAL | Sunday, 13 October 2013 | Views [531]



Altitude: 3440m.

Woohoo! We are finally here! Although it isn't all that we hyped it out to be, (being one of the largest places on the trek), it is great to know we made it. It feels absurd to recall that only a week ago, it felt like an impossible destination.

The walk up here wasn't too bad, especially once I found the balance of breath and movement at altitude. I'm glad that I have had some practise with altitude on the Inca trail and that I do yoga, which trains you to focus on your breath. I saw a lot of people who started off walking quickly, suddenly slow down to a halt when hit by the altitude. What might usually only take ten minutes for you to walk, may take twice as long or more at altitude. Not respecting the effect altitude has on your body can leave you feeling pretty ill.

The path has become easier but also unbelievably busy the path now that we've got the trekkers joining from Lukla (or the freshies as we like to call them). Not only is it too crowded, but with the crowd comes the increased potential of running into an annoying "tourist". I thought enough time had passed between now and my days in Italy, but it's become obvious that there'll never be enough! I still cringe at trivial conversations that people have, so loud that you can't ignore it, almost as if they want you to join in when they don't. What's worse is if they start talking about how stressful work is as if they miss it more than enjoying their holiday (which is happening right now!) or making incessant complaints about things that shouldn't matter much while you're on holiday here (eg. lack of wifi, slow service, no espresso coffee). As always, the insensitivity/ignorance of local cultural differences and the automatic assumption that everyone is or should be like them, gets to me. Or the "nice" facade that they play. Ergh! I know we all have our flaws and I know I'm quite a whinger sometimes, especially at the start of our trip (mainly because I was unprepared, having done little research!), but I think what you're going through, individually or communally, doesn't need to become a spectacle and respect for others is always paramount.

On a funny thought, Ngwang was very drunk on our way up here yesterday. We had what must have been a three hour lunch at Jorsalle, being the first to arrive at 10am and last to leave at 1pm. He must have had enough raksi, local rice wine, to start slurring his words just when we about to leave and enough to be last to arrive at Namche, when he's usually (if not always) the first to arrive at a destination! Luckily, he had his nephew, Dawa, looking after us, spinning some tunes like "Gangnam Style" to encourage those, struggling with the altitude. :) After sorting out our lodging on our own, Ngwang turned up and left shortly, only to be seen this morning half an hour late, still reeking of alcohol. But this isn't a complaint, we just found it funny. :)

At Jorsalle, one of his friends who speaks better English and is also leading a group up, had a little chat with us telling us more about Ngwang. That was when we found out about his drinking habits and that he's been on several Everest expeditions as an icefall doctor*! His friend said, even at Camp 2 (altitude 7500m), Ngwang always has a drink. :)

We are off to Tengboche tomorrow. Given the rain we've had all day today, it's most likely going to continue in the same fashion tomorrow. Once again, I thought this was the dry season!

*Icefall doctors are a new breed of highly-skilled Sherpas who are integral to climbing expeditions up Everest. Their work involves setting up routes for the expedition group over icefall, arguably the most dangerous part of the mountain. Their work usually involves setting up ladders over crevasses and installing guide ropes to help climbers stabilise when crossing over. Because the icefall is always changing, routes need to be assessed and set up daily. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYRfpORp_m4

Tags: nepal, outdoors, sherpa, trekking

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