Everest Trek - Day 6, Namche Bazar - Kyangjuma
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I was awake before 'bed tea' this morning; looking outside the tent I noticed that there was a ground frost. The temperature was minus three Celsius and already traders were starting to collect and set up for the Saturday market.
Breakfasted in the lodge, which was quite comfortable. The early morning sun was quite strong and warmed the room up as it filtered through the glass behind me. The lodge was on one of the higher tiers of land and as this room was on on the top floor it gave me a commanding view of the activity in the village below us. Hoards of people were now assembled in the market place, which was a seething mass of activity. We weren't going to set off till after lunch so there was opportunity to wander around Namche and absorb the atmosphere.
I made my way down to the edge of the market place - well that's a bit grand really, its actually just a large area of ground at the side of the buildings where the traders come in and set up ground sheets from where they trade. Standing on a tier of land just above the crowds I was able to observe the goings on. Below me a Tibetan trader was busily bartering with customers. This was the first Tibetan trader I had seen, his looks were very distinctive, the deeply lined tanned face with high cheekbones was crowned by a mass of wild dark hair into which beads and strands of red cloth had been woven. I learnt later that these traders go up and down the valley all the time trading at the villages on the way. It must be a hard life.
Having seen the lay of the land I decided to get into the crowds and make my way along the thin strip of land between the stalls. Edging my way between the throngs of people, it was really fascinating to see the variety of goods being offered; everything from grain, vegetables, eggs, strips and joints of meat, to clothing.
Soon after lunch we set off for our next camp. Heading up the slope to leave Namche we passed an enormous rock that had been painstakingly carved with the repeated Buddhist inscription of 'Hom Mani Padme Hom'. Remembering to keep the rock on my right I made my way round and followed the path, which continued to climb out of the 'bowl' where the village was situated. Before long the village was gone and the path leveled a bit before turning into another valley where our path cut along the side of the steep slope ultimately heading towards Tangboche. The monastery was just visible on the plateau of land in the distance. The scenery here was better than I had imagined with trees on the slopes across the valley and a small river below. I hadn't been going long when I saw what was some sort of mountain goat standing on the slope ahead of me. I don't know if it was wild or not, but it was on its own. It stopped just long enough for me to get a couple of shots of it before sloping off into the shrub.
Kyangjuma didn't take that long to reach. I dumped my gear in the tent, which was pitched in the grounds behind the lodge and had a quick look around. Immediately outside the lodge was a stone wall where lots of trinkets were laid out for sale. The lodge owner controlled this sales pitch, which must be a good spot as it's right on the main route. It should also have been a good spot for views of Amma Dablam but most of it was obscured by cloud, which was now coming down from the higher grounds. It soon started to get cold once the sun was down, and I retreated to the lodge to get warm.
The evening meal, prepared by our crew, was quite interesting. Yak steak, or vegetable spring roll, potato and a dhal sauce. This was followed yet again by Angel Delight - tonight was butterscotch. Fortunately for me some of the others can't stand the stuff and so there was extra helpings.
Had a bit of a setback today when I learnt one of the perils of using the ubiquitous toilet tent. Earlier, whilst in the lodge, I had been reading the book 'Into Thin Air' and had tucked it into the 'kangaroo' pouch of my wind jacket when I went off to the loo. Unfortunately I had forgotten to do the zip up, and when I leant forward in the loo tent, the book slipped out of the pouch to disappear into the hole in the ground to join the other 'contents'. Although I had only read the first chapter, and there were still a lot of long nights to come when I probably would be glad of a book, I decided that I wouldn't bother retrieving it!
Journal Extract - Everest Trek
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