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Published: October 20th 2014
Before we begin our trek back to Lukla, we thought we would share some thoughts and observations from the top of the world.
In no particular order ...
In the Himalaya, everything ... absolutely everything ... is transported up the mountain valleys without the use of the internal combustion engine ... that is ... on foot. Yaks or Sherpa carry everything needed to sustain civilization (food, water, fuel, plywood, two by fours and even beer). During the day, there is near constant traffic up narrow trails to the higher villages and trekkers have to get out of the way of these pre-industrial caravans. In addition, because transportation is so labor intensive (or Yak intensive) , things get more expensive the higher up you go. For example, a liter of water that is $1 in Namche Bazaar is $4 a liter in Goyko (good incentive to use your water purification tablets).
Since we started our investigation into this trip, we have been befuddled by its modest price. Once the trek began, however, the pricing began to make more sense. While $4 for a liter of water is pricy, some things are astonishingly inexpensive. For example, our tea house sleeping rooms in Namche Bazaar (which includes an en suite bath ... the propane tank for the personal hot water heater sits in the shower with you) is $4.5/night if you also eat at the tea house. Amazing.
When it is time to start or resume our hike (after a break) the command is given to "Zum Zum."
Both Internet access and the ability to charge things is entirely dependent on the sun. If the clouds roll in, or it gets dark ... you are doomed.
John brought some spf 50 sunscreen, which is very protective, but also very thick. John often fails to rub the thick goo in leading a number of us to wonder if he is taking up mime.
Tim purchased a bottle of water for his wife today, and instructed the Sherpa to deliver the water outside, to the person "wearing the hat." When the poor man came outside to where we were eating, he was confronted with seven Americans and two Aussies ... we were all wearing hats.
In Nepal it is forbidden to waive at helicopters. Helicopters are used, almost exclusively, for rescue purposes, and waving at them is a signal that you are in distress.
It is very cool to be hiking a trail and looking down on the tops of clouds and low flying helicopters.
The Nikolais have been having some troubles with the Yak population. The other day, while walking through a small town, a Yak got away from its tender and tried to make its escape by racing down a narrow, walled trail. Tim barely avoided the rampaging beast by leaping onto a small rock wall .... and in the process ... kicking an unsuspecting New Yorker in the face with his heavy hiking boots. No real damage was done, and besides, the kickee was a Yankee's fan. Not to be out down by her husband, Kris had her own "Yak Encounter." As you might imagine, on a trip like this when nature calls, one often finds oneself behind a tree or in the bushes while "doing one's business" as it were. While making such a stop, Kris found herself behind an old abandoned building about 30 feet off the trail. She was a bit disconcerted to find that a wild yak had taken up residence in the building and was observing her progress from a nearby window.
We would like to end this blog with a note to our readers. We want you to understand how important you are to us, and how focused we can be while trying to produce a new blog entry. The other day, Jeff was intently writing and re-writing the blog trying to find the funny in the mundane. While he was drafting, the stove pipe in the tea house clogged, filling the space with smoke and soot. Almost everybody fled, except for those working on the repair and Jeff working on the blog. The stove pipe was ultimately disassembled, cleaned and reassembled. The smoke was cleared from the room and we all eventually returned. Jeff remained oblivious to the entire operation, and after the drama was over and resolved, he inquired "why is it so smoky in here?" When informed of clog in the stove pipe, Jeff responded "Is somebody going to fix that?" That my friends is focus.
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