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Published: November 12th 2009
Said goodbye to the yak troop and encountered with the donkey on the trail again after the junction to Lukla. There was far less tourist here, no more dress in best sunday sport and favourite doll on top of the backpack. in fact...almost all of them were porter carrying material into the mountain, I even saw many young looking faces carried those heavy load too, looked no more than 16 years old. Perhaps because of the Mani Rimdu festival were on schedule in the Himalaya, and they need more goods up there. Even the Tibetan market was fully open yesterday in Namche. So I think the trail should call the porters trail, as today I saw no more than 15 trekkers comimg in, walking out??? I guess I was the only one so far!
I choose my destination today in Khari Khola instead of Bupsa, here in KK more feel like in a village, they had shops, school and hospital, people just farmer and not in tourist business as the altitude here was around 2000m, so they could grew rice as well, nice to be around by green and paddy field in the warmer climate!
decided to skip Nutala and heading to Phurteng(@3000m) today. A long walk indeed, and the longest ascend I'd done in this trek, 1500m climbing in one day! but for able to see the Everest the last time before leaving the mountain, I bite the bullet! And after almost 10 hrs I got to the group of Everest's view guesthouse, just in time for the sunset with orange colour cast on the Himalaya, no...not the Everest, hopefully might able to see it tomorrow morning. Re-walked this trail through Nutala I find time to enjoyed the surroundings, drinking tea in local shop and chatted with the people, Rai people are the majority here, not like the Sherpa, the Rai are hinduism, and they didn't burnt the dead body like the Sherpa, they buried them under ground. This time from up to down through Ringmo I saw the beauty of the village, tidy and clean, surrounded by paddy fields, and the view from the other side on Salung was lovely too.
A lazy day yesterday after the sunrise, yes...saw the Everest one last time, in fact the shape of the Everest look better from here than from Kala Patthar, but
the setting sun still not shining from the ideal angle and the image wasn't that great. But at least I could see it clear without any cloud. After breakfast a short walked down to Junbesi, although I made the effort to hike out to the Thupten Chholing monastery, but my body reflected the tiredness and I really didn't feel like walk anymore after the 3 hrs round trip yesterday, perhaps a day rest would be more proper.
Made a day trip to Phaplu Saturday market, the walk was comfortable without much steep up and down, and of course...without baggage made the journey more pleasant, but it took almost 4 hrs one way as I took it real slowly, and I saw 2 deer wondering near the bush peacefully.
The journey from Junbesi was an easy access just down the valley and followed the river, finally climbed up passed the airfield before entered Phaplu, couple of guesthouses right at the head of the street, but the market was actually at Salleri further down 20 mins, "New Bazaar" an old man pointed me further. Nuns carried basket with their head coming out from the market, full of fruits and dairy products, they
all came to shopping from different monasteries around the valley. Donkey troop waiting for errand jam parked the narrow street, or was it just part of the trail? Waggled through them and finally arrived at the market, it was far more busier than the one in Kinja, same like market in China, daily products filled most of the space, clothing, shoes, dried foods etc, I even saw fresh bread and herbal medicines. in one corner they sell yak butter and oil, then a section for garments fixed and mending, but my eye set on the the shoe mending corner, as both of my shoe was crashed open on the side, not much bargained and I agreed with 100 rupee, while waiting I saw everyone paid 20 rupee for a pair of shoe, no words needed to exchanged, I guessed it should be the standard fix price for shoe mending. But...an agreement was an agreement, even I knew it was over charged now, but the price was agreed before I took off my shoe! I beamed my eyes to whoever paid and collected their shoe from the shoe menders around, "bis rupee, see!" I said to the guy who was playing
with my broken shoe with a thick pin, but he just swing his head side way and said nothing. Orange and banana was the more popular fruits or...the only choice of food available in the market, and it sold out quick. Same like any market, tea houses and restaurants were the gathering place, ready made samosa and roti served with tea, I grasped a plate of fresh momo when I saw the stream from the kitchen. The street stretch out from from both ends of the market square seem more quiet, the only hot place was the barber shops ! I stuffed all my pockets full with small oranges and couple of tiny bananas and heading back, while a small green aircraft flying out on my left no more than 50m. But no one seem to took notice excepted me.
I came with humble and respectful manner, I mean peace this time when approached the Lamjura! Please don't send me the running nose again! I covered the distant from Junbesi in 3 hours, and crossed the pass quietly. From 3600m I would made the longest descent in this trip, more than 2000m down to Kinja valley. A
long and painful(to the knees) downhill walk on loose rocks path, I did fall and got myself a bleeding finger. The view from the top was rather open, you could see all the way to Bhandar valley and the path to Durali. Still...only me on to Jiri direction, although I knew 3 frenchs was a day in front of me. And 15 or so walkers coming in passed me today, still it was quiet and peaceful, only the noise of the airplane, and the occasional radio sound from the porters , and of course the sound of nature! Many birds although I couldn't see them all, but they were out there, I did spot many sparrow like tiny birds, a small bird totally green, and this morning a medium size bird like a pheasant but with yellow belly, a long tail like 2 chalk-sticks. And the most frequented appearance was the crow, they were big, I guess because of the Sherpa burn the dead body, and there might still be left over human flesh, so you always seen group of crows around hill top. If you like butterfly, this trail offered you many chances to see many different butterflies, they
all got beautiful colours. From Kinja I pressed on up to Bhandar, this time through the official EBC trail, and the view from there was even better than our walk 2 weeks ago on the opposite side of the valley, you could clearly see the river and all the paddy fields in the valley. The climbing wasn't that steep but by the end of the day after more than 6 hours walk, even a few steps would be a big distant to covered. Finally I arrived Bhandar(@2200m) at half past 5. dead tired and by chance I walked into another welcoming family lodge, but the blanket should be more cleaner, still...the heartily hospitality was the triumph, its immuned everything, beside...what could be more dirtier than me? Hadn't wash for more than 4 days, and my clothes hadn't change for more than a week! They served me beautiful foods here, beside my standard order...dal bhat! The chang come with pickles, and fresh brewed corn wine. Sure I would get a good night sleep.
I got the special Sherpa breakfast this morning, a plate of Bogu with vegetables, what was Bogu? A dune shape streamed bun, but was hollowed
inside. In China we called it woa-tou. That was this 3 members family ate every morning, quite filling and heavy for me, so after 3 Bogus I asked for fried eggs for chaser. After the yak butter tea, Lakpa, the owner name, served me coffee, seem like he really wanted me to tasted everything inside his kitchen. But seem like coffee was also their favourite, even his 16 months baby flight for it!
It was no hurry for today journey as I was planning only to Durali, it was only 600m above me. "there is a lodge in the cheese factory, and from there you can walk down to Shivalaya", Lakpa told me. So I modified a little my plan, sleep in Thodung at the cheese factory sound great. Bit tired this morning so the climbing took me 2 hrs to Durali(@2700m), before I planned to sleep there and walk to Thodung without baggage, but now I would carried everything. Road had been built into Bhandar already, and for the last 3 weeks I saw a car today, it was parked in the middle of Durali village, then 2 more jeeps went up to Thodung when I was on the
dirt track that kept cross-over with the dusty road, no idea where was the factory but I ran into the monastery first, a family was holding a 2 days ceremony for their newly dead relative, "up further for 1/2 hour" a young man told me the direction to the factory. So I carried on up, the view looking back down to Bhandar valley was great, and from more than 3000m high here I could see many other snow mountain in the north-west. The road kept going up but no sign of the cheese factory, the area more like a logging ground with fallen trees everywhere, luckily someone appeared and showed me the right way from the tee-off where I'd missed. Soon an orange colour cottage stood at the end of the trail, very pretty and quiet. It was established by the Swiss since 1957. But unluckily...there was no one there, doors was locked, so...no chance to taste any cheese today. And...what about my plan? Only 12 noon...perhaps I could sleep in Shivalaya instead, and made the journey to Jiri more easiler. Stupidly walk back downhill with my backpack through the monastery as I did see a road sign for trail
down to Shivalaya from there. Saw the young man again and they were sorry for my unfortune about not able to visited the factory, for compensation they invited me to ate with them in the monastery, why not as I was hungry! Although simple dal bhat dish, but each home made in different taste and favour with different vegetables, here they got more bean and dried curry, and the pickles was great, the best was the yoghurt came with the meal. I always like the temple's meal, simple and healthy.
Tracing the trail back to Durali, and started another long painful downhill for 1000m! As time were plenty today so I stopped much often to help released the pressure on my shoulder and both of my knees. Shivalaya was the only village that really set right by the river on this trail, and the valley had an open on the west side, so sunlight could still came in even after 5pm. I deliberately choose a lodge on the back street, still remember a traveller comment "we should spread the money in different place", yes...so I looked for places where seem no patronage, of course...I still need to trusted my first
instinct. Not bad choice again and I was accepted with many warming smile which I appreciated so much, and the yak meat on dry fried beaten rice was superb!
Finally wrapped up my EBC trip today, the last leg and the most easy one, I stretch my leg a little after breakfast along the river in Shivalaya before heading to Jiri, since road came into the valley, more material could be seen here, and the little daily bazaar still got some action in the morning. Surprised to see the bus stood quietly by the road, "bus go every 2 day" someone told me, so...no bus today, luckily I hadn't plan to take the bus from Shivalaya. Walked into the narrow lane in the bazaar, the smell of freshly baked roti really got me, even already had breakfast, I washed down 2 crispy roti with a cup of masala tea.
Although I was came down from Jiri, but the trail seem totally new to me, I didn't recognized any direction as I was just followed the steps of Jiban 3 weeks ago. Anyways...all I need now was waited a little, asked a little, tailing someone a little or
trusted my own instinct a little, and I made it to Jiri after 3 hours. Said hi to Jiban mother in her shop, luckily she still recognized me, fed myself with a plate of chowmien and of course... Masala tea from her pot! Then I walked to the momo place which I dreamed about on the trail earlier today, and finished up with a coca-cola, the first one in 3 weeks! That was my reward for completed the trek. But not all...went to a local sit-up place and got myself shaved, 10 mins later I was brand new with a shining top! Good to be here early so I could washed some of my clothes and got them dry. Also brought my bus ticket to Kathmandu tomorrow, super bus? No...too early at 6am, so I choose the micro-bus, a 16 people mini as the local suggested, "you have time to eat your breakfast !" as it will depart at 7:30. Everything was ready and I was looking forward to another long trek, but seem like I had already forgot about my complained while in Luboche "why am I here? Pay money to suffer"!
Looking back at the trip between Jiri
to Namche. Although the scenery was different from further up in the Himalaya ,and perhaps up there was more cold, so the people were more cool! in this part, the area were greener and people were friendly and nicer. For room rate it would be 50/100 for a room, a dal bhat meal could be 100 to 200 rupee, milk tea should not cost more than 20, and mostly hot water was free for refilled your bottle. For hot shower would be 50/100 rupee.
Micro bus from Jiri to Kathmandu 495 rupee.
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