As predicted I woke up starving this morning and had to eat a granola bar before even making it to my breakfast of Tibetan bread with fried eggs and hot mango juice.
I was exhausted this morning as yet again I slept like crap. It’s been a pretty consistent thing the whole ‘not sleeping well’ (a trend that would continue for the remainder of the trek). Every night you go to bed cold and wake up a few hours later in your sleeping bag sweating like you’d just run a marathon and after that sleeping is off and on the remainder of the night. Plus there are all the really weird dreams. I’m definitely not the only one with those problems so I don’t know if it’s the altitude (though we’re really not that high yet) or the 8 hours of walking or the weather. But something consistently causes us to sleep like crap.
Therefore this morning was a bit rough and slow getting started (shocker). We passed through a TIMS checkpoint and our first for Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park. Then about 10 minutes down the road we had to present the same two passes at a police checkpoint.
We crossed three very large suspension bridges during our three hour climb to Namche Bazaar.
The climb wasn’t too difficult as we’d all not only been at this altitude before but we’d also done MUCH steeper walks. But all the same we were taking our sweet time because we’d left shortly after 7am from Monjo and all we’d be walking today was to Namche.
The four of us ended up playing 20 questions for the last half of the hike – a testament to how slow we were going that we could hold a conversation. Though the day was super easy for us all I could think about were the people who had stopped in Phakding the day before and were walking all the way to Namche Bazaar today. Phakding to Monjo wasn’t exactly easy and add on the steep 600m Monjo to Namche climb and the fact that most people hadn’t done all the previous hiking we had, and I felt pretty bad for the newbies. As we walked around Namche later in the day we saw many people arriving looking pretty haggard.
Namche Bazaar is a large town (by Himalayan standard) with many shops, guesthouses, and restaurants – it kind of reminds me of a mini Thamel.
Because we arrived around 10:30am we had plenty of time to walk around and find a good guest house. At one point Benny, Josefine, and I left our bags with Haim and ran around without our packs (which was amazing) to find the best place. We ended up at a nice joint called Holiday Namche that gave us rooms for 100 rupees each and free WIFI as long as we ate breakfast and dinner there.
We set our stuff down, checked our emails and Facebooks for the first time in over a week, and set off to find a place for lunch. We bumped into our group of English (plus one American) friends while stocking up on Snickers and Twix bars and they recommended a bakery to us that had pizza, cake, and free WIFI. Sold.
The four of us ended up splitting three large pizzas and we finished every last bite. The others got cake and cinnamon buns afterwards as well but I was happily stuffed. We’ll definitely be going back there a few times (aka every day we were in Namche both on the way to base camp and on our way back).
At 3pm the local Irish pub (also claiming to be the highest Irish pub in the world) showed the movie Into Thin Air and popcorn for free so we had a little movie night (though I’m currently reading the book so talk about spoilers!). They had some great names for their cocktails as well.
That night we had a relaxing evening of more Facebook (seriously give us back the internet and that’s all we want to do), card games, garlic soup (I do love my garlic soup), and reading.
Spoilers for next time: our first ‘rest day’, getting lost, and splurging on more delicious food
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