So our first blog entry...a bit later than expected but its from Namche Bazaar, 3 days in to the Everest Trail at 3441m above sea level.
We started in Kathmandu staying at Elbrus Home, a lovely hostel with such friendly owners and even a nice garden. Not what we expected after our journey there. Arriving at the airport their were people coming from all directions offering to take our bags, luckily we had a pick up so knew we didnt need to give our bags to anyone until we found them! Then the car journey was an experience in itself. Rush hour in Kathmandu is crazy. They don't have distinct lanes, people drive wherever they want basically, all in very small cars and plenty of motorbikes weaving in and out of the cars. Dust everywhere and most of the roads are just dirt tracks with massive potholes. We complain about the ones in England but they are nothing compared to these!
The first couple of days we spent looking around Kathmandu. We visited Kathmandu Durbar Square which seemed to be one of the main things to visit however we werent that impressed! It wasn't really a square, it was just lots of temples grouped together and not even many tourists! Maybe one of the reasons that every time we made a step there was another person there hastling us, wanting to show us around or sell us things which kind of ruined it for us. We also spent quite a bit of time in Thamel, the more touristy area of Kathmandu but still nothing like we've ever seen before. People trying to sell you things, dust everywhere, dodging the cars as there were no pavements, a very different experience of a capital city.
After this, I (Helen) started to feel a bit ill. I hoped it was nothing but unfortunately I got worse! Spent one night being sick so then two days we just spent in the room. The day before we set off to climb Everest I was feeling much better but still had an upset stomach and wasnt eating. We moved to the new hotel but then in the afternoon I thought I'd best go see the doctor.
It wasnt too far to walk and was actually very clean and much more efficient than the doctors in England however a lot more pricier! 90 US dollars just to see the doctor! Anyway they determined it was a bacterial infection and should go on its own but gave me antibiotics to speed it up and some other pills for the abdominal cramps I'd been having. Meanwhile Sam had been out getting our sleeping bags and other last minute things for Everest as we were running out of time!
That evening we had a briefing at the hotel about the climb and met the rest of the group. After this finished we went to get some more cash as they don't take card in ,many places up Everest! And we also helped a Canadian guy in our group find a sleeping bag as he'd left it more last minute than us!
The next morning we met at 5am in the hotel lobby and then went to the airport ready to fly to the 'World's Most Dangerous Airport' in Lukla. The runway goes up hill and there is a 60m height difference from top to bottom. Its also extremely short and at the top and bottom there is a cliff! However it wasnt as scary as we were expecting just very exciting! Had breakfast in Lukla and then set off on our Everest Adventure.
The first day we did 8 km which took about 6 hours with a one hour stop for lunch. We tried a local Nepalese dish called Dal Bhat which is basically rice and lentils with a bit of cabbage as we're advised not to eat meat on the mountain as its not very fresh. Sam enjoyed the Dal Bhat, I wasnt so keen!
Day 2 was a shorter distance, but all up hill! We crossed a fair few swing bridges...very scary! Some of them were pretty long and very high up. Some amazing scenery along the way and lots of Porters carrying an incredible amount. One of our guys spoke to one of them, he was short, weighed 50kg yet the amount he was carrying on his back was 102kg...incredible! I dont know how they do it! We arrived in Namche Bazaar after a long up hill slog, thankfully still no signs of altitude sickness just harder to breathe when we're climbing.
Today has been a 'rest day' however we still went for a climb up 400m to hopefully see Everest however it was way too cloudy. We couldnt see a thing! This walk was to help us acclimatize as we have come back down to Namche to stay again tonight. This afternoon we can just wonder around the shops in the village.
There are 12 of us in our group plus 2 leaders. Its a great group with pletnty of laughs. There are 5 Brits (including us), 3 Aussies, 2 Americans, 1 Canadian and 1 German so lots of variety in personality as well as age. We're the youngest in the group then the eldest are in their 50's (we're guessing!). Group morale is good just now and everyone is doing well, hopefully that'll continue although with less oxygen in the air its only going to get tougher!
Thats all for now, sorry there's no photos, we don't have our camera leads with us as theres a limit as to what we can carry! Not sure when the next blog will be as no idea how much internet access there'll be further up!