MI: we all found it hard to sleep in this morning, all up around 5. Go to sleep with the sound of dogs barking and generators keeping the intermittent lighting running, and wake up to roosters and the garage doors of the retail stores opening. Had forgotten about a few of the unique attributes of third world countries, like constant grime under your finger nails, basket next to the toilet for used toilet paper (last two things are not related to each other), bamboo scaffolding, dusty streets shared by every man and his dog literally. We had an impressive hail storm and rain again, Gobinda thinks it may be like this for a couple of days.
The money machines have again been unreliable with John and I having difficulty at different machines. They all have varying amounts you can withdraw as a maximum (10k to 35k Nepal Rupees - divide by 100 for US), but all charge the same fees. We've paid for the full trek today US$315 for guides etc and have allowed US$25 each per night for accom etc. Lots of trips to cash machines, interspersed with beers breaks.
JB: This was the great shopping day!
Quote of the day "I lost my shopping list" I'll not attribute this but think most reading this will know who it is.
Spent shopping time interspersed with time in the restaurant/sports bar watching cricket and rugby.Mark,Harm and Chris purchased sleeping bags and puffer jackets.
We met the porters and
Gobinda again. Porters seem good guys and Gobinda said they won't run away which is encouraging.
Many currency faux pas with everyone trying to outdo the others by handing over amounts orders of magnitude more than the bill and honest Nepalese bringing this to our attention. One can only wonder how many such transactions went unnoticed?!?
The evening packing demonstrated a distinct difference in style between the two rooms. One had totally ordered layout of cells for packs, the other a chaotic jumble that to the untrained eye had no pattern but to the participants was a sophisticated sorting and picking operation.
McVet reassessed his load after finding his day pack weighed about the same as mine. His porters being the unwitting victims of this strategy!
Dinner at an Italian restaurant (final meal before three weeks of dal baht) then an early night to be ready for the big start tomorrow.