Namche to Lukla the flight Kathmandu
22.02.2009 - 23.02.2009 4 °C
Our final and longest walk-day lay ahead and I was not looking forward to a heavy backpack now that Bim was back in the kitchen. But as we consolidated our goods and went down for the goodbyes Bim automatically picked up Andy's bag and slung it over his shoulders... Looks like Bim was coming to Lucky with us! Hurrah! Which meant I only had my small day sack to carry.
Coming down the same route makes you appreciate the scenery so much more because you can take it all in without worrying about what lies ahead. Those precocious thigh-killer steps we experienced on the way up to Nacho were now a fun, downhill, roller coaster of skidding and slipping. The Tangerine woman was still waiting for us at the Everest viewpoint like before, and considering we hadn't come into contact with any fresh fruit since our last encounter we splashed out on a whole tangerine each! What a treat! Once again it is times like this when you appreciate the small things... like Vitamin C; Lights at the flick of a switch; Clean, hot water at the turn of a tap, and a fridge fully stocked.
You will all be glad to hear that on our way through we came across our dear friend Monty. I stroked him with the stick I have picked up along the way and he acknowledged me with a smile and a back stretch. I expected him to join us onto the next village but no sooner had I turned to continue he was off plodding up behind a Japanese Couple! And they call cats fickle. Hhmph! I got over it and we carried on admiring the spectacular views. It was so nice to be walking in the warmth, and funny to think this felt cold to us a week ago. Nacho seems positively tropical compared to Gaudy Sheep.
The season is definitely perking up because we were passing considerably more puffed out tourists. When we stopped for lunch at our first lodge in Fat King they had a party of 15 for the night which nearly filled the place. As they all ordered the local dishes we tucked into pizza and chips and smiled to ourselves... soon they would also be craving normality. As the climate is far more moderate down here it is possible to grow and cultivate more produce, so the dishes are a lot more flavoursome. Still pricey compared to Kathmandu though so we had to resist going crazy on crisps, coke and chocolate bars.
The final slog up to Lucky was in fact very tough and at every village we passed we were convinced it wasn't far. No wonder we thought the route down to Fat King was easy, it's all dowhill! Our hotel was right by the airport and as we rejoiced in our arrival we were joined by a group of lovely, happy, Jappy, tourists. They were also staying in our hotel that evening and provided the most fascinating entertainment. Oscar found them all hilarious with their polite bowing and laughing in unison, especially when one of the little ladies had an uncanny resemblance to Bim. One chap, the oldest of the group at 73, was a keen traveller, and went on trips every month. Despite coming in last he must be pretty fit to do that arduous walk from Nacho, but judging by his stooped posture he was ready to keel over. His guide told us that one night he woke up needing the loo, and after his business he forgot where his room was so he wandered round for hours before giving up and sleeping in a spare room with only a single sheet to cover him! His memory was in fact so bad that he probably forgot what he saw up the mountain by the time he back down. Bless him!
It was sad to think our Everest trek was coming to an end, but it was nice to relax and reflect. While Andy got drunk on his first beer of the trip Oscar drank a glass of the local spirit, which he let us sip and it nearly blew our socks off. We could have done with that rocket fuel for the way up!
Our flight was early the next morning and Bim bid us farewell with these white good luck scarves called 'khata'. He has never been one to communicate with us but I'd like to think he has enjoyed our time together, or even just learnt something for the trip - Never to do it again maybe?
We got front row seats in the toy plane which was breath-taking as we flew off the tiny runway. The last glimpse of the marvellous mountains gave us a chance to wave goodbye to Everest. I am pretty sure I saw a Snow Leopard waving to me from the hills!