Altitude: 1290 metres
Weather: Around 30C
Fiona here with everyone from Trek Team 2 together! Right now we’re all sitting at the Rum Doodle waiting for our dinner and enjoying sitting on the rooftop terrace drinking Everest beer.
Meeting with Asian Trekking
Our day started with a meeting at Asian Trekking’s office where we finalised details for our trek and flight tomorrow. Can you believe that we’re having a wake up call at 4am? After the formalities were over, we sank into the couch and enjoyed our first Nepali Tea (very sweet and milky and not everyone’s cup of tea!). Surprisingly, this quickly turned into a male skin care discussion as Cas marvelled at Mohan’s good skin and jet black hair. After a lot of laughs we decided that we’d better get the day underway and headed off to purchase the remaining things everyone needs for the trek into basecamp.
Speed Gear Shopping
Luckily Paul, Tim and Damien had left us directions to a shop that was good to buy from and some of the prices that they’d negotiated. We did pretty well with getting everything, but I think between the 7 of us, we bought enough for them to take a holiday for the next 3 weeks. We promised we’d put them on the Internet for looking after us so if anyone is heading to Kathmandu, we recommend they buy gear from Ramesh at Mountain Extreme Treks and Expedition Ltd.
After rushing back to our hotel laden with goodies, we met up with a guide from AT who we had arranged to take us to see some sights. We all piled into a mini-bus and took off down the narrow streets. First stop was a famous Stupa. Here spun our first prayer wheels, visited our first temple and walked on the platform of the massive, limewashed stupa with the all-seeing eyes. We marvelled at the many contradictions of street life such as monks in traditional dress taking mobile phone calls and drinking Sprite, or ornate local artworks available as mousemats. We had a fairly authentic Nepalese lunch on a roof-top restaurant overlooking the Stupa.
After this we headed for an unexpeected but very interesting site of Kathmandu – the local crematorium. This is essentially an area along the river where the recently deceased are brought and burnt while their family and friends observe and mourn nearby. While we were there, a body was rushed down to the river, wrapped in red and orange cloth, and carried on a makeshift stretch by 8 men. Once they got there, they began to change the cloths that covered him and gently washed his body down. Nearby, the wood was piled up and ready.
Along a bit further was a huge crowd. Here was the site where a more wealthy person was being cremated and hundreds of people were looking on.
In the area there were around 5-6 cremations taking place and smoke filled the sky. But this didn’t seem to bother the local kids who were playing volleyball and cricket just a few metres away.
Dinner and Organising
We came back to the hotel to find Beck feeling a whole lot better. Her stomach had still been upset this morning so she had decided not to join us for shopping or the site seeing. After a gear sorting convention in Denise’s room, we all headed out to dinner at the Rumdoodle.
Providing the weather is good, tomorrow we’ll be flying into Lukla and will finally begin our trek to basecamp.
Everyone here says hi!
All the best,