Altitude: 3860 metres
Weather: Fine in the morning, thunder and some rain in the afternoon
Hi Everybody its Cassra here,
Wake-up call for me this morning was at around 5.30 am. My room was just above the lodge’s kitchen and I was awoken by the cook singing his favourite nepalese song. By the time he started bashing around with the cooking pots it was about 6 and time to get up. Breakfast was at 7am and for once all of us made it in time. I think as time goes on we are getting better at repacking our bags, that we need to unpack every afternoon.
Breakfast was Muesli with milk and some toast for most of us and Julia had pancake covered with chocolate sauce…not what one would expect to get around here. Talking about food, its been absolutely brilliant so far, lots of it and 3 times a day. Actually we have spent more time deciding what we are going to eat at the next sitting, than trekking. So currently it doesn’t look like any of us is going to lose any weight on this trip. Top dish so far is a local dish called Dhall Bhat. A light lentil soup that is accompanied by rice and a vegetable stew. I have tried this dish at every lodge so far and I’m becoming quite an expert on it.
The Climb to Tengboche
Ok back to this morning’s trek. To sum it up, it was uneventful, but quite hard. We spent the first hour losing all the 500 meters of height we gained yesterday, only to climb the whole thing back up again. Weather was warm, but unfortunately all the high mountains were covered in cloud by the time it mattered so the views were not so brilliant. It seems that the weather pattern at the moment is brilliant sunshine in the morning and cloudy skies in the afternoon.
After 3.5 hours we arrived in Tengboche which at first sight was a bit of a disappointment. The main attraction here is a beautiful monastary which we will be visiting later. Our lodge is a lot more basic than the ones we have stayed in so far, but more in line with what I had expected all along, but the views out of the bedroom, if the clouds disappear should be spectacular…with the main focal point being Ama Dablam (my favourite mountain).
Yesterday we stayed at Khumjung, a very picturesque village in a wide valley. One of the things we really noticed was the dryness. There is no natural water supply so villagers have to carry all their daily water tirelessly up hills, hundreds of meters to their houses. Potatoes are the only crop grown here and small fields are surrounded by beautiful waist-high stone fences to keep the yaks from demolishing them. (Having said how dry it is, as I write this, there is rolling thunder and the afternoon monsoon is actually bringing rain!)
Thanks everyone for all your nice messages they’re much appreciated.
That’s all from me, Cas.
Hi everyone, Fiona here…
Beginning to Understand the Role of the Monastry
After lunch and a rest, we heard the sound of the monks horns and crossed the grassy expanse separating our lodge from the monastary. We removed our shoes and followed the monks inside to sit cross legged on the wooden floor. Soon after, the monks started their hypnotic chanting and we listened and watched – silently fascinated, enchanted, and feeling quite ignorant as to the Buddhist rituals.
After the service, we stepped next door to visit the Eco-Centre – a non-profit visitors centre. Here we viewed an exhibition and watched a short documentary explaining the fundamentals of Buddhism and the history of the Tengboche Monastary. We were interested to hear about the monk’s role in protecting the fragile environment of the Khumbu and their role in creating a viable lifestyle for the local people. In particular, the way that tourism is seen as both an important part of the Sherpa people’s future, as well as a threat to the local environment. Much is being done to ensure that tourism continues to grow in a sustainable manner.
We learnt more about the Buddhist rituals and symbols we’d seen in Nepal – including the prayer flags, the mani stones, kata scarves, monks robes, Buddhist paintings and more. I particularly like the “Om Mani Padme Hung” mantra which is carved into the countless mani stones we see along the trek. Translated literally, this means “hail to the jewel of the lotus” for which one interpretation is that just as a lotus flower grows out of muddy, stagnant water, it is believed that we too can grow out of fear, ignorance, delusion and other negativity and adversity… so too becoming like a beautiful lotus flower. Obviously we’ve just scratched the surface of these intriguing people but we all came away with a much greater appreciation of this beautiful place.
Good to hear that you are organising things for Germany. Five weeks after I get back doesn’t seem very long. Davis, thanks for the daypack too. Knees are holding up well. You would all have a great time here so we’ll have to come back… Yesterday’s headache has gone and I’m feeling good. Please say hi to Mama & Papa, Grannie & Grandad.
Glen Iris McCarthys
The conservation issues here are quite different although in some villages, water is an issue because they are not near a river, and today I could see the aftermath of a short forest fire through some pines. Interesting being in a World Heritage Area where people are still living after centuries. More when I get back. Liz.
Frank and the crew:
Thanks for the personal grooming tips! I’ll keep them in mind and Niels, I’ll be as clean as a bottom bracket whenever I find some washing water. Everyone has noticed how much I eat too. Hope you are all studying up on the Nepalese flora so that you can identify plants from my photos. Cheers, Liz.
Chris and Bridge – I’m reminded about our trip last year many times as we arrive at the places we shared many fun and funny experiences last year. We’ve so far avoided the bakery here in Tengboche… once bitten… Hope you guys are well and enjoying Sydney life. Fiona
Denise wants to know how many games Hawthorn actually played (and lost) last week! No seriously, she is very grateful for the updates.
Beck thanks Meals as well for her footy update.
Thanks to everyone else for their messages and support.