I made it to breakfast on time today- and again had boiled eggs and bread. That makes about 30 boiled eggs I've eaten while in Nepal. Think that beats the number I've eaten in all my years prior. Some are good, some not so much. The worst were those soft boiled eggs I ordered for dinner in Deboche. Turned me off eggs for a while, or until I realized that there are few choices here in the Khumbu. The "Khumbu menu" looks to be the same pre-printed form, as if every tea house in the valley is part of one giant chain. The only difference is the name and drawing on the cover, and the slight variations in preparation.
We've decided to share our culinary tour of the Khumbu. Phakding has the honor of being the place NOT to eat veggie momos (dumplings) or garlic soup. Namche Bazaar's Camp de Base wins for best "chicken chilly", Tengboche wins for best bakery (although this is a totally biased selection as Linden thinks the girl in the bakery is the most lovely girl in the Khumbu...), Pheriche wins for best Dal Bhat, and Jeff says for bet nak cheese sandwich and tomato soup, Deboche wins for best French Toast. Moving up the valley, Leboche wins for their "Sherpa bread" ( fried bread with rosemary-the closest we'll come to Italian food!) and Gorak Shep wins for...not much. Once in Chukkung, we decided that, in fact, Chukung wins for best Dal Bhat. While its yet to become too competitive, food is important at altitude, and so, we focus on food.
Lucy and Corell approached Linden this morning with a novel idea- they asked if we could go for a long walk today. Linden, ever agreeable with our crew, acquiesced like the gentleman he is. Meanwhile, Lucy entertained us with her dream from the night before...team-mates, and Himalayas and Vegas and long bats and nominal clothing. I believe she and Renee win for most creative slumber. We walked for several hours, and ended up back in Namche Bazaar- the village nestled in the crook of an elbow, terraced to make life difficult for us low-landers. I would like to think that those days up at altitude would help me walk/climb at altitude, but I've found that my respiratory rate still shoots skyward upon climbing the streets.
We arrived in Namche around 3:15, and we all took off to our rooms for...showers! I got mine scalding hot and after 5 days without, it was such a pleasure to don clean clothes.
Once clean, Lucy, Corell and I went walking "down-town" to do some shopping. We haggled over prices and were hassled by over-zealous bank card denials. Argh!
We were late for dinner because of all the credit card snafus, and we're horrified to learn on our hurried arrival that the entire table had been kept waiting for our arrival. We felt pretty bad about that. The dining room, so empty two weeks ago, was packed. The First Ascent team was there, and there we were, loping in like schmoes. At the table? First American to summit Everest-Jim Whittaker, his son Lief Whittaker, his wife Diane, climbing guru great Dave Hahn, Melissa Arnot, videographer Kent Harvey, and trek photographer/videographer Ken... Seven Everest summiters at the same table, And then there were the three of us. Dum di Dum di Dum.
We had fun at dinner, but we were a bit insulated from the climbers. We were down in the non-climber, LOL crowd. Luckily Ken talked with us, so we didn't feel quite like aging losers. We had a lot of fun laughing at ourselves, and, for the first time, felt like celebrating a bit. Which we did, with laughter and the finest bottle of "Everest Water" we could find.
Tomorrow, we hope to wake to warmer temperatures- temps where our sunscreen doesn't freeze ( you'd think that'd been figured out by now!)- and the long walk to Lukla.
Hope all. Is well back home--- we are getting closer step by step!
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