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Return to Lukla

Wed 03 Nov 2010 15:07 » Jon

Namche Bazaar was our first taste of civilisation as we returned down the valley towards Lukla, and we finally had flushing toilets for the first time in over two weeks. There was still no hot water, but even a tap with running cold water was an improvement on recent nights. Waking up, it was great to feel warm enough that one didn’t have to put on every possible item of clothing in order to survive the next few minutes. Unlike Dingboche there was no ice on the inside of the windows, and none of the clothes left outside the sleeping bag had frozen solid.

The walk from Namche down to Lukla was probably the longest distance we’ve covered in a day. There was a surprising amount of climbing, not just up to Lukla at the end, but sprinkled throughout the day. It was a relief to finally make it to our hostel, as my knees were beginning to feel it.

We lunched at the same place we’d eaten on the first day out of Lukla. Rich, Mark and I had what will hopefully be our last Dhal Bhat, though the one was one of the better ones we’ve tried.

After lunch some of the group went to check out a colony of bees, but I set off in search of Lukla with Rich and Mark. Rich disappeared shortly after we’d set off, so I spent most of the afternoon with Mark and Dowa, rapidly heading towards Lukla.

When we arrived, the yaks with our bags were no-where to be seen, so I went and had a drink in “Starbucks” while they trotted down, and caught up with a few emails until the iPhone ran out of juice.

Eventually the yaks showed up and I had my first shower since Dingboche (6 days ago). Once I’d changed into some clean clothes I repacked for the flight, making the main kitbag as light as possible and putting the heavy stuff in my climbing rucksack to take onto the plane.

Our final meal with the Sherpas began pretty quietly, with Dave reading his book and the rest of us chatting quietly. After the main course we presented the yak-man, the cook boys, the cook, the porters and the Sherpas with their tips, then the party began. The Nepalis were all up for dancing, and didn’t seem to have any qualms about dancing with men, which was a good thing as there weren’t enough women to go round!

Our plan had been to get up at 05:15 to get ready for the flight, but another group got up at 04:30 so we woke up then too. By the time we had breakfast at 05:45 we were packed and ready to go, and miraculously this time the arrangements for the plane went smoothly. There was a slight glitch when the security man discovered my Leatherman in my hand-baggage but, being a friendly bunch, they allowed me to walk out onto the runway and transfer it to my main bag! After that we had a short wait while we watched a few planes land and take-off on the crazy runway, then we boarded our own plane, sped off down the hill and headed back towards Kathmandu.

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