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On the trail again.
12 Apr - hiking in the cloud
Most of us ate fried eggs on hash browns for breakfast, real trail food! We don't try to limit egg intake or much else while on expedition... I (Jamie) left later (I had to post the dispatches) and collected all the things we had forgotten to give Ang Phurba (porter, and brother of Pasang Gombu), like our pancake syrup, sweet Thai chilli sauce, chutney, charging gear for the laptops and extra batteries so I was weighed down. Extra sweat was the price of forgetfulness.
Tashi, our old friend, at Kyangjuma revived me though.
Gineth was waiting for up in Pangboche, so we are now five out of seven. David and James are up the Gokyo Valley.
Tengboche Gompa from Pangboche - Jamie
Ever helpful, Da'Ongchu lays out jewelry in front of the lodge we stayed at in Pangboche - Jamie
13 April - Andy writes
Today it has not been difficult to see the "hidden" benefits of our change of expedition plans. Having started off with another excellent execution of fried eggs on hash brown potatoes, we trekked into Dingboche beside the Imja Khola (Imja Stream), not yet in full flow but bubbling away at a rate of knots on its path down the valley from Imjatse (the Nepali translation of Island Peak, so named by Tilman as a peak surrounded by ice). Along the way there were stunning views of Ama Dablam and Lhotse, the ice on the higher echelons shining brightly in the sun, and the occasional stupa, around which we were compelled to walk clockwise to increase our "sonam" or merit, upon which we will be judged in the next life. All this as an alternative to travelling to the Tibetan base camp in a bus.
After our scattered start, the team is slowly coming together. Gineth had trekked ahead of us to Pangboche, as had Marty, Giannina and Tim. Today, we were on the same trail at the same time, and the growth in the bonding of the team was palpable.
After an hour of leisurely trekking, we stopped at one of the more traditional, small tea houses on the trail. In contrast to those that have responded to the demands of western tourists, our tea was boiled over an open stove fuelled by yak dung. The family running the lodge were old friends of Jamie, and together with our Sherpa crew they chatted together in Nepali as the young daughter busily met our demands for more tea. I’m not a fluent speaker but I did get the impression that she was quite pleased to see Jamie again.
Last night Raphael and I went to work on the "entente cordiale". After a bit of Anglo-French banter we brought out the cards (alas, no monopoly available). Suffice to say that the British were soundly thrashed.
Jamie writes: Actually the daughter (now married with baby) wasn't there, but never one to pass up an opportunity to improve my Nepali in useful ways, I respectfully talked with the Rai helper girl, while some porters tried to chat her up. They got no response but I did! Where is this charm when I truly need it? Namgyal and Da'Ongchu were surprised and impressed. While it is normal to kid around with sherpa women, who give as good as they get, Rai girls are another matter. Generally they are shy and also some have been promised into marriage, and with many porters from near their villages passing thru, have to be quiet. The Rai people working up here generally come from a few days walk south of Lukla.
13 April - logistics
Apparently all our baggage, several tons of it, is on the trail, and the front runner sherpas are now at BC, starting to set up everything. Dawa is back in Namche waiting for the oxygen, and it sounds like if the weather is good (and the forecast is good) then our oxygen might reach Syangboche (just above Namche) tomorrow.