Return Trek Day Two – five sleeps to go

23.01.10 – 6.00pm (12.17pm UK)

Despite what we thought, last night was actually the best night we have all had by far since we started the trek what seems like so many days ago. We were warm, headache less (for the first time), & fully rested by the time we awoke. We even got a lie-in until 7.30am which was very very welcome. We shipped out at about 9.00am in very good spirits.

It strikes me that I haven’t introduced our fantastic Sherpa troup:

Psang (meaning Friday, Sherpas are named after the day they are born) – Our magnificent Sherpa leader, which we all want to bring over to the UK & keep!
Hira (meaning Diamond). Hira is a Hindu.
Lapka (Wednesday)
Pemba (Saturday)
Dandi Sherpa
Bhim (the Yak man, & very good he is too! Bhim is the name of a god, meaning strength)

So from now, I’ll refer to them by name where relevant.

Our trek today wasn’t long – & to be honest, wasn’t very hard either comparatively speaking. There where a couple of challenging & hard uphill slopes, but none lasted for longer than 30-45 minutes each. We trekked out of the cold wind path too, so by half way we were de-layering down to base layer & a fleece.

We trekked to Tengboche which was a drop of around 385m (1270ft) – it’s also the place I suspect I picked up my food poisoning (although I can’t be sure obviously), so I’ll be choosing very carefully from the menu tonight! We arrived here around lunchtime, had lunch, ‘refreshed ourselves’ (in various ways!) & made ready for the afternoon’s ‘entertainment’… an afternoon at the village monastery hearing their prayer chants.

Well, nothing had prepared us for the spectacle. We walking into the ’outer sanctum’ where there was a list of does & don’ts. The last item on the list was strictly no kissing – I was reminiscent of the old sign in the swimming baths stating ’no heavy petting’… do they still have those? Anyway, that nearly set me off, but I managed not to look directly at Rob so was thus OK – for the moment.

We then entered ’the inner sanctum’ where we had to remove our shoes before entering. You can imagine how pleasant that was after so many days on the road… the matter was helped by the fact that there was no heat, whatsoever, so the fruitiness of any potential aroma was stemmed somewhat – a bit like chilling a red wine so you can drink it with fish, but I know which one I’d choose!

Anyway, we settled down to watch. Then we were moved because we’d sat in the wrong place. So we weaved in between chanting praying Buddhist monks to the other side, nodding apologies, before settling again on the other side of the room. The room was incredibly ornate & very large. The outskirts of the rooms were empty for visitors to sit & watch, sitting cross-legged on benches running vertically down the room sat the praying monks, & at the far end was like an alter area contain a huge Buddha statue & some other random statues either side.

The authenticity & age old tradition was made complete by the PA system being used to amplify the chantings of the ‘lead monk’ who had his own microphone. This was totally surreal as everything else we’d experienced since our trek began had been – & continues to be – so basic, yet here’s a praying monk with his own sound desk living it large at nearly 13000ft! Sorry, I should show more respect, but it was funny.

Each monk had an instrument – similar to the ones in the music room at Fernvale – which were also used in the prayers. The prayers went: mumble, mumble, cough sniff, mumble, cacophony of all instruments, bang on big bass drum, tinkle on little bells, mumble, mumble, break for sip of hot yak milk (monks, not us), & begin again.

So you can enter into the feel of the prayers, drop your voice as low as you can & say, in the words of Harry Seycombe, Spike Milligan & crew… “ying tong ying tong ying tong ying tong ying tong tiddle eye poh” very quickly, one after the other, 5 times. It’s very important to raise the inflection of your voice for “poh”. Then follow the list as above.

We each endured the bitter cold in out socked feet for as long as we could until we could bear it no more. The last of us came away to the nice warm dining room & reported that the only change to the prayer routine was that the buffet had come out & the monks had had a bite to eat during the proceedings. Thereafter the mumbles etc had continued.

We’re all still huddled in the dining room now & some other trekkers have joined the throng, although they’re only passing through & will be continuing their own Base Camp journey in the moring. One of them is wearing shorts & has been since landing at Lukla! It the lack of oxygen at these heights you know…

Tomorrow’s aim is Namche Bazaar for lunch & some shopping (3 hours), where I managed to knock myself unconscious in the shower last time we were there. I’ll be getting this blog uploaded up to date after lunch, so you guys will have a lot of reading to catch up on! After this the next will be Lukla where we stay on the last night of the trek before flying back to Kathmandu on Tuesday, so I’ll update it again there.

From Namche, we’ll walk to Monjo for our penultimate lodge stay. The day after being Lukla, the final port.

OK, signing off then. Catch you tomorrow. 5 sleeps…

10 Comments

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  1. Fantastic to have more blogs Tim, so happy for you all and can;t wait to see the photos. Send my love to Dad (Mike) and tell him all of the family have been asking after him and are v proud of him Ju xxx

  2. Hallelujah
    We love you
    xxxxxxxxxxx

  3. What can I say? The very long awaited blogs made us laugh and cry all at the same time! It’s SO GOOD to hear from you guys. So good to hear that you made it, and to get all the details. We’re very proud of you all. Rob/Dad – we love you so much and desperately want you back home now!!!!! Take care during these last few days. Continuing to pray for you all.
    Lots of Love, Claire & Katie xxxx

  4. Hello Grandad Boblet. Mummy says hello and that she is very proud of you. Have a safe journey home. Lots of love Emily xxx

  5. hi grandad/dad/John
    Great to hear all your news and well done to all of you for making it!!

    miss you a lot and wish you a safe journey home
    Love from Toby!

    I am so delighted that you made it and can’t wait to hear all about your exploits. See you on Thursday. Love Brenda xxxxxxxxxxxxxx! 🙂

  6. Hey!

    So so glad to hear from you! You’ve made our Sunday. Thanks for all this blogginess, it’s wonderful to read all about your adventures, after merely imagining them for over a week.

    Lots of prayers are still being said. Lots of love and hugs all round, and SEE YOU SOON!!! Hurrah!

    Maggie xx

  7. Really enjoy the updates. Was talking to Andy T this evening; We both agreed that you write with such humour yet still putting across the awesomeness of the things you’re all experiencing. Would be great to compile it all into print at some point (with pictures too) as I’d buy a copy. So many are praying for your safe return home.

  8. I totally agree with Greg’s comments. Tim’s new job: TRAVEL WRITER! Move over Bill Bryson!!! xx

  9. Andy here. Many thanks for these blogs, Tim! They’ve been fantastic. A huge undertaking for you, but so enjoyed by many back home. We’ve really gone through this experience with you – especially all those “silent” days!!! We’re really proud of you all! Sounds like a trip of a lifetime! But SO HARD!!! SO COLD!!! I didn’t think you liked the cold Tim!! Well done to my walking mate Rob, and Mike, Judith, John, Bob – thinking of you all. See you’s all soon! Oh by the way, Mike, we’ve put an offer on the house next door to yours!!! You see I’ve been busy while I’ve not been trekking with you!! Here’s praying!!

  10. hi all
    these blogs have been a great read, and I agree with the others on the travel writing – very entertaining! our prayers are with you and I’m looking forward to seeing lots of photos.
    love from Anne
    p.s. did the person in shorts look anything like shawn??

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