28.01.10 – 1.05am (7.22pm UK)

As I sit here writing, what I guess, will be the last blog before our return home, I’m struck by a feeling of deja vue. It seems like only a blink of an eye since I was sat here, in the early hours of the morning, having spent frustrating hours trying to get a minimum allowance of kit in to a small kit bag ready for ‘the off’ in the morning.

Well, I have spent a few hours getting everything packed up ready for ‘the off’, but this time it has been into a somewhat larger bag & has been way way short of the previous stress & frustration. Only a feeling of sadness. Not sadness at the prospect of heading home – no way – but at the final conclusion to this journey we have undertaken.

We’ve come a long way each of us. From the ‘not knowing trekker from tourist’ on the journey here, the gradual trust & sharing of some of our most personal life experiences, the growing friendships, the shared pain & endurance of the journey, the comfort of relaxing in each other’s ‘isms’, to the ultimate farewells. More than just a journey of height & distance, this has been a journey of time – a three week extract from the busyness of ordinary life to share in an experience that will stay with us forever.

In the words of Soul 2 Soul from way back when, “Back to life, back to reality”. & so we begin our last phase of the trek home.

Our alarm call is set for 6.00am tomorrow morning (well, in a few hours now), the bus comes at 7.30am to collect us & we should be at Kathmandu Airport at around 8.15am. After that the times go all over the place as we lose time K > Delhi, then Delhi to UK. I think ultimately we arrive at Heathrow around 6.00pm, but don’t quote me on that…!

I’ll see what the blog prospects are on the way home, but if they’re anything like the journey here they’ll be slim pickings & I’ll probably do a ‘we’re home’ on Friday. I’ll endeavour to upload some pics too [famous last words] as I’m sure my upload at home will be far better than here – it took me an hour to upload 5 pics last night, so I gave up… contrary to popular belief I do have a life you know! LOL.

Today was a good day. We breakfasted at our leisure around 8.00am & embarked upon, would you believe, a temple tour between 10.00am & 3.00pm. The temples were pretty much as we left them before heading off to Base Camp, but this time they were in the ‘crafty’ district of Kathmandu which enabled us to do a bit of gift shopping as well as take in the amazing surroundings. Although still ‘templed out’, to be walking the backstreets of Kathmandu & experiencing it ‘in your face’ remained, for me certainly, magical.

Again we lunched at rooftop height, able to take in yet more amazing views & perspectives, before heading back to the hotel around 2.30pm. En route we stopped off at the Tibetan refugee centre where around a thousand refugees resided, having sought refuge in Kathmandu back in the sixties. The project had been funded & supported by the Swiss but was now self-sufficient due to the high quality Tibetan rugs manufactured on site. We took photos to try & show the high quality, but rugs were incredible with an average time of 2 to 3 weeks to make a 4ft x 6ft rug.

We all wanted to buy one, but sadly the high quality meant that the weight was considerable & I, for one, knew I’d pushed the limit on the way here as it was!

In some ways it was sad to see these oppressed people in seemingly ‘slave labour’, but they were very happy & openly showed they were pleased to have us visit. I suppose the sadness is that they no longer feel safe in their home country, so are effectively strangers in a foreign land doing the best they can to survive. For us, visiting from such a privileged country, coming face to face with such a situation makes it a lot more real than just watching it on the news from the comfort of our homes. Hmm, real food for thought.

Anyway, bedtime beckons. Rob is snoring away as usual – in fact he’s just made the weirdest ‘whinny’ & laughed, so I can’t begin to imagine what he must be dreaming about!

Last sleep then – yippee! It’s goodnight from me, & it’s good night from him. Catch you in the UK. Sugar lump anyone?!