Namche (3440m) to Phakding (2610m)
I woke up late, as I wanted to, refreshed and feeling very comfortable and warm. We had plans to shop for hiking gear at Namche today; I was quite excited by this as Namche looked very promising as a shopping destination. Maybe even better than the Thamel area in Kathmandu where the shops were dingy and some of the stuff looked old and worn out. Here the jackets, with Marmots and NorthFace written on them, looked as though they actually were Marmot and Northface originals. It is even possible that some of them are – a lot of these goods come as export rejects from China through Tibet and across the pass to Nepal following one of the old trading routes that connect the plains of India to the mountains and across.
The group went crazy; hiking poles and jackets were bought by the dozens.
At Phakding, we celebrate the return to civilization by watching inane programs on TV at the Buddha Lodge, including a terrible Hindi movie “Dulha mil gaya”. I watched the entire movie – just goes to show how low you can stoop if you are deprived enough.
Kiran then brought in a bottle of local wine. Called Rakshi is a clear wine and did not seem too strong so before long we had finished two coca-cola bottles of Rakshi. Sudhir really seemed to love it, and was gulping it down fast from the little ceramic cups. I enjoyed chatting with Kiran while sharing the wine.
There is a light drizzle outside – Cheekala is enjoying the rain and the solitude outside.
It is anybody’s guess whether our flight will take off on schedule from Lukla the day after tomorrow. For three days now flights have been cancelled. Strangely, I find myself being calm about this. Maybe the serenity of the mountains is having some effect on me, I am not rushing about trying to make alternate plans. Yet.