Happy thanksgiving!!!!! I have to say that I am a little teary knowing that I am missing out on such a cherished time with family and friends. I have so much to be thankful for and my thanks is reinforced everyday that I am here in Nepal. I feel very fortunate for the life I am living and so much of that quality is because of all of you! Thank you for sharing yourself with me!
I had no idea of what to anticipate with a village named Namche Bizzare and I was very surprised upon our arrival yesterday. Our days of hiking are not defined by distance but rather elevation gains. The biggest concern with trekking in the Himalayas is altitude sickness. We have to plan our trekking days around our body's ability to acclimatize. Our climb to namche was a tough climb and we were exhausted when we got here. Of course the day was eventful with new sights to see, people to meet and just time reflecting about a lot of stuff. As we were leaving the village of monjo I veered off the trail to go see their village school. Because it was early, there were only a few children at the school.
This is their playground.
Trail to the school.
This school is at an elevation of 2815 meters (1 meter = 3.28 feet)(Hey Granby Bears! This would be a great math exercise!) and they do not have heating systems like we have in the United States. As we continued up the valley we began to see students heading to school in their clean uniforms. I didn't get any pictures because I wasn't sure how they would feel about me taking a picture of them. I did however bring pencils to give to children as a friendly gesture.
Of course we crossed a few bridges on our way which totally got my goat! From a logical standpoint they are completely secure because I watced full herds of yaks and mules go over them with full loads of gear on their backs. My problem arises when I get on the darn bridge and you can see through the metal grates and you feel like you are about to step through a hole to 500 feet below! Then the darn bridge sways while walking across making it hard to keep your balance and then the icing on the cake is there are missing bolts on many of the grates! I do have to say that I am adjusting to the bridges and getting more and more confident on them. Phew!
We went across the upper bridge.
Realistically the bridges are safe....just a little unnerving for me!
The Sherpa people are incredible! Most people think the Sherpa people are the ones who carry large loads for the Trekkers and climbing expeditions but actually the Sherpa people are their own ethnic group originating from northeast Tibet. They are the dominant ethnic group in the Khumbu (Everest region) region. I don't want to generalize these people but I have found them to be extremely friendly, happy and very hard workers. Before I came to Nepal people who have traveled here told me that initially people go to Nepal for the mountains and return for the people. We are early in our experience here in the Khumbu valley but so far I would concur with that statement. Living life up here in the Khumbu valley requires an incredible work ethic. Yesterday we watched two women hand turning the soil of an entire field. We also saw women and men carrying huge loads of supplies ranging from wood, food, bottled beverage products, and building supplies (metal roofing, plywood, and lumber) all on their head and backs!
This morning I watched the sunrise out our window in our room and it was amazing!
Namche Bizzare is a double edged sword for me. The panaoramic views are incedible but the presence of the west is more present than back in Lukla and monjo. I feel like the locals are providing for the tourists and therefore making namche more familiar and comfortable for westerners. Last night as I watched the sun set and the clouds roll in the strings of Christmas type lights began to emerge all around. As we ate dinner the kids of the owners were watching tv on a flat screen tv that is nicer than the tv I have at home. (Actually I technically don't own the tv in my house because it's a friend's tv that I am borrowing.). Not that I don't think they should have tv's it's just that I typically don't watch tv at my house and I prefer to hear the noise of Nepali music, Nepali conversation and a crackling fire in the tea house. But this also gives me a glimpse of their lives this far removed from civilization. It's amazing how advanced technology has become allowing villages this far removed to have wifi, cellular service and tv! At least there isn't the noise of motor bikes, cars and the pollution from them! Ahhhhh! Happy Thanksgiving!
Hugs, Country Mouse (Remember the children's book!)