I woke up this morning and my immune system basically went, “Nope. Fuck you. Have some mucus.” I couldn’t even talk, my voice was trapped beneath layers of crap that I proceeded to get rid of Nepali style, hocking and spitting until I’d gotten as much of it off my chest and out of my sinuses as possible. Into a functioning toilet of course, I am still western. I silently thanked my immune system for holding out until the descent as I flushed away half a fucking lung. So onward to Namche Bazaar and oh hello, knees! You’re very there today aren’t you? They weren’t dealing with the whole downhill business as well as they dealt with the uphill and no amount of Tiger Balm would appease them. Today though. Today seemed like a whole fuck tonne of uphill. We did spend the first part of the day zig zagging downhill past the beautiful Rhododendron trees that were more in bloom than they were on the way up. Sonam said there were 32 types of Rhododendron in Nepal, and he thinks there are about five different types in this region.
I remembered this bit. I recall walking this path where oxygen lives and stuff grows and thinking, “Everest Base Camp? Hardest thing you’ve ever done? Pfft. Piece of piss.” Cocky fucker ain’t so cocky now ay. Especially when the downhill finished and we started trekking up to Namche. It wasn’t like it was just a steep uphill and get it over with, it was a gradual, never ending incline that never fucking gave up. We walked upwards along cliff-hugging footpaths with stupas at the end only to turn the corner and be faced with another cliff-hugging footpath with a stupa at the end. If I hadn’t already been there I’d be convinced that Namche Bazaar was a myth. Add to that the fact my throat was so sore I felt like I was inhaling knives and you have the perfect storm for whiny little bitch such as myself to convince herself that she has every chest or throat related illness known to man. In the space of a couple of hours I managed to convince myself that I had a throat infection. Then a chest infection. Then bronchitis. Then when Sonam asked me where the pain was and I pointed to it he said, “So your tonsils,” and that was it. As far as I was concerned I clearly had tonsillitis and I was going to have to have half of my throat removed.
After what seemed like an eternity of upwards, we got to Namche. I couldn’t get my head around how we’d managed to descend 545 metres when all we’d done is walk up fucking hill all day, my brain couldn’t recall the initial descent at the start of the day, I only know it existed because I had photos and the others told me it had definitely happened. I stocked up on Strepsils and them nice tissues that are laced with something soothing and don’t rip half your nose off every time you blow, then a few of us headed to Liquid Bar to watch a movie and upset whatever immune system we had left by consuming our first beers since Kathmandu. We’d asked Sonam if we could stay at the same lodge especially so we could have their amazing shyakpa stew with the dough balls in it and they delivered. Seriously. Life, guys. Life is good.
Also, it was awesome that our guides had started joining us for the evenings when we weren’t so tired that a card game requiring very little thought was deemed too confusing. When Christopher had first asked Sonam if they wanted to play he’d kind of just looked a bit shy and said no. But since then, him, Kali and Bhim had all come and sat with us to play Chase The Ace which can get surprisingly rowdy considering no one was drinking and it pretty much just involves passing a card around. They’re such awesome guys, really good fun. I would like them all of them, guides and trek mates, to be my friends in real life.
Namche Bazaar, Khumbu, Nepal
Altitude: 3440 metres
Stayed at: Our favourite lodge with the dough balls in the stew
Activity: Trekking with Adventure Club Trek & Expedition