Number of survivors: still 8! Wow!
First off, I will like to start with a story from late last night. As I walked over to the famous blue tent (toilet) before going to bed, I suddenly heard Alda’s voice from the blue tent, “OH NOOOOOOO!! ”. I asked her what happened and if she is okay, Alda shyly said “I lost one of my flip flops in the hole….!” I felt very bad for Alda losing her flip flop, but I am sorry…it was hilarious and I burst into laughter. By that time, Frank and Erin were also waiting in line for the bathroom and we all laughed our heads off. During that entire time, Alda was getting mad, saying “this isn’t funny, guys!”. Our loud laughter was soon heard by the entire camp and Jackie (Alda’s tent mate) graciously came running with her rain boots to save Alda. Even Dr. Murphy came along laughing and even fished her flip flop out of the hole, even though Alda persistently told him not to. It was great to see a different side of Alda, who is always very calm and proper! :P
It rained persistently throughout the night (as usual) and we were up in the clouds when we woke up. We did our usual morning routine of drinking hot tea, packing up, and eating breakfast (today’s breakfast: porridge, scrambled eggs, tortilla).
Today was actually an easy hiking day since we only trekked 2 hours in the morning, mostly walking around the periphery of the mountain with a little bit of uphill trekking. The landscape has changed a lot compared to where we trekked these past few days, probably because of the higher elevation. There is a lot more green and little streams, with buttercups and some pink flowers in the fields. This nature landscape reminds me of the Pacific Northwest (the rain even adds to the picture! Oh rainy Seattle, home sweet home!). Dr. Murphy and Phula, our main trek guide, had intimidated us last night that we would be trekking through some scary, unsafe cliffs, which will require us to use safety ropes! At that time, I asked myself “what did I sign myself up for?!”. Erin was getting butterflies during breakfast too. But, by the time we knew it, we arrived at the Pikey Peak camp base. Today was probably the easiest hiking day we have had thus far. We were planning on hiking to the highest point of Pikey Peak, but unfortunately the weather has been crappy, so it has been postponed to tomorrow morning (hopefully the weather will be nice tomorrow morning!). If it is clear at this highest point, we will have a fantastic view of all the high peaks of Nepal, including Mount Everest!
According to Phula, Pikey Peak (3650m elevation) is a famous Buddhist location to collect juniper. A few days from today is a Buddhist holiday in which thousands of people will come visit Pikey Peak to collect juniper.
Due to the bad weather this afternoon, this afternoon was spent “chillaxing”. Lazy Wednesday afternoon J Because of the cold temperature, we all went into our down sleeping bags and took a nap. It was great to just relax and be lazy for once! Kim and I got too bored of sleeping and resorted to snacking on Japanese rice crackers, green tea chocolates, probiotic gummy bears, and yogurt covered dried fruits! Mmm, how we love food.
Speaking of food, as probably mentioned by everyone ahead of me, the food cooked by our Sherpa cooks is AMAZING. It just keeps getting better and better. My favorite part of the day is the hot steamed towel and the warm soup that we get for dinner every night. We were spoiled today and got noodle soup even for lunch today. I would love to learn to cook some Nepalese food by the end of this trip!
I don’t know why, but all the sudden everyone started calling me “mom” when I tried to be nice and offer to pour Dali (traditional Nepalese lentil soup) over everyone’s rice. Andrew called me “Lisa kaasan” in Japanese and even Dr. Murphy called me mom….!! This needs to stop. Awkward!
During this trekking trip, I began teaching some simple Japanese phrases to Erin and Andrew. Here are some phrases that we’ve covered so far (you can probably tell what we see and feel everyday while we trek everyday from this list of phrases…):
- Ame = rain
- Kumo = cloud
- Tsukareta = I’m tired
- Nemui = Sleepy
- Atsui = hot
- Samui = cold
The Sherpa guides have taught us some Sherpha and Nepalese phrases too:
- Tassidele (Sherpa): hello
- Tucchhichhe (Sherpa): Thank you
- Shinbu (spelling? Sherpa): Delicious!
- Subarattri (spelling? nepali): Good night
Right now, Erin is discussing about her wonderful kids program plans! I am excited to meet and play with the kids in Chyangba! The children we have been meeting on the trails have been super adorable, and I can only imagine that the kids in Chyangba will be even cuter. Oh yes, speaking of kids, a few days ago (I believe it was in Bandhar) when I gave a pen to a little boy, in exchange he gave me a beautiful light pink rose! Sorry Kentaro, I may have a new Nepalese lover now.
To our family and friends, we are all doing well (no more leech bites! Woohoo! ), and if everything goes smoothly we will be arriving in Chyangba two days from now, which is a little earlier than the tentative itinerary. I cannot wait to shower and do some laundry in Chyangba. I have never been so excited to shower and do laundry. It will also be great to finally be running clinics and health education courses for potential healthcare workers in these remote villages. Mom, Dad, Takuya, and Kentaro, I hope all is well in Seattle/Japan/Michigan! Miss you all and see you guys shortly!
Lisa kaasan (<- I did not write this! Andrew did!! What a bad kid.)