Number of survivors: 8!!!!!! WOOHOOOOOO!! We all made it!!
After a Sherpa culture evening of the Sherpa crew singing us Sherpa songs while they generously served us chang and rachi, we woke up bright and early at the usual 6 am – this time to pack up for the BIG CITY – Kathmandu! No more trekking? Say what? It still felt surreal for me in the morning as I was packing up my stuff as usual. It felt as if we were going to venture on yet another 6 hour trekking day. We had our last meal served by Mingmar in the big blue dining tent. Our last breakfast meal consisted of eggs, grilled tomatoes (YUM!! By far my favorite breakfast side dish! I even stole Kelly’s tomatoes), and bread. I assumed that we wouldn’t be getting any snacks today (we usually got juice and a chocolate candy bar) since we weren’t trekking any more, but Mingmar surprised us with all with cute little lunch sacks with turnover, not one but TWO chocolate treats (Korean Choco Pie and Kitkat!), apple, hard boiled eggs, and juice. Mingmar succeeded in spoiling us until the very end. After breakfast, we thanked our trekking crew for everything that they had done for us for the past three weeks and took a group photo. Half of the crew went back to Chyangba and the other half headed to Kathmandu.
Our van ride to Kathmandu took us about 6 hours, and the road seemed bumpier than the ride over to Jiri for some of us. Even Andrew felt a little nauseous and Kelly apparently threw up in a plastic bag (some of us, including myself didn’t realize that he had vomited in the car). But luckily I was able to pass out as usual and spent most of the 6 hours just dozing off in the back seat. The weather was not bad at all – it was foggy in higher elevation, but pretty sunny and humid in the valleys.
We finally came back to our Yak and Yeti hotel around 3:30pm. It finally hit me that I wasn’t going to sleep in a tent tonight and that I was going to be able to take a REAL shower – for the first time in three long, smelly weeks! We all checked in, grabbed our luggage that we had left behind at the hotel and went up to our respective hotel rooms. Oh how nice it is to see a clean western style bathroom and clean white linen on a bed! I also forgot how addictive TLC (Australian version) on TV was too. Kim took a long shower first, while I furiously checked through all of my email and called the U.S. I had forgotten how annoying it is to get so much email everyday, but yet how useful and amazing the internet and technology are, especially when you are thousands of miles away from your loved ones. Later on, I was able to take a nice long shower and did some overdue laundry. The smell of laundry detergent is so wonderful!!
After a few hours to cleanse ourselves and relax, we met up with Wongchu again and headed over to a stylish Chinese restaurant close by that is owned by Wongchu’s friend. The owner gave us an incredible deal for a set menu that consisted of rice, soup, and about 6 different kinds of dishes. We were barely able to finish all the food served to us, and we still only paid about $5 per person! I was a little skeptical about eating Chinese food, but the food turned out to be incredibly delicious! Yum! After dinner, some of us got ice cream (Baskin Robbins) for dessert on our way back to the hotel. I was expecting it to be similar in price to Baskin Robbins back home, but it ended up being very cheap – about 90 cents for a single scoop! The portion was smaller than back home, but it was still definitely a lot cheaper.
It is relaxing to be back in a city and in a western style hotel, but I miss the people that we had met on our trekking journey (I’ll also miss all of the food cooked by the Peak Promotion cooks!). I will cherish the memories of trekking, providing healthcare in Chyangba and Khamding, and playing with all the cute children at school! Tuchhichhe!!
Lisa Akiyama - Kathmandu
P.S. Happy belated birthday to dad! Otanjyoubi Omedetou!