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Namche Bazaar revisited

Yesterday we descended to Namche from Tengboche (3860m/12,700ft). My day began at its monastery, which sits on a spectacular ridge surrounded by snowclad mountains. My three previous attempts to make sound recordings of the monks chanting had failed, so I went along to the service at 6.30am with my sound kit: fourth time lucky. The early service was also more atmospheric than the 3pm one, where thoughtless tourists ignore the clear and understandable prohibition on flash photography. Anyway, the recording was captured, breakfast quickly swallowed and we set off by 8am.

During a net descent of 420m (1400ft) over 4.5 hours, down a path that undulates a fair bit, we felt a rush of well-being as the vegetation grew lusher and the air richer in oxygen. And not far above Namche, we were thrilled to see 7 eagles wheeling and soaring over the valley, really close to the path. You never get that close to a golden eagle in Scotland!

Had a busy afternoon in Namche, rejoicing to find moving around much less effort than last time: what a difference a fortnight makes! Revisited my favourite internet cafe and not only found a raft of emails (thanks, guys) but also played around with our website: it was obvious that, thousands of miles away, my PA had just released a new book (our Speyside Way) so it seemed like a good idea to feature it on our front page. Making this change gave me a curious sense of satisfaction: can't have lost all my brain cells!

The Namche lodge was unexpectedly busy with two other Xtreme Everest groups, Group F having been delayed 24 hours by fog at Lukla airport. Club Namche's chilly basement was transformed for our benefit into a party venue, by sparkly lighting, funky music and plenty of booze. All this followed immediately after dinner, which meant I was still in my hiking boots. (An oddity of trekking is that you often wear heavy boots all day and evening, and you don't always take off any clothes before retiring.) What I didn't know is that the Ceroc session wasn't just a demonstration, but also a lesson and all of us were to take part. So I learned the beginnings of a new type of dance (it's a cross between jive and salsa) in hiking boots, at 3450m/11,300ft!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 26, 2007 7:17 AM.

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