#35 Day 10: Namche, Nepal

Wednesday 5 April 2017

Testing day! Up early and down to the communal area for blood pressure recording, sats and the dreaded step test. My levels seem to be ok, and my heart rate after doing the two minute step test only increased by 4 so at the moment I don’t seem to be affected by the altitude (which is 3,445m). 

It was also washing day, so my room mate and I borrowed a metal bowl and the Lodge owner showed us to an outside tap and we spent a happy 20mins washing various items and finding space to hang them on the line. We were out the back of the Lodge so there was no one to disturb us and we could appreciate the sun and blue sky and the backdrop of beautiful mountains in the background. Our room is at the front of the Lodge and it’s magical to open the curtains in the morning and be greeted by a snow capped mountain literally within spitting distance.

Washing done, we were relaxing before lunch when panic ensued – the family I mentioned in #30 had made it to Namche and needed two rooms next to each other so we were asked to move rooms. Everything in Nepal is quite laid back, until something needs to be done and then there is a lot of running around as everyone wants to get involved and there is a lot of shouting etc. until whatever it is gets done and then it’s all calm again. Needless to say we spent a harried 10mins ferrying our kit from one room to another and then we went down to enjoy our lunch, which predictably was potato, pasta and bread!Namche is a great shopping town and as we hadn’t had gone out yesterday afternoon Amanda and I made a shopping list and went out to explore. This was our shopping list – all the essentials: toilet paper (I haven’t really described the toilets, maybe next time as it will take up a paragraph at least, but believe me, toilet paper is the most essential item you need in Nepal), hand sanitiser (second most essential item), snacks, a rubber bit for the bottom of my trekking pole as I’d lost one the previous day, a chocolate brownie and wifi. I described how when we arrived in Namche we had to then climb the hill to our Lodge, so to get to town we had to climb down – much easier! We spent a leisurely time getting all the things we needed, a kind shop keeper gave me my rubber bit for free! and then we looked for the cafe that had free wifi. 

It was called the 8848 (the height of Everest) but it was packed and showing a documentary so we found a much nicer place called the Sherpa Barista, which also had free wifi. We had a very yummy hot chocolate, shared a brownie and fitted in a bit of catching up with friends and family on Whatsapp and Facebook. We started the steep walk back, luckily it was punctuated by meeting various people from our group on the way, and having to wait for a train of yaks to negotiate a particularly troublesome set of steps, so we had lots of rests and made it back to the Lodge for dinner, which was pink prawn crackers with soup for starters, cheesy potatoes, veg, spaghetti and a veg pastie for main and two slices of fruit for pud. 3 course meal – can’t complain.

I had a bit of a headache after dinner, but soon forgot about it as I was playing Irish snap and needed all my concentration as I was playing with the youngsters – Chris, Jess and Alice who are all around 18-19. For those of you who have never played Irish snap, it’s like normal snap but you have to count upwards from Ace in turn, so the first person lays a card and says Ace, the next person lays a card and says Two and so on. If there is a snap you snap, and if you lay a four and it’s your turn to say Four then you can snap – so you have to think about two things at once and also make sure you’re not the last one to slam your hand down otherwise you get all the cards (which means you lose). When someone finished their cards they were allowed to stay in the game and just shout out the number when it was their turn, so one game lasts for ages and can get a bit hysterical – or maybe it was just the altitude making us hysterical …

Eventually we finished and then went down to the basement to ‘Club Namche’ where there was a makeshift bar, a disco ball and a pool table! This was it, I was finally playing on the world’s highest pool table!! We had a game of doubles and then I went up to the room as Amanda was getting ready for bed, and we had to prepare for an acclimatisation walk tomorrow. 

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