Saturday 21st April 2012 – Khumjung

Another pleasant walk today, in the warm sunshine from Thame to Syangboche airstrip, even passing through a place we had been before, Phurte, which  we had gone to on our afternoon walk from Namche on our acclimatization day a mere 13 days ago. That means that we’ll be visiting Namche again 2 weeks after we left, with only 5 nights left in Nepal now we’re seeing a slightly different side here in Khumjung, but I’ll write about that in a bit. (Check my writer’s technique* there, suspense and everything).

After a pleasant stroll on “Nepalese Flat” ground (actually, probably more downhill  than up, but I’ll check that later) to Phurte where we had some tasty lemon tea. It was a steady climb from here up to Syangboche airstrip, where we had lunch in a teahouse overlooking the airstrip (Syangboche’s answer to Tennent’s Last Stand I guess). Syangboche must be the only airport in the world where Yaks, porters carrying stuff (including windows), tourists, children and small dogs are allowed to roam freely on the runway.

Well, I say runway.

Luckily, there aren’t many planes to interrup this. I guess there must be some warning signal other than being chopped to bits by a propeller. Do planes have horns? Oh, I forgot, this morning, after discovering I had signal and sending a quick text to AB, we visited the Hydro Power station, winner of the Tank Award for

Best Decorated Power Station

We had a look inside and found they had two impressive generators and a plentiful supply of Glenfiddich. This station supplies power to the whole Thame Valley, down as far as Namche, and was built with help from the Austrian Government. It was weird seeing power lines again, and they’re wired without Kathmandu madness, must be the Germanic influence.

Back to wherever I was, ah yes, after lunch in “Everest’s last stand”, we headed uphill once more towards Kunde and the Hillary Hospital, where we got a short talk about it from one of the doctors there. They mainly treat locals here, as the tourists have insurance which will pay  for them to get helicoptered off to Kathmandu if they become ill. After this it started raining, so the trip to the monastery, (with it’s famous yeti scalp) was postponed until tomorrow, we made our way quickly to the teahouse. We were recommended a good bakery to go to so we went there for some coffee and a croissant. Then online to inform the world that I’m not, in fact, dead. (Of course, making sure especially that Aileen knows this)

After that it was back to the teahouse for… tea. It brightened up during this staple of the trekking day, so we went off to look at the Hillary School

If you’re in full use of your faculties you may have noticed a similarity between the school and the hospital. They were both funded by the Sir Edmund Hillar foundation. Sir Edmund was a man from New Zealand (who also happened to be, along with Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, the first person to summit Mt. Everest, or at least the first to summit and make it back down).

Sir Ed, in Kwality knitwear

He’s held in high regard in these parts, because after his successful ascent of Everest he gave a lot back to the local people, he asked them what they would like and they said education and healthcare, so they got schools and hospitals from money raised by Hillary.

Dinnertime soon, I’m sure I had more to write about today, but maybe later. I’m haveing macaroni soup for dinner, which sounds interesting.

*This probably offends actual writers greatly, sorry.

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