Turns out yesterday was the 11th not the 10th. As I said – the date line sends me for a loop.
We eventually arrived last night – on time – sort of – 24 hrs later than planned. Tendi met us at the airport with a warm namaste and snow white katas. As usual it is wonderful to see him again. He had come with Tsheri (oldest son) and pretty quickly we were all bundled into one of those tiny Kathmandu cabs – all our luggage somehow stowed in the back hatch and us five including the driver into the shabby cramped interior. No seat belts of course. The roads are much improved. The widening project progressing well it would appear. We were greeted at the Hotel Florid with friendly smiles. Didi (that’s me) gets a special room – it has two chairs and a lockable closet as well as a bed. The shower water – hot!
In very short order Marianne and I disappeared into our rooms – but not until after we enjoyed a large bottle of Everest beer. Hmmm – it’s good to be “home.”
This morning – after a rainy night and down right cold beginning to the day – the sun rose to warm the courtyard where we enjoyed breakfast outdoors. Then the visitations began. A steady stream including Cuman, a guide Marianne had many years ago. Tea was consumed. Tendi, Tsheri. Binod arrive. More tea. Trek plans adjusted to accommodate some political violence issues on the road…. We will now start in Khamding and end in Tumlingtar instead of the other way around. This means we don’t need to carry 30 some pairs of eye glasses destined for Khamding with us for the entire trek. Khamding for those of you who are new to this blog is our guide’s (Tendi Sherpa) home village. Marianne and I are taking reading glasses there for merous people with failing eye sight.
Next on the agenda was to go with Tendi and Tsheri to visit Phulu and Nima at school. Today being a festival there were no classes so just the boarding kids were there. Many of the kids remembered me and our surprise arrival was met with some enthusiasm. Needless to say Phulu and Nima were please with the visit. As Marianne has taken over supporting a bulk of Phulu’s school expenses it was a special moment for them. They are both doing well with their studies. I had them read to me and am so impressed with how well they performed. Nothing like being put on the spot! We had tea and a visit. The school principal now has his own child – 5 months old and is married. We met the baby but not his wife. Well the visit was about Phulu and Nima so I was glad to keep that as the main focus.
Back in Thamel Tendi and Tsheri took off to get on with their busy day and Marianne and I went to get money exchanged. As usual a better than posted rate was negotiated for and received. I think Canadian banks should get more flexible in this respect! Over veggie momos for lunch we shifted through the resultant piles of Nepali cash to ensure we have what we need for our various “giving” endeavours. Money for the Khamding teachers fund that Karin and I initiated a couple of years ago, money for the Khamding medical clinic….. that sort of thing. Guide tips, porter tips, driver tips, a gift for Tendi’s wife Lhamu….. we have it all sorted into numerous envelopes!
Then more fun. Shopping. Marianne needed a few down items – and I wanted one or two things. We had a very successful afternoon of acquisition. Then we ran out of steam. So we’ve had an early dinner and have now sorted ourselves out for a 6:30 am departure tomorrow morning.
It’s been a full and busy day. The crazy festival is one in which people run around the streets all day throwing buckets of water and colourful dye on each other. As a result about half or more of the people on the streets were soaking wet and oddly coloured – purple, pink, red ….. hair, clothes, skin. We were mostly able to avoid being dyed although we both got some residue overhead splashing from water being thrown from roof tops. Many shops were closed which was the biggest hindrance to our day. No tea with the money exchange. Unable to find dental floss. Oh well!
On that note, I must get some shut eye. We will be without Internet for several days now…. maybe over a week. So the next time you hear from me will likely be one of those batches of blogs that swamp your in box all at once!
Good night from Kathmandu.