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Preparing for my Himalaya Escapade: Nepal, Part 2

December 12, 2008

| Image by photos by Uli Loskot

I only have two and a half days in Kathmandu to get everything ready and organized for my trekking departure into the Himalayas.

I decide it’s time to get my hair trimmed and end up in a barber shop with a very skilled Indian barber cutting skillfully and fast. I have no time to resist when he is already busy plucking my eyebrows by using the Indian thread technique. Do I need my eyebrows shaped before I face Mt. Everest?

I stop by a tiny shop in an old house selling cosmetics. A very friendly Nepali lady and I exchange smiles. I try to explain her in English that I want to buy some bindis (the stick on jewelry that Indian and Nepali women wear on their third eye – another necessity for the mountains) and she answers me in Nepali. Her name is Yasoda Sharma and I am going to become good friends with her, her daughter Sandhya and the rest of the family.

I meet with Andi and his two Austrian clients, Andreas and Tina, that evening to discuss, if coming along with them for some of the way on their Everest trek would be fine. I am delighted when I find out that I am “on the team”. The three of them are going to be equipped with an additional local guide and two porters carrying their equipment. They also have Island Peak in their program, a trekking peak over 6000 meters that requires serious mountaineering gear. I made a list of things I already have and things I will have to purchase, like warm cloths, medicine and water purification tablets. Andi later reassures me over a beer that I can get up to over 5000 meters with my light hiking shoes and that I will be fine carrying all my own stuff.

So the next day I am in the travel agency first thing in the morning to get a flight to Lukla. Lukla is a tiny neck breaking airport at 2800 meters, erected by Sir Edmond Hillary after he and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest on May 29 1953. From there the only way to get anywhere is by foot and the nearest road is about five days walking distance. It’s also possible to bus yourself to Jiri and from there walk about five to seven days up and down mountainsides to Lukla. In the travel agency I am awaited by two helpful and very friendly young travel agents, Ram and Basu, who run the Nepal Social – Treks and Expidition ( agency. We chat, drink a lot of chia and I get a two hundred Dollar roundtrip ticket to Lukla with an open return date.

The Sharma family also invited me to come by their house today. I end up visiting the Swayambhunath Temple (also called Monkey Temple for its large with populations of the said species) with Sandhya, a beautiful Buddhist temple on a hill overlooking Kathmandu. We change rolls – she is wearing jeans and T-shirt and I am in a turquoise kurta of hers. We cause a lot of amazed and smiling looks.
On top of all this hospitality the family lends me a couple of very essential cloths I will need in order not to freeze my bud off in the mountains. I feel very happy and very fortunate that I have met such wonderful people and that I will be in the Himalayas tomorrow!

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