Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Journey to Namche Bazaar

We made it to Namche Bazaar by about 9 AM Tuesday morning. I roomed with the T's (for those that don't normally read my blog, unless I ask permission, or you have your own website, and thus positively acknowledge publicity in some way, I don't like to post names, but rather initials), two of the camera crewmen from Germany and Austria. We woke up at 4:45 to go down and watch the Mi-8 take off on it's first flight. Here is a nice panorama I took this morning just before it got started.
Watching the Mi-8 Prepare at 5:27 AM Tuesday
About an hour later, at about 7, after they put the seats in, we boarded and took off on my first ever helicopter flight, complete with Russian pilots. From the time the engines were turned on in Jiri until they were turned off at Namche, was only about 25 minutes. The best part: I have the whole thing in one continuous video clip video!

We landed at 11,800 feet and then walked down to 10,900 at our hotel, Camp De Base. This place is so posh. We have wifi, paid for by Asian Trekking. Nice hardwood floors, padded seats, carpet in our rooms. Legitimate mattresses (maybe three inches thick, but still), blankets and basically sun up to sun down coffee, tea, water, crackers, and all manner of snacks available to buy (I just had a snickers).
Nepali Tea (aka Chai aka  Black Tea with Milk) at Cafe 8848 in Namche Bazaar
It's worth mentioning I slipped and fell twice on the walk down to Namche. My Inov8 shoes might not be grippy enough. I was also troubled that we were walking so slowly. I've spent so much time running in the mountains and on trails since roughly 2010, that simply walking, in regular shoes on a trail with a tiny backpack feels awkward.

The rest of the day we walked around Namche, met up with our teammate from Belgium, who cycled here. Yes, he cycled to Nepal, through Russia and China, from Belgium. Obviously, I will tell more about him later. We went to see a movie about Sherpas, and the challenges they face carrying loads. It followed a German expedition in 2008. Sad part to the story, Gianni, a climber without supplemental oxygen died on descent from the summit. He started doing things that did not make sense, like unclipping from the rope. I am unclear if there were any warning signs, according to the movie, apparently not. That is something that really scares me, losing my mind without any warning.  If I have a headache, or cold fingers and toes, we have a problem, I can go down, but if I start being irrational, without any warning signs, all bets are off. It's never happened to me before, but it is always the unknown that gets up. Who would guess frayed wiring during the plugs out test on Apollo 1 would lead to catastrophic fire? No one really did.
After Landing at the Airstrip above Namche Bazaar
To finish off for the day, I Tweeted this picture earlier, but as I looked at it on my feed hours later, it's just amazing! I think, 'wow! I wish I was there! Oh, I was… I took that picture. This is really happening. I'm really here. I AM CLIMBING MOUNT EVEREST!!!'

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