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Day 2: Phakding (2610m) – Namche Bazaar (3440m)

Day 2 .

 

It is my first day in Namche Bazaar, we’ll be spending here two nights with the aim to acclimatize better, we’re now over 3.ooo meters and at this point, it’s not unheard of people already suffering from high altitude sickness. So far I’m feeling fantastic if a tiny bit short breath. My body is positively responding to a dream that I’m building as I walk. It may sound


incompressible to some that a potential achievement can have a physical impact on your body but that is exactly how I feel today.

We’ve walked for 6hrs to reach Namche Bazaar and it has been mostly a strenuous walk, especially as we were getting closer to this village. I have started to realize that my physical strength is intrinsically related to my mental one. I could feel pain in my shoulders for carrying my backpack for endless hours and tiredness in my legs but I was walking with a strong mental strength and my body was responding to that. I felt great and strong, I know now I can trek long and hard and my body and resistance will increase as I advance in this journey.

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Namchee Bazaar is as charming as it gets; considered the wealthiest district in Nepal, Namche Bazaar experienced a huge change from 1953 onwards when Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzin Norgay’s climbed Everest. From that moment, trekkers and climbers followed and this village which used to be a trading post soon became a tourist trade.

Namchee Bazaar is a great place to rest and explore, it really is and since I got here I really feel immerse in this whole trekking culture, you can breathe it in every corner.

Some of us we are on our way up, some others on their way down. I’ve been observing the exhausted trekkers that have reached this village today and I can feel the good vibes, that feeling of being satisfied and proud and I can see myself in them. I want to ask them how it is to be so close to Everest, how does it feel to achieve a lifetime dream but then, I stop and I remember that I’m here to produce my own memories, that the journey has already started and I’m creating them already and I feel my impatience dying down because I realize that I’m living my dream right now.

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Last night in Phakding I learnt a lesson that I hope comes handy to some of you reading this and wanting to trek in Nepal. Once we set in our Tea Lodge for the night, I found in my room a very thick blanket and I truly thought that it would be warm enough to sleep. I’m not travelling with a sleeping bag and I put my worries to rest when I saw the thickness of the blanket. I can now say that it was possibly one of the worst nights of my life as I was beyond cold even though I put all the clothes I have with me for this trekking, ALL of them and nothing was enough to isolate the cold from my body; a truly horrible night that I wish not to repeat again.

After talking today with another guide staying in our same Tea Lodge, he has recommend me to hire a sleeping bag from of the many shops that hire and sell all sort of items that one can need for a high mountain trekking.

Name Bazaar is the place to stock up on essentials; several shops line up the cobbled streets. Not only that, but it also has a few Bakery shops, post office, health and dental post, telephone and Internet facilities and a few great bars to socialize with fellow trekkers.

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Krishna, my guide has taken me to a shop he told me he trusts and I’ve finally hired a high mountain sleeping bag for the whole trekking until we are back to Namche Bazaar on our way down, approximately in 13 day’s time.

The price for the sleeping bag plus the deposit is: 8.000 Rupees

Back to today’s trek from Phakding to Namchee Bazaar, my itinerary said that it would take us about 7hrs but already at this point of the trek, I have shown to Krishna that my I’m in a very good psychical condition and everyday trek is likely that it will take us fewer hours. I hope he can put up with me because I have the energy and resistance of two people!

The following is what the itinerary provided by the agency for today said:

“Walking through the magnificent forest of rhododendron, ending your nature-filled journey at Namche Bazaar (7hrs from Phakding) While passing this often-steep passage, experience both the serenity and scenery of blue pine forests, firs and junipers – all serving as the foreground to the beautiful backsplash that is Mount Everest”

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And the following is the real tale of how it really went:

I meet Krishna in the main dining room of our teahouse at 6.30am and after a quick breakfast; we set off walking for a total of 6hrs. Soon enough, I realized that the routine is to pass and be passed through the steep narrow paths by trekkers, climbers and locals carrying all sort of heavy stuff on their backs, from stones for house or lodge constructions, to doors, food boxes or just anything. These men mostly (but also women) are exceptionally strong and I already have developed a huge admiration for the extremely hard conditions they live their life’s. They are pleasant and greet you with a “Namaste” that has become a mutual way of greeting each other.

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As I see these men walk and struggle with their very heavy loads on their backs up and down the Himalayas, I reflect on my own life and I feel ashamed of my self stupidity complaining about non important stuff. I can’t believe how much more awake in all senses I am now and I feel truly sorry…for myself. As for these incredibly admirable men and women, I feel only admiration and I’m in awe of what I’m seeing. I haven’t been long in Nepal and it has already taught me a few lessons.

If I didn’t die yesterday flying to Lukla, today I though that I would definitely do; scary hanging bridges!!! Two days into my trekking and I have already faced two of my worst nightmares. Today we have crossed three terrifying hanging bridges, never the sentence “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” had more sense than today!

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I freeze when I see the very first hanging bridge and poor Krishna tries putting my frantic mind at rest by assuring me that these bridges are built to last 200 years but somehow I feel the bridge in front of me must be at least 400. I let yaks, donkeys, horses and people pass before I take the decision to cross it, I keep telling myself not to look down. I’m sweating for the whole world but I managed to get to the other side alive. Well, one less J I must say it gets easier with each one but not more of a pleasant experience.

A highlight of my trek to Namche Bazar is a brief and very far away view of Mount Everest, I can see it from where I’m standing and it feels just fantastic. It feels somehow unreal to see now what I’ve seen a hundreth of times in books and magazines but it is indeed right there and is very real. I feel happy, is a good day.

Before arriving to Namche Bazaar we have to stop at the gate of the Sagarmatha National Park and pay the entrance fee.  Once I paid, I get a “Registration Card for Group Trekkers” and we are good to go.

Sagarmatha National Park entrance fee: 3.000 Rupee (one photo is required)

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We finally reach Namche Bazaar and even before we can rest in our teahouse, I have already fallen in love with the place. We have a day and a half to spend here and I can’t wait to explore it further while my body gets acclimatized. While I wait for more adventures to come, I reflect on the last few hours with a feeling of immense gratitude for being here while I enjoy these views from my freezing room.

Nepal has already stolen my heart.

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