Sunday 11 January 2015

Days 219-220: Gokyo to Namche - The final pass

Back to the land of grass and trees
It was time to head downwards, back towards a world where there is enough oxygen for plants to grow and colds to heal.  We plodded down the valley, passing far more upward-bound trekkers than we have seen anywhere else.  Presumably they were heading for Gokyo Ri.  Many apparently found the ascent tough because, alas, they looked downright miserable.

We stopped at lunchtime to cook cup-a-soup and eat some of Gokyo bakery's more wholesome products; loaves of grainy bread.  Then we continued to the night's card-playing spot of choice.  As we played, we considered that the world was tilting in the right direction at last, all paths were heading downwards, and life would be easy from here on.  Right?

Beautiful Ama Dablam hides behind the village of Phortse
But life is never easy in the Himalaya.  The next day, Susan's cold persisted, Paul began feeling nauseous, and the path led back uphill.  After a four hundred metre ascent, we stopped on top of the Mong La, noting that it was aptly named for how we felt (probably also how we looked and smelled).  Things only began taking a turn for the better when we arrived in Namche Bazaar, the metropolis of the valley, where we could buy more Strepsils, more Paracetamol and - drum roll - more cake!  Ian embarked on the chocolate croissant then decided he'd better compare it with the chocolate tart.  Whilst chomping, he looked as ecstatic as a man can look while sporting an enormous straggly beard.

Looking around at the other customers, people were drinking lattes and cappuccinos, Irish coffee and hot chocolate, unidentified liquids heavily permeated by frothy milk.  The scene did not resemble the Himalayan villages we have seen in the last few weeks.  We were almost home and dry, almost back in 'civilisation'.  Famine and fresh air, farewell; delectable drinks and diabetes, hello.

Leaving our lodge at Gokyo
Around Phang
We never quite lost sight of Cho Oyu
That 4 o'clock cloud again
Looking back up the valley
Ama Dablam
Our arrival in Namche Bazaar was a bit of a shock after being high and wild for so long

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