It's all nearly over. Thankfully we survived our return flight from Lukla and are back in Kathmandu, enjoying coffee and pastries in the warm and sunny weather. We only have two plane rides and a taxi home before I can safely say that we survived this trip.
Time and internet have been limited, so I will cover a few days of trekking notes to catch us up. The short version is we made it to Everest Base Camp and haven't died yet. Woo hoo! We certainly weren't triumphant explorers with one foot on a rock and our hands on our hips. More like miserably cold wretches limping into camp asking each other 'What do you mean it's ON a glacier?'
But let me tell the full story from where we left off.
Namche Bazaar (3440m) to Deboche (3820m)
The walk was tougher than expected, with hours of steep steps up to a monastery, where, if you were willing to expose your stinky socks to some monks, you could sit in their hall and listen to them chant for a maximum of three minutes. Awkward. It's considered inappropriate and / or disrespectful to wear shorts, but surely it was more inappropriate when a member of our group (again, not our Peter!) exposed their dangles while stripping down to their jockeys on the front steps, in order to change into more respectful full length pants.
Paul had not fully recovered from his emergency poo incident, but still walked faster than me. What a champ.
The lodge at Deboche offered the opportunity to upgrade to premium rooms, with electric blankets, hot showers and private toilet, for the low low price of USD50. Two couples and a single traveller opted for the upgrade, desparately taking advantage of the last opportunity for some comfort before the only option became shared squat toilets and walls made of single sheets of plywood.
We watched an adorable foal and its mother chase each other around the field outside our window and stalked our yak-cows as they ate their dinner, before heading inside for ours. Hot towels were served before the food, which were super refreshing after they cooled down from their initial burn-your-face-and-hands-off temperature.
After dinner we played Pass The Pigs, to the fascination of our guides and hosts, and recieved a speech about how little headaches, a little uneasiness, and a little nausea at this altitude is normal. This mantra was to become the recurring in-joke of the group.
Stay tuned for an account of our next day's adventure: more walking to Dingboche! Further exciting developments will unfold, including blizzards, accidents, card games and other high altitude dramas.