Tuesday 6th April 2009
... so with a few small bumps and a screech we'd finally landed at Lukla! We let out a cheer! More of relief than anything else I think. How exciting. As I got off the plane I looked up and on all four sides there were these giant mountains standing looking over us. Amazing. The air was much clearer, the colours of the sky and trees and mountains, everything seemed to be in technicolour. The air was crisp not cold but you could tell it was a bit thinner than in Kathmandu. It certainly was a lot cleaner! We were taken to a lodge conveniently located right next door to the airport it was called the Buddha Lodge and would come to be a place of much joy and sadness all at the same time. We relaxed with a cup of tea (our first of many on this wonderful trip), and marvelled at the pilots expertly landing and taking off tin the wee tiny planes. Yeti airlines, Sita Air, Agni air, Buddha air, they were all there. Today was a good weather day.
Shortly Saran brought in our Sirdar (Sherpa Boss Man), our Sherpa and our Cook. 3 important people in our team. They seemed really friendly. It was all getting very real an I wanted to start trekking. After we'd spent about an hour in the Buddha Lodge it was finally time to start. We applied factor 30 suncream, donned our rucksacks and set off. We had to walk around the perimeter of the airport where we got a real vantage point for watching the planes flying in and out of the airport. Then it was off through the village main street of Lukla. Funnily enough we spotted a Starbucks but were told it was a fake! There were lots of different shops, all mostly selling same North Face fake gear, Everest Wear down jackets and 'Loki' walking poles! We trekked for about an hour and headed up a steep part where we stopped for lunch. The views were amazing but by now the wind had picked up and I wondered if the planes were still flying. Occasionally you could hear the buzz of a twin otter engine. After a cup of well needed hot orange, lunch was served and I screamed with joy (on the inside) when they opened the silver pots and I saw..... chips!!!! Chunky proper home made chips and to my great delight they were salty. Aaaah nothing better. Then another pot came... eggs, fried eggs! Woohoo!! egg and chips - a fantastic first lunch. As we sat there eating our fried egg and chips various trekker groups and Gopkyo trains passed us. Porters seemed to be carrying bags that, if you stood them next to each other, would be at least 6 inches taller than the men... and women (or boys and girls).
Lunch was over and we set off again. It was soon time to cross our first wire bridge. I'm not scared of heights or anything but this was a test. Fine test it was too but the bridge was successfully negotiated. The next test however would be different. My first outdoor toilet test. First was to locate it. Next was to not get pee fright cos everyone was standing around outside listening. Next was to assume the correct squat position. After that it was how to get up from the squat, carefully take the toilet roll you had quickly stuffed in your pocket out without dropping it on the floor or even worse, down the hole! Next was either throwing some water down the hole, kicking over some leaves or shoveling a bit of dirt over your business. All very tricky but by the end I'd become an expert.
We finally came to our campsite for the night at about 4 or 5pm. It was a place called Tok Tok. Beside the rushing Dudh Kosi river. Looking way high up in front of our tents you could see the peak Thamserku looming over us - a giant of a mountain at over 6500m high. The immediate area was full of pine trees, alpine like almost. Our tents were all lined up and we would eat inside the lodge tonight - a pleasant surprise. We sorted our stuff and headed into the lodge for tea and then later on our dinner. I can remember being in a quiet mood that night. I was really reflective and trying not to think of home too much. It was also pretty cold, no woodburning fire in the middle of this lodge! Anyway we sat and played a few games and talked, ate dinner and then went to bed. My first night of camping had begun and once I was in my sleeping bag I was toasty warm. I'm gonna be good at this I thought.