Thursday, April 29, 2010

Update from Eric

As some of you may or may not know a good friend of Ashley and I is out exploring the world until Sept or so. As I recieve emails from him I will post them on here because they are very interesting. Enjoy.
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Namaste Everyone –

The Himalayan mountains are magnificent!!! I think most of you know this already but I just finished a wonderful 19 day trek through the rural and Khumbu regions of Nepal. Before setting off I was fortunate enough to have a personal guided tour of Kathmandu with my guide Nawang Samden Sherpa. My dear friends Clay and Donna set us up and he was so kind as to let me stay with his wife and family in their home during my stay. Their hospitality was incredible and I miss their company (and endless supply of milk tea) already.

I basically completed what is called the Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek. However, most folks typically fly into Lukula and begin their trek out of Namche Bazaar, but given that I’m flexible with time I decided to take an alternative route which started in Jiri. This adds about 6 days, but exposes one to rural Nepal where you can shake the crowds, find people farming rice and wheat in the terraced fields and walk through beautiful rhododendron forests. All in all, we covered about 75-85 miles, hiked nearly 100 hours and by the time we reached base camp we ascended almost 9,000 meters – the full height of Mt. Everest from sea level!

One particular night it got pretty chilly since we were at about 13,000 ft. Noticing I was cold, Nawang’s son Tsheringwangchu said “come sit by the fire”, which ended up being the ceramic oven of our lodge where a woman was cooking our dinners. At first I felt like an intruder but everyone seemed relaxed. Moments later I noticed a little girls head pop up from a bed, so not only was I in the kitchen but also their bedroom. Moments later the husband arrives and feeling uncomfortable I got up to leave, and noticing this the husband touches my shoulder and says “no..no, please sit”. It’s hard for me to describe, but this is what stands out about the people of Nepal for me – very, very kind, genuine, and hospitable.

The mountains are incredible. They are so huge it makes you laugh. And, if you’re like me and enjoy mountains, they can definitely raise some emotions. They certainly did mine. Eight out of ten of the worlds highest mountains are in Nepal and I got to see four ;>.

Also, cruising the streets of Kathmandu on the back of a motorcycle will make you feel pretty alive! It’s a developing city and while very crowded and polluted, it’s an interesting place with a lot of character.

Tomorrow I’m off to India with a stop in Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddah. It’s gonna be soooo hot!!!

Thanks to my friends Clay and Donna for setting me up for much success in this first part of my trip.

I’m working on posting pics on FB, but I’ve encountered some technical difficulties which I hope can be repaired by finding a better cyber café.

Hope everyone is doing all well back home. Thanks for all the emails! Keep ‘em coming.

Miss ya'll,
Eric