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Had our visit with the Rinpoche, we're very lucky he was around. He received us, everyone received silk scarf blessing from him 'kata' we say. We only hung out and had tea with him. I've always enjoyed this Rinpoche. I first met him over in the Rolwaling valley in 1988. And he's been always very accessible, good humored, speaks in English, really helps people understand a lot about what he's about what he does, his culture, his religion and always with a smile and a good-humored light approach. We had a great time up there today.
We are going to be rolling out of Thame here in a bit, on to Khunde. It's been a great visit out here, as it always is. There weren't that many people around Thame on this particular visit. And part of...a lot's going on...part of our understanding of where everyone was is really...it really helps us to see how this village operates and how life goes on up here. It was explained to me by Tseten: the young men are all away on expeditions or trekkings; the old men are all up high grazing yaks; the young women are all off some distance away in the potato fields working, getting the potato crop; and the old women and the children are still around town. But this is a village, like all Sherpa villages, where life goes on up and down the valley from the village itself.
Our host here was Lhakpa Rita's brother-in-law Ningma, Ningma Kaji, and he's in town because he had a day off from his job as an electrician over in Khumjung. We do have from the small hydro projects, as you've probably gathered, we have electricity in Namche Bazaar, Thame and these villages. It is pretty cool to see this area have a self-sufficient electric program. They operate it themselves; local people have the education and the technical knowledge to keep this program running. And we certainly enjoy sitting around these simple lodges reading by electric light at night. Of course it's still the Khumbu, and when Ningma took off to Khumjung today, he was walking. And he'll stay over there all week and then return for the next holiday, next Saturday.
We're off to Khunde and I'll keep you posted from along the trail or probably once we get over there.
Wally Berg, Alpine Ascents Guide and MountainZone.com Correspondent