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Hey Mountain Zone, this afternoon dispatch from Namche Bazaar, the afternoon of the 9th of May, is coming to you from my you guessed it the corner room at the top of the Panorama 303; Peter Potterfield's favorite room. It's misty and cloudy as I look down onto Namche Bazaar.
We've had the normal, very rewarding and slightly over-stimulating return to what for us is kind of civilization, walking back into Namche Bazaar. The big news for today, the big event, is that it is momo [Tibetan stuffed dumplings] night. And what I mean by that is Phu Doma, who's the wife of Ong Chu I've mentioned many times in the past, Ong Chu is the cook for the Alpine Ascents Base Camp, has been for years at Everest Base Camp. Phu Doma's lodge down by the market area of Namche is more of a local's place; it's not like the Panorama and these other places that cater to trekkers, but it's a wonderful, warm setting and Phu Doma loves to make momos for us. She asked me to come down last time with my trekkers on the last group were a little more into the pizzas and cinnamon rolls, the à la carte mini ordering that can be done in Namche, but this time I didn't want to pass up the chance. So in just a couple of hours we are going to walk down for a big momo-fest with Phu Doma, and I'll report to you tomorrow how that went. I know it is going to be a great time.
Another interesting thing that has happened that's made our visit in Namche richer this time is that Cherub Zombu and Lhakpa Doma are having a puja. It ended just this morning, actually. For four days lamas have been here in their private monastery at the top of the Panorama. In fact, just down the hall from room 303, and these lamas have been doing praying, reading from text. Of course, for us, we hear the clanging of the bells and the chanting throughout the day.
The lamas come down for a break from time to time and visit with folks. They are wonderful guys; they laugh and smile. Some of them are very young, like small lamas, like maybe eight, nine, 10, 11-years-old, and there is one fellow here that came over from Tibet in 1959, and one older lama. We had a great time visiting with these guys during their breaks and it's really added to the flavor of our visit to Namche this time.
We're staying at the Panorama with only one other group, a Butterfield & Robinson group this time, and I have to say there might be a little competition with the cooks going on. We sit in this tea shop that's normally full of independent trekkers ordering off the menus, but there's only two groups, and last night it looked to me like both the cooks were trying to outdo one another. Certainly, the pizza that Pemba cooks for our group was outstanding and we've enjoyed that benefit as well.
So here I am talking about food, I haven't even begun to talk about the shopping. But we are back in the civilization of Namche Bazaar and that's always the main attraction. The entire group is having a great time. I in particular...it's best to split up and go off in small groups in Namche because there's more to appreciate that way. Jorma and a father-and-son team, Sam and Jason, we went over to one of our yak men's houses on the other side of Namche, a small, simple home, this morning. Tame and his wife fixed fried eggs for us, gave us kata as we left or a blessing scarf, and we just enjoyed getting away from the bustle and the commercialism of Namche and being graciously received in a home. Many other folks are off having their own adventure in Namche right now in a group, they've got their own stories and that's really what it's all about.
We will leave here a bit wistfully tomorrow, a bit sad to say goodbye to friends remember we spent four nights in this town. I have a feeling the entire group will be bedecked with white-silk blessing scarves as we walk from town. There's many people asking, 'What time are you leaving? Come by for tea.' And I know what that means, by the time this group walks out of town they are going to be bedecked with katas and warm memories of good friends in this town. We've had a great time here.
Lukla tomorrow and a big Sherpa dancing party. I'll definitely have to try to let you know how that goes, perhaps even get a little live sound from the party tomorrow night, which with luck will be our last night in the Khumbu as we fly back to Kathmandu and I'll keep you posted on that tomorrow.
Wally Berg, Alpine Ascents Guide and MountainZone.com Correspondent