- Starting elevation: 11,290 ft / 3,440 m
- Ending elevation: 11,290 ft / 3,440 m
- Elevation change: 0 ft / 0 m
- Starting oxygen: 67% of sea level
- Ending oxygen: 67% of sea level
- Distance covered: 0 mi / 0 km
- Time hiked: 0h 0m
Twelve days into my trek, and only one day away from Lukla (where I will board a plane back to Kathmandu), I decide to take the day off and spend it exploring Namche Bazaar (nothing to do with the fact that yesterday was New Year’s Eve).
Today is the first day of the new year, and what better place to spend it than in the Himalaya’s largest village.
My enlightened morning state has convinced me that my sleeping spot on the porch of this seasonally closed café, Trekkers Paradise, is quite ideal – it is covered, next to a stream (excellent white noise), removed from the center of Namche (no noisy mornings), has a spectacular view, and I have even permission to sleep here. What more could I ask for?
In spite of my cheerful demeanor, the weather has decided to finally turn – for the first morning, I wake up to an overcast sky. However, this is also the first morning that I don’t need to hike anywhere, so I’m fine with the limited visibility and precipitation threat.
I pack my things and head towards the bakery for my morning hydration and a cheese sandwich (I’m still off eating meat in the mountains).
Said bakery has become an unofficial meeting spot for trekkers in Namche on account of their reasonably priced food and drink, free power outlet policy, free wi-fi, and, perhaps most importantly, their clean bathrooms – they really know how to cater to hikers.
Pat introduces me to his Swiss lady friend whom he’s apparently randomly run into; in the middle of the Himalaya? Crazy. We chat for a while as a crew of trekkers we have met during the past two weeks begins to assemble at our table for their morning bread.
Once everyone’s had enough to eat, four of us head up the road to the Illy café to catch their daily screening of the movie “Sherpas – the True Heroes of Mount Everest” – a nearly three-hour long documentary about a Swiss Everest team.
After becoming lost in the film and forgetting that I am 11,290 ft / 3,440 m up in the Himalaya, I return to reality and go in search of a book I was recommended by another hiker on the trek – The Ascent of Rum Doodle (yes, there are bookstores in Namche Bazaar).
My hunt for the original title proves unsuccessful, and I settle on a copy of Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest, an account by Beck Weathers of his ordeal on Everest in the 1996 disaster (spoiler: he was left for dead).
It’s now late afternoon and I decide it’s time to hit the bakery once more (because you can never eat too many chocolate muffins or drink too many Everest Beers).
I find Pat in the now almost usual spot and take a seat at his table to get to work on my new reading material and still blank postcards. Eventually, we are joined by three kiwis and the Swiss I met earlier.
The sun soon sets on my laziest day in Nepal and I bid my companions a final farewell as I go in search of Susan, the owner (manager?) of the dormant café I've been sleeping at, to confirm that one more night on the porch will be alright.
To my surprise, Susan is not okay with me spending the night on his porch tonight. No, tonight it's supposed to snow, so Susan tells me that I will sleep inside. Despite my objection, Susan insists, so I set up my sleeping bag on the floor of the surprisingly nice place for what may be my last night in the mountains.
Susan also sleeps here, but he still has business to attend to elsewhere. He leaves me alone with the keys to the building and what I discover to be a fully stocked café. Nice guy that Susan.
Turns out that sleeping inside wasn't such an awful idea, as I manage my best sleep since arriving in Nepal.