Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Trek Continues

Our final night at the Panarama Lodge was most exciting. We were celebrating two birthdays. Our trekking team member Lauren turned 27 and the the owner of the lodge, Sherab, was celebrating his 60th birthday. There was quite a crowd of family and friends gathered to celebrate. There were even four Buddhist monks from the Tengboche Monastery present and they actually sat next to me and Barbara at dinner. We had a really fun time talking with them. It turns out they all had great senses of humor. When the birthday cake was passed, I asked them if the needed any ketchup or salt and pepper to go with their cake. It cracked them all up. One clever young monk with a sparkle in his eyes said "yes" but he that he didn't need the salt.

It took all of us about six hours to walk from Namche Bazar to Pangboche yesterday. We are staying at the same lodge where Barbara and I stayed in 2007. It is owned by Tashi and it was nice to see her again. She is old friends with Jim and is also the daughter of one of the most important Buddhist Lamas in the Khumba, Lama Geshe. Today we had a special blessing from him. The blessing was to offer us protection, safety and guidance from the goddess of Everest to help us do well on our trek and climb. Us Everest climbers were given a special card to carry to the summit for good wishes and good luck.  Lama Geshe draped a yellow scarf called a kata and tied a string called a sumg dhis around each of our necks and then gave us a gentle head butt. After a few prayers and the throwing of blessed rice the ceremony was finished. It's the second time Barbara and I have experienced this ceremony and every time at some point I am moved by it.

Surprised we found a decent internet connection today. I am posting this from a very cold cyber cafe called Beyul. There is no indoor heat anywhere in the Khumba Valley except stoves that burn yak dung, and they're only lit after 5 pm.

The picture above of the prayer wheels is from the gate of the Tengboche Buddhist Monastery on our trek and I can assure you I spun every one of them again for good luck.

Tomorrow we are off to Dingboche.

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