|You've guessed it, fog again this morning. I finished off my new
radiator air scoop on the trike this morning anyway. There was a brief
clear period when the Helicopter arrived with its load of plywood,
roofing sheets, powdered milk, fridges Etc. and then they went off to
Everest Base Camp and then back to Kathmandu, probably carrying people
who summited in the last few days. They only stay there briefly and
don't shut down the engines so it was not long before we heard it come
back down the valley, but we didn't see it, it had closed in again. The
Helicopter crew reported that the air traffic controller at Lukla has
been a bit worried about us as he has not heard from us in several days.
We can't quite reach Lukla from the ground here, you have to be a few
hundred feet up, so I asked that they should relay a message that we
were fine but haven't been flying because of the weather.
Barty and I decided to go for a circular walk via the Everest View Hotel
and Khunde. The Everest View Hotel is a famous place, I'm not sure how
many stars it has but it is a proper hotel, completely different to your
ordinary Lodge. Built in the late 60's it is the most extraordinary
late 1960's style
building which could easily be cast as a classic 'James Bond baddie'
mountain-top hideout. Japanese
owned with mostly Japanese clients, Syangboche airfield was built for
this hotel and when there were Pilatus Porters here clients were often
flown directly from Kathmandu. Sometimes they still are, but at even
greater expense by helicopter. Of course they usually suffer from
altitude sickness and all the rooms are provided with Oxygen, even then
it is reputed that some guests have died.
The place was deserted apart from a few staff. It apparently costs US
$200 per night, certainly the pot of tea
we shared cost 100 Rupees; less than a pound, but to put it in
perspective our cook Lapka earns 150 Rupees a day producing 'Bed tea' at
4 am, breakfast, elevensies, lunch, afternoon tea and supper at 8 pm for
One thing we didn't get was a view of Everest, in fact it
started to rain so we decided to abort out round trip and return
Syangboche. Not much point in being here for the views when you can't
see anything but Yaks in the mist.
I am not noted for my botanical expertise but as a diversion on the way
back I took some pictures of the sort of flowers you can see around
here, and even what they are, in the cases
where our gardening expert [Barty] could identify them. They must all
have one thing in
common, a nasty taste to Yaks because everything else is grazed to
putting green smoothness. Not very aeronautical, I know, but
I have included some photos of them anyway. A lot of plants are in bud
and I believe it is much more colourful immediately after the Monsoon in
August and early September.
The forecast is not looking particularly encouraging. Maybe we will
have a chance in two or three days time, but if that doesn't work out
then I think there is every chance we will retreat to Lukla and