Day 19 Namche Bazar- Lukla
A slow start meant we left the lodge around 08.45; we had a quick nose around the market (which runs every Saturday) before heading off towards Lukla. At the market there was basically every type of produce you could imagine; there were huge tubs of butter, jerry cans full of kerosene, shoes, spices and sacks filled with potatoes, it really put western supermarkets to shame.
As we left we had to pass through a police checkpoint, Aashman lied to the officer and said we had been walking the Chola Pass (which you don’t need a permit for). The other side of the booth was a steep descent, undulating track which passed through a few more checkpoints where again the same lie was told. We only had 2 breaks during the whole day but both of them were about 45 minutes long, at the first we had tea and noodle soup and at the second we had tea and a huge spring roll each. It was more the size and shape of a large Cornish pasty but it was by far and away the nicest spring roll I have ever had.
On arriving in Lukla, 8 hours after setting out from Namche, we went to the tourist office to get a letter which enabled me to get my $250 garbage deposit back. Not surprisingly the office was closed, so we went round to the house of the lady who works there and she told us to return in 15 minutes, so we did. When we returned she said come back in an hour. So to pass the time we went to one of Aashman’s friend’s tea shops, who proceeded to make the nicest cup of coffee known to man. He frothed a small amount of some unknown substance up then added black coffee to fill the rest of the cup. We left there and went to another friend’s place where I had yet more tea and Aashman had some homemade ‘wine’. I was given a glass to try and I have to say it was foul, not something I would recommend to anyone. Because I didn’t want to be rude and leave my drink I had to drink some of it then hurriedly wash it down with tea to take away the taste. The friend said it wasn’t very strong but I reckon it was about 30%+ and it tasted like cheap, neat vodka.
Finally we got the magic letter and returned to the lodge, where I was given another celebratory glass of wine. As soon as Assman left the room I poured it into the pot plant behind where I was sitting (I hope it didn’t die from alcohol poisoning). Unfortunately because I had drunk it so quickly I was given another one…