The last few days of the trip weren’t spectactularly interesting to write about. A fairly quick descent back to Lukla, an afternoon exploring the delights of Lukla (I have to confess to buying biscuits, although I did (just) manage to resist the Starbucks (and deeply regretted it when I found everyone else seemed to have gone there, as I was craving a proper coffee at that point). There isn’t much in Lukla but it was fun to see a bit of civilisation and have time to poke our noses into the little shops (I say shops, but they were basically huts smaller than my bathroom at home).
We wandered up to the monastery on the hillside via a definitely unapproved crosscountry route (only because we missed the turning for the correct route and thus went for the pioneering option of forging a new one (through barbed wire fences, down ravines and over walls). At one point I’m pretty sure we went through someone’s garden, but no one shouted at us, so we carried on.
My room in the teahouse in Lukla was palatial. You might not think it from the pictures, but it had its own ensuite bathroom with not only a proper Western loo but a basin with water that came out of the taps! Of course, you couldn’t flush the loo except with the usual bucket, and I can’t remember if water came out of the taps or not. There was also enough space in the bathroom to swing not just a cat but a couple of hefty yaks. I also had a double bed to myself and fantastic views of the valley since my room had windows on 3 sides (which meant it was freezing, especially as the windows didn’t close properly). The door didn’t lock properly either, but there was nothing in my room to steal apart from a load of (very) dirty washing, so I wasn’t too worried. And to be honest, when you’ve been trekking for 2 weeks, you don’t really care about the interesting decor, the state of the wallpaper or the bathroom.
The atmosphere that evening was definitely a party one. All the guides ate with us instead of separately, and we were also joined by the yak man, who didn’t speak any English beyond a few words, but smiled a lot (possibly because we bought him rum). Then the music was turned on and the dancing began. It turned out the youngest guide was quite a party animal, and by the time everyone had a few pints of beer or rum inside them, they were ready to dance. Gangnam style turned out to be a particular favourite of the young guide and the yak man, for some unknown reason, but I discovered they were both also very good at modern jive! It’s a shame we hadn’t thought about dancing on the previous nights, as it certainly kept us warm.
It was probably a good thing we had a very early start the next morning or I’d have been tempted to stay up drinking rum a lot later. However, since the airport was 5 minutes’ walk from our teahouse (like everything else in Lukla), we didn’t even have to wake up until about 30 minutes before our flight was supposed to take off. Of course there was the inevitable fog, and from the hotel we could actually watch the progress at the airport and see when the lights in the control tower were switched on. Nevertheless, we still had to hang around the airport for a couple of hours, which was freezing cold and very dull until the planes started arriving.
Once back in Kathmandu mid-morning, there was no question but to head straight for the showers – in my case the first proper hot shower in nearly 2 weeks! Only hunger drove me out of the shower and into the city for lunch! I think we all slept like logs that night, with the luxury of being clean, warm and in a proper bed with a duvet. I certainly struggled with getting out of bed by 10am in time for breakfast the next day. While I don’t mind roughing it at all, when you finally get back to civilisation you really appreciate the simple things such as hot running water and clean clothes. Not to mention proper coffee.