Pangboche to Phunki Thanga 3930m – 3250m – 2 hours
Phunki Thanga up to Khumjung 3250 – 3780 – 2 hours
I woke up with a start as I heard someone coughing like crazy and I thought it may have been Spencer. He had told us at dinner last night that he had a weird feeling in his lungs – most likely from climbing up to over 5500m and the descending down by 1600m.
Thankfully it wasn’t him, it was one of the monks that stayed last night to perform a funeral service this morning. The owner’s father-in-law had just passed away and the funeral is to be at 7am. All sorts of instruments were played by monks from the Tengboche Monastery as the body was carried out of the house, wrapped in countless white & cream coloured Kata scarves, on a type of stretcher carried by several men. We watched until they were out of sight up the trail to the burial plot. Back at the teahouse, the owner and 2 nuns were preparing for the reception that followed. Small brass candle holders were shined up, new wicks were inserted (initially Charles thought they were little wine goblets) and cone shaped items (made from rice and butter) were prepared for those coming to pay their respects. It was certainly interesting. Bikesh told us that they will now wait either 13 days/3months/1year (time depends on your wealth, the poorer you are the longer you wait because of expense), dig up the bones and have a second funeral ritual.
We delayed our breakfast so a not to interfere with the preparations. And as we need not hurry today we chatted until 9am and then left.
It had rained overnight so the trail was free of dust and everything had a fresh look to it. The sun was now out and it was a beautiful day, although some darker clouds loomed in the valley where we were headed.
The hike was cheerful with Tshiri’s music playing, Spencer singing along to his faves and just general fun and laughter – we got a lot of smiles from passerbys. The trail down from Tengboche was gorgeous with trees of Rhododendrons blooming everywhere.
We didn’t bother to stop for tea or a snack as we wanted to get to Khumjung in time for lunch and before the rain may set in. So we just kept trudging back up the other side of the valley which was about 530m in altitude. The last 1/2 hour up (yes lots of up!) to Khumjung, it was very apparent that we had all run out of steam – even the porters and ‘Springbok Spencer’ were slowing down. We then find out that Tshiri and Ishower hadn’t eaten breakfast, were carrying our heavy bags and it was past 1PM. Now who were the Zombies?? We all were!! Just at the edge of town we took a rest break and the chocolate pusher was at it again – trying to get us to eat more!
Thunder was rumbling every couple of minutes so we carried on thinking only a short distance now to our teahouse. I jokingly said to Bikesh – now I hope you didn’t get us a place at the top of the hill – he just giggled! Sure enough, our teahouse was at the very top of Khumjung, looking down on the town with a great view. We all moaned and groaned but once we arrived we were very pleased with our rooms and the food.
We no sooner ordered our lunch when the heavens opened and it poured – whew we made it just in time! We had. a great lunch and amused ourselves watching the town dog tease a yak.
The balance of the afternoon was spent reading and relaxing. We were all still full from lunch however we showed up in the dining room at 6:30PM. We ordered soup and dessert. Spencer had a Mars Bar pie and was in heaven.
There were two other Travellers staying here. A fellow from Australia that had just done Renjo pass and said it was enough for him. His 3 sons had carried on and one of them is running in the Everest Marathon on May 29th. The other fellow was from Norway and stays here 5 months a year. He was very knowledgeable about the region but annoyingly so. Bikesh was even annoyed at his boastings. You meet all kinds.
We all escaped to our rooms around 8PM.
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