Date: 20 May
Location: Berg House, Nagarkot, just chilling and looking out at (teeny tiny in the distance) Everest whilst drinking a (massive bottle of) Everest.
Notable sightings: well, Everest.
I've decided to come back and do Everest Base Camp next year. I'm recording this for posterity so I don't chicken out — especially given climbing the rough hillside steps to my hotel a few hours ago is still fresh in my memory as a heroic and hideous adventure. The hotel in question is The Hotel At The End Of The Universe. I'm unsure if the Douglas Adams reference is intentional or a happy coincidence. Either way, the place is aptly named as it soars up here in the clouds, far far away from anything save a few other ramshackle guest houses and the Nagarkot village — a thin line of houses, 'fast food' places (no burgers here though, kids), 'cold stores' in which you'd be lucky to find anything even lukewarm let alone cool and rest stops. I think there are a few hotels on the other side of the ridge but I'm still dying from the stair episode and would need to gather my strength before exploring unchartered — and bloody steep — territory.
Up here, the power goes out at six, right before the sun sets. Using candles to eat dinner and read my book is romantic for all of about forty-five minutes. After that it's tiresome and a downright hazard as my little hillside cabin is made entirely of wood and I'm prone to falling asleep whilst reading…On the bright side, there's gas-powered hot water which is a dream come true, temperamental wifi, Christmassy-tasting hot Nepali chai and 270 degree views of the Himilayas when it's clear. With all of that, what's a few early nights and scary dark trips to the bathroom?
This morning my alarm went off at 4.30am and a guide took me for the hike up to the watch tower above Nagarkot to see sunrise over the mountains. In a stroke of bad luck uncharacteristic to this trip, it was so hazy we saw precisely zero mountains. Lots of dogs though. Funny, they followed us up and then took the best seats, facing precisely east, as if to watch the sun rise with us.
The sole other occupant of this remote little guesthouse at the end of the universe is a Swiss paramedic in the mountains for a study break. He's in Nepal undertaking a course on Ayurvedic medicine in the hopes that he was render his practice at home more holistic. Bless. Why is everyone in a Nepal so quirkily impressive? This morning (after I re-emerged from my pre-breakfast nap time), he told me stories of his last trip to Nepal ten years ago when he stayed with a Sherpa family then hiked for three months around Eastern Nepal, including up to Everest Base Camp. He highly recommends that approach in order to allow one's body to better acclimatise to the altitude and thinks flying to Lukla to start the Everest trek is 'silly'. I think he's 'insane'.
However, am comforted by the fact that he too finds climbing the stairs to the a Hotel At The End Of The Universe traumatic.