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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Journey to a New Home at the Top of the World

Nate, Emma, Joanna & I leave Kathmandu on the ONLY flight that left to
Lukla in now the past two weeks.  Pilots have to land by sight in Lukla,
so when it's too cloudy it's dangerous & almost impossible.  Everyone we
meet on the trail says, "Oh, so you guys were on THAT flight." We're
practically famous in the Everest region now.
Our plane! Landing in Lukla was literally a crash landing - we hit so hard
and bounced a few times.  This was my "I'm so happy to be alive!" photo.
We had two porters for our four big 45-pound backpacks.
The porters were both smaller than me in size and were
13 & 16 years old. They each tied 2 packs together and
carried them that way for 6 hours - all the way to the
monastery!  Adorable little Emma tried to pick up the now
100-pound pack, unsuccessfully. We felt like little girls
as we panted up the mountain trails with our 10-pound
little backpacks while our tiny porters basically jogged
with 10 times as much weight!
Lukla landing strip. A 12% grade!
Lukla: The last place in the world I thought I'd find a
Starbucks.  And they have free wifi! But apparently it's
not actually owned by the real Starbucks corp. Possibly
a knock-off, like all the $10 North Face, Columbia, and Hard
Ware trekking gear you get up here. 
Little Babu (our 13-year-old porter) chats with Emma & Joanna during our
first rest-stop near the outskirts of Lukla.  Babu & Simba (the 16-year-old)
made the whole 6-hour trek in little foam sandals! I can't even put into
words how much respect and admiration I have for these little guys.
Sherpa kids gather around Nate, so enamoured with such a big person.
He's a collegiate football and rugby player back in Minnesota, and much
bigger than any person I've seen in Nepal so far.  Back in Kathmandu some
of the neighborhood kids in Kalanki - by our hostel - befriended Joanna &
then told her, "There is a big, fat white man who lives in that hostel. We
call him Moto."  Moto is the Nepali word for "fat."  Once in Pema Choling, the
little monks smiled so big and told him, "You are very fat. This is good thing!" 
About an hour from my home in Pema Choling monastery. You can almost
see it way up high on the hill!
Halfway to Pema Choling, we dropped off Emma and had lunch with her
host family in the village of Ghat.  Emma will be teaching English there at the
local school. The yak meat curry soup was incredible!
Just some more incredible scenery.  I love this place so much.
I took this photo my first morning at Pema Choling. It's the view from my room!
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