The View From the Afternoon
Tengboche Travel Blog› entry 108 of 115 › view all entries
Rejoice and maketh ye merry - I can eat! Praise little baby Jesus, the three wise men, the lowing cattle, Mary, Joseph and even the donkey. I get through a whole bowl of steaming porridge, its oaty goodness filling my belly with wonderful energy that’ll hopefully drive me on to Namche Bazaar by the end of the day.
I set off with the sun, pre nine o’clock the valley is freezing, but as soon as the sun appears above the lip of the valley, life can continue. I’ve never been in a place so reliant on the sun’s warmth. Being here has led me to an understanding as to why ancient peoples worshipped the sun as a god.
I pass an English lady called Angie on the path back to Tengboche. She is almost fifty and had knee surgery a little earlier in the year. Walking with one of the numerous tour companies that organizes trips to Base Camp, she also made it as far as Dughla, before being struck with altitude sickness, as bad if not worse than I had it.
Whilst I had been slumped in one corner of the Dughla lodge, she had been lying supine, covered in blankets on a bench opposite. The tour company has allocated a guide and a porter to help her back down.
At first I decide to move on ahead of Angie, walking fast towards Tengboche. After what happened yesterday, I want to put in as many miles as possible whilst I’m still feeling good.
Tengboche is a gorgeous place; probably my favourite on the Everest route. A small village at the top of a hill with superbly sculpted mountains looming to catch the eye in all directions. There are quite a few lodges and a large Buddhist temple. Two enormous prayer wheels flank the entrance to the temple grounds.
Young monks, clad in deep red robes for uniformity and North Face Fleece jackets for warmth, spin the wheels at regular intervals. As the wheels turn, they set carefully positioned bells ringing through the quiet air of the village.
Horses and cows wander the open ground at the centre of the village, cropping the grass where frost hasn’t rendered it too icy.
Tengboche embodies a palpable sense of peace. I’m an atheist, but it is this kind of place that makes me appreciate those who practice Buddhism as I do no other religion. There is no pretension here this afternoon, no pomp and only a little ceremony.
I feel a whole lot better, as if I've almost recovered from "The Worst Hangover in the World Ever..." TM. As Angie and I eat lunch, enjoying the
view down the valley, we’re free to enjoy the mountains, the sun,
the afternoon bells and a sense of wonder. For the first time in a few days, it's nice just to be in the Himalayas.