EBC Day 05 – Phakding to Namche Bazaar

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The Windy Bridge

The first 45 minutes or so of the trail just after Jesole was fairly straightforward, but after passing the varicoloured Windy Bridge (Nepali : दुध कोशी स्विंग पुल) with the long queues of hikers and yaks waiting for their turn to cross, things became a lot tougher. The bridge itself was covered with prayer flags that were fluttering in the wind, always in the same sequence and always in the same colours - yellow (representing 'Earth'), green (representing 'Water'), red (representing 'Fire'), white (representing 'Air'), and blue (representing 'Space') - "by your powers combined..". Printed (normally by woodblock) on the flags are prayers, sutras, and mantras, and are strung up in the hopes that the prayers would be carried by the wind to benefit others, far and wide.

Climbing to Namche Bazaar

After the bridge, the path wound its way up the steep hill, zig-zagging up as it did. I began to feel the effects of high altitude at this point as my breathing rate had increased and it felt as if I were tiring out faster than I normally would be on this kind of incline, actually having to stop for short rests on several occasions. The incline itself was not too bad (initially 22 degrees, an altitude gain of 200 metres over 500 metres; and gradually leveling out to 14 degrees, altitude gain of 200 metres over 800 metres, as the path began to trace the contours) but I had not stopped to acclimatise yet and the decreased partial pressure of oxygen at this altitude was starting to affect me.

I came across Sophie once again towards Namche Bazaar (Nepali : नाम्चे बजार) (elevation : 3440 m) and decided to hike along with her. To our surprise, it began to snow at this point - later finding out that it was the first snowfall in Namche Bazaar that year. Sophie was struggling a little but her porter and I tried our best to encourage her and to urge her on. At one point, she ducked into a doorway of a little hut along the path to escape the cold and she found dozens of eyes of adults and children alike just staring at her. Soon after, we reached Namche Bazaar, a sprawling town that was nestled cosily in the valley. The quaintness of the town and the soft snow that covered everything made the entire scene terribly enchanting.

We all ended up staying at a lodge called 'The Nest', but I went to exchange some left over currency that I had (already having spent more than I had anticipated), receiving NPR4600 for RM200 and NPR25200 for USD300, before checking in the lodge. I treated myself to some internet access (NPR500) and some dinner (NPR540), before retiring to bed for the night.

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Day 5 Expenditure

Next (Day 6) : Acclimatisation at Namche Bazaar
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