November 8 Khumjung

Nights are getting to be very frustrating.  I have two choices: try to sleep, but wake up coughing up phlegm every hour; or breathe very carefully and control the coughing (but don't get any sleep).  Most of this time I lay awake I am thinking about tomorrow's segment of the trail, about how much sleep I am missing, about the lumpy ground, about whether I am keeping Paul awake, and other annoying matters.  At 1:30 I finally gave up and started thinking about covariant and contravariant data types and other such matters, and got a few hours rest.  Thank goodness for a variety of things to obsess about. 

We could see at least part of today's trail most of the afternoon yesterday.  It heads up and up, about 1000 feet of steep switchbacks, then disappears behind a ridge.  I was dreading having to climb that yesterday, until it because apparent we were going to be stopping first.  So now I have gotten to think about it all night.  Well, there's nothing to do but to buckle down and make the climb.



I must be regaining my strength, because today the climb was tiring but not exhausting.  I made sure to go slow, to get my share of the rest stops, and to keep going steadily otherwise.  As a result, after two hours, we were at the top of the switchbacks.  And it turns out, the rest of the day is down, more or less.

This spot, Mong, is one of spectacular views.  I enjoyed resting there, getting my second wind. 

Charlie with Ama Dablam

The rest of the day was steadily down, except for a steep climb just prior to entering Khumjung.  As before, I took it slowly and made it up without getting seriously fatigued.  We had seen Khumjung from afar a couple weeks ago, and now we were passing through it.  Our campsite was right next to Hillary school and the long Mani walls.



Ama Dablam

I had enough energy left over to go into town to send an email home.  Then I explored a bit more of the village.
Khumjung Chorten

On the way back I heard drums and horns: a procession was heading along the Mani wall alongside the school.  So I followed to see what was going on.  It turns out a group of monks was carrying a big tower of icons, prayer flags, decorations of various sorts-- I don't know better how to describe it.  They set it down and had twenty minutes of chants, prayers, drum beating and horn playing over it.  Then they set fire to a big heap of bamboo baskets, and when the flames were 10 feet high, they dumped all their decorated items into the fire.  I guess they were getting rid of all the bad spirits or something.  With the fire still going strong, everyone turned around and marched away.

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Video Part 5

We got to eat indoors tonight.  Dinner was spagetti with tomato sauce, momo (pot stickers) filled with tuna, and deep fried potatoes.  My appetite is definitely back.  We had a fire in the stove, so we were all at least a little warm.  It made us all put off going to bed until … 6:45 -- the latest we have stayed up on the whole trip.
Dinner Indoors

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