The real adventure begins tomorrow, but today was exciting and interesting in its own way. We all enjoyed a good night of sleep after arriving last night. This morning we woke to the sounds of a heavy thunderstorm, which quickly cleared.
After a nice breakfast we hiked 2.5 miles thru the city to Swayambhunath Stupa, a Buddhist temple that legend says evolved spontaneously out of a primordial lake nearly 2500 years ago. The walk thru this vibrant city of 2.5 million was a bit of an obstacle course of muddy streets, honking cars and motorcycles, and various construction projects (… Nepal is still rebuilding from the 2015 earthquakes). And for any aspiring electricians out there, I would not recommend getting your license here… the electric lines look like a tangled mess of black spaghetti, creating an overhead maze of wires.
At the temple we got some practice climbing at altitude while ascending several hundred stairs. Along the way we encountered pilgrims, merchants and monkeys… yep, you read that right, monkeys, damn monkeys! In fact one of these monkeys was so bold it actually swatted my hand while I was taking its picture. Our guide, Dilip, said that these monkeys will often snatch things right from the hands of unsuspecting visitors, so I was pretty lucky he didn’t succeed in taking my phone!
Later we picked up some last minute equipment at very good prices, and tomorrow morning we head back to the airport for our short flight to the village of Lukla, where we will met our guides and yaks (which we have already given the good Nepalese names of Eeny, Meeny, Miny and Mo)… stay tuned for what lies ahead!