June 7, Lukla, Nepal
As the sun rose this morning it was visible and so were the mountains, then minutes later, a thick fog rolled in. But, it’s not thick enough to drown out the chanting and horns from the monastery many blocks away. At 11,500 feet, these are actually clouds. When it rains here, it gets very cold, and last night I had on every piece of clothing I had brought for below freezing temps. Fortunately this morning, it’s back to two base layers and my alpaca sweatshirt.
At Pema Choling Monastery, there were three boys with spreading infections that worried us. With one lifeguard, one pre-med students, and of course I’m certified in blood-borne pathogens in 5 states, we decided it was probably staf. There were no appropriate antibiotics in the monastery’s first aid kit, so we talked to the head monk and explained that a hospital visit was necessary. So when I saw the three boys come trotting down the path yesterday, I was very pleased. They had made the 4 hour walk to Lukla and were on their way to the hospital. Several hours later, I collected them and brought them to the lodge for tea. Monks are very respected here in Nepal and it was fun to see the reactions they get from people out in public. Even the Sherpa who runs the restaurant was very excited to join us. Afterwards, I sent Lakpa, Lodon, and Jingme on their way with some Smarties chocolates and some money for soap and bandages. They were all very happy and took off running. So cute! I will miss them!
The other notable thing yesterday was a Starbucks! Right here in the Himalayas! It was super clean, which is something of a rarity here, AND they offer a shot of liquor in your coffee if you want it! Funny! I teated myself to a mocha which was wonderful and the first cup of coffee I’ve had since arriving in Nepal! I also got a slice of cheesecake which looked good, but had no sugar in it and just tasted weird. At the lodge I got the first hot shower I’ve had since arriving in Nepal. It only lasted a few minutes, but was absolutely wonderful! I figured I’ll be here several days, why not splurge and get a room with a bathroom attached. It’s costing me $21 a night and comes with anything I want for breakfast. This morning my stomach does not want to be adventurous so I’m going with the foreigner’s breakfast: milk tea, cornflakes served with hot milk, a fried egg, and toast with yak butter and jelly. Then on to the monastery for the festival!