Monday, March 31, 2008

Namche Down Day

Last night, Joe tried to teach me how to play Hearts which rapidly eroded into an exercise in comedy. After explaining the rules twice so I could at the very least seem like I knew what I was doing, the cards were dealt and counted. "Doug, what are you doing?" Errr... Five minutes later we realized that the deck we were using only had 51 cards in it, so it wasn't entirely my fault after all. Still, it was hopeless and Joe had to give up on teaching me how to play. Besides, Hearts is a 3-person game (look at that, I did learn something after all) and Willie quickly found himself trapped by a chatty but friendly Spanish teacher that had accompanied an International School hailing from Kuala Lumpur, on Spring Break and staying in our hotel enroute. Given that the rooms are unheated and arctic once the sun goes down, the center room/ restaurant/ lounge/ bar/ check-in counter is the only place to congregate where a mix of wood burning stove and body heat keeps the temp comfortable. So Joe gave up on the card game and we all hit the hay.

As a down day, the team woke late and have spent our time relaxing. Francisco is haunting the Internet Cafe despite the 10 rupee/ minute rate, Willie is sleeping, and Joe & I just went shopping for more stuff. Joe mentioned in passing that it's so amazing that despite dozens of shopping trips before leaving the States, there's always something you have missed. How convenient that just about anything you do need is available in Namche Bazaar. Except for a space heater.

There's a constant hum of construction going on outside in the Bazaar area- more hotels going up, more stores opening for next season, more house improvements before the monsoons hit. Roosters crow, dogs bark, and kids play. This place is truly larger than I ever expected when imagining what Namche Bazaar was all about. I even had a hot shower this morning. Maybe I should have looked at images a little more recent than Hillary's expedition in '53.

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