EVEREST BASE CAMP DIARIES - DAY 1
Everest Base Camp, Day 1 - Kathmandu
Quote of the day: "Everest beer, really?"
We're a motley group of 11 people - nine of which are women! There's Dilpreet - the super fit banker ever ready for the next adventure; his wife Ruchika - enormously good natured and giggling all the time; Nadeem the I-can-sleep-all-day guy with an angelic smile; Suhani the enthu cutlet - she's so full of beans she'd put a bean bag to shame; Arpita, a sales exec with a multinational and a smile that lights up an entire room; Gitu, the gentle one, mother of two lovely girls and a dear friend - under that quiet nature is a resilience of steel (I almost arm twisted her into coming for this trip); Nihita - the chotu of the group, only 23 and already a doctor! Kavita, for whom this EBC trek was a birthday gift from her husband, under that calm demeanor lies a witty soul full of mischief; Jinoo, my childhood friend, mother of two teenage girls who she would Whatsapp every time she saw something that delighted her; Pavane - our trip leader, a trekking veteran who's trekked across almost every trekking region in India worth talking about.
For most of us, this Everest Base Camp trek is a tick off against an item on our bucket list. The age of the group ranges from the youngest at 23 to the oldest at 56, so it's a fantastic bunch of people with varied experiences. Most of us are first time trekkers (at least at this level) and we're going to be together over the next 15 days - come hell or high water!
So, today is shopping day - there's no better way to bond than over good food and fantastic shopping! ! If you're a beginner heading out for your first big trek, chances are that you'll fall short on trekking gear. Don't fret. Kathmandu is trekker paradise.
I spend the day splurging at Mountain Hardwear. They have the most amazing trekking gear that lasts you a life time - literally. So don't hesitate to spend that money, it's worth the investment. I picked up a pair of trekking pants and a sweat shirt from there. Another good brand to go for is Sherpa - it's a local brand with international quality stuff and the best part - you're giving back to the local community when you shops from here - so I intend to hit the store the moment I return. If you don't think you're going to spending the rest of your life planning your next big trek, Shonas is another good bet. They've got the Chinese made stuff but pretty high quality. Got myself a down jacket from there - cost me just 5400 NRS. Will last me for two to three years and if I still find myself loving this life, I'll invest in a more hardcore one later. You can also hire the down jacket (and sleeping bags as well) from Shonas. Btw (as an aside) the down jackets from Uniqulo are fabulous. So if you're an organized soul ( unlike me) order one off their website a month in advance. They're really thin and splendidly warm!
Lunch at Northfield Cafe is a guilt-free diets of carbs carbs carbs all the way! Heck, we're going to need them over the next 12 days! Everest beer is the liquid diet of the day, and we dive into those nachos and cheese, the chimichangas and the chicken fajitas without a care in the world! Dinner is at Third Eye - a lovely little restaurant with a fabulous Newari Nepali thali. Didn't really bother with the rest of the 'Chinese", "Italian" stuff - this thali was the real deal. They also have some fabulous beef kababs!
So that was Day 1 of an experience I have waited for over 11 years! I'm told we'll have 3G connection for another 3 days so you'll be hearing from me:-)