Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Never, Ever, Eat Yak Burger Above Namche Bazar

Unfortunately, I learned this lesson, and associated lessons, the hard way. In Pangboche Sunday evening, inspired by Vicki's experience in Namche, I ordered yak steak. I was sick by the middle of the night, and we spent all of Monday in Pangboche, me with the near-death malaise I am prone to with such food poisoning incidents and trips down the hall. I drank as much of the re-hydration cocktail as I could stomach, ate a biscuit, and later some garlic soup. By Tuesday morning, I felt ready to tackle the 400m up to Dingboche. Actually, it was not bad, the elevation gains coming in spurts with long intervals of flat ground. Dingboche is a scheduled rest day, which is well, because I am feeling less well.

The associated lessons. One sees yak steak, yak burger, yak cheese, frequently on menus. In Namche, yak cheese is sold as if it were some specialty. Actually, it would be. Mingma says it is all beef (“buff”) from Kathmandu. There are very few yak left, the males (yak) used for hauling, the nak pretty strictly for propagation. All of which leaves us with the following question. If yak meat and yak cheese are frauds (and we're told that much of the textile going by the name of yak is really not) it really yak dung, or is this yet another fraud perpetrated on unsuspecting tourists?

I will post this tonight from the Dingboche Cyber Cafe, and it really may be our final posting for several days, probably six to eight days, assuming no further sickness. Mark

Vicki adds:

October 12 – Pangboche, Khumbu, Nepal

Today was a short day, thank heavens. This is the 7th day on the trail and Sherpa's don't believe in resting on the seventh day or at all. Mark and Mingma, our guide, went out for a couple more hours this afternoon while I took a nap and washed socks. It is in the 50's, so I am cold except when walking. Our lodge tonight is luxury compared to the last two. There is a western toilet, a waste basket in the hall, and a working light bulb. It doesn't take much to please me now. However, we are at tree line which means that wood stoves are changing to yak dung stoves. This is the highest, year round settlement in the Khumbu.

Prices are also rising. Last night was $4 for the lodge instead of $2. Also charging batteries for the computer is up to $2 an hour.

Yesterday we hiked up to the Tengboche Monastery which was only founded in 1917 but is very influential. It has one o f the finest views of Everest and the surrounding mountains close to Namche, so it is a final destination for some trekkers who have less time or interest in going higher. The monks there are very environmentally conscious and have put in a water turbine for electricity for the area and done a great deal of reforestation. They also care for children who are orphaned

This is a very international trek. So far we have met people from New Zealand, Wales, Scotland, England, Austria, France, Canada, Hungary, Australia, Germany, Russia, Italy, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Indiana. I am going to sign off so the battery can charge better. Vicki

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