A rest day never means loaf around all day. It usually means some additional exercise to continue our acclimatization. Today after breakfast we hiked up 1,300 ft. to the Hotel Everest View. Unfortunately the clouds did not allow the hotel to live up to its name. We did get great view of Lhotse and a bit of Mt. Everest's south summit, but the true summit was hidden behind the clouds. The most amazing view was that of Ama Dablam. Ama Dablam is perhaps one of the most distinct and beautiful peaks in the Khumbu. Wow. Seriously do an Internet search (I prefer Bing) for some photos. At the Hotel Everest View we sat out on the deck and sipped either tea or Nepali hot lemon. Hot lemon is served at most tea-houses. Some remarked, "this is so good, I've never had anything like it." I was let in on the ancient Nepali secret recipe: you take hot water and add Country Time Lemonade mix. Ancient Nepali secret, huh??
The hike up was wonderful and the views were priceless. Coming back down was great as well, we had nearly aerial views of Namche. Arriving back at the Panorama Lodge, we had more food, a lunch of beans, veggies, fried bread, and (...wait for it...) potatoes. After hanging out for a bit, we went downtown and at Namche it really was down-town. We bee-lined for the Everest Bakery and had ..the.. ..most.. delicious apple pie ever! The bakery was atop a bar that was blasting Eric Clapton. So awesome. I can't get the Clapton out of my head. Wonderful. The mix of culture was so blowing my mind. Next door was the coolest Internet cafe that was a great hangout. Among the folk getting on line were Jake Norton and Dave Morton of the First Ascent team climbing the West Ridge of Everest. See http://pitchengine.com/eddiebauer/eddie-bauer-honors-historic-everest-expedition-with-twin-climbs-of-the-south-col-and-west-ridge-in-spring-2012
Namche is simply awesome. The buildings are great. I love the way the Sherpa make use of color in the buildings. In some ways, it parallels the colors of the pray flags that are ever present. It gives the architecture a spiritual feel. Hard to really explain. The shops sell just about everything. I visited a Sherpa expedition official outlet and a real Mountain Hardwear shop. Keep in mind we are two days from Lukla in an area with no roads and at 11,500 ft. I heard others in the group say that if they lived in Nepal, they would want to live in Namche. I agree! I would love to have another day to spend here, but tomorrow we move on.
Tomorrow we will hike up the Bhote Valley to Thame (12,467 ft.), the hometown of Lapka Rita Sherpa. We will visit his sister's home for some tea and later we will visit and 325 year old Thame Monastery and spend the night in Thame.