After another sensational breakfast at 7:30, the trekkers/Island Peak climbers headed out, while the climbing team of which I'm paired with along with the family and spouses of the climbers hung back and the climbers were blessed for a safe journey and climb in a Tibetan Buddhism ceremony called a Kahta. In the ceremony, you first dip the tip of ring finger of right hand into a bowl of Chag, a rice-based liquor and make the flick of finger to honor the god of Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest), this is repeated two more time to bless youself and... it don't remember the third. A Kahta scarf is then place around your neck and tied in front. You carry this blessed scarf high on your body and never near your feet. I was honored that I was also included in this. Many photos were taken!!
Setting out for the day to Thame, we first traversed around to the other side of Namche and followed a path very high above the Bhote Koshi river through an amazing pine forest. Believe me when I say that it looked exactly like my training hikes along the I-90 corridor near Snoqualime Pass. Carl, for this segment, you weren't missing a thing. Except this is Nepal and you weren't here with me. :-(
We took a break at the Tahi Dele Restaurant & Lodge tea-house in Thamo. I was able to get an EDGE connection (no 3G), downloaded and read your wonderful comments on the blog (thank you!! keep em coming) and read a couple of emails. I didn't have the thought to make a quick dispatch, which would have been a good idea, since there is no Internet access up here in Thame. I am planing to post this via my satellite phone, so pictures will be keep to a minimum or none.
At Thame we had a quick lunch and then hike 30 minutes up to the 325 year-old Thame Gompa (monastery). It was a little bit of a puffer to get there and they fortunately openned the monastery for us to view the inside. No photos and we were required to remove our shoes. Inside was relatively small and hand painted wall to ceiling. It was striking! The monastery is home to 35 Tibetan Monks but we didn't see any or hear any chanting. The view from the monastery back down to Thame and surrounding peaks knocked your eyes out (I'm running out of ways to describe the magnificence of it all).
We are all now all back in the dinning room with lots of reading, chatting, backgammon, and warming of feet by the stove in the center of the room.
BTW: I did have the presence of mind to skip the bacon at breakfast this morning. Good Friday to all of you and God bless.
Tomorrow we will return to the area just above Namche called Khumjung. Khumjung is the home of the famous Hillary School. Built by Sir Edmund Hillary who spend much of his life after making the first ascent of Everest working with the Sherpa people in the Khumbu.