Swayambunath

Swayambunath Monkeys

Swayambunath is an absolute blast! A Buddhist/Hindu temple set on a forest-covered hill overlooking Kathmandu, Swayambunath is crawling with hundreds of monkeys. Monkeys everywhere – swinging through trees, climbing stupas, sitting in Buddha’s lap, stealing Continue…

Maoists Take Over Part 2

For the last two days, since we heard that our hotel was shut down because of Maoists, we couldn’t think of much else but our laptop in storage. Suddenly, we couldn’t wait to get back to Kathmandu as fast as possible.

When the taxi finally dropped us off at a small street leading to our hotel, we immediately noticed the missing hotel signs. Quite apprehensive, we walked into the deserted hotel complex looking around for any sign of life. To our surprise, we found the front door open and the hotel manager standing in the lobby. He confirmed the closing of the hotel because of Maoists but then announced that the hotel would be opening up again the very same day.

We were extremely relieved and happy to find our luggage still sitting there and even happier when we got our “old” room back with a spacious, sunny balcony, TV with movie channels and a steaming hot shower.

Everest Follow-up

Gorkha Airlines from Lukla to Kathmandu

Well, Everest is behind us now – literally. Believe it or not, we ended up walking more than 200 kilometers (120 miles) over a 23-day period. Mountain scenery doesn’t get much better than the Khumbu. Add to that wildlife and Sherpa hospitality and it makes for one incredible experience. I loved almost every minute of it (I’ll admit the whole Chola Pass screw up was a bit much.)

But others wishing to visit Khumbu must come with realistic expectations. Continue…

Maoists Take Over

Two days before returning to Kathmandu, we met a group of Germans who, after casually talking about hotels in Thamel, delivered some shocking news to us. Our favorite hotel, in which we had stored our luggage including our laptop with all of our pictures, has been shut down. Rumor has it that Maoists are trying to pressure selected hotels into replacing part of their staff with Maoists. Apparently our hotel owner refused and decided to shut down the hotel for the time being.

We are totally freaking out now not knowing whether our things have been carted off to some unknown location or are locked up inside indefinitely.

Ama Dablam

Ama Dablam from above Namche Bazaar

You might assume Everest steals the show in the Khumbu region, but many would not agree. Ama Dablam is to the Khumbu what Ginger was to “Gilligan’s Island.” Sexy, curvaceous, and the obvious center of attention, Ama Dablam is the movie star among Continue…

Chukhung

I know what you are all thinking… more mountains? Well, we’re in the Khumbu – mountains are what you get!!! And, not just any mountains, the world’s super giants. We’ve spent another two days walking to Chukhung to climb to the Chukhung Ri viewpoint 5559 meters (18,344 ft).

Lhotse from Chhukhung Ri

Why? Because Chukhung Ri overlooks Lhotse, the world’s fourth highest peak, and Makalu, the world’s fifth highest. Not too shabby. As if that weren’t enough Continue…

Khumbu Friends

Even though we went off-season trekking in the Everest region and there were fewer hikers on the trails than during our Annapurna Circuit trek, we ended up meeting a bunch of interesting people again.

Brian and Jessy

We met Brian and Jessy, two friends from the States, a few days into the trek and hung out with them in the same lodges for a while. Brian, a math teacher from Manhattan, was on his way back to New York after having spent a year in Iraq with the American military. Talking to Brian Continue…

Everest South Base Camp

Khumbu Icefall

To trek to Everest South Base Camp, or not to trek… that is the question. Several guidebooks seem to suggest that a trip to the world-famous base camp is often a disappointment to visitors, especially since Everest is not visible from the site. HOW JADED CAN PEOPLE BE? The walk is spectacular! Continue…