This was day 4 and our first day in Namche Bazaar staying at the Khumbu Lodge. We were awoken at 7:30 with tea followed by breakfast; many orders consisted of French toast! The group was then led by Pimba up the valley from Namche giving us a panoramic view of the village. The village has many metal roofed hotels with steep cobbled streets in between. From the village on the facing mountain we can see a luxury hotel where people helicopter in to use waiting oxygen. Below there is an 18 pitch ice climb. On the slopes surrounding the village there is a khomba (a monastery), multiple strings of prayer flags and stupas.
Everyone slowly climbed up the steps to the old airport where the fixed winged airplanes used to land before the landing strip was created was at Lukla. The old airstrip is unpaved and replaced by the two helicopter pads in town. We continued across a plain covered with juniper trees and yaks and naks (the female gender of yak). The grass is quite dry since it is the end of winter or early spring. Upon rounding the corner the group saw an impressive panorama of Everest surrounded by many other mountains. On the left was Yul Ha (a sacred mountain that it is forbidden to climb), the saw toothed ridge of Nuptse in front of Everest, Everest with the jet stream breaking off the top, Lhotse to the right, the unique shape of Ama Dablam (mother's necklace), Khang Tari, Khang Taga and Tamserku to the right and finally Kusum Khangkaru. Apparently the climbing season is dictated by the monsoon pushing the jet stream away from the peak of Everest.
We saw a helicopter landing at the luxurious Hotel Everest View and briefly graced its terrace to snap some pictures. The group then tramped down to Khunde where Dr. Kami Temba Sherpa was kind enough to show us the local hospital. It was originally staffed by Canadian and New Zealand doctors but is now entirely run by Nepali staff. They operate on donations and fees to service many of the neighboring valleys. Patient transport is either by porter, litter, yak or mule. The hospital is staffed by two nurses, a midwife, and a lab technician and offers x-ray, ultrasound, laboratory services and obstetric deliveries (40 a year). They also run 2 outlying clinics. As per Dr. Kami Temba Sherpa most pathology is an assortment of respiratory infections, trauma, TB, about 15 patients with diabetes and 50 with HTN.
We proceeded back down the mountain to Namche and were free to shop at the local bazaar where many people obtain their weekly supplies. The vast majority of goods come up with porters or on mules or tzyups (a cross between a yak and a cow). Overall a relaxing day with beautiful surroundings.