Schoolboy error

5th Apr 2017

I have never really enjoyed the flight from Katmandu to Lukla. The flight itself was spectacular with wonderful views of the Himalayan chain in all its majesty. It's the landing that bothers me, because the runway appears to be unfeasibly short and angled upwards. In the past we have flown in twin otters but this time we flew in a which appears to have a higher speed, the landing speed appeared to be greater- but this may just be my nervous imagination playing tricks

The walk towards Phakding was stunningly beautiful, walking through the delightful Nepalese countryside. Tiny green postage postage stamps of fields are intricately laid over the rugged mountain terrain. The rhododendrons give bright red splashes to contrast with the green fields, grey rocks and turquoise and white rivers. The pre-monsoon season is peak trekking time and the trails are busy with trekkers, porters and pack animals.

The clouds gradually gathered during the afternoon until an hour or so before we made it to our final destination, the heavens opened soaking us. We made it to Ang Phurba’s (one of the Sherpas who helped us summit in 2007) stunning new guest house. It was wonderful meeting his wife and family.

In the crowded rest house sitting room, I put my wet rucksack close to the wood burner to dry about 8 feet from where I was sitting. An hour or so later, I went to move the sac to my room but found it had gone. A quick hunt revealed no sign of it, so I began to retrace my steps in the lodge. Still no sign, so time to recruit the help of Rinjing out Sherpa- nothing. This was beginning to look serious since with the sac was my passport, money, camera and key equipment. I had never experienced a theft in the Khumbu in twenty plus years of travel but began to wonder if the times had changed and the modern world influences pervaded the valley. Things were getting serious so I went to each table in turn to ask the trekkers if they had seen my rucksack. I was greeted with varying levels of disinterest and a I approached the fourth and last table, I began to wonder how I could have been so stupid. At the last table, the initial response was the same- no one had seen the rucksack. Then one of the trekkers asked her friend if the sac beside the stove wasn’t hers? ‘Oh- gosh yes that’s mine’ - then there was a slow dawning realisation the sac that she had taken to her room can’t have been hers-could it be mine??

She had indeed taken my sac in error and rapidly returned it- what a relief!

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