In times of disaster, everyone was very supportive of each other. This was the atmosphere at “Peaceful Lodge” in Phortse. It was hard to sleep at night and every tremors made us run out of our room. We slept with our full clothes on in case we had to run out of our room.
It was like a terrible bad dream. Do you ever have those bad dreams where you wake up feeling really shitty and it felt so real? The next morning felt that way. We stayed another night in Phortse then decided to head to Periche.
The trek and overnight stay in Periche was not what we expected.
The whole village was destroyed and we felt really down walking through the town – felt so sorry for their loss. Out of 16 lodges including the one we wanted to stay at were destroyed. The brick walls tumbled down creating huge gapping holes. There was only one lodge left and it was built out of ply boards instead of the commonly used bricks. We spent the night hoping to get a good night sleep but was interrupted by a big party in the dining room. A group of climbing expedition were celebrating so there was loud techno dance music, screaming, yelling and drinking for hours. The dining room is only a few rooms down from us so we heard the party late into the night. Once the party started to die down, the climbers went to their respective rooms which were on both sides of our room and started moaning. We heard vomiting and grunting. The smell was horrific. We couldn’t get a good night sleep that night nor could we stand the conditions of the bathrooms with vomits all over the sink and toilets. I felt really sick with the smell. Ugh. What kind of celebration was that? What are the hell were they celebrating?
The lodge owner just told us that afternoon that that same dining room used for the party was filled with injured staffs from Everest Base Camp who were rescued after the avalanched hit the day before. There were bodies everywhere and people were treated by doctors. A contrast of events and I couldn’t understand why the celebration the next day. Didn’t they see the condition of Periche or heard about the many deaths in Nepal from the earthquake?
Periche is a village situated in a valley. The valley area is mostly used for herding yaks and in the spring time, new yak babies graze in the fields. Periche is also where helicopters land for rescue. It is the closest helicopter landing to drop supplies for base camp as well. There is also a clinic right by the lodge we stayed for those who suffer from AMS or any altitude related illness. Every day, there is an AMS or Acute Mountain Sickness talk at 3:00 pm at the clinic to those interested in learning basic AMS prevention.
The helicopters were coming in and out of Periche to fly climbers out of the Khumbu. Helicopters are expensive and can cost up to $5,000 to fly out. Sometimes, with enough people flying out the cost of the flight can be shared. We know that the many flights in and out were from rescuing those badly injured from EBC (Everest Base Camp).
We had to get out of Periche quickly the next day. We quickly had breakfast and deferred going to the toilet with it’s current condition. The walls in our rooms started to smell like vomit. The think ply wood was not thick enough to keep our neighbors vomit from seeping into our rooms. It was so disgusting.
We walked from Periche over the hill to Dingboche then decided to head to Namche Bazaar so we can get wifi for more details of what is going on. Dingboche didn’t have much damage and lodges were happy to take guests so it was good to know.
We were confused of what to do. Our plan of crossing the three passes is no longer an option as it is dangerous and we can’t take the risk. Trekkers were starting to head down to go back to Kathmandu. panicked about the earthquake.
It was a long day, about 7 hours from Periche to Dingboche then to Namche Bazaar. We saw a lot of climbers trekking back as well.
We got to Namche Bazaar and was able to check in to the same lodge we stayed however, the owner was still worried about his hotel structure so he told us to grab our blankets and head up the hill to sleep in a tent. We were worried too and some of the buildings in Namche had bricks falling off the sides so we got our belongings and our blankets then walked up the hill. There are tents prepared and one big tent was our tent. Most of the tents on the school ground were of the locals who worked in stores and lodges. We recognized some of them.
Doug said, it was a night he really enjoyed with me. We had a long chat and felt really close as ever. All the locals in their own tents were also chatting, most likely talking about life and the earthquake just like us. In the middle of our chat it started to rain. The tent had flooring so we had no problem with water leaking in. The tent was double tarped so we really felt safe. In the morning, we realized that we were at the school ground and behind our tent was a secondary school. It had also been destroyed. The walls on the back of the school building had collapsed.
Morning came and we felt refreshed. Our tent neighbors offered us cookies and we walked down to get some coffee not wanting to wake our lodge owners up. I am pretty sure they are stressed enough for the week. They have turned down a group of trekkers that wanted to stay in their lodge, most likely there were no other tent for them to sleep in. We felt lucky in a way that we had a tent to sleep in.
We were all in fear of what could happen if another big aftershock hit while we were in the building. Some lodges were not affected so most trekkers were in those lodges. We, on the other hand got to experience how it is to stay in a tent because the structure of the lodge we were staying at was unstable. We could have easily stayed at another lodge that day but we like the family that run the lodge so we thought that staying with them will give them some business.
The next day, we moved into another lodge up the hill. It’s a bit more than what we wanted to spend.
We didn’t realize that the lodge was filled with elite climbers and their staffs. A National Geographic photographer was even staying in the same lodge. The rooms were $50 per night, of course we left immediately but the lodge owner was able to give us a nice and comfortable room for a reasonable 500 rupees. The prices on the menu was the most expensive we’ve seen in the Khumbu, however the candle light dinner with hot towels made up for it. We had a lovely dinner and a great night sleep which we really needed.
Although, the lodge was nice and all we really missed the family we were staying with earlier so as soon as their building is all stable again we would go back to that lodge.
It’s interesting how again we find a big contrast between a small family run lodge vs a more elite or formal run lodge who caters to big expeditions. The atmosphere is so different.
We spent two nights and two good nights sleep. It was wonderful. We felt recovered.
It was time to go back up and head to EBC (Everest Base Camp) the next day.
The aftershocks were almost gone, some very small tremors but far apart from each other. The weather was getting better each day and it’s nice to see the sun in the morning for a change.