Day 1 EBC: Shivalaya to Kinja

The 10-hour bus ride was exhausting.  We were able to get seats up front of the bus since we got our tickets two days ahead of time.  The front seats were sliding off the seat so it made the whole 10 hours incredibly tiring.  Our legs were in bent positions the whole way except for a couple of stops.  The local bus, probably the only bus going to Jiri was packed.  It also made a few stops along the way to get gas etc.  Unfortunately, we left a passenger back at one stop and she had to take the taxi to catch up to us so there was somewhat of a delay.  Our bus also had a minor break down and had to stop by a local repair shop to get someone, actually a teenager all covered in dirt and oil to look at the engine.  No one had a light and the bus driver turned his phone light on which didn’t help so I loaned the mechanic my headlamp to help him see what’s going on.  A few minutes later, we were off again.  The road was windy and the last 20 km were all on dirt potholes.  We made it to Shivalaya just in time to get a good meal before turning in for the day at a tea house.

The next day, we had our breakfast and started trekking.  We found ourselves collected by a few Nepalese men who wants us to sign in and pay $20 each person for a permit to Rowling Valley.  We’ve been through this before and two years ago, a lady was collecting the money which wasn’t really an official park entry fee, more of a scam.  It looks like, it’s official now.  Doug started to argue with the Nepalese men that he paid for the Sagamartha Park permit and shouldn’t have to pay for another permit for Rowling Valley since we are just passing through.  We walked out without paying the fee but were met up with a few Nepalese police explaining to us that we cannot go through Shivalaya unless we pay.  Reluctantly, Doug went to pay the fee after all the drama then left immediately.

We climbed to Deureli where we can find really good Yak cheese.  It was a tough climb up but worth it.  Right as we crest the climb, we immediately see a few mani walls lined up for us to follow as a path to purity.  We were told to walk on the left side of the mani wall or clockwise direction always.  We stopped at a tea house and ordered banana pie and hot lemon tea.  We purchased Yak cheese to consume once we get to Kinja.

Continuing the trek was through some rolling hills and green vegetation.  We are still in the valley floors and with the cloudy day, views were not great.  We followed the river and through some very small villages.  Children came out to greet us and at the same time, wanted some “choc-lait.”  There was no chocolate though.  We were able to check into a tea house in Kinja with a small family.  The man spoke really good English with a breath of home made beer brew as he welcomed us into his tea house.  It was a tea house recommended to us by the tea house in Shivalaya.  It’s common for tea houses to recommend other tea houses to their visitors next destination.  The tea house had an entry gate and steps towards an atrium.  There were vegetable gardens surrounding the atrium and a toilet straight ahead and dining room on the left.

The weather was gray and it rained in the late afternoon.  We both were in our beds with our blankets which were provided by the tea house reading our books and chatting.  We enjoyed our cheese and masala tea.  The toilet was downstairs and the dining room was  across the building from our rooms.  The family had a TV in the dining room and I noticed that the dining room is also their sleeping room.  We ordered our dinner, ate and pre-ordered our breakfast for the following morning.  Kinja is a very small town and the first time I went through the village heading back to Jiri two years ago, I noticed that there were more Hindus than Tibetans.  The tea house we were staying at were owned by Tibetans.  It’s easy to recognize Tibetans from other ethnic tribes by the women’s clothing.  Tibetan women have aprons on as part of their dress.

The next day will be a long day and it was also a day we were caught in a thunderstorm going over the pass!

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