Chheubas -> Phakding – disappointed expectations

9. April 2024



This is a german cartoon by Islieb, which I really love. Erwartung = expectation, Enttäuschung = disappointment. Because I am so often disappointed by unfulfilled expectations. It’s usually only when I’m disappointed that I realise I have had expectations. And that’s what happened to me with several things on my first real day of hiking. Or the day before. Here is the lodge:




I was a bit sweaty when I arrived and imagined washing various parts of my body with cold water. But where? I was allocated a room labelled “Hot Shower”. I didn’t want that, but there was no cold water coming out of the tap. The room was also full of water because the drain was blocked. So I called for help again. A woman rushed over, whittled a long, flexible stick into shape and poked the drain. The water drained out. Another woman and Tenji then prepared a kind of pot for me with warm water. I was probably standing in the cool for a little too long with bare feet and a sweaty T-shirt. I might have to pay for that. In any case, I learnt that there is no provision for tourists to wash themselves half or fully naked with cold water. They should probably always use the hot shower for a fee. Or just clean their face at the public washbasin. In any case, I didn’t find a lockable room with a cold water source anywhere. I had expected it (it was available at the Annapurna Circuit). Just a small thing, but it added up to several things that later made me wonder even more about tourism here.


Anyway, I woke up in the morning, the weather looked marvellous and I wanted to hurry off and walk a little way all by myself. Me, the mountain, birdsong, the morning atmosphere – it could have been so beautiful…… The noise of engines roared through the mountains. Aeroplanes and helicopters flew back and forth to bring people to Lukla, to pick them up again, to transport sick people, to show tourists Everest on sightseeing flights…..






Around 20 flights with around 20 passengers each are expected to land in Lukla every day, which means that 400 tourists and their guides will be on the trail every day. Plus those who then come back. And these people need food and comfort. A lot of this is transported to Namche on horseback. These are quite long caravans that wind their way up and down the narrow mountain path. Tenji had already rushed after me, telling me not to go alone, the horses, the horses! I only realised when they arrived. He was worried that I would misbehave and accidentally tumble down the slope. You always had to look for a niche and then let the horses pass. There were a lot of horses on the road and somehow it wasn’t so easy to get ahead and you were always waiting. I had imagined it would be different.








At some point there was a temporary alternative route for the horses and you could stand alone on the path.




Unfortunately, Tenji was also a disappointed expectation in one respect. I wanted to go with a guide because of any difficulties that might arise and to learn a lot more about Nepal. However, Tenji hardly spoke any English. Conversations were not so easy and there were also various misunderstandings. Apart from that, he was/is a great guy. He is Sherpa, comes from a village around the corner, has 8 siblings (I got to know all 3 of his sisters) and went to school for 12 years. But without English. He is 32 and has worked here and there. There was Malaysia for a while and then Saudi Arabia. But at 50 plus degrees he wasn’t doing well at all and his family thought he looked too bad in the video calls and they ordered him to come back home. So then tourism, a short time as a porter, then a guide licence (costs about 150 euros), learning some English (I didn’t find out what he had to learn/know for the guide licence) and for a few years now an assistant for mountaineering at Diamir. I’m the first person he’s walking with alone and also the first German (from Diamir) who speaks good English, he says. Shouldn’t he learn German straight away? He is (still) convinced or disappointedly single, his relationship broke up in Saudi Arabia as she married someone else.


The house!


The house down there is important because it was the home of the first Nepalese woman to climb Mt Everest: Passang Lhamu Sherpa. Unfortunately, she didn’t make it down alive, but was nevertheless greatly honoured. You can read about it at Wikipedia.


I had somewhat forgotten about the suspension bridges in Nepal, which I found unpleasant. But I had my tactics: alone, eyes closed, hand on the rope and then quickly across.


suspension bridge


We went through a long village with a lot of Buddhist architecture, which I photographed a lot. Later, there were still Buddhist visuals, but I no longer photographed them as often. So here are a few pictures of it:












There were still a few people, horses, porters, but it was limited and quite nice to walk.




But that changed all abruptly here:




Here we met up with the main route from Lukla, which all those flying in and out take – at least as far as Namche. In between lies Phakding, our destination for today. It got pretty busy and the idyllic village was replaced by houses that were used almost exclusively for tourism (there were still fields and such, but rather incidental).


Restaurant and Buddhism


From here onwards, there were also more porters on the road, not carrying people’s luggage but all kinds of stuff. It’s really remarkable how quickly they are able to move skilfully with these monsters – on the other hand, it’s unpleasant to watch because you know that it can’t be good for anyone’s body. Some have such unwieldy stuff that they walk at almost a 90 degree angle and can only see the ground in front of their feet.


carried part of a wall


carried Snacks or so


more carried things


I only carried my backpack, 8kg without water according to the hotel scales – and the camera attached to the front. It seemed lighter to me.


me and backpack


Tenji was carrying his backpack, which looked heavier than it was. It contained a large sleeping bag for me as a precaution, which I didn’t need, a pair of spikes, which were also rather superfluous, possible poles for me (which he mostly used), a medicine box, larger than what I usually take myself – and then, after some insistence, I gave him a cloth bag with luxuries that I wouldn’t have taken with me otherwise.


carrying Tenji


I felt lost among all the people. I was almost lost in the accommodation too. They had blocked everything for a large group, but they didn’t come because their flight had been cancelled. And so I was the only guest. A cat immediately found its way onto my lap and stayed there. When I left and came back, she immediately hopped up again. That was lovely.




I hadn’t expected that. Not quite these crowds either. Well, a little bit, but somehow it was different in reality.


So the next day I was supposed to go to Namche with all these people. And then really something happened…..