So we walk. We walk without a guide or porter, instead we pull out our trusty Cicerone Guide Book to help us along the way. I must add at this point, that this book is a true must have to any adventurous type who wants to hike without a guide on the Base Camp Everest route.
The landscape is endlessly beautiful. Green, luscious trees cover the mountains, vibrant wildflowers and powder puff clouds hang in the sky. We walk for 6 hours up and down hills, through tiny villages, across sketchy bridges, and hop on stones to cross rapid rivers; we wave and say 'Namaste' to the locals and young children; we dart uphill to let Yaks herds pass us by: This is what we came to do, and jeez it is fun.
We finally take rest in a village called Monjo. We opt for a tiny room with two unstable twin beds for $2.50 a night, and as we hit the sheets, we finally feel our buzz wearing thin.
So you are maybe thinking, wow, that's cheap for a room? And, yes, it is--but you see that's how they get you. All the rooms along the Base Camp Everest trail are $2.50 a night, without a bathroom. You, then, have to share a bathroom, but the "bathroom" you share isn't exactly a bathroom, it just consists of a dirty sink and a toilet. If you want to actually shower after a long hike, well, that will cost you an extra $5 -$7 dollars.
As if your budget wasn't stretched enough, it is mandatory that you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at your chosen lodge/ guest house; otherwise they charge you five times as much for the room. And let me tell you this, the food is expensive, and the higher you climb the greater the bill. Take for example a standard Mars bar, they start at 50cents a piece at Lukla Airport and climb to a whopping $4 nearer the Base Camp.
As hard as it was, Johnny and still kept to our budget. We shared meals, purified our own water, and ate the energy infused power bars that we brought from home. We never showered and instead used wet wipes and communal sinks to wash our bodies. I could often be spotted washing my hair over the sink and hiking with a turban style wrap to dry my locks....
We wake up early in Monjo. 6:30am. Quickly wash over the sink and we are ready for action. The goal for the day is to reach Namche Bizarre, the next town. We have read in the guide book that it takes anywhere from 4 - 5 hours as it is a steep trek (and it sure was!). We hiked and hiked and climbed up...up...up and finally reached Namche Bizarre in 3 hours after climbing 1800ft.