Its just before 11am, I'm sitting in my room in Tengboche 3860 metres elevation. I might climb a nearby hill this afternoon just to get past the 4000 mark. This is as far as we come. When I first looked out the window I had a view of Everest. It has clouded in now but the clouds are swirling so I might see it some more today and should tomorrow.

Without even getting out of bed!! This morning was cloudy and after breakfast we set out from Khumjung along the side of the valley. Along the way bumped into a couple guys I had seen at the viewing area in Namche a couple days ago. Andy Rankin and Jonathan Gingham from Wisconsin. After meeting Andy and Jonathan (great name btw), we descended down heaps of stone steps to meet the Dudh Koshi River again. Down is not so good on these old knees. Going back to Lukla could be a bit of fun.

We crossed our last suspension bridge just below where the Dudh Koshi forks and receives half its water from the Gokyo Glacier and the rest comes off Ama Dablam, Lotche, and Everest. We stopped for a rest as Govinda said it is now 2 hours of uphill to Tengboche. That was a challenge for me. I left my guide and took off at a good pace. I stopped for a few photos and a couple drinks but I climbed those 600 metres in an hour. There were great views of a little river running off Thamserku and Kangtega, from the Phungi Glacier.

I must say I have thoroughly enjoyed a good map Govinda loaned me and I will be buying one as a memento. We came through forests more reminiscent of NZ today with green undergrowth, some ferns even, and darker trees with mottled light. The trees are mainly varieties of pine, rhododendrons, some magnolias, junipers, some lovely looking bush and amazing how well forested the steep countryside is.

This afternoon we are visiting the largest monastery for the whole area. At 3 pm or just before a few gongs sound and the long continuous blowing of large shells calling the monks to prayer. Visitors are also allowed to observe under fairly strict conditions. We removed our shoes and sat against the wall on mats laid out for us. The monks entered and after bowing a few times donned their cloaks and took their seats cross legged. The central monk started off chanting and everyone joined in while one guy went around with boiling water filling their cups. After about 5 mins the chanting/droning stopped and they all noisily sipped on their tea (I presume it was tea).

Then the chanting again while the cups are refilled, then more drinking, then more chanting and it was over - til the next day, and the next and the next. There is a huge statue of Buddha up the front. I found the whole experience very sad. Afterwards I had a bit of a rest before dinner. At dinner there was a fire to sit round, seems just right when tramping in the mountains.

And there were 5 Norwegians I got talking to and we played a variation on 500 they call American. You bid for tricks and then pick a partner, but if the player who won the bid decides to go alone its called going American. I found that quite funny :-) :-) They are tramping huge distances each day so went to bed early. (Really I could easily do twice as much as I am doing.) I read in bed for ages and eventually drifted off to sleep but kept waking up. It could be mild altitude sickness but one time I woke up and just really wished I still owned my boat and still lived in ukraine.