- Refrain from taking life.
- Refrain from anger.
- Refrain from jealousy.
- Refrain from offending others.
- Refrain from taking excessive intoxicants.
I was up with dawn and the sweetly singing mountain birdies, a pleasant change from barking and crowing. Everyone else was still asleep so rather than stir too long and wake people up, I crept downstairs to read. The beauty and surreality of where I was made it hard to focus. I started to wonder what I was doing reading a book about someone else's experience in the Himalayas when my own real-life experience was all around me. So I just sat there and soaked it all in. We met in the common room for breakfast. The night before I decided to keep with the Nepali theme and ordered Tibetan bread and honey, and was very happy with the decision. Other typical breakfast choices were omelets, porridge, toast, and pancakes. At the airport in Kathmandu the day before, I had my hiking poles attached to my day pack, then thought better of trying to get them on the flight as a carry-on. The porter bags were all piled on a cart, so I stashed my poles in the bag at the top for the sake of convenience. They ended up being my only piece of luggage that made it to the mountains the day before. When we gathered to leave, someone pointed out the rubber snow basket from a hiking pole was sitting on the bench where my pack had been a moment before. I looked down and sure enough, both of the snow baskets from my poles were missing. The group headed down the stone stairs from the courtyard by our lodge toward the village, and I quickly backtracked to the building where we slept to check for the other one. We were separated maybe a minute. When I didn't find it, I hurried down the stairs to catch up. On reaching the bottom, I saw nothing but empty village. Uh oh. I checked back the way we came (right) to see if they picked up the trail again that way. There were some other foreigners outside having breakfast at a different place, and I asked them if they saw a group go by. They said no, and then felt sorry for me and started asking where I was trying to go. I just told them thanks and took off in the other direction (right, then right). Here I found some locals who actually didn't speak English (most did in our "tourist tunnel"). Okay, that's enough of this nonsense. Back up to the common room I went to get directions. They told me when I went back downstairs to go right, right and right again and then I'd see the trail and another suspension bridge. Right, right and right. That explained how the group disappeared so quickly. I jogged through the village and quickly caught up with Bibak (our third guide) who had come back to find me. I told him what happened and when we caught up with the rest of the group who was waiting at the suspension bridge, repeated the story. Quite an embarrassing way to start the day. We enjoyed some hot lemon on our first tea stop. My mind was still brimming with ideas from the book Abundance and how so many of them would improve the lives of people all over the world, especially in places like Kathmandu. "How can I participate in making it happen?" I wondered. Ele made a patient listener. She mentioned someday she'd like to teach and I told her she'd be great. Education was a subject both of us were interested in, and I got to learn a bit more about how kids were taught in New Zealand (not much different than the States, unfortunately). We stopped again at a sort of museum with a scale model of the mountains surrounding Everest. What's interesting for a fellow Californian to note is that Mt. Whitney wouldn't even register as one of the little brown 18,000 ft. / 5,500 m molehills below the 29,029 ft. / 8,848 m behemoth known as Mt. Everest / Sagarmatha / Chomolungma. Soon after that was the Khumbu National Park entrance. We read the posted rules for being in this sacred Sherpa valley and World Heritage Site: