Day 10: Change of landscape on the trek… and birthday cake
I woke up feeling so much better. This morning's walk was gentle and was followed by a lunch of Tibetan bread (deep fried bread) and macaroni cheese; it was really pasta with ketchup and grated (partially mouldy) yak cheese, but we were all very grateful all the same. After lunch my throat started to feel rather tender as we began our afternoon walk. Although the walk wasn't particularly strenuous, you could really feel the change in the air density and every few steps I'd have to stop to catch my breath. I got an awful headache and my glands in my neck and throat came up even more.It was amazing to see how much the landscape, nature and terrain changes during the trek. At the start of the walk at 8am, it almost felt as if we were walking through a rainforest at times. As we moved on it got bare and rocky, while further up the mountain the rocks changed colour: there were some red and orange rocks dotted around. Then, closer to our destination it was so sandy on the ground it was akin to walking on a beach! Our guides are fantastic and as I was struggling through the last half of the walk they stayed with me and a few others at the back of the group helping us, pulling and pushing us up the mountain until we reached Dingboche where the tea house was.Some of the paths were very narrow and on one side was a sheer drop (pretty scary!) I was also told that there were some landslides on the mountain today! Today I came across some more Buddhist traditions on the mountain. There are sporadic mounds of heaped small rocks as you ascend the mountain. Passing these mounds on the left hand side and placing a rock on the top as you pass gives you good luck and courage to keep moving up the mountain.The tea house we're currently staying in is almost entirely made of plywood and the beds are very big singles. The dining area is very roomy with massive sofas running around the edge of the room.It was Dave's birthday today and after dinner we got a bit of a special treat! After having a quiet word with one of the guides I asked if there was anything we could do but apparently they "had it under control". Only ten minutes after we'd all finished eating the lights were dimmed and one of the Sherpas came out with a birthday cake and candles. It was a massive cake and fed everyone! It was such a weird thing to see at that altitude. To make something like that with just an open fire is a true skill!