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Lobuche will never win any awards for charm. My memories of the it from my previous trip were of a garbage-strewn place with a collection of two or three huts. There are now a few more lodges there, and the garbage is mostly picked up, but there just isn’t much to recommend it. At 16,100 ft., there is not much plant life, so it is just rocks and yak dung and mud.

We camped alongside one of the lodges, and played cards to pass the time. John worked on trying to come up with some flowery description of the place that could be used by the Lobuche Chamber of Commerce (if such a place existed) to promote the tourism. . . something along the lines of “Ahh, Lobuche. . . Nestled in the scenic Khumbu valley, the scent of yak dung fires floating in the air. . .” Although it has nice views up the Khumbu valley, it still manages to be a dismal place. We were glad we were spending just one night here.

Adding to the general atmosphere of Lobuche was the loo at the edge of our camping area. This won the award for the scariest loo on the trek. The stone walls had sagged a bit, which caused the roof to partially cave in, and the door was no longer entirely functional. And just to add more interest, the floor of the loo was a metal grate with about 4-inch spacing between the slats. You had to be very careful where you put your feet or you might slip into the unspeakable mess below. Most people opted to walk a bit to find some other facility to use.

Now that we were on the main route to Everest, we began to see lots more trekkers and climbers. In the places we traveled up until now, we saw relatively few people, and would greet just about every person we passed with the traditional greeting — “Namaste.” Here, there were so many people that the habit of greeting people died out — it would be like saying hello to everyone you passed on a busy city street. People were still courteous, but — there were a lot of us.

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