After a few days in Namche getting over my cold I felt well enough to hike up to a small museum where there was a big statue of Tenzing Norquay and further up to a viewpoint, where I could see a long ways down the valley. As planned, I left to meet Sean the next day. Sean really wanted me to have a porter so I wasn’t hiking alone, but it was hard to find one so far from Lukla for just one day. Maya, the owner of Hotel Namche who was always very sweet to me sent one of her restaurant employees with me for the day. His name sounded something like Hiram. He didn’t know much English so we didn’t talk, and he asked other porters for directions to Pangboche all day so it must have been his first time there. On our way out of Namche we saw several pheasants which were enormous compared to the ones at home. The males were blue, green and red with curls on their heads like quails. We also saw a couple tahrs quite close. Hiram stopped to take many pictures so I think he enjoyed the walk. I kept offering him water which he always refused, and hours into our walk during a steep climb I heard him stammer out of the blue, “excuse me, give me your water!” I turned to see him sitting down exhausted behind me, and he finally took the water bottle and mars bar I had for him. The further we got the more tour groups we met going the opposite way, and the scenery got better and better. At one point soccer ball sized rocks came tumbling down the hill and over the trail in front of us. Hiram and a guide with a party on their way down in front of us started whistling and yelling until the rocks quit coming. Apparently there was someone up there throwing them down intentionally!
I had been told it would take 5 hours to get to Pangboche from Namche and was happy when we arrived in 4, because it meant there would be time for Hiram to make it back to Namche before dark and he wouldn’t have to spend the night in Pangboche. As it was only 11 in the morning when I arrived I expected to wait in the bakery where Sean and I had planned to meet, but when I walked in the door he was already there!