Bags of rice. Cooking gas. Plywood. Entire doors. And toilet paper and chocolate for the tourists. In the mountains, everything must be carried up. Some towns are fortunate enough to receive regular helicopter traffic, but most are simply grateful to the sherpas.
As we stood on the airport, watching a little prop plane unload, it was quite mind-boggling to see that after the avalanche of people and backpacks down from the tiny aircraft, another avalanche of rice bags followed. That thing must have had rice bags in the cockpit, in the rear cargo hold, even underneath the passenger seats. Everything must be carried up. And, since most tea houses are proud to boast advertising for export beer (San Miguel is a favorite), all the beer cans must be carried up, too. Fortunately, bottled water for tourists is actually bottled in local village sources, so only the empty plastic must be carried up. If I ever settled on a life change to live up here, I would open a business in carrying up toilet paper and chocolate. One toilet paper roll costs more than a bottle of water, and the price increases the further you go from Lukla towards Everest. Chocolate is incredibly expensive, but of course it is easily traded because who can resist a bar of chocolate after a day’s trekking? I know I can’t.(Mt Everest Base Camp Trail, Nepal; November 2016)