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Namche Bazaar The Approach March
part 4 | back to part 3

Namche Bazaar
Namche Bazaar sits within the curve of a perfectly formed Himalayan cirque, its lodges nestled into the mountainside facing the daunting rock face of the Himalayan peak, Kwangde. Click here for an audio walk through Namche (RealAudio 83K). The largest village in the Khumbu, Namche has shops, lodges, a bank, and even a dentist's office. We awake the next morning to crowing roosters and the beating drums of a nearby religious ceremony. Clouds roll swiftly over the mountains as the team wolfs down a breakfast of omelets and porridge to fuel up for the steep, but brief, ascent to the village of Khumjung. Khumjung Khumjung is in the heart of the Khumbu, which is the home of the Sherpas, an ethnic group that came from Tibet over 400 years ago and settled the flanks of Everest's south slopes. Khumjung, which has the only school in the valley, is a traditional Sherpa village. Its economy is based on potatoes, barley, yak husbandry, and now, trekking.

Khumjung
The snow falls hard for 5 hours, so the film crew uses the time to shoot indoors in the Khumjung Gompa (monastery) with Jamling. This sequence is meant to set Jamling in his culture and homeland so the audience can gain a sense of where he's from and who he is. Having grown up in the aura of his father's accomplishments and fame, Jamling is suspended gracefully between two worlds, that of the Sherpa and the West. He has finally returned home to Darjeeling, after living in the U.S. for 11 years, to head up his father's trekking and another village in snow climbing business and to settle down with his Tibetan wife and child. "It's nice being the son of a famous person, but I keep a low profile as much as possible, you know, do my own thing. I'm just another person. I didn't climb the mountain, he did." Click here to hear Jamling talk about Sherpas (RealAudio). Being Sherpa and also a climber on the expedition, Jamling feels the poignancy of his position: "I think my father's concern was that he didn't want me to go up (Everest) getting paid to carry a load. He always said 'Don't disgrace our name by going as a Sherpa ..... wait, you'll get your funding one day and it'll happen.'"

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