The Sherpa people live in one of the harshest regions on the planet, the Khumbu. Their world is one of majestic steep mountains (the highest anywhere), roaring rivers, glaciers, steep trails and yaks. There are no roads, no airports, not even a swimming pool. They are poor and have little; still, they are among the happiest and friendliest people I’ve had the privilege of meeting. The Sherpa are best know for their excellence in mountaineering. From Sir Edmund Hillary on they have guided and staffed expeditions to the many tall peaks in the region, especially Mount Everest.
We had camped overnight near the village of Kumjung, close to Namche Bazaar and not far from Mount Everest. It was a cold frosty night. At dawn we woke to a cacophony of music filling our valley — flutes, horns, drums, all played with enthusiasm but without any evident coordination. A parade of a few dozen young Buddhist monks was the source of the noise and we watched and listened to them for at least five minutes. One of the trekkers in our group enticed these four musicians into camp with promises of pens and pencils. We were happy to provide these, but not before they posed for this photo! A happy, handsome group of young men, I think! I wonder just how ancient their wind instruments are…..
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