By Charles Haviland
BBC Nepal Correspondent
Namche is expanding rapidly as tourists teem into town
En route to Everest, it takes a foreigner two days from the nearest airstrip to walk up to the village of Namche Bazaar.
And yet it is known as "the Japan of Nepal", a place where almost everything can be got.
For example, a sign on the door of Namaste Lodge and Restaurant says "we have cheese fondue" - a tempting proposition to a foreigner in a country whose staple diet is rice and lentils.
Opening the door confirms it - yak cheese fondue is available on certain days with an hour's notice.
Namche Bazaar is completely untypical of its surroundings.
The Kiran Shopping Centre and Grocery, for example, has the obvious trekking essentials – woolly hats, torches, tinned meat, batteries, playing cards – but also less likely fare, such as cigars, numerous bottles of wine, olive oil, fridge magnets, nappies, prawn crackers and Irish cream liqueur.
The woman settled comfortably at the cash till is too busy with customers to tell me whether everything sells well. Clearly, it does.
Namche, a horseshoe-shaped village built around a cleft in the mountainside, personifies the Sherpa economic boom.
By day there is a constant sound of large rocks being hammered and chiselled into bricks as new lodges and other businesses are built.
Usually on Saturdays there is a large market where, among others, Tibetans who have walked over the snowy Nangpa La pass bring in Chinese clothes and other goods for sale.
In the run-up to the Olympics China has sealed the border and the Tibetans are absent.
But Namche is little concerned with politics. Here, commerce is the watchword.
It creates mixed reactions.
"There's loads here," says Emily Goodman, from Chester in England, who has just come down from Everest base camp.
"My knees have taken a battering but the thought of the chocolate cake kept me going."
Her partner Ally Smith says one of the mountain guides they met, from Grimsby in northern England, had had a lot of trekking equipment custom-made in Namche.
Their view is that arriving back in Namche is like coming "back to civilisation."
In the Cafe Danfe Bar, which styles itself one of the world's highest bars, three young Englishmen play pool.
Cans of beer are lined up on the window sill, while the walls sport currency notes from around the world.
There is also an Australian road sign warning of kangaroos, a sculpture of the Hindu god Shiva in a dancing pose, and T-shirts signed by climbing expeditions.
The Kiran grocery store is packed with things to buy
Jamie Cloke, Phil Harvey and Paul Taylor are enjoying their game, and wax lyrical about their Nepalese climbing colleagues.
But Jamie feels deflated having come down from Barun Tse, the challenging mountain they have been tackling - 7,147m high (23,448 feet) - camping temperatures of -33C (-27F) and rock falls on the buttresses where the snow has melted.
Namche is, he feels, "an excessively commercial experience".
"It's all about the sale of tat which you can get in Kathmandu," he adds.
The bar is part of a larger commercial complex. Santosh Adhikari, one of the managers, shows me, just along the passage, a sauna which can take five people.
He says it does quite well, with a couple of groups visiting per week. Upstairs is a cyber-cafe, the oldest of the eight Namche now has.
Using a satellite connection, they are expensive - about one dollar for seven minutes browsing - but Santosh says about 90% of foreign visitors want to write home and use one of the cafes.
Santosh himself comes from Kathmandu but has been working in Namche six years.
"Home is home, but it's better living up here," he says. "Everybody has a smile on their face."
He has witnessed the village's growth first-hand. When he first came, only one lodge had en-suite bathrooms. Now there are 15.
Outside there are advertisements for massage - suitable for, amongst other things, "cold cough" and "painful joints" - as well as pizza, apple pie with custard, club sandwiches and "a real hot shower".
Yet in the narrow streets a horse runs loose and a herd of yaks, bells jangling, goes by - a reminder that we are in fact in the Himalayas, 3,450m (11,318 feet) above sea level.