We’ve had a couple of fairly long hard days of trekking since leaving Namche four days ago. It’s amazing what a difference the lower altitudes – mostly under 3000m – makes. We’re back in farm country. Terraced fields, wheat growing green, millet and mustard being harvested. Cabbages and cauliflower, onions and garlic. Roses and rhododendrons. We hike all the way into Chheplung the first day. It’s a pretty place and I wanted to stay somewhere with a bit of character. This was achieved. The place had a hose out back for laundry doing with I’d did while Puri washed his hair and Tendi supplied rince water for both of us. A convenient sink in the front however perfect height for hair washing without getting a good soaking in the process. It was very odd to be standing by the equivalent of the main road (flag stone hiking trail through the heart of down town Chheplung – washing one’s hair in an out door sink – but that hair wash was sooooo nice. And the water was sooooo cold! The next day we all used that sink to brush our teeth, while saying good morning at some Trekkers we’d met further up the trail…. Things are just different here.
Next day we continued on to Bupsa. An endless day of either steep up or steep down all the way on those horrendous trails I described to you in a previous blog. We had a good time though. Tendi and Puri have a ridiculous video they made on Tendi’s cell phone of some great Sherpa dance music – so they played it whenever the trail was smooth enough to dance along. The three of us just laughed and danced our way up and down and and did our best to avoid getting trampled by errant mules thundering by with leaking 30kg tanks of propane tied on their backs.
Yesterday we had an even longer day – but got about three hours further than we’d intended which made today a treat! We upped and downed into Nunthala and were there so soon after lunch time that we decided we could continue. Tendi did say it was up. He sort of neglected to mention that it was two hours of up to get to the next village. But by the time we got there Tendi and Puri had a bet going that I could or couldn’t make it to the next place is however many minutes…. Sneaky pair. Of course I fell for it and we climbed for another hour. We started our day at 2360m and ended it at 3071m up in a pass. Seriously a tough day. But somehow – in a really sick way I guess – a lot of fun.
Today was an easy one. We left at 7:30 after being woken up at five by the noisiest pair of Aussies who were still goofing around when we left. Why they had to get up so early and why they had to make so much nice about it is beyond us. At about 5:30, Tendi actually went and told them to not be so noisy but by then the entire place was awake! Anyway today’s walk was partly on trail, then partly on dirt road – fit for tractors only – then on paved road. Seriously. Paved road walking. Not really our cup of tea.The paved road started just before our destination of Salleri. This is the regional capital and is – as is usual with end of road places in Nepal – a shit hole. Sorry I just can’t think of a better or nicer way of describing it. The entry into town is marked by a massive garbage dump into a river. There is garbage and random heaps of junk and general run down dirty disorganized “everything” everywhere. After three weeks in lovely country side and grand mountains this town simply sucks! When I said to Tendi that I didn’t like it very much he explained it as being this way because it’s a government centre. To him this is a rational explanation for the decrepit state of the place. However where we are staying is up a tiny alley, has a small dirt courtyard with a cleanish outhouse in the corner, and a cozy really cute room up an impossibility steep set of rickety stairs. The food is great and there is wifi. I was wondering what I’d do with myself all afternoon and I’ve filled the time very nicely. I could go exploring but the street is so filthy I’d have to put on my hiking boots again and I’d prefer they had a bit of dry out time as today was a pretty hot one. For those of you who don’t hike – that tends to equate to sweaty feet.
Tomorrow we have a harder trek – but thankfully back on trails – into Khamding. The next day we’ll be staying there. Tendi has some monks coming to do some day long chanting blessing. I’m not sure what it’s all about but it is New Year’s Eve here on the day after tomorrow so perhaps that is the reason. Anyway it should be interesting. On the 12th (New Years day) we drive back to Kathmandu. I should have internet again then.
Internet seems fairly consistent here so I’ll try to post a few pictures in a bit.