Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Himalayas DAYS FOUR & FIVE
So as I mentioned - one thing after another! I arrived in a small, one street town last night and stayed in a guest house. I had my own room and shower but felt like a cheater...all the others at dinner were from England and Australia and shared a room full of bunks together. I enjoyed their company. I don't prefer solo-travel but I am enjoying myself.
This morning I was supposed to have breakfast at 6:30 and leave by 7. My guide came around 6 for my passport size photos in order to get the TIMS pass (permit) - and of course I left them in my luggage in Kathmandu. He went down and then came back to tell me "no problem."...so what could have been another crazy delay worked out.
I climbed into a jeep and went up and down the one-street of the town half a dozen times loading, unloading over and over until finally in true Nepali fashion we went to a market and auto parts store before departing, jam-packed full of people. I've decided I'm clueless here and that's just the way its going to be. I'm good with that.
I sat squished against an Israeli couple in the jeep, very nice, who asked where I was getting off - I didn't know. Where my lodging was tonight - didn't know. "You at least know what trek you're hiking, right?" Other couple in the jeep are from Russia. The woman told me how she hiked Kilimanjaro last year. Guess that's on my "when I get back from Honduras" list.
Can't help it - keep wishing for a husband to travel with. Trusting God with that - I'd hate to marry someone like my grandma did thinking he loved to travel only to find he'd done so much already he never wanted to go anywhere ever again!
I couldn't finish lunch - I found a beetle in my noodles. Oh well, watcha gonna do? Started the hike! OH MY WORD! AMAZING! Gorgeous, like I've stepped into a movie. Huge mountains with ginormous waterfalls everywhere, all going down to this light blue (oddest color) raging river that is so powerful at times you can see how its just carved the rock right out of the mountain. My pics will never do it justice. Speaking of which I wish I had a better camera! My phone battery won't last long enough to get to the end of this trek.
I won't lie, I'm exhausted after just the first day of hiking. Hope I'm better with a good nights sleep and early start. Right now I'm in a little room surrounded by the mountains which I can see all around me as three walls are just huge windows. I can also hear the river.
Dinner soon - but honestly after lunch I'm not hungry.
A DAY LATER
Oh the merits of a hot shower! We just finished our first full day trekking and I have to say, except for being tired and beginning to feel the altitude: I feel great! The mountains and rivers are AMAZING and the people of Nepal and their villages beautiful to look at as we walk through. We left this morning at 7:30am and headed toward Annapurna II. Apparently there isn't just one mountain in this trek, its a range of the Himalayas and includes Annapurna I,II,III,IV as well as Gangapurna and I don't know what else. Then there are the peaks, mountains not tall enough to be mountains even though some have snow on them!
Check me for accuracy as this is me remembering my guide's instructions: There are 8 mountains over 8000 meters in the Himalayas. We are planning to go through a pass that is over 5400 meters (5.4km, yah that's over 3 miles above sea level). And 8 of the 10 tallest mountains in the world are here.
However today I met a lovely group of ladies from Vancouver who told me another typhoon is predicted in India which may send another blizzard our way. My guide says he's on top of it. One of the women has a daughter who works for the Himalayan Rescue Association in Manang. We'll be there in a couple more days.
I realize how glad I am to trek alone! I go at my own pace and my guide just stays behind me and sometimes beside me. There is no rush. Today we made a stop at a little outdoor kitchen and the woman was making sweet fried dough rings. My guide bought and ate 2. He said they are special and only made during religious festivals (Nepal just celebrated Desalami or something like that!) 2 days ago. We talked a bit about Hinduism. I saw a real buddhist monk today too. They tell me the mountain people are mostly buddhist and the valley people (lowlands) are hindu. The hindus have shrines to their gods in their homes. We passed several buddhist shrines.
I find Nepal so interesting. Even the people of the same country appear so different. Some with asian eyes and dark skin, others with light skin and indian features. God has created such an amazing world. Wishing today I had another 2 weeks to hike more. Several people have told me about the Everest Base Camp trek. Its definitely on my list now. These mountains are beautiful!
Oh and I stepped on the proprietor of this lodgings buckwheat spread out to dry on the floor. I felt AWFUL! But she was so nice. This really is a lovely country.
Oh and a nice thing that happened at lunch: the owner asked my guide if I was American. When he said yes, the owner said he was so happy to have an American in his restaurant. I can understand. I haven't seen any americans yet either.
My hair is drying. Hope it dries quickly before the sun goes down because brrrr!! It will be suddenly, ghastly cold!