Monday, October 13, 2008

From ABC - The Other Nut

From ABC - The Other Nut
In addition to the post of the other day, I left out these important facts:
Day 2 - Jhinu to Dovan
  • Attack of the Zombie Children, "Give me SWEEEEEEETS, HOOOONNNNEEEEY, CHOCOLATE, SCHOOLPEN".  Bryan forced to stop and check they had not taken anything from his bag and treat scratches obtained from children hanging onto his legs.  I had to pause momentarily and feel bad about almost chucking one in the creek in order to get past. It started innocently enough, with them singing us a song, but then the wind must have changed or something and they became zombies!
Day 4 - Hiking - Dovan to MBC
  • Emergence of neck beard.  Things have gone from charmingly uncouth to a little bit feral.
Day 5 - Hiking - MBC to ABC and actually Bamboo
  • Parted ways with Cloe, the insane mountain climbing Belgian.
  • After climbing down, as I said, to the disgust of my knee, it was apparent Bryan wasn't yet.  He hung around above ABC for another hour or so as I got plodded back to MBC.
  • Together we sped from there to Bamboo, knee in so much pain I found it difficult to continue standing.  This will be a recurring theme.
Day 6 - Hiking - Bamboo to Gharjong
  • Became intimately reacquainted with the Chomrong stairs, knee apparently enjoyed the upstairs action.
  • Developed fixation on trail mix aka mixed nuts that is more just raisins and coconut than anything else.
  • Received donation of codeine pills from friendly yet ever still so obnoxious Australians.
  • Determined NOT to go to Ghurjun, took the road there by accident, got lost, and were found by a funny bald man in gum boots.
  • Very entertaining conversation with gum booted bald man revolving around 2 syllable English questions and 2 syllable Nepali answers as we quickly realised this little village did not often see trekkers. 
  • Gummy old bald man took us on a shortcut through his farm and sent us packing back up the hill.
  • My foul mood started getting both of us down, elected to stop at first bed identified, eat food and sleep.
  • Met Cheech in Gharjong (yes I understand just how similar this name is to Ghurjun), a lovely thin guy about our age just married and managing the family lodge and farm.  He put us up for the night and shared some lovely (read disturbing) Maoist stories from the insurgency.
  • Funny little man playing with a marijuana tree, we thought at first to be simple through his hand gestures describing getting high, eating, being happy and praising the gods. 
  • Turned out he was deaf and he was actually signing to us. 
  • Immediately chastised self for being such an idiot.
Day 7 - Hiking - Gharjong to Tadepani
  • Mood improved with food and food and the chancce to wash clothes.
  • Eventually gave up on clothes drying and hung underwear, socks and t-shirts of the back of our packs.
  • Stopped for the beautiful view at Chuile and were joined by a running Frenchman named Eric.
  • Learned of Eric's year long plan to travel to 21 countries and learn how each language says cock-a-doodle-doo.  Thought it was impossible to be lighter packed or less prepared for the elements than we already were, Eric did not have a backpack but a shoulder bag with a solitary water bottle, a spare pair of pants, a jumper and his camera. 
  • Climbed epic hill number 647 to be rained in at Tadepani (a mere 3 hours from our starting point).
  • Rejoined by Eric and whiled away the afternoon rain by chatting with the incoming wet people, writing, reading and learning how to say cock-a-doodle-doo in Mandarin, Chilean Spanish, French, Irish (same as English, who knew?) and Nepali.
  • Elected to wait out the rain as  certain travelling buddy flirted shamelessly with Anita, the waitress (whose sister married a Norwegian trekker) and may or may not have some similar aspirations.
Day 8 - Hiking - Tadepani to Ghorepani
  • Set off with Bryan and new recruit Eric, still with wet washing for Ghorepani. 
  • Bryan - who had been hiking in sneakers and/or flip slops, much to passing trekkers astonishment, managed for the first time to step directly in a creek with his shoes.  He promptly converted to flip flops.
  • What should have been a very simple 4 hour meander turned interesting when the rain clouds rolled back in, but gave us a nice Man From Snowy River motif as we wandered through the jungles along the top of the ridge.
  • It was all very scenic in a "I can't really see the mountains I know are a stone's throw away" kind-of-way but that all headed south when said rainclouds opened up.
  • Donning ponchos and walking in an "I'm about to go arse over tit" kind-of-way and there are two guys that are going to laugh themselves silly when i do, Bryan continued in flip flops mainly for pride as we were actually soaked through anyway. 
  • Coming into Ghorepani, I picked the lodge based on the presence of a "German Bakery" downstairs.  Unfortauntely the place was made of balsa wood and the owner refused to light up the wood heater to keep us warm.
  • Made friends with 4 Israelis who continued to serve me their own coffee brew, which I continued to drink in spite of the fact I knew I was to wake at 4 in the morning for the view at Poon Hill. 
  • Played card games and talked European politics as Bryan slept and Eric wasted away in his room with a queesy stomach (the lesson friends? don't eat tuna in the mountains of a land-locked country - obvious? you say....well...yes). 
  • Drank more coffee.
Day 9 - Hiking - Ghorepani to Poon Hill and Birethanthi
  • Terrible sleep with weird dreams on account of coffee and fear of missing the sunrise.
  • Actually "awoken" by the Israelis as they came to knock on my door, but not after the balsa wood house being shaken down by one of them with footsteps resembling those of the BFG, Frankenstein or some other equivalently loud stomping pachyderm.
  • Climbed to Poon Hill alone as the Israeli guys still weren't ready at 4.30.
  • Inwardly cursed each big group I passed as they shouted at the top of their lung's at each other during the beautiful starry morning.
    Made it to the top first and had about 10 minutes before any groups showed upand had the pleasure of seeing the nearby mountains lit up by the moon and stars.
    Clouds rolled in to destroy any hope of seeing Himalayas or the sun rising, determined to depart before the crowds started heading back down.
  • Ghorepani appears to be the trek done by families and older people not confident enough to get to the top (not actually complaining about that, but it explains the huge about of people present at Poon Hill).  From here I think I considered the peaceful and serene mountain trekking to be over.
  • Some more codeine popping and we left Ghorepani for the most epic, downhilled, shop filled, tourist ridden stair case yet.  It must have been as difficult as the pyramids to assemble.
  • Encountered an Indian and English family with 5 small children - they asked if they were halfway yet - didn't have the hert to say they had 7/8ths of the way to go.  I hope they're alive.
  • Stopped for beer in Birethanthi with the plan to continue to Lumle.  That plan nosedived after the first sip.
  • Were passed by the Israelis as we ate dinner - very close to dark and they still had an hour to reach Naya Pul.
Day 10 - Birethanthi to Pokhara
  • Beard has now gone curly, could not recognise self in mirror.  Transformation to wandering smelly man effectively complete.
  • Plan to leave "early" pathetically destroyed by breakfast and slow moving body parts.
  • "Should be virtually flat today but we have a lot of ground to cover"
  • Left at 8 and it took 2 hours to climb the 3 or 4 HUNDRED metre "virtually flat" ridge before reaching Lumle.  Praised decision to stop for beer at Birethanthi.
  • Another attack of zombie children - elected to try intimidation approach - made one child run away - apparently effective.
  • Found ourselves back on a road for the first time in 10 days.  Touched it like a duck with water.
    Immediately surrounded by car exhausts, trucks and a bus that had evidently taken a suicide dive into a rice paddy.  Steel cables had been spread taught across a blind corner in an attempt to pull the bus out.
  • The zombie children appear to be multiplying - intimidation technique no longer working - technique to in turn demand sweeties and chocolates from children met with confusion and anger - resolved to ignore them and smile.  Problem resolved, almost to my satisfaction (except that they will ask the next person).
  • Split up from boys to find my way to friend's wife's house to re-aquire bicycle.
  • Arrived at designated meeting place mere seconds before someone upended a lake in the sky and Pokhara was lost under rain.
  • Had bizarre experience of Gemma (fellow AYAD) appearing in front of me, closely followed by another encounter with a Scottish fellow Hasher stepping out from a bar in our path.
Day 11 - Return - Pokhara to Kathmandu
  • No bus ticket, no problem.
  • Show up ask for seat, "you have to sit in aisle", no other bus "OK". 
  • Chuck bike on roof, mildly wondering if it will still be there upon arrival in KTM.
  • Sat on a little stool right up the front, if there wass an accident I was going straight through that window.
  • Discussed to my horror the fact that the Oz dollar is now worth less than 50 rupees (WHAT IN THE HELL HAPPENED WHILE I WAS AWAY?) with an American sitting near me.
  • Made it home - discovered house ransacked - panicked only for a moment as I realised that was just a result of me trying to pack my bag frantically the night before departure.
  • Slept.


  1. Yeah, what is that about the AUD taking a nosedive? It's all anyone from back home keeps telling me, meanwhile I would continue to live in blissful unawareness, except that I actually get paid in AUD, and now have to redo my entire budget. Dammit!

  2. back at the beginning i couldn't decide whether to do it in AUD or NR, luckily I went with NR and underbudgeted, so it shouldn't be too bad. But that's sad for the orphans as there might not be so much leftovers for them at the end.

  3. Meanwhile I like how the new "cover pic" conveniently hides the neck beard!

  4. Loving the new header pic!

    Also loving the adventure stories - i mean, aside from the part that makes me want to be living the same thing ( i believe its called jealousy... ) - so keep 'em coming.