Hmmm, In Pokhara today.
Since last written, much has happened.On 20th Maywe were in Kathmandu,talking to iTrekNepal about what to do since we've had to stay a while longer in Nepal and no actual plans. We extended our visas, nearly got bribed by the public officials to do the visa faster for extra money to the bored official personel behind them, picking their noses, scratching their toes and other unmentionables. But we declined their kind offers and came back after 5hrs to have our visa extended. That day we aslo went to the British Embassy in Kathmandu for advice on Thailand and Laos (where we might head into to waste some time while our Vietnam visa is valid), were told to go next door to British Council, who pointed us next door to British Consil (howmany do you need?!) who knew nothing. Hurray,wasted time. Never mind, had lunch to fill Emily's big stomach for $2 and drinks. During the lunch feeding frenzy,we all realised that Emily's turning ginger - although she will not admit it. Has been trying to deny it ever since we pointed it out to her and even photographic evidence will not change her mind. Never mind, we willlet everyone on facebook decide that for her!!
And then the good moment happened. We were in the International Guesthouse Restaurant,talking about what the day had intailed and were having fruits from each individual dish we'd ordered. I was eating with my hands mostly. C+ Ewith their knife and forks. Em was very tired and forked a cucumber to eat. She was looking at me in a dissaproving manner for not eating my fruit with a fork, when her cucumber fell of her fork on to the plate again. She didn't realise this untill all of the fork was stuck in her mouth,but no cucumber! Her look of astonishment at getting a fork instead of the promised cucumberwas all that it took for me to be crying in laughter. C was wondering of the Everest Beer had gone to my head to quickly,so she was laughing at me, E had realised the funny side and starting laughing too. Anyone passing by would've thought that we'd allinhaled laughing gas and were in high heaven. You'd had to have been there.
We didn't reach Pokhara till the 22nd of May. iTrekNepal arranged the coach for us and even the taxi to the coach station. Got up really early (06.00) and got the bus at 08.00 from Kathmandu to Pokhara, 6hrs bumpy bus ride that bruised my shoulders, C's buttocks and Em too. Once in Pokhara we decided to doss for the day. Hotel Mandala at £2.50 pppn is very cheap. Finances being low, we've had to share. Lucky me i get to see women's underwear displayed all over the room. It's like back at Chris and Kieran's when i was younger, if a sex topic came up on the TV i'd run out of the roomwith my ears plugged and not wanting to watch. This time i'll just have to close my eyes and think of Margaret Thatcher.
Sunday 23rd May.Trek to Annapurna Base Camp. Started at 820m to 1750m (Jhinu) 7hrs 11mins inc. stops. Legs shattered. Rain started heavy at the 5hr mark. Left everything on me wet. All dry by 24th.
Monday 24th May. From Jhinu (1750m) to Bamboo (2310m) in 6hrs 16mins inc. all stops. Finished before 14.30, mostly uphill til lunch then flat or down. The misty clouds that were later to drop their appointed afternnon rain hanged at 2500m. At this elevation Accute Mountain Sickness (AMS) can begin. Fell today,grazzed the rightleg, foot and arm, nice bruises for a while.
Tueaday 25th May. From Bamboo (2310m) to Deurali (3200m) in just under 4hrs at a slow pace. Would've like to go to Annapurna Base Camp but dizzyness,headache that gets worse and loss of concentration when walking. Diagnosis AMS!! Yet I'm not stopping, if some silly girl and a fat man can do it then i'm going up there where i'm sick or not. Tomorrow in ABC. Fogged with a visibility of 20m. Before the fog you could see a waterfal of >50m in length, very stunning. The clouds were cutting off the top of it so it looked like the water was coming from the heavens. There's even a little yellow figure of a Bhudda in the rock up above, like the Bhudda is in his sitting position. Napped for 4.5 hrs before dinner (Dal Bat is the Napalese national dish). Then back to sleep.
Tuesday 26th May. From Deurali (3200m) to ABC (4130m) and had lunch, all in under 3hrs. Felt the headache get worse and my guide got worried when he saw my red face. I wasn't feeling well at all, decided to go back down to Deurali for the night. So nearly 1800m of trekking in one day. Instead of 3hrs to go up, 20 mins to go down. Hardcore guide called Ranjan.
And let me tell you about winds. Coming down the ountain an erruptionof winds were coming out of me that have never since come out of anyone in the world. I'd have won the world farting competition. There were silent one and loud ones, wet ones and dry ones, smelly ones and not-too-smelly ones, long ones and short ones, ones where i had to check i hadn't followed through, ones where i had to push out like when you're on that toilet and you know a big ones anout to show up. This was all during the 900m descend at very fast pace. Not easy to achieve but i think i did well. You've got to keep you eyes on where your next step's going to be, a mind on where the next explosion's going to occur, a nose on how bad the last explosion was, an ear on how far the person behind you is to allow for the current smellto precipitate into the atmospher and allow enough space for the next one. The problems arises when two winds want to come out one-after-the-other. You have to hold one in, while this one is being taken by the wind, then gently slide the next one out. Always watching out theere's no backlog of future explosions.
On a more srious note, that day was the most phisically challenging one of the whole holiday so far. In London it's easy to take your appartment for granted. Such as reading and drinking and listening to the silence in between walls, watching the sun kiss the horison over Clapham Common at the comfort of your 5th floor appartment. Not having to work tomorrow, not having to wake up for any reason whatsoever. No appointments to keep. No friends to see, or planned to anyway. Some may say that's a lonely experience, and i'd agree with them, but it has it's own charm -freedom. To have your world in the palm of your hands. Not something to be laughed at. People have died, and continue to die, for the freedom that so many civilised civilians take for granted every day of their existence. Freedom to sit on your couch and reaad a book you're not interested in finishing. Freedom to drink excessive alcohol come friday or saturday night. Freedom to free speech and free thinking and being able to publicisie such opinions, whether you like them or not. Freedom to lay naked on the floor of your appartment and listen to loud music blasting out of your stereo. Freedom to watch TV (if you've paif the electricity bill!). Freedom to not leave your bed for days, if you wish you smelly persons. Freedom to have sex anywhere except the bed, in your own closed doors. Freedom to love someone of the same sex or opposite. Freedom of unrequited love. Freedom of cycling in ridiculous clothes that your parents always take the piss out of. All freedoms that Londoners take for granted at a daily basis. Needless to say i was feelong a little sentimental about not being in comfortable place, with no diarrhoea (as of that day for the next 3 days).
For the brief time that i was at Annapurna Base Camp, i met a French guy called Francios (sorry about spelling) with a mental attitude of a child. He like to eat chocolate - kind enough to share - and play battleship. Never played it before but i lost. Found out about New Zealand - he's spent 7-8 months there before Nepal - and about the first person to climb Annapurna 1 was French and it was in the 1970's. He was very proud of that National heritage. Didn't mention Everest and Sir Hillary to him, let the little mand enjoy his sweet seconds of fame.
On the night of 26th, in Deurali, there were two girls in the same Gueasthouse. One was a good looking American and in advertising, not the easiest person to make a conversation with. The other was a English girl who looked like Shrek and had been in Cambodie for the last 6yrs teaching children English. You began to wonder whether it was her choice to go there or England's law had imprisoned her there for her looks. Either way she boasted about Cambodia, something that C+E had not wanted to go to because of tourists being troubled and blah blah blah.
Thursday 28th May. Yesterday declined from Deurali (3200m) to Chhomrong (2050m) with many asdcends as well as descends. The lodge (Mountain View) was named because you can see Machhupuchhre (Fish Tail) on a clear sky. I only go an glimpse of it this morning between clouds and early morning sun. Weather bad. Temp at 12 degrees celcius, but i'm not worried, since today we're going to Jhinu(1750m) to tada-pani (literally meaning hot-water in Nepali) for a geo-thermal hot spring again. We did this hot spring before on the Gorepani trek, but this time around it was much more relaxing and with beers in our hands. Hot bath in the outdoor, and a gushing river right next to it if you felt daring and wanted to mix hot and cold together. Point of the matter, had a wash and got pissed at the same time. Make the hike back to the Gueasthouse that much more interesting though. Dineer had more alcohol, this time whiskey and roxi (a local wine that is >40% strong), before bed! Today was Bhudda's 2554th birthday. Happy Birthday Bhudda.
Friday 29th of May. Yet another afternoon of rain comes upon us. Currently in Byrethani (?sp) (950m). Today descended from Jhinu in over 3hrs of trekking. Easy walk - as Ranjan (my guide) - keeps saying. Decided to dtay here overnight to get more pissed and then join the girls in Pokhara tomorrow after breakfast. Had Dal Bat (Nepali traditional dish) with fish heads as one for the side dishes and went to sleep. Life's good!
Saturday 30th of May. Back in Pokhara. The city is shock when the closest to civilisation have been guides and other bearded and ugly travellers up smelly guesthouses, rainy trekks and mosquito ridden bedrooms. Met C+E and they had re-arrnage the tours for going to Cambodia (yay!!) and then flying to Hoi Chin Ming City. Then we take train up to Hanoi, do a bit of sight seeing, catch a plane to Hong Kong from AHnoi and resume previous plans of going to a roam China tour with G.A.P. Adventures. That night, after dinner with C+E, we met Ranjan for some drinks, lots of lost games at pool, smoking and thank you's for putting up with the girls, and then me for another trek up ABC (during his planned holiday time). Needless to say, went to bed a little drunk, but the girl;s say that i was plastered. I think not!!
Sunday 31st of May. Got 7hr bus ride to Kathmandu with lunch on the way. Came over to International Guest House. Am posted some stuff back to England. Got some books from different bokshops. Ian MacEwan And Nathaniel Hawthorne amongst others. Packed our backpack and found that Em's little alarm that she's had since the start of this trip (a month and a half) was not with us. We were all in mourning, but fear not, we did not do a berrial of the tiniest alarm clock, we didn't light candles or anything, we just kept a minute's silence (mainly due to Em looking pissed off and very unhappy). Dineer was very cheap 1.6 pounds for a plate of rice with buffallo meat and a cold drink of your choosing. And to top it all off, we even had entertaintment in the form of a man who could not pronounce one single word wothout sounding like a cartoon caracter out of Duckman, or had a speech imediment. His friend who hwas seated oipposite him was silent, perhaps he was mute and could'nt respond to the hillarious mumbles that the man was drippling out likie a 6yrs old drunk on cider. I had'nt noticed this until C+E made it blatant, but as soon as i did I was crying with laughter. C+E didn't need much encouragement to wet many tissues with tears, snot and Sprite's that had come out the wrong nostrills. We couldn't keep it together as soon as he mumbled something (like anyone knew what!!) to his friend or on the phone. The waiter probably thought there was something wrong with us - too much smoke for the young ones! (We don't even smoke) But we had to get out of the place as sitting there meant more wet, snotty tissues and more painful stomachs. Bouht some books again, as we're probably in less civilised areas in the month to come and a bit of literature has been instilled by our parents well. Then off to bed.
Except i'm up now at 2am of 1st of June writting this, being unable to sleep. Very rare occassions this used to happen in London, but it has found it's place here too. Girlas are fast asleep (not snorers I have to add!) and i'm just wasting time, updating my blog and sending useless e-mails to people who probably want to be left alone.
Next city Bangkok. Spending 5 days there but we're not actually going to do much except hang around the hostel and see if it's safe to do anything once we're there. Before we fly to Cambodia, do a 10 day tour (Roam Cambodia with G.A.P. Adventures) before going to Vietnam for some make it yourself backpacking in more hostels and possibly sun-bathing on their beaches.