Ahh its an interesting life I lead it's after another flight or so and crossing a few more oceans that I will endeavor to put another chapter of the Nepal story together. I am back in Adelaide slowly putting my life back together after the last two years of travel and there just happens to be a heat wave here as I type. So I have taken refuge in the local library and here I will begin…
The names of the townships and areas in Nepal for some reason are amongst the hardest to remember of my travels but I left off last having told the story of our bus ride to the Gatlang area. We were to trek a relatively new route quite close to Tibet (which we could actually see at points off in the distance). Anyway the trek did not have the reputation of the views of Annapurna but was marketed more of a cultural experience the 'Tamang Heritage trail'. This was only recently opened to the public and I think only graced the pages of Lonely Planet in 2006 or thereabouts. As a result there are some amazing and ancient artifacts intact and on open display small enough to be easily taken as souvenirs, hopefully not but it was good to be among the first of the masses to take the trail.
This was again a fantastic experience, I was able to try exotic berries growing along the trail and see the terraced rice fields and agrarian villages of the area up close and personal. There were religious sites high atop bare and rocky mountains and wheat fields under planted with thick ground covers of marijuana. I sat in tree branches overhanging cliffs dropping hundreds of meters and we all took our bodies to their limits. At one point we were trekking quite a steep mountain when a man leading a calf ushered us out of the way to clamber down the rocky path obviously far faster and more experienced than ourselves. We were reunited with the man however when after some time we found him on an outcrop of the trail with an elderly man who had fallen and cut his hand, the girls happy to break and put their first aid supplies to good use patching him up.
Along this trek we were also able to try the local millet wine/spirit raksi and see it brewed, there was nothing commercial out there and at one village where the drink had been listed on the teahouse menu when we requested a bottle, off ran the hostess to one of the village houses to find a batch. It all added to a great time. At that particular village we also had the opportunity to be welcomed into a local household quite unlike anything I had experienced anywhere else. The majority of the house in the village had the same layout and recipe, a cow in a small compartment under the house (fed by the daily collection of huge baskets of wild greens carried in basket hung from the heads of the families women and children. The men are on a pretty good gig and in the house we visited the mans bed was nicely positioned by the houses one small window so in between siestas he could pop his head up to see what was happening outside.
The life was simple and hard work and when invited inside the house this was evident. There were a few pots and pans but not really any non-essential possessions and in center the families kitchen or rather a smoldering open fireplace. With no chimney it made for a smoky affair but the freshly popped corn offered up was not so foreign and tasted as if it could have been from a packet from any supermarket. As I constantly witness on my travels, the hard living and poverty often goes hand in hand with generous and kind spirit and these people were no exception, so after some photo's and laughs we said our goodbyes and head on.
This treck had been a large loop and having completed the right,It was here that I would leave the girls, they continued on a journey upward toward frozen lakes and arguments with the guides before voyaging to India and I returned to the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu. Our last night included more Raksi with our guide and porter who though I thought were friendly enough didn't quite have the charm of Dipendra and or porter from Poon hill. I wonder what they are doing these days?