Alright so Hannah left and I spent the rest of the day finding my way around Kathmandu and working out a plan for the coming two weeks. The tourist district of Kathmandu is insane, outdoor shops, outdoor agencies, restaurants, tiger balm salesmen and coffee table bookshops everywhere! After a good feed of buffalo momo's (tibetan dumpling's) I went about sorting a trek again. I decided I wanted to try something a bit different to what I'd normally do and so found out about a village homestay trek which is in an area quieter than the Everest and Annapurna regions and inhabited by the Tamange people who fled Tibet 500years ago. I found a recommendation for a local guide in one of the environmental offices and gave him a call, he (Durga) happened to be on his way back to kathmandu looking for work and so we met up over a pot of nepali tea that afternoon. He seemed really nice and all inclusive it was gonna cost me the same and what I budget for a normal day so no problems there.
The next day was the bus journey, 10 hours with every man and his dog, the first 4 hours is on tarmac and the next 6 on rough dirt track...and yes it's a pretty standard non off-road bus. With a bruised bum we arrived to a really nice guesthouse and tucked into Dal Baht (rice and lentils, sometimes with potato curry as well) which was nice and it's all you can eat which is a bonus!
The first day was short but steep day to my guides hometown of Gatlang. A fairly poor village where they are all pretty much farming their own food. There was a recently built community lodge but we stayed at Durga's house. Day 2 was another steep day but we passed loads of really old Chortens (small pathside buddhist shrines) and stayed at Tatopani. This translates as 'hot water' and sure enough there was an amzing hot springs pool which you would swin in and wash yourself. I don't understand why more of the locals don't live here, theres about 8 houses at the most, it'd be great after a winters day farming?! On the third day we reached our first high point (3200m) and woke up to a panoramic view of Langtang (7000m) and Ganesh Himal (7000m). Tried Tibetan Tea for the first time (yak butter, salt and hot water), it's ok. We also ate mutton with our dal baht, a delight thanks to a sheep dying at the village where we ate lunch which then gets sold and distributed around. Although the people are buddhist, they eat meat if the animal has died of natural causes (ie. not been killed).
The remaining 3 days were fantastic. We passed Buffallo meat being hung up to dry to preserve it and make a kind of jerky (called Sekuwa), sat next to a himalayan eagle and stayed with a couple more really nice famillies. I didn't want to return to the smog of Kathmandu quite yet and so managed to swueeze in another trek called the 'Langtang Trek'. It took us to nearly 4000m and we saw loads of Langur monkeys and had clear views of the mountain range. Talking to some locals we apparently just missed a pack of leopards who'd ventured up to the small patch of woodland we were staying next to. We did however get to witness a Yak being born...it wasn't the prettiest and I'm not sure I like Yak's that much, they always seem to have it in for meand try to butt me. It was then back down the valley and onto the bus for the return journey, this time I spent most of it on the roof, better views and much more comfortable.
After a couple days gorging myself in the bakeries and seeing the sights of the capital I left to find the girls on an island off Thailand. It took nearly 24 hours, a taxi, a plane, another plane, a taxi, a boat, then a motorbike (including a night on Bangkok airport's floor) but I eventually made it.