Phu to Monastery
MI: today we head backdown to the Monastery that is across the valley from Meta. Although the Monks are not there Gobinda reckons we can stay.
We see Tibetan Snow c*** ( a type of Pheasant) in the fields below us as we leave the village. We reckon Harm was probably the tallest man ever to visit Phu!
The trail from Phu has a really step downhill so we tread carefully. At the bottom there is a large new slip across the trail that provides a reminder of how unstable the hills above the trail are.
Our first stop is at Chayne, a small settlement that the Phu people relocate to in winter, so it is uninhabited at the moment. As we arrive we see some smoke coming out of a chimney and Gobinda sees if they are happy to provide us with some boiling water and for us to have coffee (care of JB) in their courtyard. John notices her resemblance to the woman from the last teahouse, and she ends up being her sister. Instant coffee never tasted so good.
We got some chapattis from our last teahouse to take with us for lunch, and nestled between walls in another empty or 'mary celeste' village.
We left the trail we had followed on the way up to Phu at a small village, with an obvious theft problem as some of the sheep were painted pink! From here we had a really unsettling downhill to a bridge crossing the valley to the Monastery and Nar region. The track was really steep and was on sandy scree with slips on either side and small pole bridges connecting the track over other slips. There were two options at the bottom of this track to cross the gaping river carved gorge, a new bridge or a wooden bridge. The construction of the wooden bridge was a mixture of wood, branches and stone and each end was canter levered 2-3m out over the gorge. With the wind howling through the gorge it was also unnerving. 'Do something everyday that scares you' .... Hmmm .... We're getting a few credits!
There were no monks at the monastery but a few lingering old people and a young guy seemed relative keen to assist us in settling in, although they're all pretty ineffective. We had to wait for the old lady with all the keys (sort of like 'Aunty with all the jobs', out of the movie Boy). Once she arrived she opened the rooms (harder mattresses than we had hoped), opened to Monastery Gompa, the dining room and the kitchen, but not the toilets next to our room, preferring we used the women's toilets 50m across a couple of fields.
John had concerns about how dark the room was, untilI pointed out he still had sunglasses on - altitude blamed again.
JB: there was a bit of concern regarding the food or lack thereof but
Gobinda was sure something could be found and dal baht and mo mos were possible. We were sceptical but willing to play along after Harm pointed out the worst case was scroggin and a block of Leyton's school chocolate for dinner.
The beds in the rooms were both short and very hard (perhaps some sort of penance by the monkswhen they are there). So short in fact that Harm need to borrow Mingle and my spare matress to lift his level so his feet cleared the foot board on the bed.
During the afternoon Gobinda and the guys were playing a game of jumping the yard. Mingle representing New Zealand did us proud although we may have found a sport where Nepal rules!
Gobinda, Himal and Dipesh we're true to their word and put together a superb meal of potatoe mo mos followed by dal baht. All agreed the dal baht was the best we had in the trip so far. If you could see the kitchen and the lack of ingredients you would share our new found admiration for the resourcefulness of these guys.
Rooms were cold and beds uncomfortable so no one got a realy good nights sleep, although Mark and I somehow slept in the next morning not waking until 6.30