Phu R&R Day
JB :Well God said on the seventh day let people rest, or something along those lines so, being Sunday we did, sort of.
A day exploring Phu village and generally taking in the surroundings.
This is the most incredible, interesting and dramatic place. I feel honoured to be able to experience, all the more so when Gobinda said last year the total visitors to this valley were 169!
We started the day by walking down to the river to "wash" our clothes. The water was COLD and by the time we'd washed a few items each of our fingers were frozen and painful. Given the silt in the river water the wash was more an exercise in salt removal (from sweat) and ensuring the dirt was evenly distributed through the clothes.
Left the clothes over boulders on the river bank to dry and walked up to the Gompa/Monastery on the hill above Phu (about150m above).
There were a number of old people walking around (clockwise of course) and Gobinda told us the old people from the village move up there and live there year round. They even stay when the village moves down the valley in winter! Sort of an ancient aged care system.
At the top there were big buzzards/vultures circling which was spectacular.
We sheltered from the cutting wind behind a mani wall when Chris decided to take a rest and sat on a thorn plant. Got a number of long thorns imbedded in his posterior. Let out a big scream which focused us and also seemed to bring the vultures closer. Took a couple of attempts to rid himself of the thorns.
MI: from the top of the Monastery we really feel up amongst the mountains, not far below some peaks and the distance peak of Humlung Himal (nearly 7,000m). To give perspective we are hanging around well above the height of Mt Cook (3754m).
The monks are in Kathmandu so the Monastery main building is closed at the moment. The old people living in the buildings around it seem to be the gate keepers! We found this out when we gave a small door a bit of a shove and got into the sacred courtyard. Caused a bit of a fracas with plenty of yelling and gesturing. We quickly pulled the door shut, by rehanging it, and started apologising! We started saying we were German tourists, to keep the NZ name as good respectful travellers intact.
Our main nemesis from the break in was this little old Tibetan man, with his yak wool boots, jacket and hat. The relationship with him was a bit seesaw ..... Smiles when we arrived at the Monastery, then showed us his conjunctivas and asked if we had drops, which we didn't. With the Break in he became septic. Then bumped into him in the village, and I had taken my eye drops in case of a chance meeting, so gave him those, which John administered, and all was forgiven. He's going to join the Birch family for Xmas:)
This is a really dry and dusty place. Everyone is blowing their noses producing a bit of blood. Dry lips and the end of noses are getting sore, even with lots of lip balm. Coughing from the dust and blocked noses. Many time the comments been made that this wouldn't be for everyone. Hygiene is low at best.
Late morning we had a coffee picnic on the deck outside our room. First coffee for any of us in the past week.
We heard that the French people are going to do the ChangLa crossing. We discussed it and unanimously decided to stick to the plan of heading back down the valley. Gobinda has been really accurate in all of his directions so far so we are happy trusting his judgement on this.