Jen and her shadow (Krishna) ascend on one of many, many occasions.
Part of the Annapurna range, the world's number ten.
'Morning has broken' over the range. Miracles occur each day, all over the world.
A setup at Forest Camp: Jenni and Krishna conspire to catch one of us taking a break...ostensibly, to stretch the old back. Notice the socks on the wash line. Guess who forgot them?
A lesson of 'Love Thy Neighbor'...a tough life, preparing for another grueling day.
Given a second opportunity, we would like to have taken our children to Nepal for at least a couple of months while in their teens. I think for anyone, it’s an opportunity to learn about life and living and most of all, a means to appreciate the many material comforts we enjoy in the West, particularly for those born to parents of reasonable means, even less. Above all, I believe, not unlike a strict basic training undergone in a military boot camp, the winner will be recipients of such experience. I do believe it’s a life changing event for the good. I would add that the experience is not exclusive to Nepal but many other countries as well (more than many).
The children wear school uniforms which we like. The young, especially toddlers, are cute, smiley and warm the hearts. Unfortunately, some of the kids (not many) are used by their mothers to beg for money. They can become quite aggressive in their endeavors. When the kid appears to be making progress, the mother will surface, become demanding and aggressive. Handing out charity is wonderful and often it provides more benefit to the giver. Nevertheless, the daily grind of the procedure together with tumult, the noise, dust and road danger begin to wear one down.
From 4 years ago, a night view before last light, from a different position, some 2 miles closer.
Hygiene. Should a person worry about contracting germs, diseases, infections then perhaps, this is not the place to visit. Of course, we practise hygienic protocols seriously but this country will test a person. One of the limitations of humans is the need to eat regularly. On the contrary, I realize some people see eating as a good reason to live. I should get a rise out of some for that comment. In Kathmandu, we lived in an apartment which looked down upon a nightclub and restaurant. The façade of the establishment was one of the most modern we had seen. However, the dishwasher was outside in the back, that is, below us. The dishwasher involved a couple of guys filling a tub with water and dipping the cutlery and crockery in such tub. Jen noticed the dipping of a cabbage in said tub, too. A diner would walk in through the front, notice this attractive restaurant but have no idea what he’d be eating off and with and quality of preparation. I sometimes wonder how Covid survived in the country under these conditions.
As is the case in many third world countries, they like ‘paperwork’ and are officious. Permits, conservation levies and other fees are payable. Insurance policies are required on certain routes. It is now mandatory to take a guide with one on most treks. Governments love power and abuse of such powers is even tastier. Our requirements are not for a guide but rather, for a porter to lug the extra weight. Since Jenni has put on extra weight, the porter helps rather than her having to diet. (It is known that a lack of oxygen can cause confusion in a person, hence, I lose it from time-to-time.) Should you see some of the photographs of Jenni on the blog, she’ll often be shadowed, in this case, by Krishna Ghale.
On the Mardi Himal trail, there are many hotels/lodges/teahouses (same thing). In fact, the number of establishments for overnight stays are phenomenal. What’s equally interesting are the names of the places, mostly in English, often humorous and descriptive. I mean would you wish to stay in something with a dull name such as the ‘Hyatt’ when you may choose ‘Hotel Miracle’, ‘Best View’, ‘Hotel Awesome’ and numerous others and at prices of say $8 per night? For that amount of money, you get a bed with mattress, duvet or blanket, sometimes a light, a window and door, possibly a socket if lucky, and if you are most fortunate, occasionally electricity. In some places, a toilet might be available in the room but bring your own paper and flashlight. A wash basin is rare but a faucet (tap) might be provided within the bathroom which spouts water directly onto the floor. The trick is to position oneself between the spout and the floor while balancing a towel and dry clothes elsewhere. All bathrooms in our various apartments (in cities) provide a shower, toilet and basin. However, the whole of the bathroom doubles as the shower floor. It’s a lot of fun especially when wet as you can imagine how slippery it becomes. Nepal is an American plaintiff lawyer’s litigation dream.
Toilets are a concept in themselves. Some may find that this aspect of the country makes a visit impossible. Unlike most western countries, although there are exceptions, there is at times, choice. One can use the local custom toilets or the western style, when available. The former is used in the squat style. Thus, before embarking on a trip to the country, it’s advisable to strengthen one’s knees and thighs. Quite frankly, the squat style of relief is anything but relief—in a way it promotes constipation for those with a negative attitude to this style of toilet. Fortunately, we have only had a few occasions where only the local facility was available. We have often maintained, probably to the ire of some, that a truly glorious way to appreciate the comforts of home is to visit third-world countries. While this might seem disparaging, it’s not. Meaningful lessons are learned as well incredible experiences are earned.
Taking shelter before a storm and mesmerized by a tree.
My bag and my partner rest before the next climb. (For the record, the bottle contains water...big surprise.)
I doubt whether the guy in blue is imparting much wisdom to Krishna. (See text to contact Krishna, an excellent guide should you wish to visit. It's mandatory to take a guide.)
Good day; be warm in the high mountains.