originally part of training/fundraising for the Hepatitis C Trust's Nepal trek. Now, sporadic musings...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

the trek 'proper' begins...

Our mini bus stops at Phaliya Sangu (Jeff tells me later, at the time, I have absolutely no idea where I am - and very little notion of where I'm going, either! But until I have my own reference points for places, I'm not going to remember them - so it made sense to sort out where I'd been in retrospect... )
I take Jeff literally, and expect that when the bus stops, we'll stop then for lunch. In true Jeff style, we have a good way to walk before we get lunch...
The steep descent into the river gorge gives us a taste of the terrain to come...
And the rope bridge crossing of the Marsyangdi River is a suitably testing beginning...

(it's great fun, too - both Sergio and I took pictures of our shadows and those of Jeff and Karna over the river bed from the bridge - which I won't inflict on my blog readers!)



















After crossing the river, I understand why Sim told me to spend an hour on stairs every day for a few weeks before the trek - it's like ascending a never-ending stairway to heaven, and my legs wonder what the hell I'm doing to them!
Bestare, bestare (slowly, slowly) becomes the mantra as I lean on my walking poles - but I don't know whether it's being in such strange and intensely beautiful surroundings, being fuelled by the wonder of it all, or whether it's being part of a group who have made the commitment to give this their best shot... whatever it is, the boundaries of your limitations somehow extend without too much effort...
Or maybe it's the novelty of being waited on... Lunch is delicious; it seems our porters commandeer kitchen space at a tiny settlement high on the mountainside above the river to not just prepare our food, but to boil water for us to wash our hands and for tea. There's unleavened bread, local cheese, tuna (that was a surprise), cucumber, carrot, turnip - and there's jam. The others seem to think making a cheese and jam sarnie is weird - but if you have tasty cheese and jam available, doesn't it make sense to combine them? Familiar comfort food in this kaleidescope of unfamiliarity...
Later, we stop at a resting place under a peepal tree; Jeff reminds us that Buddha became enlightened under a peepal. I'm trying to encapsulate the journey so far in my notebook, and a young Nepal lad dressed in Westernised clothing, his feet in purple plastic slip-on sandals, comes to watch me intently, joined by a tiny toddler in combat gear. He wears the ubiquitous red dye mark on his forehead which I wish to know the name of, so I try to pantomime my question. I'm obviously not creative enough, so he wanders off, embarrassed. It's a tikka, Jeff tells me - but I can't help being downcast at my signal failure to communicate unaided...

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I began blogging during training for a trek in the Himalayas... several lifetimes ago. Currently working on my novel - in the tiny spaces left by a 50 hour plus working week...