Nepal, the country of trekking.
I had met a traveler in Mongolia, we had traveled together in the Gobi desert, he was in Nepal, so we decided to make a trek together for one week : the Annapurna Base Camp (ABC).
We will go for this trek, without guide (by the time it was possible), with a map, on the way of the ABC. In the opposite direction than the touristic groups to avoid them. But we were in the rainy season, so the way was more quite.
I remember the first day, we arrived quite late at the departure place, we began slowly. But my friend was faster so I was following him, it was hard but I found the rhythm. He was opening the walk. I was not ridiculous. The first day was so long, the time to acclimatize. We didn’t manage well the time of trekking. We walked to much and not ate much… I started to have headache… And I began to hope that will be not like that everyday…
On the way, there is, of course, guesthouses and restaurants. The road is well marked. That’s really difficult to be lost. I remember for lunch we arrived to a guesthouse and we asked to the owner repairing his house, if it was possible to eat here. He answered : “No problem”. But what we were not imagining, was the time he need to cook the dishes…
We ordered “momos”, a nepalese specialty, a kind of ravioli made with potatoes. We didn’t imagining when we ordered, seeing our host leaving with the smile! He told us: “I come back!”. But where he was going? I was hoping he understood our order. He was not going back, but thirty minutes later he came back with potatoes in his hands. He was just going back from his garden and he just dug up the potatoes for us!!! We just had done 5 hours walk, 5 hours up, we were super hungry!! So to wait was really long… Yes, in the Annapurna, you need to learn patience!
After in total one hour and a half, we will obtain our “momos”. We were so impatient at the idea to eat a big meal! The plate arrived!! But the plate was empty! In the plate 6 little “momos”! With my friend we were looking each other a bit frustrated, that was looking super good but in one hour we will be hungry again! That’s light! But to order again, that will mean waiting an hour again… So we were eating our momos one by one, appreciating them. They were delicious, and that’s probably the portion here anyway …
I still remember the smile of this guy, so proud to bring us the “momos”. He made this “momos” with love. He told us, he got more : “Do you want more?”. So of course we say: “yes”. 2 more “momos”!!
That was excellent, really fresh, and 100% organic!!! So we can say, we tested the “momos” in the Annapurna, that’s so good, I recommend it, but one advice, be patient and not super hungry !! They will stay the best “momos” I will eat in this country.
To be honest I have never loved so much : Twix, Mars or others chocolate bars,but in the Annapurna, that became my favorite snack! Even they have melted and remelted, that was a perfect source of energy! And easy to buy on the way. For the first time, I was finding the advertising slogan : “Twix, two fingers, cut hunger ” or : “A Mars a day, helps you work, rest and play!!”, a really good choice, so true.
When you can’t eat a big steak with french fries or big plate of pastas!! These chocolate bars were the best.
I would love to commend the Sherpas. I am fascinated by their strength and their determination.
The nepali carrier carry with the head until 50 kilos.
They bring food, wood, backpack of tourists, and a lot of stuff they need in the mountain, they use a woven basket attached by a tissu handle, they place this handle in their face forehead like a headband. They are a bit curved to carry all the weight on thier forehead.
They are small but tough! They carry their weight on their head!!
When they go down, and get nothing in the basket, they are so quick, sometimes they run!!
The Annapurna, you can’t imagine, how many stairs there are!! You go up, go down all the time with stairs… So you see these men going up, going down these stairs without complaining, with 50 kilos to carry, at more than 3000 meters high… Even they get the habit, that’s a real prowess… These little men are warriors! These men working behind the scenes, payed few roupies, must earn the respect.
For their back that’s a disaster.
We will discuss with one of them : How many kilos you carry?
– Around 50 kilos
-Waw! That’s not too heavy?
– Yes. Of course, but I don’t have the choice, I prefer 30 or 40 kilos, but my boss give me the basket, I don’t have the choice.
-What do you carry?
-The backpacks of tourists.
I was sorry for this man. Me I just get my backpack of 25 liters on my back… I was happy to have left my big backpack in Pokhara, and not imposed 50 kilos at this carrier, who he was telling us he was suffering and thinking to stop this job. Maybe this situation was wanted by his boss who was making the economy of a carrier? Or there was a lack of carrier? Or tourist wanted to pay less?
I was not understanding to bring a lot of stuff on the way, to bring a big backpack. I think all these tourists was using probably a quarter of what the carrier was carrying.
Of course this man was earning few roupies, but at what price?
These men were incredible!!!
The road of the Annapurna was amazing, we were crossing primary forests really green, rocky landscapes, mountains, sometimes bloc of ice, and after valleys and rice fields, villages all made by stones, some amazing viewpoints, rope bridges, colorful prayer flags bringing us good luck! A big variety of landscapes.
There was on the way few travelers, we were meeting schoolchild, few carriers, buffalos and chicken, flowers and butterflies, farmers. And on the way back, we got hot spring water to reward us!! The happiness! A really beautiful trek.
But it was raining a lot… Around 3 pm, all the afternoon, we were stopping to walk cause the rain was so strong.
The last day we cut short the walk, cause it was raining since the morning and the ground was really slippery.
Going downstairs when it’s raining, when you are tired, that’s really dangerous.
And when it’s raining, you get … Leeches!! They love to be stuck on you!!! They were arriving to go on your shoes, but there were loving more my friend. He will find his feet full of blood, without feeling anything!! But we were becoming sick of it, every 10 minutes, we were checking our feet and legs in order to see if a leech wasn’t on us… All the way was infested by this strange animal, this little vampire, this blood sucker. That’s not the type of animals that’s make you loving nature. You even ask why this animal exist? What does it serve? What is the interest on the food chain?
This walk was impressive. The stairs have all different sizes, they are irregular, sometimes difficult to climb, and I am tall, almost a giant in Nepal… This stairs were brought here and carved by hands, stone after stone until 4000 meters high. That’s crazy!! This nepali are really remarkable.
The installations are made by hands, here… I remember this bridge, who were afraid us, I called it : “The scary bridge”.
A wooden bridge, a really beautiful piece of art made with wood and rope, skinny, without staircase, certainly really solid! Under this bridge, there was a torrent, I was not reassured at the idea to cross it!
That’s only on the way back, I will tell my friend that I was scarred of this bridge, he was smiling, and telling me :” Me too, I was scarred!” Finally we avoided to show our fear to not stress each other…
I was really scarred that this bridge broke with the humidity, to cross was asking a lot of concentration and to be quick. I will not make a selfie on this bridge… Don’t doubt, don’t think to much to cross it! Cause I know my talent of acrobat, I never had an award for that! I was so bad in gymnastics beam at school… But we will do it and cross it !! We got no choice anyway.
Between 3800 and 4130 meters, the peak of the ABC, I was feeling my breathing becoming hard, and my rhythm of walk was going down. I found this walk so long.
When we get there, we were disappointed, the mountains, the peaks, were hiding behind clouds. We were guessing them. It was a ballet of clouds so we wait that the dance finish, and see something.
Waiting was magic, the peaks were hiding, we were discovering little pieces, they were playing with us.
That was spectacular… We will finish to see the peaks, one by one, to see all the view, that was amazing… That was awarded all the efforts we made! We were full of emotion, we were happy and lucky. We were like kids, amazed by the simple beauty of nature! So little face to these mountains, face to nature. What a nature!
Memories of Nepal, memories of a trek of a life.