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Archive for September 30th, 2009

A new caste

9-30
Kutumumsang to Chisopni 2180m
“Good no rain, we can take the local route” proclaimed my able guide. I have been on ladders that were not that steep, but I resigned myself not to let those 7 year old girls who were carrying 15 kilo of millet each beat me to the top. I should have left my ego at the bottom of the dry water fall that was the local route. Two thirds up and my shirt poured rather than drip sweat off the tail.  At the top I was on my knees not sure whether I should ask for salvation or simply death.
I finally figured out our plan.  After studying the miniature map in the guide book and piecing information together, I realized we were walking back to KTM-or nearly so.  Up a ridge to a saddle, down a ridge to a saddle, repeat. But the landscapes are amazing and we are now into a new caste area that is dominated by Hindu rather then Buddhist of the high elevations. While brutally hot and humid these low lands are dotted with homes, people, cows, goats, chickens, ox, dogs, buffalo, and even a non-black cat.
In Nepal when you are trekking a route, you are simply following an ancient route that has been named as a trekking route. The PCT this is not, and to call much of the last several days a trail is quite optimistic.  Rather, a landslide clears the vegetation and that slide, as if ordained, becomes the new route up or down. Six hours of this and your knees are begging for salvation.
Having a local guide is great and given that Angin is so well liked along the trail, I get the benefit of traveling with him, and thus receive excellent treatment and service.  And when we walked into the local bar tonight, as we grow near the end of our trek, I felt at home playing pool on a table with felt so thin you could see through to the slate below.
This town has some limited road access to vehicles (motorcycles only) but I am unsure as to why.  Never mind, I am sure.  If three young men can get a bike here why wouldn’t they.  One runs the clutch, one pushes or holds the bike back on down hills, and one pulls on the assents and try’s to slow the bike while not getting run over on the descents. Yea, I would try to get my bike here. Standing around we diagnosed the bike’s problems and get cheers from the local crowd when we get her to fire – only to hear moans as she dies when the clutch is let out. I know just enough, thanks to Dan my friend mechanic man, back home to know that the problem is fuel/air; oh if I  only had a different needle for this carburetor to compensate for the altitude, I could be king for a day.
Sometimes food just shows up. Today as I write a plate of spicy curry and potatoes combined with a dry rolled grain appears before me and Angin.  Ok, push the spoon aside with approving nods and use only the right hand to mix and transport food to mouth.
Today’s diet worked: Two boiled eggs, and black tea with sugar for breakfast; walk 2 hours and score a 500ml coke (plastic bottle and I don’t care); walk 2 hours for Ramen and a milk tea (milk slightly curdled but sugar cut it well), walk 2 hours and rely on Chili Verde burrito I ate back on August 27th to get me up the last hill; reach lodge and enjoy and Sprite and thank God and Warren Buffet for ensuring Coca Cola Bottling Company is still number one in Nepal and provides Coke, Fanta Orange, and Sprite to guys like me.

Kutumumsang to Chisopni 2180m

terraces

Millet and corn

“Good no rain, we can take the local route” proclaimed my able guide. I have been on ladders that were not that steep, but I resigned myself not to let those 7 year old girls who were carrying 15 kilo of millet each beat me to the top. I should have left my ego at the bottom of the dry water fall that was the local route. Two thirds up and my shirt poured rather than drip sweat off the tail.  At the top I was on my knees not sure whether I should ask for salvation or simply death.

I finally figured out our plan.  After studying the miniature map in the guide book and piecing information together, I realized we were walking back to KTM-or nearly so.  Up a ridge to a saddle, down a ridge to a saddle, repeat. But the landscapes are amazing and we are now into a new caste area that is dominated by Hindu rather then Buddhist of the high elevations. While brutally hot and humid these low lands are dotted with homes, people, cows, goats, chickens, ox, dogs, buffalo, and even a non-black cat.

In Nepal when you are trekking a route, you are simply following an ancient route that has been named as a trekking route. The PCT this is not, and to call much of the last several days a trail is quite optimistic.  Rather, a landslide clears the vegetation and that slide, as if ordained, becomes the new route up or down. Six hours of this and your knees are begging for salvation.

Having a local guide is great and given that Angin is so well liked along the trail, I get the benefit of traveling with him, and thus receive excellent treatment and service.  And when we walked into the local bar tonight, as we grow near the end of our trek, I felt at home playing pool on a table with felt so thin you could see through to the slate below.

This town has some limited road access to vehicles (motorcycles only) but I am unsure as to why.  Never mind, I am sure.  If three young men can get a bike here why wouldn’t they.  One runs the clutch, one pushes or holds the bike back on down hills, and one pulls on the assents and try’s to slow the bike while not getting run over on the descents. Yea, I would try to get my bike here. Standing around we diagnosed the bike’s problems and get cheers from the local crowd when we get her to fire – only to hear moans as she dies when the clutch is let out. I know just enough, thanks to Dan my friend mechanic man, back home to know that the problem is fuel/air; oh if I  only had a different needle for this carburetor to compensate for the altitude, I could be king for a day.

Sometimes food just shows up. Today as I write a plate of spicy curry and potatoes combined with a dry rolled grain appears before me and Angin.  Ok, push the spoon aside with approving nods and use only the right hand to mix and transport food to mouth.

Today’s diet worked: Two boiled eggs, and black tea with sugar for breakfast; walk 2 hours and score a 500ml coke (plastic bottle and I don’t care); walk 2 hours for Ramen and a milk tea (milk slightly curdled but sugar cut it well), walk 2 hours and rely on Chili Verde burrito I ate back on August 27th to get me up the last hill; reach lodge and enjoy and Sprite and thank God and Warren Buffet for ensuring Coca Cola Bottling Company is still number one in Nepal and provides Coke, Fanta Orange, and Sprite to guys like me.

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