Nepalese diaries – into the valley of sweat, walked the sixteen.

28 Apr

Nepalese diaries – into the valley of sweat, walked the sixteen.

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I’m paraphrasing Lord Tennyson not out of intending to create war imagery but partially to help GCSE pupils with their English literature revision. Plus I quite like my play on words and today saw us crossing a valley.

Today saw us start bright and early, struggling to pack our 80L bags and tucking into mountain porridge. The plan for today was to head down a valley, cross the river and then head up it. I can report that this plan was successfully executed and such was our great tempo and effort, we arrived at our current tea house before lunch. A fine feat indeed.

The walk down was pleasant, with time being passed with mind games ranging from the frivolous to the preposterous. Who knew ‘I spy’ could be usurped?
The walk up was full of good scenery yet was less interesting than previous days, perhaps due to the reduced altitude compared to the prior day and the having already seen much of the valley when walking to the previous tea house.

Today’s tea house is more basic than yesterday but this was to be expected after previously relative luxury. Having arrived early, we settled down for two meals on the mountain side. The first was a stir fry with egg fried rice, the ultimate carb load a little light on flavour but still tasty. The second was set up to be a treat, with pizza, pasta and vegetable spring rolls following on from a vegetable soup. Yet the aforementioned curs’d green vegetable ruined everything. I sincerely hope that I can eat spinach again after this trip yet each passing meal is stretching this plan to the limit.

Since I’ve been advised to reduce my personalised output on here (I.e material relating to fiscal policy or Bill Bryson), let me instead devote the next few paragraphs to fun anecdotes concerning explorers which have so far gone unmentioned in these entries.

Tom L was in a brand new country and having exited the airport into Kathmandu’s night life, was assisted into putting his luggage into the transport. Tom L, holding a $5 note in his hand was approached by this porter for a tip, and was pestered repeatedly for $20. ‘Tips! Tips! Tips!’ is the official quote. Tom L then proceeded to enter into his rucksack and pull out a crisp fresh note from the travel bureau and then handed it to the porter, who quickly vanished into the humid night. The affectionate nickname ‘Tommy Tippie’ has stuck.

Ben C is a good friend and usually sensible individual who in the midst of fatigue and supper, found himself glancing across to the shelves where he saw what he presumed was a jar of jelly snakes, approximately 6 inches long each. Later, having gathered a crowd of intrigued individuals, myself included, he headed back to the tea house and requested to purchase the snakes. After initial confusion between ‘snakes’ and ‘snickers’ bars, he eventually headed over to the jar accompanied by a guide only to discover that his precious jelly snakes were in fact metal cutlery, items which made the house cooks shriek in horror at the prospect of purchasing. Despite initial concerns, Ben was still provided with cutlery at breakfast as he has sought to move on from such a debacle. Fear not though, for I will ensure that such a legacy will live on.

Our final anecdote comes from later that same evening and by another person called Ben, this time Ben T. Whilst watching ‘The Death of Stalin’ in our room, Ben noticed that in his room, the bathroom light was on and he suspected an intruder of being in there. After repeatedly going back and checking on the ‘locked’ bathroom, he eventually gathered enough of us to go and investigate. Upon which we found that there was neither a burglar nor a locked door and that for the last hour, Ben had been standing outside an unlocked door waiting for a fictitious stranger to enter. A truly bizarre incident. Strange things can happen at altitude.

Speaking of which, tomorrow looks set to be the hardest day so far, for whilst yesterday saw us travel uphill then immediately down, tomorrow looks as though it will be uphill, briefly flat and then up again, rising around 1200m to an altitude of 3640m, our highest overnight stop yet. Difficult but not impossible, much like some English language revision which I will say no more about.

Challenges are there to be relished, and this is one that will not be missed out on.