Sunday, 6 November 2011

5 Go to ABC: Day 1

Day 1 Phedi - Pothana
After a “Trekker’s Breakfast” of 2 eggs, toast, salad with yak’s cheese, porridge with fruit and honey and coffee,  we repacked our rucksack (for 5) for the trek. There was a knock on our door and Dal appeared – a new guide. The guide that we were introduced to last night, Tolsee’s nephew was seriously ill in Kathmandu and was not expected to last for the duration of our trek, so he was going to the hospital to visit him today, and would not be coming with us.
Dal, like the lentil stuff that would fuel us up the mountains, had an off-beat crazy laugh that took us by surprise. After getting out buckets of cash in Pokhara – there are no ATMs in the mountains - cookies and 7 mars bars for our celebration at ABC (us, Dal and the porter) 6 of us crammed into a fiesta-type car and headed for Phedi; the start of our trek. We took “before” photos with Dal, and our porter, Ram, in his red Rooney shirt. At the bottom of the steps there was a boy playing with a red heart-shaped balloon.  

The before shot with Dal, our guide in front,and Ram in the Rooney shirt, our porter.

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After about 20 minutes you see the valley.

We then went up our first chunky stone steps. And they kept on coming; all the way up, 2 hours later, to our lunch stop at Damphus at 1650m. Sweat dripped into the pop-up flash void on top of my camera. Raz had giant baubles of sweat cascading down his face,dripping off the tip of his nose and stinging his eyes as it melted the sunscreen.

The best honey I have ever had on deep-fired corn bread at lunch-time in Dhampus.

Lunch in Damphus was the beginning of a trekking trend: veg and noddle soup with Gurung and corn bread and honey from a hive 1m from the table. It was the best honey I’ve ever eaten. We smeared it inside the deep-fried golden bread as the bees flew into their hive next to us.
Further on the track towards our first night’s accommodation in a teahouse in Pothana there were fat black leeches on the ground; full of buffalo blood from the animal they had just fallen off. At an afternoon tea stop a farmer showed us his 2 hour old baby buffalo that was learning to stand. At this point we noticed my green walking pole that Magi had used for the last hour was missing it’s black rubber flange at the tip. It had got stuck between some rocks on the path further back and had pinged out. I resigned myself to having a bit of a clanky-sounding pole when Ram appeared – having run back down the path for 10 minutes – with the small black bit in his hand!
As we waiting for supper we invented “Star of the Day” for the child that had performed best across a range of areas: not whinging too much, carrying their bag, helping their siblings etc. Raz won today. Dal dubbed him “Sherpa Tenzing”as he had carried his load all day and been so up for it. It was surprisingly cold in the evening and I rapidly developed a pounding headache. I was in bed at 8.30pm with Magi.

Sweet of the day: butterscotch boiled sweets – a bit like Werther’s Originals. Not for the sweet that had whinged the least etc but for the one that was stuffed into my belt bag and sucked liberally all day.

End of first day. Some portraits...

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