After a couple of days of relaxation by the gorgeous, rippling, green waters of Lake Phewa, it was time for action. I did a couple of day hikes up steep jungly slopes, a target for leeches and deafened by the whirring and buzzing of forest insects. Panting hard, I realised I have totally lost the fitness I gained in Ladakh. That's what happens with a few weeks around Indian cities and then a few days with an accomplished beer drinker and a serial chocolate eater (thanks Kate and James!).
But, sluggishness notwithstanding, tomorrow I set off on a 12 day trek to the Annapurna Base Camp accompanied by Chandra and Om Kumari, my female guide and porter, courtesy of the 'Three Sisters' Trekking Agency'. In a region of the world and a profession dominated by men, Dicky, Nicky and Lucky (yes, really!), three local sisters who love the Himalaya, dared to offer their skills as mountain guides. From hesitant beginnings a few years ago, these three amazing women now play
a central role in empowering Nepali women, providing training in guiding, first aid, eco-principles and English, and then employing the women as guides and porters for women trekkers. The training boosts the knowledge and confidence of the village women while the income allows their independence. I am impressed. I just hope I'm able for the trek in my current blob condition...watch this space in 2 weeks time and you'll find out!