The Trek begins today!
Trip Start Jan 28, 2007
29Trip End Mar 31, 2007
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Where I stayed
Hotel Paradise Guesthouse
It was so frustrating cos we were sitting in Pokhara in the best weather with crystal blue skies. All those amazing himalaya mountains which had been hidden behind the clouds the day before and are the famous backdrop to Lake Fewa were now all sitting there right before our eyes and so close.... So here we were at the airport in perfect flying weather but the plane we needed was stuck in KTM airport! (the company only owns 2 planes)..sigh. The plane is a small 15 passenger twin propellor which is necessary as the flight path to Jomsom flies right up a narrow valley between the mountains and lands on a tiny runway at 2700 metres
We were first on the plane (of course hahaha) so got the front window on the right side and the flight was indescribable. We flew up and right alongside the huge snowcapped Mountains of Machupuchare (fishtail) and Annapurna South. Thankfully the landing wasnt scarey at all and we arrived safely in the Mustang town of Jomsom. (I now know this is the flight comparable to Everest not the one from KTM - so we didnt miss anything...)
Rame said we had to wait one and half or 2 hours to help acclimatise before we started walking, so we had breaky at one of the little places there. Then our trek began. The scenery was spectacular immediately and Ive only 1GB of memory card. (I lost the wallet with the 3 x 1GB cards in it somewhere in India).. groan...sigh. Our walk today was along the Kali Gandaki river bed
We eventaully reached Kabeni (2800metres). Only photos will show this village but the magic was all the donkey trains, dozens of goats being herded thru the cobbled lanes and mustang ponies with coloured blankets. This is a real Mustang town and as far as you can go as a tourist into Mustang without paying $700US for a 10 day permit to enter there. When I looked out our window the next morning at least hundred little mules all trotting thru the village carrying loads and I thought this must be usual but Rame explained that this particular lot were returning to Mustang after spending the winter in Pokhara. This is a 15 day journey for these little pack ladden mules... sooooo cute......! Mustang has a very harsh climate with high altitudes and so many of the animals (and people) go down into Pokhara during the bad weather. Now spring is approaching they are returning home. All the animals, donkeys, mules, mustang ponies, goats, and cows all wear bells around their necks so that people can hear theyre coming. Its funny cos everytime I see a cute mustang pony or mule and decide to take a picture I almost always miss them. They appear to be moving so slowly and taking such cute little steps but its deceiving as theyre really moving fast and hard to catch for good photos
Anyway we stayed in the Hotel Paradise Guesthouse which was pretty ordinary - freezing cold and we found out the next day (afer an uneatable breakfast) that the cook had done a runna to Pokhara and the women had a 14 year old boy doing the cooking (tasted like it too ha) The deal with teahouse trekking is that the accommodation is miniscual about AU$1.80 per night with your own bathroom (half that if you take common room) but you are expected to eat where you sleep (so the income is really the food not the bed). In the dining rooms of all the tea houses they have a communal table with a heavy table cloth going down to your knees and under the table they put a pot full of hot coals. So of course everyone crowds around the table as it is the only place with warmth!
The first night there was only Rob and I and another guy Marco who was a 35 year old from Florence (we found out later he works with Mosaics - he's an artist from florence!! hehehee) Anyway he was a really nice guy so the evening went quickly and early bed to hid in our -15 degree sleeping bags - Its freezing! Rame (who is wonderful and great company) told us that thisyears weather has no precendent. It is soooooooooooo cold and the the Thorong Pass has been closed for 10 days and Annapurna Base Camp where we are heading is also closed at the moment due to heavy snow. Rame said it should be between 18 and 25 degrees and on our first night in Kabeni it snowed! Tomorrow up to Jharkot! - my dream screensaver photo place!