Our second night on the Annapurna Circuit, and things were looking up. Walking was a pleasure after the insane jeep ride, punctuated with striking waterfalls and picturesque villages. Walden was still really queasy and suffering the effects of the jeep ride or more likely food poisoning, but he was eager to get started.
We wanted to pet every puppy, play with every child, and had to exercise our self-control not to pick up the baby goats. This little guy was one of our favorites!
We stopped for a few snacks around lunch at a beautiful spot in Upper Chamje, and the kids were tickled they still had wifi in the middle of this other world. There was huge waterfall across the valley, spilling into the Marsyangdi River as we ate.
Our only truly painful section was the last 375m climb up immaculately arranged, but endless steps to Tal – where as Ella said, no snow thank goodness.
Short sleeves and pants rolled up to keep cool. The sun was beaming down and the views were spectacular
Playing tag with our new Israeli friends from the jeep ride, we kept meeting them along the way and ended up staying in the same village. We felt pulled to stay where we are tonight, because we ran into the owner’s family earlier in the day. They beseeched us with beautiful smiles and assurances of “good food, good prices” for our family. Traveling as a family here is a novelty, and the people are especially kind and interested in us. Family is very important to the Nepalis, and they are eager to introduce their own children and extended family.
The guest house was just right. The rooms were bright with another jaw-dropping view. We even pulled off a warm, if not hot, shower in the communal bathroom and felt quite revived. Even the outdoor squat toilet was an improvement to the pedestal one we had last night that spewed its contents into the floor when flushed.
As Ella and I rested that night in the room under a pile of sleeping bags and down jackets, we heard a delightful, almost hysterical, giggle. It went on and on, this little one must have been tickled by someone. Occasionally, it would slow and become more hesitant. You could almost see him or her wondering if the tickling would start again, and maybe hoping so. Sometimes, I think I could watch the little ones here play for hours. They are so contented and creative together, with no adults in sight but just around the corner. They don’t mind the layers of clothes that are necessary because indoors and outdoors are synonymous – except at night by the fire, and that requires absolutely too much stillness. You giggle as well as you watch the constantly quivering pompoms on their hats and beautiful plump red cheeks peeking out. Ella and I drifted off to sleep, and the next morning as we left couldn’t help but wonder which sweet face was the culprit.
The following morning we hiked through Dharapani and on to Danaqyu.
Crossing the roaring Marsyangdi multiple times, we couldn’t help but wonder if anyone rafted or kayaked these portions. The challenge would be undoubtedly death-defying, and frigid at that, but undoubtedly irresistible to someone.
Unfortunately, Ella joined the ranks of the food poisoned last night, so dear Dad helped her out with her pack today, since hiking on no calories stinks.
The weather was gloriously beautiful today as well, until the late afternoon when the rain found us just as we stopped for the evening at the Snowland Guesthouse.
A Tibetan family with a refugee history ran a tight ship with a mother figure who blessed you with a sparkling smile and a booming laugh. That night she continued to prompt Chris to eat more Dal Baht, of which the villagers eat two to three meals a day. The kids and I have tried, but it is not our favorite on a queasy stomach.
We fell in love with the youngest member of the family and spent the evening around the fire, trying to coax him into his easy adorable smile.
The teenage nephew told us how he didn’t actually have citizen status anywhere, since his family left Tibet for Nepal. He sold family handicrafts with his mother’s encouragement to trekkers and travelers at the guest house. Unfortunately, we were a little short on pack room and weight, as well as limited rupees with no ATM coming for days. We tried onion pakodas and tsampas porridge and loved the first but not the second, although it was good enough for Walden to finish off. Pakodas taste a lot like onion rings. Tsampas is the older Tibetan generation’s breakfast of champions made of roasted flour, usually barley flour and sometimes also wheat flour, mixed with the salty Tibetan butter tea. Thank goodness Walden’s appetite is back. Since his bout of food poisoning in India, he has lost way too much weight and Ella as well. We are hoping they will recover it in Europe, but not Chris and I 🙂
Ever since India, Walden has loved chai. Here in Nepal, he has been drinking milk tea.