Thursday, January 14, 2010

Nepal Day 5: Chomrong

22 Dec 2009

We got up early in the morning, as usual, and were greeted by the beautiful sunrise on Annapurna South.  The mountain ranges were covered in the mist.  Wow, it was like a fairy tale land.  The temperature during the night must be very low.  There was a layer of frost on the outdoor table top.  The frost looked like crystal beans, shiny under the golden sunshine.  Everything was so surreal. 

We set off at around 8.30am, when the temperature went back up the mercury a bit and the sun was high enough to provide us with some warmth.  The trek is not really that good.  Today, we would have to walk down a mountain, and then climb up another.  Climbing uphill is never what I am good at :D
Today was also the first time that I saw serious landslide in the mountains in Nepal.  It looks scary, isn't it?  As we walked closer and closer to Annapurna Base Camp, we saw more and more landslide sites.  I guess it might not be too good an idea to trek during the raining seasons.  Flash floods might come at any time.

At Tadapani, I decided that I should just back off from the idea of climbing all the way up to Annapurna Base Camp.  It made no sense for me, as I don't expect anything more specular that what I had seen so far.  In addition, I was also a bit concerned about my physical conditions.  The climb from the past 3 days had kind of exhausted much of my energy.  I wanted to go to hot spring right away, to give my exhausted body a much needed rest.  Abi was of course very happy.  He then could reduce his weight by half immediately.  He offered to bring me to Jhinudanda, where the hot spring is, tomorrow (23 Dec), and then go back to meet WJ and continue the journey.  Then we met a young porter from the same region as Abi at the Tadapani guest house.  It was his very first time working as a porter and he said he was enjoying the trip very much.  He had already reached Annapurna Base Camp and on the way down.  He asked me why I didn't want to go all the way up just as the others.  That made me start pondering.

As I walked this morning, I also myself too.  Why couldn't I go all the way with the rest?  Am I going to come here again?  Maybe, maybe not.  I might walk slower than WJ & Y and our guides, but then I am not really dragging their feet.  We were able to reach our daily destinations as planned, or sometimes even slightly ahead of the schedule for an hour or two.  Judging by the speed of the other groups that we met, the Korean trekking groups, we were about at the same speed.  So far, no syndromes of high altitude sickness for me, not even a slight syndrome.  Why didn't I want to go up?  It must be boredom.  When I climbed the Swiss Alps with Tom back in 2007, it was partial boredom, partial heavy weight on my back that disrupted our original plan.

Then at this lunch guest house, listening to Zheng Zhi-hua's (郑智华) encouraging songs, and the Buddhist Da Bei Zhou (大悲咒) in Tibetan, I contemplated my life.  I must go up to Annapurna Base Camp, if I don't, I will just give up easily whenever I hit any obstacle in life.  I may not go up there any more even once in my life if I miss this chance.  Suddenly, my will power came and I decided to continue up to ABC, instead of turning to Jhinudanda.  Do you see all those guys in the picture above?  Aiya, they were so sad that they didn't want to look at me anymore.  And the only one looking at me is our Japanese friend, he was looking at me with such a sad face, as if looking at another loser in this world.:P  Just kidding...

Well, that was the best lunch stop I had.  Sitting under the warm sun, listening to Buddhist music, and in front of you a great view of the mountains.  Perfect for a spiritual cleansing of your own scattered thoughts.

We walked for another 2 hours or so and reached Chomrong.  From, I got to know that from this point onwards, there was little chance you would be able to charge your camera batteries.  Once we reached our guest house in Chomrong, we all started our battery-charging exercise.  I charged all 3 of my batteries, hey, must get everything ready, man.

Chomrong is also the staring point where mineral water bottles are banned.  This means you will not be able to buy any mineral waters, or bottled waters.  You can only buy filtered water, sometimes even with your own bottle.  For me, I started to use the water purification pills for my drinking water.  The taste was a lot better than what I had expected, but still, not really enjoyable.

We arrived at Chomrong early in the afternoon, with the sun still high in the sky.  We quickly pulled out all our dirty laundry, and everybody crowded at the water tap to wash all the dirty clothes.

We also stored all those less essential stuff at Chomrong guest house, to keep ourselves light on the way up to Annapurna Base Camp.

At night, we met the 6 Singaporeans again.  They now became 8, with 2 more Singaporeans joining them.  There were 3 ladies in their group, one of them, Tingting, kept saying Abi was very handsome.  It became quite a talking point for a while.  Actually, her friend, Jessy, also had a very handsome Nepali guide. 

You can find a complete list of blog entries about my Nepal trip here.

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