Saturday, January 9, 2010

Nepal Day 3: Ghorepani

20 Dec 2009

Ok, let's continue our story into our 3rd day of climbing, and also a day full of interesting stories.

We started the day with a hearty breakfast which consisted of one piece of Tibetan bread, fried potatoes, fried egg plus a glass of wonderful Nepali tea.  Tibetan bread is a little like our Roti Prata, but then it has two 'eyes' in it.  Very oily, but tastes good.

The journey from Tikhedhungga to Ghorenpani is one of the more difficult sections of the trip.  It has many up-hills. 
You can many such views along the road.  It is kind of bringing me into those old old old Chinese paintings where they have mountains, houses hidden in the mountains and white smoke coming out from hidden chimneys.  

The first section of the climb was already a steep uphill.  Everybody was panting in the early morning chilling air, and even the porters have to take frequent stops along the way.

Obviously there was also a Korean group walking on the same track.  They actually brought along their favourite Korean instant noodles with them.  Later, I got to know that there were actually many different groups of Korean trekkers.  Some are college students, some are grandfathers, grandmothers.  The Korean groups really span across a big age group (no babies, so far).  And they enjoyed their Kimchi :)

As we got closer and closer to our destination Gorenpani, we could have a peek of the beautiful Annapurna mountain ranges.

By noon, we reached Banthanti, our planned lunch stop.  Our guide cum porter Abi was lagging behind today, walking together with the other porters to have some company.  WJ and I walked in the front, with WJ way in front of me.  After we entered the village, Weil, the teacher from Singapore we got to know yesterday, stopped at one of the eating places and said they would have lunch there.  That triggered me to stop as well.  I waited near the end of the village for Abi, who arrived shortly.  But by then, WJ was already out of our sight.  Abi said there would be no place to stop for lunch until many hours later, if we missed Banthanti, so what to do?  Abi and I had lunch at this very last Ban Thanti restaurant, while WJ was still walking somewhere in the jungle :D

We asked whoever we met walking from the opposite direction for WJ.  Luckily all sightings had been positive and just said he was walking alone, and kept walking, about 45 minutes ahead of us.

Hohoho... We packed WJ's lunch for him and started to catch up with him after our hearted lunch.  Only after about half an hour later, we found him resting at a road side tea stop.  Luckily he realised he walked too fast and stopped to wait for us.

We continued to walk and walk and walk, suddenly the trail was blocked by hundreds of goats!  These animals are so lovely.

And after that, we found someone was carrying the chickens around to sell.
After two days of surviving on almost pure vegetable diet, we were hungry for meat.  At night, we asked our guest house to help us get a chicken.  The price was not low, Rs 1500 ( ~USD$15.00).  The lady at the guest house helped us slaughter the chicken, cook it with ginger in a pressure cooker.  Wah, our dinner was so delicious.  The chicken meat was tender and delicious.  It is very different from those chicken raised in a modern chicken farm.  You then really know what is really good chicken soup.  As we found out later, the price was not really expensive.  Even at Pokhara, if you want to eat one whole local chicken, the price is Rs1200, just Rs300 shy of what we paid.

At night, we stayed at Gorenpani.  At the guest house, I met a Nepali old man.  He was there with his wife and grandson, for a walk in the mountains too.  He started a very interesting conversation with me.  It seems to me he is some kind of scholar or professor at an education institution.  He has very good knowledge of the world, and knows Singapore reasonably well.  He told me how Switzerland developed their country into a first world country and one of the richest countries in the world.  It is of significance because Nepal and Switzerland are both land-locked countries with little natural resources.   The conversation with him was very enjoyable.    

At the guest house, I also saw an Asian guy.  When we first arrived, we all sat around the stove to warm ourselves up in the dinning hall.  He was sitting right next to me.  I spoke English, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, but he responded to none.  I thought he was Malaysian so I guessed he didn't want to talk.

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

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