Thursday, July 31, 2008
It was supposed to be a four day trek through paradise. Green giving way to white and the broad, steep trail taking me higher as I reached Ghorepani, where the view kisses the snow mountains of the Annapurna Range.
But I am the rain man and the clouds follow me as I move. Don't get me wrong. I love the rain as much as the next umbrella but when you're trudging up a 75 degree slope as water gushes down in torrents you tend to question your beliefs. Even more, when there's no one in a 2 km radius to sit down and have a good complain. Its just you and the rain and the constant prayer that your shoe souls won't decide to do yet another slip and slide. All that is a boogie on the dance floor compared to the little worm like creatures that take an instant liking to you.
Actually, they're leeches and unlike the imaginary Nosferatu, they are indeed "here to suck yourrr bllluddd." From all the most unlikely places. They could be nice leeches and drink their fill from your feet or even your arms but no. Instead you will be happily squishing your way through some jungle and catch the first human face you've seen in hours scrunch up in horror as they reach out for your neck and pull out a swollen slimy creature dripping with your blood sucked two inches from your jugular. What fun. What a laugh. Shall we sing? Shall we dance?
Are you crazy? Splash and dash brother. That's the only way to escape these little blood lusters. This being a brilliantly planned circuit around the Annapurna range has places to crash and stuff one's face every two to three hours so you can take your pick for accomodation at the very basic and mostly clean lodges that have rooms for a hundred nepali rupees a night with a hundred more for a hot shower. Now food comes at a premium here especially in the off season, when pony trains and porters are less frequent. You could be spending upwards of 700-800 bucks a day to replenish your lost energy. The higher you go the more expensive everything gets. But you like I can save a good amount by not hiring a guide or porter. Doing it alone might not have been the best idea in hindsight but I have no regrets.
Except not seeing the mountains. Did I mention that the wonderful clouds that are my friends successfully obliterated every possible view I could have all along the way. At Ghorepani and Poon Hill, loved and praised for their wall to wall mountains I got to see what it feels like to live in a cloud. Permanently. The fog never lifted although my spirits didn't suffer too much. I splashed my way down realising for the hundredth time that going downhill is so much more difficult since you have to focus constantly on every single step especially since the continuous rain has resulted in a waterfall, through which I gingerly descend.
The rain Gods might have been smirking but I guess somebody else up there seems to like me since I managed to get back in one soaking piece. I shudder to think what might have happened if I had a bad fall up there on my own. But its all good and another experience chalked up from the game of life.
If you don't want similar experiences do the circuit in Oct/Nov or Feb/March. The views are fabulous I'm told. :)