Day 1: Strolling Thamel & Arranging Trek

Trip Start Dec 25, 2008
Trip End Jan 18, 2009

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Right after finishing my earlier entry, found out that there is a travel desk right behind me. There were couple of folks arraning their i quietly listened in. I went to the travel desk and met him (Mr. Prakash) to go through the details. First thing was about if Around Annapurna Circuit Trek is still open. He mentioned there are still some trekkers up there and it may still be possible, but one cant guarantee the weather. It would be a 18 to 20 day trek depending on how weather works out. I was very glad - finally i would be able to do this long famous trek which crosses a lot of villages with ethnic tribes and beautiful landscape.

According to prakash the safest and best way to trek would be hire one person who can act as a porter/guide and go through a prebooked (lodging and meals). There are not many "hotels" across the 300Km trek, there are what they call teahouses ..basically family homes who allow few guests to stay in with them...and as you stay with them you eat your meals there as well. The total cost would be 900 USD for 20 days inclusive of everything...that would be 45$ per day. Not a bad deal ! Finishing that conversation with prakash, i carried on for a stroll through Thamel.

Looked like christmas made the place extra special. All traffic was blocked and lot of people crowding on the see shops of Kukris , Yak wool shawls, gems, paint work, lamps...remembered me of some busy thailand night in Chiangmai. Went back and forth across the various streets and intersections, stopped by to buy maps for my upcoming trek and than finally had a great filling Indian meal at Mandap restaurant. The food was just amazing but very pricey according to local came out to be 1400 NPR..I headed back to the hotel right after the hotel...lot of shops were closing around 8pm...and certainly there are a lot of pubs with loud music attracting local and western tourists...

Found out that prakash was still at the i went up to meet him again to discuss further about the trek...had a long chat and kind of made up my mind. Will do a fully arranged trek given following will cost 850 USD on credit card (including 3.5% bank charge) 

Pros of doing a prearranged:
- No need to carry cash up on the trek (except for water / drinks) 
- Avoids difficult situation to negotiate every night (especially porter accomodation)
- Also some teahouses are rude to the porters, so we end up putting the porter in difficult situation if we go to certain teahouse

Cons of doing prearranged
- Carry cash and negotiate everywhere. It may end up being more expensive as porters cant negotiate on our behalf
- Cant get to stay at the teahouse of choice. Risk of being up up in a cheap teahouse..
- paying all money in advance can be risk if the trek had to be cancelled.

Thinking about the worst possible cons...i felt doing prearranged would be a better deal..i will be finalizing the details tomorrow with him..and most probably start for the trek day after tomorrow...i will be renting some extra gear (-20 below sleeping bags, duck down etc.)..more details to come tomorrow...

Went back up to my room following the discussion and it was getting cold...there is small electric heater in each room...i pulled a table and put it right across my bed...and got ready to sleep...two minutes in the lights went out...found out that the generator was switched off and light will come back on at 1:30am...hmm....Zzzzzz........ 
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