A bit of a detour

Trip Start Aug 15, 2006
Trip End May 27, 2008

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Flag of Nepal  ,
Saturday, May 3, 2008

I woke pretty early as the room was quite bright and decided to eat my breakfast (apple flavoured baby food as it was the most nutritious thing I could find cheap in the supermarket and you just need to add hot water!).  Luckily he didn't charge me for the hot water and when I paid my bill he gave me 100r too much change (less than a quid) but since I wasn't dealing with a huge corporation obviously I did the honest thing and indicated his mistake. 

I made an early start at 7am and for quite some time I saw no-one but the good thing about that was I saw a group of monkeys running down the hill into the valley in response to the rest of the group calling very loudly which was amazing to hear.  After an hour or so I realised I'd not seen anyone for a while even a local and was walking through fields on a narrow path but I hadn't seen any other way so I carried on and eventually found myself  in a small village (Uri) where they seemed suprised to see me.  I was still on the trail but I'd taken a local route heading towards the hot springs which is the route I was trying to avoid since I'd been told it goes down very steep to climb back up again but somehow I'd gone back on myself.  Nevermind. 

Soon I was back on my way and had to climb up a vast staircase to get back up the other side of the valley and there I met Dave (England).  He was on his way down and told me about a cheap fixed price shop in the next town where he charges supermarket prices unlike the guesthouses which double their costs so I should stock up.  He also told me I shouldn't pay any more than 50r for a room and sometimes you can stay for free if you agree to take all your meals at the guesthouse.  I'd bartered the guy at the GH last night down to 100r from 160 and thought I'd done OK but obviously not!  He also told me to be careful of my things as many cameras had been stolen while people left their room unlocked when they went to the toilet.  This is something I'd never do in England but it's nice to be told anyway.

I got to the town of Chumrong and met 2 Americans (maybe Canadians?) Elliot and Aaron and chatted to them for around an hour which was a bad move as I eventually decided to press on and try and make it to the village of Bamboo but the weather was closing in so I was pushed for time.  I quickly stopped at the cheap store Dave had told me about (the Kerosene shop right in the bottom of the valley about 10 minutes after leaving Chumrong) and stocked up on a few chocolate bars and toilet roll and dashed on.

After a while I realised the path didn't look all that well trodden and yet again I hadn't seen anyone for a while, plus I seemed to be heading down when I knew the next village was up on the hill but again I hadn't seen any other way and there aren't any signs on the trail and maps are pretty poor here.  I came across an old man carrying a sythe, who seemed quite scary as occasionally he'd stop and cut a huge chunk of greenery with it and I was getting closer and there was no-one else around.....however, I asked him how to get to Sinuwa and he pointed straight up the hill but there was no path.  I got to the main part of his village and asked a local lady and she did the same thing.  No-one spoke English here so I'm probably the first tourist they'd seen in a while but I decided to follow their advice and soon came across a vague path scrambling over the rocks (AKA a goat path).  Eventually I emerged back onto the main trail just in front of a guesthouse (Sherpa GH) much to the surprise of the owners.  It didn't look great but they told me there was nowhere else to stay and the weather was looking grim so I got them to give me a room for 50r and got a hot shower

Staying there also was a big group of ladies from New Zealand wh'd trekked the Annapurna circuit and the Sanctuary and were on their way to go and trek to Everest Basecamp then do a tour into Tibet (border access permitting....).  It must be great to be at that age where you can get your boss to give you a 6 month break and you have a heap of savings and investments and can just travel in style and spend a lot of money.   I'll keep dreaming!

I also met 4 Russians who were working in india as tour guides for Russian toursists (Dimitri, Lena, Irene and Katrina).  They were friendly and we had a good chat as they were on a very tight budget too.  They'd got a porter and were carrying a lot of their own food so they didn't have to buy so much in the guesthouses.  They also told me In India  was much cheaper and even in tourist ghettos they don't overcharge you as much as they do here which was a suprising thing to hear as Nepal is always thought to be cheaper than India but I guess not.  They did tell me that I could find some cheap local places to eat back in Kathmandu which was good to hear.

Another early night as I know I'll wake up around 5 again......
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