Day 16 - Coming around the Mountain 4,200mt

Trip Start Sep 13, 2009
Trip End Oct 14, 2009

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Where I stayed
Motel Xanadu & Nilgiri Steak House

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Friday, October 2, 2009

7am Hotel Paradise and restaurant, Chambarbhu. I cannot describe what a bad night I had but I'll try -  I was shivering despite wearing two thermals, my fleece, gloves, hat. two socks and two thick quilts. Every time I started to warm up and relax, my calves would cramp up! At some point I fell asleep, then woke up in the early hours back to normal and sweating like I was in a sauna - quickly ripped off all the extra stuff and went back to sleep immediately.
 We're in a really basic stone and mud hut room; dirt floor. I've got a cough too and only drank about a litre and a half yesterday. Lopsang was embarrassed when we offered to buy his dinner last night - that's all we had to share with him though. He is 21 and lives in the Tibetan refugee camp in Pokhara; he is studying hotel management. His mum and siblings live in Manang - he has a stepfather - his own dad died from alcohol-related illness.
After I fell yesterday he held my arm; very kind but amusing in that it made it much more likely I'd go over again, and he almost ran down that mountain, clutching my arm tightly!

While I write this I am getting choked up from the kerosine fumes coming over the wall separating our room from the kitchen.

8.30am. B and I have just sat under my doonah and eaten our last packet of biscuits and tin of sardines. We can see our breath - it's 9 degrees celcius. We are discussing how to get to Pokhara asap. We feel a bit off the air.

I can't believe I didn't write about our 1/1 cricket match - that's Brenden bats for 1 minute and I bowl for 1 minute. He faced the full toss as expected and hit the ball right into my hands, which were unfortunately unable to hold on to it due to impending frostbite!. Above the pitch were prayer flags, on the pitch rocks and at bowlers end, a mule train. We laughed, and loved being aussies.
And now we're eating astronaut ice-cream - thanks Ya-Ya! 

5pm, Motel Xanadu & Nilgiri Steak House, Jomsom 2,720 metres.
Ok, we walked to Muktinath, which means place of Nirvana. Visited the temple, which is a sacred pilgrimage site for Hindu's and Buddhists. Left all my sorrow behind there, as expected. Got some food and went to the checkpoint then changed some money and went straight on to the jeep stand. Two tickets to Jomsom was 1000R; we hung around for about 40 minutes until the jeep was full and ready to go - then, wooshka! In an hour of hair-raising mountain joggling (it was always the guys coming the other way who were on the cliff side) we were in Jomsom.

  We've bought our plane tickets to Pokhara so we won't be here for long but so far what resonates for me is trees, wind and cobbled streets. Oh, and when I walk past a door open to the street I see beautiful courtyards and gardens. I reckon it's around 6pm and we've eaten what the house recommended - no - ordered us to have, she chose our dessert, too - yak steak with garlic and ginger brown sauce and chips, then apple crumble with custard. We never learnt her name but our host is a powerhouse of a woman....she rushed into our room, told us what we should have for tea, ordered us to hurry up and shower while the water was hot and rushed out again! She said she had been running the business on her own with her children for 15 years. We've had showers so hot we had to turn some cold on; my first shower for 4-5 days and first wash for 3, definately! Eww.... we are both really bodily sore, have questionable bowels as well as a trekkers cough. I put make-up on tonight for the first time, to mark the end of trekking. Well - unless we do Poon Hill.... It's the biggest day of Dashain today and tonight the streets are mad; people partying, kids everywhere and firecrackers going off periodically.

Things I Forgot to Write About:
- going over the little ricketty bamboo bridge on the first day.
- how I'd pass women in the fields and they'd tell me I looked beautiful in Nepali dress.
- looking up at; then over at the mountains. I felt very significant.
- the delight in finding the perfect Sitting Rock.
- in Yak Kharka Anna's horse bolted a short way up the track after getting skittish when the saddle blanket slipped over it's rump while it was being saddled up; very funny start to the day.
- Brenden saying "I have a moustache, and a vagina"???
- all the Nepali men who stopped to talk with us on the trail who reeked of alcohol, even at 9 or  10am.
- that I learned how to walk up a mountain only on the last day to Thorung La, using yoga breath, or just breath. Nothing to do with walking, really.
- that I sang a verse of The Gypsy Rover on the way up to the Pass. 
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