Monday, April 24, 2006

Don't worry, chicken curry!

Namaste everyone!
Doug and I just finished trekking in the Annapurna Sanctuary and are now spending the day in Pokhara. We decided at the last minute to go there after all, rather than to the Everest region, where we had been before. Pokhara, the resort town 20 minutes away from Kathmandu by flight, is where trekkers start their journeys to the Annapurna region. It is a beautiful town, with grand mountains towering over it and a big lake to relax by. Although there was some unrest here in Pokhara, it did not pose any risk to us. And what can I say about the trek, it was great! Beautiful scenery, lots of thunderstorms, monkey, pheasants, great company, etc, etc... Our guide Pasang and his brother Sonam were with us and Pasang kept us on the right path. Whenever we had a question or concern about something, he would set us straight, and then say "don't worry, chicken curry". Sonam served as our porter and was happy to carry our light bag, a mere 16kg! The maximum is 30kg for porters. This kept him fresh at the end of the day, so he could check out the town and visit with bahinis (younger sisters), ahem... We stayed in teahouses along the way and met some nice folks as well. Because of the bandh (strike), there were a lot less tourists than usual in the region, so less crowded overall (good for us, I cannot imagine what it would have been like with more people trekking!). We were fortunate to spend a couple of days in the town of Ghorepani celebrating the Nepali New Year (the greeting "Naya barsako, subha kamana" - Happy new year!, was said often on this trek). We got to watch the Gurung people do the yearly fresh yak blood drinking to give them strength for the year. There are many ethnic groups in this region, but mainly Gurung and Magars in the areas we were in. The only yucky part was having to walk from Pokhara to the trailhead in Phedi - 5 hours away, due to the nationwide strike (and not to mention Doug's stomach bug that started that day and lasted another day and a half - until he took some azithromycin - the wonder drug!). We hoped that the strike would be over before we were done with our trek, but it is still continuing, which meant we had to walk back from the trailhead to Pokhara, but this time only 4 hours because we started walking at four in the morning while it was still cool and pass the time chatting with some lamas heading into Pokhara themselves. The walk was a minor inconvenience to us compared to what the citizens of this nation have had to endure since the 6th of April - no work, no school, diminishing supplies of food, etc. No one knows when the strike and the curfews will end, but it is apparent that it will continue indefinitely until the king makes a move to give up absolute power and restore democracy. I must say it makes me grateful to be US citizen despite the problems we have there (in fact, many Nepalis who asked me where I was from would comment on how lucky I was to be from the US, interesting,eh?). I am looking forward to returning home. Doug and I plan to leave on April 29th, with a stopover in Hawaii to visit family. Well, gotta run, so pheri betaungla (until we meet again!)and don't worry, chicken curry!-
Peace and Namaste, Jackie

1 comment:

Doxey said...

Glad to hear you are okay and on your way home. Looking forward to seeing you!!