Friday, January 28, 2011

A Brief Trip Through the Nepali Countryside - Part 2

Bike Trip continued!

Aside from a near death experience from almost running over a banana on the downhill, curvy part, the bike ride to Pokhara was very nice. Moving from the countryside to the city, we traded saying hello to children every three minutes for saying no to touts every ten steps. Beds were more than 2 cm thick.

I’m mostly going to skip over Pokhara because it’s not so interesting. We stayed in the tourist area, Lakeside, which is one of the few places in Nepal that hot showers exist and you can order food other than dhal bhat, (the national dish, lentils, rice and side dishes) chowmien and momos. It’s a nice rallying point to head into the Annapurna Conservation Area to see the mountains up close.

We began our short trek by buying some warmer clothes, and along the way picking up a Thangka artist who agreed to show us the way for 700Rs/day ($10/day), which is a pay cut for him of about 300 Rs/day. But you can’t paint all the time.

Here’s our guide Dhawa Lama and I. His last name, Lama indicates his cast and explains how he came to be a painter; his parents taught him.

Donkeys! We walked into the Annapurna Conservation Area for three days to a place called Poon Hill. Poon Hill is 3210m high and allows a nice view of the mountains so it’s a popular destination. No vehicles can get there through the stone path so donkeys are a favorite mode of conveyance for concrete, food, or whatever else has to go up and down. Donkeys have been a bit of a theme in my life lately, in fact at the time of our hike I was in the middle of reading (for the second time) Travels With a Donkey by Robert Louis Stevenson.

View from our hotel room, Ghorepani. It’s a 1 hour walk up to Poon Hill from here.

Made it!

View from the base of the lookout tower. I took a soil sample from here.

Sunset from the top of the lookout tower. It’s all downhill from here :-).

Good Night and Good Luck
Reporting to you from
Namo Buddha Agricultural Research Center

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