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Howdy (that means hello in Nepalese). Sorry about the no posts, I just got back from the trek.

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Okay, I lied, twice. I’ve been watching a lot of House (tv show). Sooooo, “Namaste” means hello and I have been back in Polkara for over a week now watching tv and eating tons of Western food.

Breaking it down, 90% of the lackadaisicalness is really due to tv and food. The other ten percent I can break down accordingly.

5% due to the computer breaking before I left (hard drive crashed and the up arrow key not functioning), picked up the semi-repaired laptop (portioned off the bad sector and now the period, down and left arrows no longer work (different problem)), spent some time re-installing everything that I had and was slowed down quite a bit due to a scratched up back-up dvd that I had all my pictures and drivers on. This was followed by the hard drive fatally crashing and me losing all my pictures from Ley until now. I was able to salvage my trekking pictures because Justin downloaded all my pics onto his Ipod so I was able to get those back as well as hours and hours of patching together the scratched dvd stuff . So ten days later I have the laptop up and running again.

3% was due to a huge gas shortage in Nepal. Apparently Nepal was not paying its fuel bill to India so gas deliveries were reduced to 33% of demand. Other issues which magnified the problem was a road strike over increased prices and fuel trucks were targeted, black market as because fuel is subsidized in Nepal, it is much cheaper than in India, and finally as I sure everybody is aware, petrol prices have sky rocketed. Because three of us were driving bikes, we found out quickly that getting fuel was going to be a problem. Fuel deliveries were limited to about one station a day and locals had an idea where, but as tourists we had no clue. The standard procedure for a Nepalese that knew was to find out what station was going to get fuel that night and drive their vehicle to the station before 6am, 4:30am if you really needed fuel, and hang out there until that evening/night when the fuel arrives. The problem we ran into was that since we had no connections we could only drive around in the morning to look for the correct station and by the time we got there, there would be cars and motorcycles already lined up for kilometers. Nissan (Israeli I rode with in Ley) got fuel by going to the tourist police and they were nice enough to line up some fuel for him. They unfortunately are only helpful one time a year so we were not so lucky. Finally, we banked on Nepalese hospitality and begged a petrol station manager to help us. He was very helpful and had us drop off our bikes and after the fuel arrived he had them filled up for us. Our fuel problem was solved.

1% was due to the group of people that I knew before the trek and the others that I met on the trek all being in town so we spent a lot of time just socializing at the Laughing Buddha, a little restaurant that we took over and spent way too much time just hanging out eating and complaining how much time we were wasting doing nothing. Yesterday, Justin and Mirriam left making me the last one here and which gave me some motivated to get writing.

The last 1% but probably much larger is the fact that I am lazy. Enough said.

After buying a few additional trekking pieces, a wide brim hat and a fleece one too (bald guy), and an umbrella (really heavy duty and strong enough to be used as a walking stick- I hate wearing rain gear as you end up getting just as wet from the sweat build up as you do with the rain) we grabbed a bus to the starting point and off we went.

The Annapurna Circuit is a 250 km circular trek that encircles a stretch of the Himalayas. Elevationally it goes from sub-tropical paddy at 500M up to the high altitude 5415M Thorung La (pass). The trek takes about three weeks. Accommodation is fairly upscale with most local villages being turned into little tourist centers with “tea house” hotels. The locals with government and NGO support have established a fairly main stream trek. Pricing was all standardized (although high) with pre-set menus and no need for bargaining. Since it was off season we were offered deals on the accommodation part (free to 50% off) because the locals knew that the real money was in the food.

I ended up teaming up with Justin and Mirriam as Nissan and Roni were tired of waiting and decided to leave a day earlier. Neither one had done any high altitude trekking and Miriam had a huge heights phobia so I figured it would be interesting if my guiding skills were still up to par as well as figuring that we wouldn’t be moving super fast which would fit my plan of wasting time and staying away from the heat and humidity of having to go back to India (plus I secretly hoped that she would want to quit and we could go back after the first cliffside pass (I’ve seen as many snow capped peaks as I have markets)).

Weather wise, we were very wary of trekking conditions as hiking during Monsoon season didn’t seem like such a smart idea. In the end it turned out excellent. We got wet on the first day and the last. The rest of the time it was fairly clear to fair. The really lucky part was in the areas where you get views of the Himalayas, we were extremely lucky and the skies parted each time we arrived at a view point. We even had a clear morning the day we cleared the pass which even surprised the locals. If anyone says that you have to trek only during the peak seasons, they are wrong.

The other negative about hiking during the monsoon season is Leeches. Supposedly this is the worst time to trek as the wet conditions sets the gauntlet of blood suckers to high. Again we were very fortunate and we got exactly 0 bites. The trek itself is pretty well maintained so if you stayed on the main trail you really did not need to get into the green areas where leeches might lie. Nissan and Roni did get a few so they were out there. I guess it was my guiding skills.

Our trek went like this

Day one: We walked.
Day two: We walked.
Day three: We walked
.
.
.
Day nineteen: The others took a shortcut and grabbed a couple of buses back to Polkara. I continued on up over a big ass hill called Poon Hill.
Day twenty: I grabbed a bus back to Polkhara.
Day twenty-one: Buddha Café for brunch and dinner intermixed with internet
Day thirty: Still following itinerary of day twenty-one

I know, kind of crappy descriptions, but I think the photos provide a much better story.



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One response to “Howdy (that means hello in Nepalese). Sorry about the no posts, I just got back from the trek.”

  1. Bron says:

    Wow Got and of those lettuce seeds for me. Bron

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