We are at Annapurna Base Camp, after five days trekking, much of it uphill. Oh and it is amazing. We have walked through hail storms, across raging rivers, across and around avalanches and glaciers, up thousands of steps, through rhododendron forests (Pricey is in heaven), sat in huts waiting for it to stop snowing, and walked between and around huge ginormous mountains. It has been tough. We have sweated, puffed and hurt. But every day has been amazing, and ABC ...... is tremendous. We can't stop ooooing and aaahhhing. I'm afraid the photo sessions when we return are going to be long and boring.....
It's fantastic having Pricey, Tessa and Ju along to share this holiday from biking. It's also great not being the centre of attention that Fiona and I seem to be. Even in Kathmandu, when Dipak arrived, I was interviewed by three TV stations. Here in the mountains, with a group, I'm just another tourist trekking. Nice.
There's so much to see on the trails. Like the 12 year old hauling huge bundles of bamboo to be split and woven into shelters, seats, baskets, and mats. He and his mates dragged bundles down the
trails, on their shoulders, then hoisted them to a carrying position when crossing bridges and climbing steps.
And the 10year old working a mule train of four mules, hauling goods between villages. Mules, donkeys and horses are used to cart everything, from building supplies, to slabs of slate and gravel, or gas bottles. A "rich" man might have 20 animals, just like a western trucking firm might have 20 vehicles.
Pricey is no longer an high altitude virgin. On day two he reached 3200m, twice. And yesterday he reached 4130m. And he has rethought about which are essential or important items in his pack. A heavy pack at altitude is not fun. But Pricey is tough, and has had enough energy, just, to take heaps of photos, and there have been plenty of grins of satisfaction, joy, achievement and wonder. Thanks heaps for joining me buddy. You're fantastic company.
We've met a few other tourists, but way less than would normally be here. In some lodges we've been the only guests. Lots of people have canceled trips to Nepal, and even those already here have canceled treks. But the people of Nepal
need us here. Many are very very worried about how they are going to survive if tourists don't come because of the earthquakes. Think Christchurch, and it's lack of tourists since 2011. In Nepal there are still plenty of exciting, challenging places to visit, without being a hinderence to rebuilding.
We meet an amazing family, from Florida, on the trail. Mum, Dad and two kids, 8yrs and 10yrs. They are sailing around the world, taking seven years, and visiting places like Nepal as they pass. They told us NZ was their favourite country. I love meeting other adventurers.
Now here is a thing we should be taking note of. Nepal has banned plastic bags being used in supermarkets. There are also areas in the mountains where they have banned bottled water sales. Instead they supply filtered water from filter plants,(funded by the NZ Government). Nepal is regarded as a second or even third world country. It is one of the poorest nations in Asia. Yet, after Singapore and Malaysia, it is the cleanest country I have visited. We in NZ perhaps can learn from this "impoverished" country.
So up early this morning, 5am, to see an amazing
sunrise. Totally worth the hard work getting here. We are only half the height of Everest, but the views are staggering, the air clear, and the atmosphere amazing. We've declared today a rest day. Chill out, enjoy the vibes, breath in the surroundings. Might even take a few more photos.