DAY 18- Birethanti to Naudanda
I really hate flying cockroaches. We chased it around the inside of the tent for over 3 minutes before we snuffed the life out of it.
It started to rain last night and it just got worse. We woke up around 6 AM to a monsoon! One night I’m freezing in my -200 F rated sleeping bag and the next I’m sweating in the tent wearing nothing but shorts and a t-shirt. One day we’re trekking in 90F degree temperature with clear skies, and the next we’re given a taste of the monsoon season. These aren’t little downpours–these are pre-monsoon rains. We got several inches in just an 8 hour period.
We have pretty much reached civilization here. There’s a bus stop nearby! The walk from here to Naudanda is along an old road. I don’t see the sense in hiking on a road fighting off the leeches. so I’m taking the local bus (which turns out to be just a 20 min walk away!), along with our porters. Billy and Raj have decided to walk it. So we’ll catch the bus and meet them for lunch somewhere. Why would anyone want to walk in a monsoon when they can ride the deathtrap…I mean… the bus?
Later that morning…
It’s still pouring and I’m waiting for Billy at a small store near the bus stop. One hour overdue…he and Raj stagger up the street looking like drowned rats. Apparently, the rain washed out the “trail” and they had to go cross-country through water logged rice paddies! I have to laugh at the utter silliness of it all.
Billy decided that maybe hopping the bus the rest of the way to Naudanda wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all. Well…Duh!!
Riding the “TATA” which is what the tourists call the buses (like calling the military “Bluebird” buses… bluebird) is an experience. You can’t come to Nepal and not ride the local bus at least once. It’s death on wheels. If the driving along narrow, busy, winding mountain roads doesn’t give you a sudden coronary, then the diesel fumes will kill you. If you’re lucky to survive the experience, the Tuberculosis you’re bound to contract from the lady hacking up a lung in the back of the bus will finish you off.
We arrived at our last camp around 4 PM. From our campsite far above the squalor of Naudanda (no really, they live in squalor in this village) we have an unimpeded view of Machapuchre (Fish Tail Mountain). It looms over the 2nd largest city of Nepal: Pokhara.
Again, we’re camped among the hens and chicks next to a corn field. This time however, the people are laboring in the fields. It is so visually stunning. The women are dressed in brightly colored dresses and head scarves and the contrast against the intensely green cornfield is beautiful. They spent the day singing and laughing, it sounded like a choir.
Raj was telling us how lucky we are to live in the richest country in the world and to speak English. Even the poorest peasant in the mountains speaks enough English to sell you food and collect payment. All the tourists from the other countries must speak English in order to communicate with the Nepali people. English it seems, is truly the language of tourism in Nepal.
Tomorrow morning we will pass out tips for the porters, the cook, and the guide. This is a very chauvinistic society and they expect Billy to be responsible for everything. They’re lucky he even knows what country he’s visiting! He’s on vacation and doesn’t want to deal with anything, that’s my job. So…I’m going to give them an education in American culture and pay out the tips. Can’t wait to see their expressions.