DAY 6 – Timang Besi to Bratang
I woke up feeling fine. A miraculous recovery. I suspect my co-worker James Jones must have been including us in his prayers. I hope he doesn’t stop, we still have 14 days to go on this trek.
During lunch I spoke with the 2 Israeli girls from the other day. They are trekking alone with just 1 porter. They told me that in Israel everyone is required to serve a couple of years in the military. Afterwards, many of them go on a 30 day vacation. That’s what she and her friend were doing.
Today we walked through Chame, the capital of this district. It was “interesting” to say the least. We crossed a bridge (very windy) in Thaleku and entered the outskirts of Chame, which was deceivingly quiet at first. We were walking along and suddenly, right under the Buddhist archway was a military checkpoint were our Nepali porters had to produce their “papers”. I felt like I was in a bad WWII Nazi Germany movie.
The entrance had several well armed soldiers as well as manned bunkers perched up high above eye level. There was no doubt they would shoot first and ask questions later. The Maoist activity here has been quite high over the last few weeks. Thanks in part to the Nepali military camp located here. Apparently though, foreigners are not a threat and consequently they didn’t bother with us. Just curious what country we were from.
The Maoist are a group of terrorist that follow the beliefs of China’s Mao Sae Tung. They are Communists who are bound and determined to overthrow the Constitutional Monarchy in this small democratic country. They have stepped up activities over the last few months and have caused several deaths among the local population. They even try to forcibly kidnap the children to serve in their cause. The Royal Nepal Army and the famous Gurka soldiers seem to be keeping them at bay, mostly due to their “shoot first, ask why you were planting that bomb, later” philosophy. The general population is very much against these insurrectionists and are very concerned about their future.
I am not posting any photos of Chame for obvious security reasons. Common sense dictated that I not pull out the camera and snap pictures of the military camp. They probably would have asked me for my film if I had.
We camped in Bratang on the lawn of the local school. Payment was a monetary donation which was taken care of by our guide, as are all the details and “politics” involved in obtaining campsites on private property.
Elevation here is about 8,800 ft. and it’s still hot but definitely cooler. Starting to notice the elevation a bit, especially on the steeper uphills due to the thinner air.