zondag 29 april 2012

Annapurna Adventures Part II

An then one day me Robbert and Gyalgy entered the village of Manang, after 5 days of trekking and enjoying the great views and adventures. In Manang we met up with our Dutch friends, about half of them we know from Holland and the famous diving group SDVA. The others we would get to know along the trip. After this we thoroughly enjoyed a good cup of coffee and real nice apple pie. And practiced our first kiting skills. And last but not least, we went to a very interesting and sometimes slightly disturbing  presentation about Altitude Sickness.

 Flying a Kite with a view

The group!

The next day was a relax day were we went for a hike up a mountain to get blessed by the (in)famous Tashi Dala, or also called the 100-rupee monk. For 100 rupee we all a blessing for crossing the Thorong La pass, and got a cup of tea. Good deal! The evening ended in a Nepali mountain style movie theatre where we watched the very bad 90s movie: Into thin air. Quotes as ‘Where are the O’s’, ‘Call her Sarah’ and ‘Two o clock is turnaround time! What is it already three? A well let’s move on to the top’ were now going to be used for the rest of the trip.
96 year old 100 rupee monk

The next day we started the trek with some sightings of Himalayan Griffins and Blue Mountain Sheep, but Robbert was more interested in finding a Western toilet. This turned out to be an impossible task at these heights. The evenings started to turn into slightly more heavy social events due to the popularity of certain games with self made up rules and regulations. The Big Dahlbati and Dumbo turned out to be favourites. The big frustrator for a certain person (not to be named) was a small puzzle consisting of 2 iron pieces that needed to be taken apart. Sounds easy but....

Himalayan Griffin

Game nights

We were getting closer and closer to the pass and the last nights were colder and colder. Also the walking became slightly more exhausting due to lack of oxygen in the air (‘Where are the O’s?). The first dead person was on the side of the road (and luckily the last), a Korean who died because he did not follow the altitude rules (which is mainly: go slow and go back down when feeling sick). At the last camp before the pass a sick French guy was taken back down on a donkey. This left me and Robbert with a slightly uncomfortable feeling as to what to expect. Therefore we decided to take preventative measures by taking the medicine of Diomox, which stimulates your breathing and therefore prevents altitude sickness. The next morning we were feeling great and we got up at 3:30 to start trekking up the mountain in the dark. You had to be at the pass before the bad weather and wind hits you... We reached the Thorong La Pass at 5415 meters at around 9 in the morning. How amazing to first glimpse the other side of the mountains, feel the wind blowing in your back and fly a kite at 5415 meters height!
First glimpse of sun while trekking up to the pass

 Taking Diomox before bedtime

We made it!

Some highlights of part 2, in random order:
-          Robberts hunt for a western toilet and reading the disappointment in his eyes while he sees another horrible squat toilet
-          Bossing people around the moment you become the Big Dahl Bati.
-          Seeing Daniel almost crying in frustration over not solving a simple puzzle.
-          100 rupee mayonnaise
-          Screaming and jumping around the room with Robbert before bed in frustration about the cold, making the neighbours wonder what is happening
-          Eating Dutch sausage (Rookworst!) at 4200 meters, and seeing Richard eat it, and seeing others see Richard eat it.
-          Seeing the first glimpse of sun rise over the mountains while climbing the last meters to the Thorong La Pass.
-          Listening to slightly disturbing ‘hypothetical’ questions about drugs and diarrhoea from other travellers during the altitude sickness presentation

High altitude looks

woensdag 25 april 2012

Annapurna Adventures Part I

And then finally the long expected blog: part 1 about the adventure of a life time.
Until about one month ago I thought trekking was boring. I even told people I might as well prefer a slideshow at home... Of course I knew that I had to do it, just to experience what it really is all about.

And then I booked it: A real 14 day trek in Nepal, across the highest pass in the world that you can trek along without doing actual mountaineering. One of the best trekkings in the world...

I headed out with my remarkable, funny and adventurous flatmate Robbert Sas. Not only did he have lots of experience with boyscout treks, he was also very able to carry his own backpack. This left me with no other option than to hand my backpack over to our one-and-only guide-and-porter: Gyalgy!
The first days trekking were a bit rainy and good to get the hang of trekking and being in the mountains. And of course getting used to Robbert's smelly shoes after a day of trekking. Luckily we found beer in the hostels for reasonable prices and found out we actually like each others company!
Some highlights of the first days, in random order
The hostel manager killed the spider in our room with bare hands (*squash*)

  Seeing motorbikes being dragged up the mountain (where to?)

Height differences between my two comrades

 Seeing Robbert darting after his tenth (!) butterfly of the day for a picture.

Walking behind a chicken porter, there goes our dinner!

 Washing our feet in a tiny hot spring after a day of trekking

Learning to shoot with bow and arrow

Seeing a helicopter land for the first altitude sick tourist on the route (more to come).

And no pics but just as wonderful:
·        Talking about the hostel owners love-marriage with his 12 year older wife around their cosy fireplace kitchen.
·         Wondering if its dynamite or thunderstorms before and behind you, due to road widening and bad weather.