Chomrong to Tadapani : Black Dog

Tadapani Travel Blog

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A very enthusiastic Spanish lady does yogic exercises for aaaaages.

"F**k! Today was haaaard work!"  Again.  Physically and psychologically.  It probably shouldn't have been but the muscle wounds inflicted yesterday take their toll.  Barely able to walk I glare enviously at a limber Spanish trekker who spends a good half hour before breakfast, defying the mountains with her yogic flexibility.  Cowbag.

Breakfast goes some way to restoring my spirits and Diana's in a similar boat.  Farewell to friends again.  Keen to get back to Pokhara now as quickly as possible Mino treks off into the early morning light long before Diana and Eric are up.  A good lad who I look forward to meeting someday in his hometown of Kumamoto when I finally make it to Japan.

  Diana, Eric and Padma also head off in their own homeward direction.

Walking alone again, somehow at a pivotal point I manage to miss and important turning from my original path.  Not thinking and retracing my own steps from days ago a little too far.  This means the relatively easy trek from Chomrong to next stop Tadapani is made a fair bit more arduous as I have unecessarily descended all the way to the valley bottom.  Checking my map I eventually concede this is most likely what I've done.  I slump by the riverside and a large black dog strolls around me mocking or pitying me.

  I'm not sure which.  I start to head back up the steep path and settle for a frustration cup of black tea at the Kimrong Lunch House.  The black dog follows me all the way up.  I had waved them off (the tea house that is), decling their offer on the way down.  The proprietoress, Rita (and her daughters) are amused to welcome my slumping return.  Rita kindly offers me some off-the-beaten-track possible paths back up onto the Chomrong to Tadapani path offering some visual reference points.  It initially involves heading back down.  I do so.  Get lost again.  The black dog continues to slope along in my wake (giggling?).  I ask a lady "Tadapani?!" and point up the hillside.  She points back in the opposite direction Rita had advised.
  "Great!"  Baaaack up again.  Sweaty and dejected.  Black dog in tow.  Not an omen of luck clearly!

Rita kindly offers to take time away from her astonishing lack of business to personally guide me up the hill (for an implicit financial incentive of course but "hey, I'm game!").  She hitches her skirt and sets off up a narrow, precipitous and overgrown pathway known only to locals in the area.  NOT a trekker trail aaaat all.  She blazes it up it at quite a pace... in flip-flops too.  I huff and puff and wheeze dizzyingly behind her fending off branches and bushes and clawing up dusty stepways.  A few feet below, parallelling our trail the black dog continues to canter along.  Amused in my fate 'til the end.

  At one point Rita offers to take my backpack but male pride forbids this even though I'm about to die.  "I'll die with my backpack on...fighting G-dammit!" :D  Curiously.  Coincidentally, Rita's husband Jit is hanging around on the upper trail when we rejoin it where I thank Rita most profusley and limp on towards Tadapani.  As mysteriously as it appeared, my black dog has disappeared now.  A good sign?  Back on track now.

Further along the trail I enter a seemingly abandonned out-of-season tea house courtyard.  A brief break in another very long drawn out valley ascent that I have not been appreciating.  Especially without the consolation of collective suffering today.  This makes it a much, much harder affair psychologically and I am quite miserable by now and demanding of a pair of ruby-red slippers.

Black Dog
.. not to take me home, but just f**king quickly to Tadapani "please and thanking you very much!"  The usual scree of Maoist statements and sloganeering are daubed in the usual blue paint on the rusty tin sides of the establishment.  Another black dog lies on a wooden counter and observes my passage. 

In the middle of the courtyard a cute-as-heck teeny-tiny little furry black puppy also lies slumbering.  Junior perhaps?  "Ahhh! Isn't it just so cuuu....WOAH!!!!"   As I approach to pass it the little black fuzzball jumps into life.  Hyperspeed and in a not-very-cutesie manner.  In fact it's heading route one, lazer-guided missile, straight for Yours Truly's ankles!!!  I block its progress towards 'em gently with one trek pole.

Rita (who helped me out) and her husband Jit.
  It persists.  Dashing.  Darting.  Teeth bared.  Both trek poles are needed now, crossed over each other at the base to from some kinda hex-block.  A 'sign' to ward off evil spirits.  The Little Devil.  The Black Dog.  "Be gone on rabid fiend!"  The lunatic mutt though just keeps on coming, pushing, charging for me ankles... nash, nash, nash... "f**k off ya furry little sh*tebag!"  How d'ya say that in Nepali?!?  The little thing's not even the size of a soccer ball, but I don't care.  I ain't gettin' bit by anything this far away from company, medical assistance and those 2 extra rabies booster jabs I'm gonna need pronto.  All alone.  I'm trying to spin and back my way across the courtyard towards the next 'exit' stairwell while keeping an eye on Junior and stick strategy all the way.
  Not easy.  "Namaste!!"  ... "NAMASTEEE!!?" Just in case there's anyone in the area.  What a frickin' girlie!  Nash, nash, nash!  And then strangely the old 'tried'n' tested' works.  I bark back at it "BACK! BACK! DOWN!" ... and the little biter actually obliges quizzically ong enough for me to make my escape. "Phewf!" and "phewf!" once more.

Heading further along and up the sharply winding stairwell I notice that YET AGAIN my progress is once more being shadowed by a ruddy great big, surly BLACK DOG!  A different one this time.  Junior's dad maybe?  I hope he didn't observe my stick-blocking activities with Junior back there?!  I don't believe it.

  Truly.  What is it with bad luck and black dogs today?!  Again I wonder is it just an inauspicious day?  Or has my trekking odour possibly got that 'interesting' that canines just cannot resist following my maloderous pheramonal whiff wherever I go?  There's probably some truth in the latter.  I can remember how to spell 'shower' but am beginning to forget what one looks like.  Honestly this particular furry shadow hangs in the rearview mirror of my soul, as I climb and climb, for well over an hour and a half!  It's getting cold and misty(ish) enough already for me to not be enjoying this days trekking at all, but constant checks of my peripheral vision confirming the presence of a Black Dog over my shoulder do not help my state of mind.  It pad pads pads menacingly along.
Warming our hands over the fire at Tadapani.
  What purpose?  Why?  Why me?  Is it waiting for me to reach an appropriately high point before barking me off the cliff?

Stopping for a breather at a mountainside hostel I wait for the black dog to get interested enough in the local residents' attentions before I sneak off to evade its company.  And happily this works.  Animal aquaintances on the trail for the remainder of the day now left to my first experience of the Langor monkeys who live in the treetops of these higher, more climatic forest surrounds.  Eventually I reach Tadapani.  Gladly.  Waves of fatigue and relief wash against each other within my body and soul.  Sally is an engaging and chirpy manageress of the Grand View Hotel.  "Hot shower?"  "Oh yes!"  One look and I think "Umm, maybe not!" .

Tom (left), Karma, ?, Begonia & Raju.
.. how do you spell 'shouwer' again? ;D

Good people are met and introduced.  Tom, Begonia, their guides, their porters and a vociferous trio from Hong Kong.  The Kidz.  We sit gladly around an open fire for sometime.  Good food.  Good fun.  Card games learnt and played until 21.30 (the latest I ever get to sleep in my whole two weeks trekking).  No black dogs now haunt my day.  No black dogs haunt my dreams.

Lenusha says:
I'm going to be a solo-traveler for the next 6 months (Nepal, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam), so your entries are a good insight on the whole alone-on-the-road thing. And after this little dog story, I think I'll try hard to always be a part of a group of trekkers while in Nepal. :) (I'm a chicken-shit, I must add).
Posted on: May 05, 2010
alicegourmet says:
Seems that you need to learn the "Dog Whisperer" technique to deal with the doggies! =)
Posted on: Dec 17, 2008
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A very enthusiastic Spanish lady d…
A very enthusiastic Spanish lady …
Black Dog
Black Dog
Rita (who helped me out) and her h…
Rita (who helped me out) and her …
Warming our hands over the fire at…
Warming our hands over the fire a…
Tom (left), Karma, ?, Begonia & Ra…
Tom (left), Karma, ?, Begonia & R…
Light in the hills.
Light in the hills.
Goats in the path.
Goats in the path.
More Maoist graffiti.
More Maoist graffiti.
photo by: Stevie_Wes