AsiaNepalKagbeni

Tatopani to Kagbeni : 4 day diary scrapbook

Kagbeni Travel Blog

 › entry 77 of 268 › view all entries
Mountain view from Tatopani.

This entry comprises 6th - 8th of December or thereabouts.

Okay people. Let’s just see what happens when you try to condense 3 days or so of adventure into 1 journal entry, written 2 months after the event. With all the memory holes, surrealities and kaleidoscopic confusions that’s likely to entail…

“Are my pupils dilating yet?”. Be fearless when diving. “So, have you ever had to kill someone?”. “Small ginger tea please.” Awake.

Hot springs and fine foods at Tatopani behind me now. The dusty road. Not so pretty now the trek. The trail to Jomsom. A tedious, slow ascent. Tired legs. Narrow runnels of dirty water. Road fixers. Bridge builders by the roadside.

Pink Cadillac on the way to Ghasa.
“Namaste”. “Namaste”. “Namaste”. A decorative pink car. Oranges sold by the roadside. Fallen boulders. The way, mercifully blocked for a time for cars. A sticker proclaims ‘HOPE’ through barrack Obama. It beams from the butt-end of one of the many jeeps/ mini-buses that cut the dust along this part of the Annapurna Circuit. The sound of the river below. “It is not so easy to kill somebody. It should not happen.”

Tired. Tired. Still early. Arrive in Ghasa, Mustang district. No will to carry on today. Lunch and reading high atop the guesthouse roof. Vultures - and the occasional eagle - glide the thermals and occasionally swoop low overhead. They possess more grace than their reputation would suggest. I rest on seat. They rest in trees. I am joined by Felix (Germany), Tom (UK). Friendly lads. To be my travel companions for the next coming days. Raj(endra), affable, polite and sincere.

Tom’s pal. Their Nepali guide. Candle-lit dinner (?). Apple brandy. BAD! “If someone starts to approach, first we shout “STOP! do not come any closer!” in Hebrew.” Last night.

Last night. In a dream, my father taught me to be fearless when diving. High diving. He was patient, humorous, and showed me the way through fear. Why mention this? Well, I could say that I never have dreams but this is of course an untruth. I have them all the time. Every night I guess. But I near as never remember them. A few times a year at best. And my parents, sadly, are so rarely participants in these rare shows of imagination. The vultures rest in the morning breeze-ruffled trees. “If they do not stop, next we shout “STOP! Do not come any closer!” in English.” A turn in the road. Snow-dusted mountains again. Relief for the eyes. The Dhaulagiri Range… I think? Part of it.

Jomsom jeep trail bus window (detail)
Raj diverts us, whenever possible away from the dispiriting monotony of the jeep trail. A dusty scar running through the region from the far south to Muktinath much further north. Another debt paid in loss of beauty and scenic charm for the double-edged promise of Progress. “Whiskey anybody?”.

Marijuana. Naturally occurring. Last remnants. Tom, a man of….err?…pharmacological interests, hungrily harvests away. More whiskey. Water. Anthropology. Experiments with the effects of Jelly Beanie e-numbers on the dirt’n’dust covered Nepali village children. Not much. Quizzical stares at Uncle Tom and his camera’s lens. “If they continue forward, then we must shout “STOP! Do not come any closer!” in Arabic.” Khalopani. Lunch. Long lunch.

Thud, Thud, Thud, Thud, Thud, Thud, Thud, Thud, Thud, Thud, Thud, Thud, Thud, Thud, Thud, Thud. A man sits in the street pounding without respite herbs? Spices? Chillies? For the entire hour or so we sit there. Chilled out trekking. Tom ‘n’ Raj stylee. More children for Uncle Tom to play with. Running. Laughing. Jelly Beanies. Screaming as he lifts and whirls them over small brooks. No time to get to Marpha today. Tukuche instead, tonight to rest our heads. Heated coals beneath the table. Marijuana. “Bad sh*t!” Chuck it on the burner. Oops! A near room-sized bong. Lovely people. Great place. Bad food. Plenty of lovely homemade regional cider. Sleep. Last night my father taught me to be fearless when diving.

“Um-num Shivai…um-num Shivai…un-num Shivai…”. Wow! It’s not just a line from an Indiana Jones script.

Large birds of prey circle high on the thermals at Ghasa.
Strange portrait. Marigolds for good luck from our hosts. Gimme that 5 Rupee kid. Buddhist monastery. Steps. Prayer wheels ‘n’ chants. Donation. 5 Rupee boyo. The Marpha orchards are bare right now, robbing the town temporarily of a greater visual charm I guess it must possess. Feet starting to hurt now. The blisters are gathering their forces for an assault upon my comfort and sanity. Rocky valley basin. Slipping. Tired already. Tripping. Ankles roll on stones. The winds are picking up. A receding green ‘hairline’ of flora gives way to barren dust and rock the further north we trudge. Extremely beautiful in its own way. My blisters are picking up. “If still they come closer we must raise our guns and shout again “STOP! DO NOT COME ANY CLOSER!””. Jomson. Not a pretty town, cradling the airport strip.

“I’m here to confirm my flight”. “Okay, you must do tomorrow”.

Tom attempts to harvest the few remaining scraps of the naturally occuring marajuana crops that occur on the trail here.
Money’s all out. Tobacco and battery negotiations for Tom. “How much?”. “Why tomorrow? I’m here, now. Today”. “Well, I only have this much”. “No. tomorrow you must confirm”. “But I’ve already confirmed in Kathmandu and now so why tomorrow also?!”. “It’s a good deal for you!”. “Book me on that flight!”. “Why is Drum so f**king expensive here?!”. I stoop in reverence to the God of the ATM machine. “It out of order sir”. “For how long?”. “Well, this is all the money I have so ask your boss. It’s a good deal!”. “I don’t know sir”.
Tom and Felix's guide and friend Raj.
“Well, when will it be fixed?”. “I don’t know sir”. “Okay, okay you buy the batteries, but no money back if they don’ work”. “What d’ya mean “if they don’t work”?”. “What do you mean I can’t confirm today but tomorrow? That’s f**king ridiculous!”. “They don’ work. Not my problem”. “What do you mean you don’t exchange Pound Sterling?!”. “Oh f**k it. I’ll take ‘em!”. “Dollar. Euro only”. “WHAT?!”. “Dollar. Euro only”. “The f**king b**ch! These f**king batteries don’t work!”. “F**k me!”. “F**K ME!”. A deep bag rummage uncovers a final $5 and 5 Euro note.
Nepali kiddies at Khalopani.
Saved! “F**king conning b**ch!”. Dexedrine? Deximel? “What?”. “Medicinal speed my man!”. “So I have to be here tomorrow?!”. (which I was gonna be anyway but I ain’t gonna tell her that). “Angina my man. Just say you’ve got this condition whereby…” “Orange anyone?”. “…your heart involuntarily stops and needs a reboot…”. “Cheers Raj!”. “…and these guys’ll sell you anything”. Uh? Right. “F**king dead batteries with my last Rupee!”. “I f**king hate Jomson”. “How’s it kicking in man?”. “Let’s bust a groove!”. “Are my pupils dilating yet?”.
“Um?”. “F**king b**ch!”. “I f**king hate Jomson”.

Hunter S.Thompson. Jules Verne. Douglas Adams. “It’s like having 20 espressos all at once”. ‘DON’T PANIC’. Wind behind us. Dry. Spiders web riverbed. Reduce to a trickle in places. Rocky valley basin. Donkey trains. Discomfort. Blue skies. Desolate beauty. Ravaging blisters. Hot sun. Wind. Mercifully behind us. Silhouettes in the distance. Members of a spread out, rocky caravanserai. Lunch. Lemon tea. Sore feet freed. Pain. Eased. Fried rice in golden bars of light. Do we have to walk again?! Nearly there. Wind still behind us. Rocky. Mountain air. Kagbeni sighted. Relief. The furthermost, final point of my trek draws near. “If they do not stop now we shout “IF YOU COME ANY CLOSER I WILL SHOOT YOU!””. Shangri La. Hot shower. “So, have you ever had to kill someone?”. Too tired. JJ. Daphna. Red lanterns. Warm coals. Journeys end. Rosti. Rest. Rest. “If they still do not stop…”. Rest.

Stevie_Wes says:
LOL, thanks for the compliment. I've been meaning to get around to "Sound & Fury" for years but I'm still traumatised from my time at University when I was supposed to lead a 2 hour seminar session on Faulkner's 'As I Lay Dying'... and I was so nervous and uncomprehending at that tender(ish) age that I clammed up, crashed and burned... and fell out with Faulkner as a result :D) Time to forgive and to read on!
Posted on: Aug 12, 2010
Morle says:
This is almost like reading "The Sound and the Fury", only more entertaining :-)
Posted on: Aug 12, 2010
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Mountain view from Tatopani.
Mountain view from Tatopani.
Pink Cadillac on the way to Ghasa.
Pink Cadillac on the way to Ghasa.
Jomsom jeep trail bus window (deta…
Jomsom jeep trail bus window (det…
Large birds of prey circle high on…
Large birds of prey circle high o…
Tom attempts to harvest the few re…
Tom attempts to harvest the few r…
Tom and Felixs guide and friend R…
Tom and Felix's guide and friend …
Nepali kiddies at Khalopani.
Nepali kiddies at Khalopani.
Vultures, yet to ake flight in the…
Vultures, yet to ake flight in th…
Mudbutt struggles (like I) to wake…
Mudbutt struggles (like I) to wak…
Felix the mountaineer.
Felix the mountaineer.
Kali Gandaki river basin (abstract)
Kali Gandaki river basin (abstract)
The boys take a liquid break.  Fel…
The boys take a liquid break. Fe…
Yeah, it was lunch..I was bored! :D
Yeah, it was lunch..I was bored! :D
Men msilly scalf (purchased in …
Me'n' m'silly scalf (purchased in…
Tom amuses the local kids approach…
Tom amuses the local kids approac…
The many limbed trail of the Kali …
The many limbed trail of the Kali…
Me and my lucky flower (given me b…
Me and my lucky flower (given me …
Sunil Guest House, Takuche (abstra…
Sunil Guest House, Takuche (abstr…
Sunil Guest House, Takuche (abstra…
Sunil Guest House, Takuche (abstr…
Rajendra.
Rajendra.
Buddhist temple at Marpha.
Buddhist temple at Marpha.
Girl on horsey ride, Jomsom.
Girl on horsey ride, Jomsom.
mountainside at Jomsom.
mountainside at Jomsom.
Increasingly desolate but strangel…
Increasingly desolate but strange…
Across the rocksn rubble towards…
Across the rocks'n' rubble toward…
Felix, Raj and Tom (Kagbeni in the…
Felix, Raj and Tom (Kagbeni in th…
Mountains viewed from Kagbeni
Mountains viewed from Kagbeni
Streets of the medieval mountain t…
Streets of the medieval mountain …
The final stretch visible to us of…
The final stretch visible to us o…
Stevie on the Upper Mustang border.
Stevie on the Upper Mustang border.
Kagbeni
photo by: Stevie_Wes