AsiaNepalPhuyian

4 days walking from Phuyian...

Phuyian Travel Blog

 › entry 4 of 17 › view all entries
Working kids
From our first camp it would take 5 steady days of walking to reach Khote, where I thought the real challenges would begin. A typical day on the trail started with 'bed tea' - a pair of the younger porters would arrive at your tent door bearing kettle, tray and tin mug and would cheerily dispense fine black tea, or very average Nescafe. Stirred from sleep by this kindness, within minutes a small bowl of hot water appeared outside your tent for a perfunctory wash. Then, sometimes in a lodge, sometimes in a freezing mess tent, sometimes in the open air, we would eat a simple breakast - porridge, a one-egg omelette and flatbread caked with peanut butter and jam. As we ate, our porters would already be packing tents, dividing loads and getting ready for the trail.
Gyalzen and Pemba


The overall plan was simple - walking six to eight hours per day without ever really covering much distance would acclimatise us slowly to the increasing altitude. Mornings dawned cool and clear and each day the temperature built to surprising warmth before the clouds rolled in and the coolness descended once again. Our route passed through a network of villages linked by steep paths and, as we walked, life in Eastern Nepal went on around us. Every mile or so we would approach a cluster of Mani (prayer stones), always passing around them in an anti-clockwise direction, a superstition understandably ignored by local porters struggling under impossible loads far in excess of those carried by our crew - working with foreign trekking companies clearly has its advantages.
Fresh meat!
Each cluster of houses we passed offered at least one simple shop aimed at the dumb, wealthy westerners who ambled through daily - in one, a teenage girl broke off from her math studies to serve us. Peeking at her books, it was immediately clear that the work was at least on a par with that which a British child would be doing - the power of education clearly appreciated in rural Nepal.

The two senior sherpas, Pemba and Gyalzen explained the local area and culture to us with endless patience, whilst we simply went where we were told, ate when we were given food, and slept wherever the tents miraculously appeared from, responsible for nothing except placing one foot in front of another.

Towards the end of this phase, our night at Chalem Kharka was one to remember.
So sweet...
As we set up camp and rested before dinner, a mobile butcher set up shop a few metres away. The tools of his trade were a wooden block and a traditional Nepali Kukri knife. He'd hack the meat into large pieces using the block as a chopping board, then flip the knife over, sharp side up, and run the meat over the blade to trim it. It was only after a few minutes of watching I realised what was missing - smell. The meat was clearly stunningly fresh and our sherpas dined far better than we did that night. We awoke the next day with frost on the tents for the first time and had a glorious breakfast at an open air table, above the clouds for the first time, as if on an island surrounded by a milky white sea - Nepal was starting to feel properly awesome and challenging.

The next day included a stiff kick over the 4500m contour for the first time and, as I thought it might, our first altitude related problems arose. Sian, who back home runs ultra-marathons for fun, was reduced to vomiting trailside and clearly had an awful headache. It really was sobering to think that the fittest person in the group was hit first and hardest by the altitude - Sian had a good 24 hours of misery before her body started to accept where it was.
sylviandavid says:
nice blog.... sounds so lovely ....
Posted on: Oct 02, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Working kids
Working kids
Gyalzen and Pemba
Gyalzen and Pemba
Fresh meat!
Fresh meat!
So sweet...
So sweet...
Home
Home
Up the trail
Up the trail
Bored!
Bored!
Prayer stones
Prayer stones
Me
Me
Nice colours
Nice colours
Me with Gyalzen, sherpa
Me with Gyalzen, sherpa
Typical path
Typical path
Cute kids
Cute kids
Lunch!
Lunch!
More walking
More walking
Cold morning
Cold morning
Pemba and Sian
Pemba and Sian
Phuyian
photo by: cja17