AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Altitude: 2,200m Climb: Descent: 1,400m Time: 3hr 30m + 1hr 30m breaks Daily Cost: 4,020 rupees ($41/£24) In the morning the sun was shining and it was warm. We set off, back through the school playground and onto the trail. The good news is that the trail is well marked with blue and white markers. This section was all in forest and the shade kept us cool allowing us to walk fast. We soon caught up with a group of Americans, they were the people who had been camping in front of the other lodge. I forgot to ask why they were camping when there were lodges on the route. Why not camp elsewhere, such as Dolpo, where there are no lodges and it’s camping only. They were going to Khopra Danda, although they were staying the night at Chistibang and getting there the next day. Then they were going over to Annapurna Base Camp. They knew the UK well and even knew Ilkley (about 10 miles from where we lived). We left them and continued up. We knew we had 1,400m to climb so we were prepared for plenty of uphill. The only bad bits were when the shade ran out and we had stretches of uphill in the sun. The forest was nice and the path was in pretty good condition. At about 10am we reached a lodge. It was hot, but we didn’t feel like having a drink. We sat in the shade and ate one of our trekker bars (basically a muesli bar) and drank our water. The lodge owner told us Chistibang was a little over an hour away and Khopra Danda was about 4 hours walk in total. That was good news. With that we left the lodge up a very steep path. We continued walking steeply uphill through the forest for about 60 minutes. It was hard work but enjoyable. The area seemed deserted. We knew the French couple we ahead of us and the American campers were behind us, but we felt totally alone. We emerged from the forest to a clearing on the slope with a couple of lodges dug into the hillside. We stopped at the first one, ordered some food and cooled off in the shade. This was Chistibang (labeled as Sistibang on our map for extra confusion). We were now at 3,000m above sea level again. Only 600m further to climb today! The lodge was basic but looked OK. The food took an age to arrive though! We had arrived at 11:15am and planned an early lunch. It was around 12:30pm by the time we left. The...

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17 hours to go, 17 hours to go…


Posted on Nov 14, 2013

After twenty- hours on the train do we feel the same way? The lack of space is beginning to grate and constant movement of people through the carriages mean you have to squeeze your body up to the wall of the train if you are sat on the seats. The toilet has now turned into a festival toilet with the flush (flap opens underneath) no longer working. It is now clear what the large stick in the toilet room is for. Regarding eating and how the Chinese eat; they eat extremely noisily and they eat lots. Last night someone spent 2 hours eating nuts loudly. They slurp their noodles and chomp. They also suck their food rather than chew it. Now to the Chinese this is normal at least from the men but to our British ears every morsel that people swash, suck, swish or crunch is like an anvil being smashed right next to your ear drum. The regimental regime: lights out at 10pm leaving the carriage dark. There are no reading lights either. Luckily we had just climbed into our bunk and sorted out our coats and food in order to sleep. The food cart finally stopped, which was indeed a positive as despite her constant hollering as if she was a market stall worker no-one appeared to buy anything from her. She stopped until 6am when the lights were turned on and the music turned up to wake you and the atmosphere once again returned to that of a local market. On the plus side the attendants wake you prior to your stop during the night. Positive for those getting up but not so for the unfortunate people who still had 26hours to go on the trip. This is because the Chinese seem unable to talk quietly, no matter the time of the day. Answering the phone is greeted by a loud grunt, talking to the person next to you is loud enough for all to hear and waking someone up must be done in a shrill way. Maybe I am generalising a bit. Here’s another generalisation it is usually the men who are loud and have poor eating habits. But still it gets you to your destination and if you can avoid the toilet and occupy yourself in the small cramped seat it’s ok. Now the scenery is no longer a smog filled landscape, having been replaced by the distinct Chinese humped hills it means you are seeing something of the country, which is the whole point of the trip. Posted from Loudi, Hunan,...

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