AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Altitude: 1,410m Climb: 800m Time: 5hr 15m + 1hr 30m breaks Daily Cost: 3,630 rupees ($37/£22) We left at 8:15am and walked down into the proper village of Chamje. Still deserted, a ghost town! After Chamje the path lead down to the right to a suspension bridge back over the river to the path on the other side. I can’t see why people would skip this section. The scenery was excellent and varied and most of the walking was not on the road but on the path on the opposite side of the river. Sure, there are times when you have to walk on the road, for an hour or so. But, you still spend more time on the path than the road. It would appear, judging by the deserted villages we’ve seen so far that most people disagree with me though and would rather skip the first few days and start further up the trail. The valley was deep here and the path was passed under and around some huge boulders that had rolled down the side of the valley. One boulder was the size of a house! The path clung to the steep rock face as we made our way up the valley, but the road on the other side was more impressive as it looked like it had been blasted out of the rock face as it wound it’s way along the valley. This section had quite a few ups and downs, mainly steep steps up. Then we reached a tea house at the bottom of a steep section of the path. It was around time for our usual morning tea stop, but Annemarie insisted that Tal wasn’t far away and it would be better to stop there than here. Plus it’s better to stop and rest after a difficult section rather than before it. We followed her lead. The slope was steep but not too bad. At the top we had a great view back down the valley we had just walked up. But no Tal, only a sign showing the walking times from Tal onwards. We walked down the slope and a wide, flat valley came into view. The road was on the left of the valley and the path was on the right, leading to the village of Tal. Annemarie was obviously bored with pacing herself and walked off at a good speed, leaving me and Marco far behind. We followed her until she was little more than a pink dot. Tal was quite a large village and was pretty much empty, again. Annemarie picked a place for tea right at the end...

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Altitude: 1,370m Climb: 140m Time: 4hr 50m + 1hr 30m breaks Daily Cost: 3,320 rupees ($34/£20) We set off that morning with our new friend Marco. The day before he’d kept up with our pace but said it was a little fast (he was carrying his own bag whilst we only had our day bags), so we decided it would be a good idea to try and pace ourselves at a slower walking speed. That meant we might notice more of our surroundings, allow Harry our porter to keep up with us and also talk with Marco. Plus, the path and towns were almost deserted, so there wasn’t the rush to get a lodge, unlike on the Annapurna Sanctuary trek. The path started on the high ridge and quickly dropped down to a mainly flat path high above the river valley. The valley was lined with terraces. The road was now on the other side of the river and nothing more than a mark on the landscape. Because we were still at a low altitude it was hot and we stopped for some tea. Where we stopped was rather basic, but for a tea and toilet break the standard doesn’t have to be very high. The lodges we had encountered so far all looked very basic and were all deserted. We hoped that the standard of the lodges was going to rise soon, presumably when we reached the part of the trek where most trekkers seemed to start from. As we left the village there was a man and woman and a group of children with them. He stopped me for a chat. He was drunk and slurred his words lots, making him even more difficult to understand. When he found out we were British he wanted to know where in the UK we were from. This happens lots in Nepal, even though the people have only heard of the cities which have famous football teams. Some people know lots about football and have therefore heard of Leeds, most only know Manchester or Liverpool or London. So we usually say near Manchester, they almost always respond with, “yes, Manchester United, I know Manchester”. But this guy had a brother in the Gurkhas and he lived in Bristol. Lots of people in these remote villages have brothers or uncles or grandfathers in the Gurkhas who are now living in the UK. And every person I ask say they will never travel to the UK to visit. Obviously, these Nepalese villagers could never afford that trip, but I assumed the family in the UK would have had some spare money for...

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