Thursday, December 6, 2007

How do you know you are on the wrong trail when walking in rural Nepal?

1: It is in fact an abandoned irrigation canal.
2: It is heavily overgrown.
3: You haven't seen anyone on it for several hours.
4: You have come to a landslide that completely obliterates the trail.
5: All of the above.
6: None of the above.

Answer below.

click on the photos they expand!

Well I'm just off a 40 hour bus ride from the town of Taplejung with nothing but fond memories and many a blister to show for it. My eyes are heavy and I smell quite bad but I had to check my email so I will leave you with a few photos from the first wonderful walk in this series of walks across Nepal. It took me 20 days to reach Taplejung and along the way I got lost as the title of this post suggests but more importantly I always found wonderful people who helped me make it to the next town. Almost every day a school teacher or student would join me and practice his or her English. A few children and even a shy cow or two would run away at the sight of such an odd traveler. Manny people would say hello and ask an almost preset series of questions: Where was I from, where was I coming from and going to, what was my job and why was I walking when there was a bus?! In fact if I had known the answers to only these questions I could have gotten by just fine. I walked with porters, soldiers, Maoists, families, drunks, alone, with entire villages on pilgrimages and passed a wild yak high up in the clouds.

On the first day I passed a group of 5 Japanese tourists with 7 support staff including a photographer and two guides! I bet they didn't get nearly as many blisters as I did. Other than that there were 4 Spanish tourists in Taplejung and that was it. I was told tourists some times followed my route but I didn't see a single one in 19 days. This is remarkable considering that the newspapers here are declaring this the single biggest year in Nepalese tourism history as measured by shear number of foreigners to visit the country. People need to put those guide books down and just get lost, that's what I do.

I was joined on this trek by a Dutchman named Tim, who has asked that I not include his full name or any photos. As an internet researcher I fully understand his request! It's sufficient to say he had a wonderful sense of adventure and also thoroughly enjoyed the trek! As he was a bit taller than myself he flew back from Taplejung rather than suffering the impossibility of Nepalese buses for those over 6 feet tall. I will never forgive him for this!

Interesting stories and all that stuff to follow shortly.
Answer 6!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

KC -- I love the pictures -- and of course the stories.

Miss you

Love -- Mom