Village Visit

Seventeen years ago I spent a week at the village of Dhola, Dhading. It is situated high up the Himalayas in the Annapurna and Manaslu Mountain range in the mid-western Nepal at an altitude of 1210 m above the sea level.

This is where my guide from 2006, Puru, came from. That visit was an amazing insight into Nepalese village and family life. I stayed in a small mud house with no electricity: the water was collected from a communal tap 10 minutes walk from the house, which was also the bathing and clothes washing place. The toilet was a hole in the ground just outside the house. I slept up a ladder, above a buffalo, and a small herd of goats.

Communal tap

The family had 4 daughters as well as Puru, the only prized son. Puru had gained a government scholarship that enabled him to have a tertiary education in Kathmandu. He had used it well, was very ambitious and was just starting his own guiding company.

The family lived a subsidence life, growing all their food and having very little material possessions, making it a humbling experience for me. The girls worked hard from dusk to dawn, collecting water, firewood and food for the animals, washing clothes, weeding the crops, and feeding the family. The men seemed to sit around drinking tea and talking. Puru did explain that the men did the plowing, milked the buffalo, and cut down the biggest trees.

Last time, I was only the second tourist to come to visit so everyone stared at me, many were quite frightened and very shy. They didn’t know what I was doing with my camera and were very surprised to see images of themselves on the screen. At first, they recognised their friends but not themselves as no one even had a mirror. Then they were all keen to be in a photo.

Lower cast kids weren’t allowed over the wall around the house
Me too, me too.

I remembered the local school was very basic. I donated some money to build a library and fill it with books.

A huge fuss was made of this with a day of ceremony attended by the whole community, and a goat was sacrificed in my honor. ( I had a very bad bowel experiences after eating the entrails, but that is shitty old story!)

A big fuss.

I have always been keen to go back and see how things had changed and find the people who I had taken photographs of last time. So I printed about 60 of them and had them in an album. Unfortunately the printer man cut the old photos from my phone, so I can’t add many here for comparison at this stage.

Roll forward 17 years.

I contacted Puru, who now runs a very successful guiding company. He provided the guide, Basu and Porter, Ram, for our Annapurna Circuit trek.

Basu was from the same village as Puru and is married to one of Puru’s sisters named Bimala. Therefore, he was the perfect person to take me back to Dharding. Ram was also from the same area. In my little photo album, I had a photo of a younger Basu and photos of his wife Bimala with her family.

Basu and I took another 6 hour bus trip from Kathmandu to the village. It wasn’t so bad as I think I am getting quite used to the bus service and roads.

This time, the bus stopped right at his door when last time we walked a couple of hours to reach the area. I was very excited to be returning to a place that had good memories for me.

On arrival, I had the traditional Nepalese welcome from Basu’s wife Bimala. A tika (red dot) was placed on my forehead, and a garland of flowers draped around my neck.

Then Bimala asked me if I could do a TikTok with them. So I could see that life here now is a real mixture of the old and new. Over the next couple of days many TikToks were made with me on them. I was dressed in a saree and have become a TikTok star. I am sure all the views are people laughing at me and my funny dancing.

Getting ready for another TikTok

The family included 14 year old girl, Binisha, and 8 year old boy, Aayan. Their eldest daughter, 18 year old Ahupa arrived back from her private boarding school on my second day there. She is studying engineering and like her sister, has really good English. The third daughter is studying science in Kathmandu.

Being a trekking Guide provides a good source of income for a few months of the year but leaves the rest of the family at home to keep the farm going.

Basu’s house is a 2 story concrete building with 3 bedrooms, a toilet and shower room downstairs and a kitchen and living area upstairs. There is also a large balcony with a covered outdoor fireplace for cooking. Close by is the original mud home that they started married life in and where all their children were born. It now houses the goats and chicken and is used to store corn, etc. They have electricity and running water. We’ll some of the time! When it rains on the early evening, the power goes out, and the internal plumping doesn’t always work. The females were up at 5 am carting water upstairs in the .old pots

Over the last 17 years the government has had a rural electrification program which now sees most of Nepal having electricity powered by small Micro Hydropower Plants (MHPs) throughout the country. This has been no mean feat knowing how mountainous and populated this country is. Many villages are high up in the hills, houses are spread out, perched on steep slopes inaccessible by even the toughest 4WD jeeps. Much of the materials and equipment needed had to be carried in by hand or rough roads built first. The supply is not completely reliable especially during rain but is better than nothing.

Basu’s family used the power for lighting, pumping water, and charging the cell phones. They had a gas bottle in the inside kitchen for cooking. I was very well fed, probably too well fed. They would all stand and watch me eat, making sure I liked everything before going out to another room to sit on the floor and eat their food, Nepalese style, with their hands.

I spent 3 days around the village with Basu finding people from my old photos. It was fun to see the looks on their faces as they recognised friend and family from years ago, in a time when they had no access to photographs themselves. They would all crowd around, pointing out people and finding themselves.

That is me!,

Sadly, many of the people had died including Bimala and Puru’s mother. A mother of two toddlers found herself as a 6 year old and remembered looking at my camera in awe back then.

We visited Puru’s father who now lives alone in the same mud house that I stayed in. It definitely was missing a woman’s touch!

Basu and Father looking at album

This time around the kids were much more at ease with me and we gathered a tribe of them as Basu and I walked around the area. Some of the kids had really good English as it is taught in all the schools now.

The school that I visited last time was damaged in the 2015 earthquake so lovely new high school is nearly completed. One of the men working there was in my photos too.

The local primary school, Baljyoti Basic School, has 50 pupils, so I bought 4 exercise / copy books and 2 pencils for each child, at the local Bizzar town on the way here. There was a visiting health nurse and doctor visiting the school, so we took this opportunity to take these to the school the second day I was there.

The very heavy bag of books was carried to the school by Bimala. I suggested that Basu should carry them, being the man, but he replied that their was women’s work. Another thing that hasn’t changed!

Wife carries heavy bag of books

All the mothers were also coming to have a health lesson, which I sat through, understanding very little of what was being said, but getting the main idea.

Parents’ lesson

Washing hands and feeding the family well were the main lessons. Roads and electricity have brought junk food to the villages and, as with the western world, diets have been negatively affected. People are becoming over weight and the resulting diseases are on the rise. Seventeen years ago all the food was grown locally and the people had a good plain organic diet.

I had some fun with the kids teaching them the “Heads, shoulder Knees and toes” game and then I gave out the books and pencils with a lot of ceremony, more tika and flowers from each child. They were all very appreciative of the gift.

Knees and toes

On Saturday we walked up to the top of a hill to a temple and the place where family and friends gathered to farewell a person who had died. A new covered area had been built to provide shade and shelter for the mourners. We then wandered through the “cemetery”. Most bodies are burnt in open pits but people with some diseases such as TB are buried.

Yummy bread

Leaving the group to go to Lukla

The Kiwis

I was feeling a bit of FOMO, (Fear of Missing Out) as I left the group after pur morning tea break. They were continuing on to walk the Three Passes and up to Everest Base Camp.  I had had enough  of coughing all night and just needed to get back to a lower altitude to sort it.  I wondered how many of the others could keep going given the state if health of some of them, but time will tell.

I walked straight up another Nepalese hill with Dhawa, our second guide. One of our porters was carrying my gear as well as some of young Jo’s gear that he decided he didn’t need, or want to carry.  This will be stored in Lukla until they return. 

We came across some road makers. They are real craftsmen .

It was a nice climb ending in Lukla.  This is the place Ed Hillary and Tenzing Norgate, who were the first people to summit  Mt Everest, built an airport. Ed  had decided that the walk that  I had just completed  from Jiri as it was  too far for him and his mountaineering  mates,  so he bought some land from local people and proceeded to make an airport. The story goes that he filled the locals up with alcohol and had them do stomping dances to pack it down. 

Arriving in Lukla

I had a day and a half in Lukla, spending it  people watching. In the morning, there was a constant stream of  trekkers, and their porters heading  up to Everest Base Camp or other routes,  looking all fresh and clean. In the afternoons, there was a continuous trail of  very tired, sunburned people returning.

I visited an early morning market. I didn’t buy and chickens or meat.

Porter carrying a large wheely bag

Some have trekked, but others are here to climb peaks. These usually gave a lot more equipment including ropes and tents etc. These porters usually only carry about 30-40kg but “freight porters” can carry up to 100kg. These ones carry all kinds of things needed up here, like building materials, food and beer.  Most of this stuff arrives in Lukla by plane, helicopter or donkey, but then goes up higher by porter.

Trekkers porter

I chatted with a few trekkers whose stories made me  a bit sad that I had not carried on.  I visited the hospital and started taking cough medicine, which was beginning to reduce my coughing.

Freight porter
Freight porter

Two days of Nepali Flat. 7 & 8 May Nunthala and Kari Khola

I had been awake most of the night again coughing. I tried to make a comfortable sitting position as I coughed like a dying sheep when I lay down. I am very pleased that Kathy just falls asleep and snores all night without being disturbed by me. She doesn’t even wear earplugs.

Kathy and I always get a room to share, usually with an ensuite. This sounds fancy but can be a squat toilet with a bucket or hose for washing our bums. We usually have to pay an extra 300 rupees ($3NZD) for a hot shower. Kathy and I have used the toilet hose for a very quick, cold shower. The boys usually get their own rooms with a bathroom down the hall.

Another 2 succumbing to the sickness with it effecting their chests so everyone is coughing and sniffing. We are a sorry bunch! . Jo is better after anti biotics even though he has continued to drink beer! Grant struggled daily and into the evenings , losing his appetite too.

We had two really nice, relatively easy days sidling across some good farmland.  A bit of a steep up for lunch, passing a big piece of road construction. The days were fine and perfect for walking.

We came to the end of the road construction and waited, watching the digger before being to be able to pass. There is not much health and safety going on here. Then we were onto a very busy walking track again.

The guys were very excited to see some deer
Don’t hang around Kathy
The end of the road
Donkey train

Now everything has to be transported by donkey. I had been missing the donkeys as I had fond memories of them from my last visit to Nepal. However after walking into Khari Khola I realised I had forgotten the awful smell of donkey poo. The blokes thought I was a bit soft but I didn’t feel so bad when I saw Pemba was wearing a mask and looking as disgusted as me.

3 May -A New Group and Another Damn Long Drive

I met up with “The Kiwis” at the Hotel Shanker. This hotel was about $50 a night and is one of the top hotels in Kathmandu. Originally a palace it was very flash, even had a swimming pool. There were 2 weddings there over the 2 days and a couple of engagement parties. It’s definitely the place to be seen.

But these kind of things don’t impress me too much. The room I shared with Kathy cost me about $50, compared to the Flying Yak for $15 a night. There was very little difference.

We had a couple of days together, getting to know each other. The Kiwis had some shopping to do as all gear was very cheap. There was a stock of toilet paper and hand sanitiser to buy as these things get much more expensive the further up we go. We also needed to get trekking permits so that was another beep, beep taxi ride.

The boys applying for trekking permits

The five men are all good kiwi blokes: hunters, tampers and generally good kiwi blokes. Brendon is also a doctor, but the others have all worked in the farming sector or outdoor work. Kathy, a retired nurse, was originally for England but traveled her way to NZ in the 1970- 1980s when visited Nepal in the hippy days. Grant, Brendon, and Roger are in their 60’s and have all been to Nepal previously. Roy was at high school with me and this is his first visit to Nepal. The baby of the group is Joe (35ish) aka “The Ruahine Hunter”

Joe was very excited to be here and reminded me of how I was when I first arrived 17 years ago. Joe was off out to find the night life on his first two nights here while the others were all heading to bed trying to get over the 24 hours of flying. I remembered my first night here last time. I was sharing a room with Evy, a young Israeli guy. We had gone to bed but couldn’t sleep because of the music coming from the bar next door, so we got up and joined the crowd for a few Everest Beers and toddled back to our room later in the night. Now I am one of those going to bed early and falling asleep with my book.

Pemba is to be our Guide. Grant has used him on a couple of previous trips and he comes from the region we will visit. We will also have along Dawa as assistant guide as seven is quite a group to look after. Having two experienced guides means there will be someone to take out anyone who needs to leave the main trek at any time. Dawa has been part of some Everest Summit teams. We will also have 3 porters to carry the gear for 6 of us. Strong, young hunter, Joe, plans to carry all his own gear. I don’t think he understands the effects of altitude as cannot be explained and must be experienced. We will see how he goes.

Drive Kathmandu to Jiri

On the 3rd of May we piled into a mini van for the drive to Jiri. It is 184 km but took about 8 hours. This was 5 star luxury compared to the ride from Jomsom to Pokhara. I am glad that I went on one of the worst bus trips in the world early in this trip so from then on all trips will be much better. Always best to compare with the worst case scenario rather than the best. We had nice seats, no flat tyres, air conditioning , the power to pass other vehicles reasonably safely and only one person was vomiting throughout the journey. (The doctor: poor man!)

The pee stops on the side of the road were much better than at the squat toilets at the roadside cafes, despite the rubbish.

We unpacked and had a wander around the town before meeting for dinner. Our three young porters had just arrived from Lukla after finishing their previous job. They took 3 days to walk here and it will take 7 days to do the same journey with us. They will carry 15kg gear each for two of us, and their own gear. A total of up to 40 kgs and they are only little guys. Amazing strength and for only $15 a day each. I must admit that I have brought along more stuff than I would normally if I had to carry it, but still, my bag is the lightest by far.

6 May over Lamjura Pass to Junbesi

Porters packing up our gear in the morning

Walking east across the foothills of the Himalaya, we went up and over the Lamjura Pass (3,550 m) today. These are not the foothills we are used to in New Zealand as we were higher than Mt Taranaki  and Tararua and Ruahine ranges that surround my home.

Once started we become totally absorbed with the task at hand, taking one step after the next, ensuring we stayed upright and could breathe.Wwe are quiet as we ascend, usually only Kathy and I doing any talking as even altitude finds it hard to keep some women quiet. I would try to start a conversation but talk soon dried up: there was no oxygen left for it.
The men just huff and puff through the ascents, though the Doctor seems to have more words than the others at this stage.

Sometimes the big strong guys who can run all over the hills lower down don’t do as well as the scrawny old lady higher up.  No sense being competitive here. We cannot do anything to alter the physiological changes in our bodies. 

Young Jo wasn’t complaining about the slow place. He said that if he was at home he would have knocked anyone going this slow off the track. But this is how it has to happen. Pemba is really good at keeping a good pace and he gives us lots of rest breaks, a morning tea stop and a good lunch break. So we all arrive alive, but not necessarily kicking.

Rhododendrons. National flower of Nepal
Another rest stop
New road, lots of rocks
Mist coming in, getting higher and colder
Pemba always helps with the lunch
A road in the making
A new bridge
Jo gives out coloured pencils and school exercise books
A great wall of Nepal
Local flora
We arrive at Jambesi after 9 hours
Yes I am still alive
Cheese and tomatoes sandwich and chips for dinner

4th and 5th of May. Out on trail with the Kiwis

We started out knowing we that we had about 50km to walk over 7 days, 7-8 hour days ahead of us to Lukla where I will leave the group. This does not sound much to the average hiker but the high altitude makes a huge difference.

We were to follow in the footsteps of Sir Edmond Hillary and Tenzing Norgate: the first people to summit Mt Everest. Sir Ed decided that this 7 day walk was a bit much to endure before a summit attempt so he eventually built an airport at Lukla. Therefore this trek has had little use by tourists so has remained very much as it has been for centuries. I was to enjoy it much more that the Annapurna Circuit for those reasons.

We would be walking up and down between 2,000 to 3,500 metres above sea level each day. Huge ascents and huge descents as there is no such thing as flat in this area. I have had over two weeks to get acclimatised so faired better than the rest of the crew. Roy had a cold so was feeling a bit rough and Jo was still a bit hung over from his nights on the town. So I was the only one finding the going okay. Pemba was really good and stayed in front walking at the necessary slow pace. I could see that young Joe had probably never walked this slow in his life but was probably glad for the pace.

The first day we walked to Deurali (2,700m) rained most of the day and I started out with my new lilac poncho. Purchased in Kathmandu, I found that it leaked and I was soon getting cold as we walked downhill all the way to a tea stop. At these altitudes going downhill is also a slow pace.

We stopped for a hot cup of tea at a small tea house so I pulled out my new umbrella hat which proved good for the downhill and flat parts of the trail. It reduced my vision too much going uphill. At our lunch break most of the crew bought umbrellas and then, of course, it stopped raining. I think young Jo would have trouble admitting to his hunting mates that he tramped with an umbrella!

Part way through our first day I got up close and personal with Kathy. She had blood pouring from up under her shorts. The poor porters, guides and the blokes really did not know where to look when they came across Kathy and I on the track. Kathy, had her pants down and I had my head up between her legs, under her long poncho. I was trying to get my bad eyes to focus on the wound so I could work out where the blood was coming from. Kathy had assured me that, at 66 years old, she was not having her period! I couldn’t see too well at that angle but managed to put on a dressing and stem the bleeding. After we arrived that evening I was able to get a better look with my torch and found that it was a leech bite. Naughty little fella getting way up there!

This region is very steep so up and down we went. Sometimes on recently built roads, but mostly on the centuries old tracks. There was very little traffic on the roads as most people had not bought vehicles yet.

We had a nice evening around the pot belly stove and then I coughed all night, getting only about 2 hours sleep. Luckily my room mate, Kathy, snored her way through the night and was not annoyed by me. We are getting on well.

The day started with a huge decent, taking us through a very picturesque valley dotted with houses surrounded by their little farms. Most people here survive on what they grow along with their goats and cows. Then a 1100 metre ascent to Sete. Again, Pemba, went in the front and kept at a really nice steady slow pace.

We made good time arriving at 4.30. Kathy and I washed some clothes. The boys were more interested the teahouse owner, who had some pine trees on his property. He was using his chainsaw, no chaps, no earmuffs, no goggles and wearing jandals. They were very impressed with his final product: perfectly straight boards and all limbs intact.


We chilled out again at the Flying Yak hotel in the middle of Thamal. This is the backpackers area of Kathmandu although I think I saw more locals speeding around on motorbikes than I saw backpackers.

Originally I was planning to do another 21 day trek going over 5 passes greater than 5,000 metres. Five more of what I had already done!!! Why?

So after much thought , I decided to walk the first 8 days with the Kiwi group, then see how I feel. This will be a nice walk through the lowlands meandering along up and down between 2,000 metres and 4,000 metres of altitude.

I will leave them in Lukla where they can continue onto the higher alttides without me. Unless I change my mind, which I seem to feel free to do at any time, these days.

Kay goes home tomorrow and I will move to the hotel the Kiwis are staying at.

The shops sell treking gear that is knockoffs of all the famous brands. North Face, Kathmandu, Marmot, Leki, Osprey, Salomon, Mountain Hardware etc. . You can buy jackets, sleeping bags, packs, headlamps, cookers, fleece tops, shirts, shorts, all sorts of ski and mountaineering gear.  The gear is usually made in the same factories as the stuff we get back at home. However, all the fancy marketing,  transportation, and profit structure are missing. Therefore the prices are only  about 10% – 20% of what we pay at home. There are hundreds of these little shops and I wonder how they make a living.

Bargain prices
Bartering expected
Pashmina shawls
More shawls
Jewelry shops galore (Not my thing at all)
Elephants and Christmas decorations
Blingy bags
Rugs and bags

I do wonder how any of these shop owners can make a living. There are hundreds of shops selling the same stuff and there is seldom anyone in the shops. Bargaining is the way to go.

We got a bit lost and found the food stalls

We paid for a full day tour of some of the UNESCO Heritage sites.

Our guide and driver were good but most of what we saw and heard was religious history. Fantasy stories about the 30,000 different Hindu gods, Buddhas from different countries, one born from the armpits of his mother. About as likely as the Virgin Mary, I suppose.

They are not stories about the real people of Nepal, It seems that the people and their religions can not be separated.

I must say that the reconstruction after the major earthquakes in 2015 has been done amazingly quickly. Christchurch took about 10 years to decide whether to reconstruct the cathedral, while Nepal just seemed to get on with it.

Anyway, I have seen my full of temples once again.

Rest in Pokhara for a few days

We stayed in our nice hotel for 4 days, hiding out from the sun and people, while our sunburned faces healed. After a full breakfast at the hotel we would cover up and go out for a bit of a walk around before the sun got too strong and the young ones emerged. Then we retreated to our room to catch up on media and reading or watching some sky movies on the big TV.

Elegant Hotel

Our coughs had cleared up as we descended from the mountains, and we weren’t sore, other than our faces. Our bodies are used to long walks and steep climbs, so we fared better than many others. I am sure my legs just think ” Here she goes again ” and get on with it.

Haircut and massage

In New Zealand, I pay $32 NZD at the cheapest chain of hairdressers. Here, for $30, I had a haircut, a scalp, head, neck shoulders, and back massage. I really needed that after the bumpy bus trip as my poor head had bopped and bumped around for hours. When he had finished, my neck felt better than it had for many months, and my sinuses were clear.

Peeling face
Final dinner with Basu and Ram
Pokhara Lake

Pokhara is the Queenstown or Taupo of Nepal. Being a land locked country, the huge lake is a real attraction for Nepalese. The rich have holiday homes here, and it is a quick flight from India. There are a lot of different treks around the area so most overseas visitors come here too.

Potholes everywhere
Evening view of the lake

One day, we walked for about an hour across the city to the National Mountaineering Museum. It was very interesting and well set out, taking about 2.5 hours to look around. Well worth the visit.

Backyard garden
Rubbish collected from Everest Base Camp

Again, I was quite disappointed with the rubbish situation. The lake had garbage floating in it, and drains were full of plastic rubbish. The man at the hotel told us that there were some collections from the businesses, but he doubted if it was disposed of properly.

Such a shame
Evening on the lakeside

After three days we were both feeling better so we took a 25 minute Buddha Airlines flight back to Kathmandu. Their safety record isn’t the best, but we decided we had pushed our luck on the buses. The flight was uneventful with no real views of the mountains because of the smog.

Day 12  Worst Bus Trip

With very sore faces, we were on the bus at 7 am. Basu ushered us into the front seats, but this caused a bit of an argument.   Eventually, we were sent back to the rear of the bus.  Bless Basu, I think he was trying to play the poor, sore, old ladies’ card for us.

Here is a link to my video of the bus trip. I am not a filmmaker, so the filming is not very good, nor is the commentary. I have made it not suitable for children as my language is a bit colorful. (You may have already seen this on my Facebook page)

To be fair to the roads in Nepal, there are a lot of challenges they face. The country is mostly mountains with 8 of the highest peaks in the world. Working at high altitudes is hard. Just walking us hard let alone actually doing anything more physical. Helicopters can’t be used because of the thin air.

The monsoon rains and snow melt create massive water flows, which wash away the work that has been done.

Nepal is extremely poor, so China and India are doing most of the road construction. The trade routes are important to them. Still more than 30% of Nepalese live more than 3 hours walk from any road. When I washete last time most goods moved by donkey or porter on narrow walking trails.

Day 11 . Feeling the effects of a damn steep walk in the snow.

Before we went to sleep we  agreed to wake the other one if we thought we were dying.  

We both woke through the night coughing like a couple of dying sheep.  I wondered if the altitude had finally  gotten to me but did not have the energy nor inclination  to do much about it.

Altitude illness is divided into 3 syndromes:

  • acute mountain sickness (AMS), (like having a bad hangover)
  • high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE) (the brain swells, so you begin to act drunk – confused,  unsteady, and stupid)
  • high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE). (Lungs fill with fluid, and you sound like a dying 90 year old. Breathless on excersion, a cough and weakness.)
  • They usually come into play a few hours after the high altitude is reached, i.e. during the night and should be treated with a quick decent.

We both made it through to the morning alive , but Kay nearly had a heart attack when she looked in the mirror. 

Her face was red and swollen, her eyes could hardly open, and her lips looked like botox gone wrong.  And I wasn’t much better. I looked like a Panda Bear on steroids.  (Kay wouldn’t let me post her photo, understandably)


We should have used sunscreen regularly throughout the day as we saw the young ones doing. But we didn’t have the energy to do so, and now, we are paying for it. Two days later, we are still blistered, sore, and peeling.

Basu came in to take our breakfast order and took one look at us and decided we would take the bus today instead of walking to Jomson.  We did not argue with him.

The main attraction in Mukintath  is a Hindu Temple high on a hill at the edge of town. There were a lot of pilgrims heading towards it as we walked to get our 8am bus.  Some walking, many on the back of small horses, the sick and elderly being carried on stretchers.

Taking the easier way up
Sick person

We walked to the bus depot with Kay hardly able to see out of her burnt eyes. I won’t be complaining about the pot holes around my home after navigating the main streets of Nepali towns.

Walking to bus depot
Back seat filled with backpacks

The bus trip to Jomsom was only an hour or so of terror.

I have since read that one of the causes of excessive wear and tear on roads and bridges is the overloading of vehicles. Every bus we went on was filled to the brim with more people than seats, bags and boxes up the isles and roofs overflowing with stuff.  However, I have not yet had to share a bus with a goat, pig, or cages of chickens as I did on my previous trip through Asia.

Soldiers on the street
Jomsom airport

Arriving at Jomsom, we were treated to another nice room that backed onto the airport. The flights come in very quickly in the mornings while the air is clear. This is one of the shortest runways in the world, and the planes can’t fly over the mountains because of the altitude, so swoop between them.  We decided it was safer to take the bus to Pokhara the next day.

Main street of Jomsom
Plane watching

We were both feeling a bit miserable, still coughing, and our faces were getting worse by the hour.  We were cold and shivering, so we climbed into bed to rest  under orders from Basu.

A beer before dinner

We had dinner with two trekkers who had gone over the pass the same day as us. One from Jordan and the other Canadian.