Details of Life on the Road: Street eats, cheap sleeps, budget travel experiences

The Annapurna Diaries: Day 13


“Today was a good day, mostly. I can’t stop arguing with Mark, though. Jomsom to Kokhethanti, 19km I do believe. We couldn’t quite make it to Lete, our intended destination. Off to a late start, around 8:00am I think. Mark was planning on taking the bus and Logan was considering it, although I thought it would be too expensive for him, and it was. For Mark, too. Honestly, I liked Logan, but I half wanted him to take the bus. We had a new hiker joining us – Jennifer. And man, she is beautiful. Really, really beautiful. I see so many beautiful people while traveling, more beautiful than most people I’ve ever seen, more than most in popular magazines. I was awake early, ate a light breakfast – fried eggs, hash browns, toast, and coffee but that just wasn’t cutting it so I ordered muesli, too. Off we went, dream girl and me, and the other two chaps. We hiked up the side of many mountains and through gorgeous pine forests. The terrain was rather simple and quite enjoyable. We kept mostly off the main road, which runs from Jomsom on the right side of the river, and kept to the left side, hiking low along the riverbed and also high beside it, on the narrow paths trampled by many trekkers and locals. This part of the trek doesn’t see many tourists – many people finish their trek prior to this due to the road from Jomsom, as the simplicity and easiness is too much to overcome, making tourism a rarer gift to the slow, traditional, struggling Thakali villages. We stopped for tea at 10:45am or so, not leaving again until noon, at a town called Marpha. Getting there took us over a ‘road’ crossing the valley. It’s amazing what the jeeps and motorbikes manage to drive across. Similarly, it’s amusing to see the ingenious makeshift bridges crossing raging waterways. Looking down while slowly crossing archaic wooden beams is a joy. Marpha is a beauty of a town. Cobble streets, brick buildings painted white, doors and trim a bright red. Although, still technically in the Himalayas, it doesn’t feel so. I ate some more apple pie, fittingly to the trek’s nickname: The apple pie trek. We carried on, stopping soon after for lunch. Mark sketched a local man’s portrait, and then we carried on again crossing the riverbed back to the trekking side. The sounds and sights of nature became ever more apparent: raging rivers, rasping birds, fewer yak but more buffalo, flora to be foraged. We walked on dirt paths past crannied villages in the valley nooks, sitting beside seemingly haunted forests. Although the forests’ trees did seem haunted by sight of their dark, naked, and spiny branches, the trees offered a calming feeling so their hauntedness was more of spectacular and other-worldly beauty. We carried on, hoping to reach Lete, but only made it to the town prior. 1hr remaining to hike at 5:15pm was too much. We hiked from 8:00am to 5:15pm, but for about 7 hours out of the 10, about 19km. I learned how to play ‘bullet’, a French trump card game, awed over female beauty, and wimped out of a ‘normal temperature’ shower.”

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