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

The Annapurna Diaries: Day 8

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Although I had a day off yesterday I don’t feel substantially different today. Today wasn’t so bad, 10km and a 660m accent. I was surely tired at the end of it, though. It was snowing the night before, but the morning proved peaceful with rays of sun and open skies of blue. Then came the crowds of other hikers of which we were part, of course. The hike loses its essence when there are many others around, soon however, after having passed some of the group, solitude is yours again, kind of. Shortly after we left from Manang, I thought I saw some smaller yaks in the distance. Upon closer inspection, however, the yaks were actually giant vultures, some sitting ever so peculiarly on the cliff side, others guarding the recently frozen yak carcass ever so calmly, others taking a few slow strides, extending their wings, taking off, and circling above. Huge creatures. Quote: “I don’t think I’ve changed my underwear in 3 days”, I said. ”overrated”, Tom replied. “Everyday I’m shuffling” sings Mark to make us smile, then asking if it’s shuffling or shaking the deck of cards. Shuffling I told him. We hiked for about 5.5 hours, leaving Manang at 7:30am and arriving in Yetdar around 12:30pm. I had a big dal bhat for lunch. The place was free to stay, as is everywhere along the circuit (in low season probably even more), so long as we eat dinner and breakfast where we sleep. Good deal, really. The place was freezing. Our room was in the basement of a mud and wood house. We played cards in the evening and retired early, around 8:00pm. I was too cold to write or read that evening. There were no lights either. Earlier in the evening we talked about life in a serious manner. The conversations had between fellow travelers are often the most rewarding, inspiring, heart warming, intense, truest conversations ever had. No hold barres. We talked intimately about our pasts, our beliefs, our aspirations, our problems, our faults, our everything. It’s amazing. As I have to pee every night, sometimes twice, thrice, and as the bathrooms are outside I’m left to wander freezingly under the night sky, the bright night sky. I never have any idea what time it is, but it usually feels like the sun will soon rise and I’m then lifted with a bit of awareness, likely due to the night’s radiant brightness. The mountains are glowing in a mystical black and white scene. The moon was full, the seldom cloud drifting across the portrait and the stars shining. I have never seen such nighttime beauty. The yak shit picker cut his index finger, one small infected slice can then cause one’s demise. The owner of the guesthouse seemed to always be dealing with yak dung. He had cut his finger and so we happily gave him a bandage and fixed him up.

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