Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Himalayan Delight

10/12/10:  First of all, the internet has become burdensome and slow if working at all.  I can hardly get my photos to load, and I have to send them via the lowest possibly quality.  I tried uploading to Shutterfly as well, but it’s the same problem, no bandwidth.  Sorry.  I want to show you stuff as much as you want to see it. I was able to get a few pics on this blog, but it took HOURS.  

They ARE really there!  The Himalayas exist everyone, cause I saw ‘em bright an early this very morning.  The phone rang at 5:30 am and I thought to myself, what the ??,  I didn’t ask for a wake up call.  But when I looked out the window, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a skyline of mountains, all magnificent and clear!  Huge blessing.   After marveling at them while the sun came up, Pukar and I went down to breakfast.  As I was sitting there eating some toast and looking out the window I thought to myself, “bummer I can’t see them anymore”…but then noticed something a little higher in the sky, and there they were again, floating far above where any mountain range normally sits, hauntingly beautiful.  The Himalayas truly are what fables are made of.  I choked back a few tears of gratitude.

Back to reality.  There was “no tears” in the middle of the night, which was a big plus over the day before, but my little guy just never quite had the bounce in his step today.  He wasn’t upset, but he was unusually quiet and very difficult to get to smile.  We hiked down the steepest path in the Universe, (I asked which trail would be good to take my 3 year old on, and to this they replied “Whichever you like Madam”).   However, we saw many awesome sights along the way.  I love this peek into another world on these village pathways.  Tamang is the peoples who live on the hillside here near Nagarkot.  The most beautiful real estate ever.   

They live in these gorgeous mud homes, thatched and metal roofs, livestock in the yard (goats, chickens and bison), farm their land, carry their water, and chop and carry wood for cooking fires. The women tattoo their chins for beauty and hang out together smoking cigarettes, after carrying their huge baskets via cloths strapped across their foreheads to lift the load.  The men?  They seemed busy making special Puja to the Gods for celebrating Dasain, flying kites, playing music (I sure hope I can upload that video!), and riding together in jeeps on impossibly muddy roads (see photo below).

Pukar seems to have not spent much time around animals, and was thrilled with the goats.  We  petted some babies and he was the most animated all day at this.  I do role-playing with his stuffed monkey as he seemed to me to be quite abusive to the monkey at first, so I started loving the monkey, and now he seems to be more gentle.  I’m hoping this rubs off on real animals.  That, and real practice.  Cats freak him out the most.  Not good for the Pinecone, so I’m ‘training’ here.  So despite the insanity of the actual hike, it was a super beautiful and interesting walk.   However, even the guide was whooped, and I kept asking her what the women were saying along the way… “Oh, they are saying this is a very hard path to carry a baby”.  I must have heard that at least three times!  Hilarious.

Pukar slept the last ½ hour of the hardest, hottest uphill part in my arms, which triples his body weight, I swear!  Then we crawled into the nearest restaurant, got some water and waited for my ride back to drive by.  Meanwhile I met this crazy traveler from Granada, Spain, who was born in Venezuela but living in the Canary Islands, and who was boycotting India’s new 3 month only tourist visa policy by hanging in Nagarkot Nepal on a 5 month visa.  What a riot.  He’s like me though…loves to just immerse in culture.  Forget the running all over the country to see everything, just hang out. 

My taxi driver told me he had a ‘surprise’ for me on the way down and I was curious and a little worried.   His surprise was he took me to his home where I met his wife and daughter.  They live on the 3rd floor of a decrepit building, in a room smaller than my bedroom that houses all 3 of them, their stuff and a makeshift kitchen.  It’s almost like a clubhouse.  $40 US a month.  He is so beautiful as is his wife.  They cut up fruit and served me coke.  He thinks I really like coke as I’ve had him stop and get me one.  I have this thing about coke in developing countries.  They serve it in these nice, small glass bottles, it’s cold and bubbly and I think it kills anything in my stomach I might not want in there.  Anyway, he said it was a big deal as I am the first tourist he has ever invited to his home.  I am honored.  We stay for at least an hour and for some odd reason I feel very comfortable in this strange and cramped environment with these three people, two of whom don’t speak English.  Really beautiful.

Pukar gets his wish and heads back to his Didi, barely giving me a wave as I leave him behind.  Not what every mother wants, but we are still a work in progress.   I think the whole new place thing was a bit much.  Sigh.

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1 comment:

  1. Wow great photos Ben thanks for posting them!