Day 7 October 9th 2014
Bhadaure to Panchase , Nepal
We woke up this morning to another lovely sun rise over the Annapurna mountain range. Breakfast was a delicious local chapatti and dhal (will never get tired of this food). The group split today due to pre-existing injuries and getting the flu, half went back to Pokhara the other half continued onto Panchase.
Sam, Joyce, Cornelia, three of our guides and myself started our trek with an hour and half straight ascent up this steep stone stair case that must have been hundreds of years old. Walking up it was long and tiring so I can only imagine how much effort went into making it the stair case; Years of labour no doubt. To make the trip harder, we were attached by more leeches! During the times when we were able to take a breather we saw a Shepard heard his Oxen and a few grazing Buffalo along the trail.
The hard trek was rewarded with an afternoon spent resting at the Happy Heart Hotel in Panchase, Nepal. This guest house was clean and basic with beautiful paintings of Fish Tail Mountain, a yogi trail near the town, the eyes of Buddha and sayings from the Hindu scriptures which basically talk about the importance of nature in our world. Clearly there was a “hippy component” to these drawings and saying 🙂
After lunch there was an option to climb to the peak of Panchase mountain (not a real mountain, only about a 500 meter ascent from the guesthouse). After 3 hours of hiking to get to the hotel no one was really feeling up for another three hour hike and once the clouds rolled in we all opted to spend the day resting in Panchase. Very good idea as torrential rain came down for most of the evening. We did however go for a quick walk through the village of Panchase, got a chance to see villagers carrying grass for their animals, cleaning pots, drying laundry and preparing stone to build a structure.
The hotel is owned by “3 sisters” (actually three cousins). One of the ladies is married to a Canadian foreigner. I had a conversation with him in the evening while watching the ladies cook over the fire. He’s been in Asia for 40 years. He had some interesting points about women in Nepal and how they are viewed as scared. In the Nepali language women are constantly referred to as highly valuable. He also discussed his views on the importance of balance between males and females in society and how this team work mentality has allowed the culture to survive for so long. It was interesting that he pointed out this team work mentality as looking at western cultures; we are very individualized, always searching for independence. As we all know two heads are better than one… Will being a society so wound up with the idea of standing along cause us to eventually collapse? Good points to consider.
Cornelia had a good chat with the sisters after lunch and apparently the sister married to the foreigner has kept it a secret for the last 5 years (since they got married). So bizarre but I guess she doesn’t want to be treated differently by her fellow villagers.
The women here cook in a tiny kitchen with no counters, microwaves, stoves or fridges. Everything is prepared fresh and usually prepared on the floor. Most times food is cooked using a fire, one maybe two pots can fit on the wood stove at one time. It’s amazing how such delicious, complex food (mono’s for instance) can come from such a simple set up.
Best memories of the day were our evening spent huddled around my ipad watching movies. With nothing to do at the hotel the 8 of us all crammed around my tiny iPad with hot tea and rain in the background, so cozy 🙂