Annapurna Circuit – Part II: Bandipur to Ngadi
We travelled from Bandipur back to Dumre, where we took another local bus to Basisahar. The buses were always very highly decorated in and out, with bright colours and blings. I was fascinated with what the local ladies are wearing. Their clothing seem to consist of many layers (many of which has elaborate embroideries), and it just amazed my how they can wear so many layers while the rest of us were sweating in our T-shirt and shorts. I noticed they were also sweating rather profusely, somehow they still kept everything on, complete with a silk scarf.
We got to Basisahar around lunch time and met our porters. They were all young boys in their early 20s, on their break from college. Each of them took two of our packs, and strapped them together with their own, then carried it with a head strap across their forehead. It was amazing watching them carrying it on their forehead, each weighing probably just short of 40Kg.
We started walking through paddocks of rice and millet, and climbing through lush bushes after lunch. It was over 30C, and everyone was drenched in sweat. It was so tempting to jump into a river to cool off. We came across a big waterfall, where a few local boys were playing in the river naked, and a few men were catching fish. Kiwi Bird broke into a run towards the waterfall and got himself soaked because he just couldn’t resist anymore. But he complained the waterfall wasn’t even cooling because it was warm, and he got a few leeches too! The rest of us decided it was more sensible to keep out boots and socks dry and away from leeches, so no one else joined him.
I chatted with Prem, our assistant guide, about the age kids start to learn English in Nepal. He told me many primary school start teaching them around 8-9 years old, which was much earlier than I expected. And funnily enough, we saw a piece of paper in a rice paddock which looks like a kid’s homework with lines of tomatoes and potatoes written on it in English. (I wished I had taken a photo of it.)
Our destination that day was Ngadi, where we stayed at “Holiday Trekker’s”, which felt very much like a campsite, and our rooms were very simple little cabins. So far, Napel had seem very green, lush, and hot, hot, hot. When I previously thought about Nepal, an image of the the Himalayas comes into mind, featuring mostly snow and rocks. But so far we were still under 900m. (Basisahar is 820m.) I was very glad we were able to have fresh water showers at Ngadi, and washed my sweat soaked cloth under the tap.
It was funny and odd that so far, the villages we walked past all have taps coming straight from nearby streams. None of the taps have any faucet, so they are just constantly running. And every village have at least one communal “fountain” where a tap just runs non-stop. Our guide told us Nepal has the second most water resource in the world. To the rest of us coming from counties where we were taught to conserve water, especially Australia, it just seems wrong that the tap cannot be turned off. But considering the water came straight from the river next to it, it runs just like the river.