Annapurna Circuit – Part III: Ngadi – Chamche (890m – 1385m)
I woke up early in Ngadi and wandered to the bathroom with my toothbrush. Prem, our assistant guide, waved at me and gestured for me to turn around. I obliged, and was greeted with the view of a snow capped mountain peeking behind the closer range.
Yay! The sky cleared! After a nice breakfast (we ordered what we wanted from a simple “Tourism Board Approved” menu the night before), we set off in the sunshine, making our way to Chamche. For the first part of the day, we were walking on a very primitive “road”, which we all rather walk then being in any vehicle. There were also very primitive bridges when we come across streams. Many times, when the washout wasn’t too bad, we’d just tread over the shallow stream. The condition really wasn’t bad for a track, but rather “unconventional” as a road.
Our guides showed us an interesting plant which they simply call the “bubble tree”, because you can blow bubbles with the tree sap.
We stopped at a little village for morning tea, where chickens roam freely, and the crops and paddocks are right against dwellings. It was again a very hot day, and Kiwi Bird and I found ourselves wanting cold fizzy drinks even though we are not normally fond of them. After morning tea, we had our first encounter with donkeys in Nepal. They seemed to be just grazing by the side of the road without anyone attending them.
We stopped at Ghermu for lunch. Ghermu has a huge, impressive waterfall, which we took a walk to after ordering lunch. Because the restaurants make food from scratch for each order, it usually took just short of an hour for our food to be ready. At first, it seemed quite a wait. Particularly given when Kiwi Bird and I trek in New Zealand, we always have simple lunch, and don’t stop much on the way. (Though in NZ, there is absolutely nothing in terms of supply when you are out in the bush.) In Nepal, no one seems to hurry with anything. It’s actually really relaxing once we dialled back our pace, and embraced the Napali “no hurry, chicken curry” way. For lunch, I had “mo mos“, which are little steamed flour dumplings with a curried vegetable filling. They were really yummy, but as I later found out, takes a while to make.
After lunch, our trail left the road for a while. We saw several constructions for hydro power plants on our way. As our guide said, Nepal has the 2nd most water resource in the world, and it seems they are really trying to harness it, despite the difficult terrine, and the lack of easy access to building materials or machineries.
As we wind our way higher up the mountains, we passed settlements which seem to have sprouted from the cliffs, perching right on the edge over the deep river valley below. Coming from New Zealand, where we have a lot of earthquakes, it made our belly churn thinking what would happen if Nepal gets hit by one.
We stayed at the very colourful “Super Rainbow View Guest House” at Chamche for the night, right opposite a big hanging waterfall. I had my first taste of the famous “Annapurna apple pie” there, and it was the best one on Annapurna Circuit for me. These apples pies are deep fried flour pastries filled with grated apples and cinnamon. The ones at Chamche have a golden crispy shell full of very juicy fillings, and very very satisfying.