|To me this looks like a Nepali version of a David Winter Cottage scene
|Annapurna Sanctuary, Nepal (Days 27-30)
|We stopped here for a much-needed break during the hike from Chomrong to Ghandruk
|Water buffalo cool off in the river
|Robin heads confidently towards the last steep climb of the trek
|That last climb was a doozy: 430 meters (1,400 feet) up interminable switchbacks
|And here we are on the outskirts of Ghandruk, a larger town than most, and quite lovely with its stone buildings
|The traditional stone construction in Ghandruk (1,940 m / 6,402 ft) dates back 400 to 500 years
|We stayed for two days at the highly livable and utterly peaceful Milan Lodge in Ghandruk
|Milan Lodge's flower-filled courtyard was a pleasure
|There are high mountains near Ghandruk but we only caught
glimpses of them through the haze that's so common in April
|Nepalis rival the Incas of Peru when it comes to building seriously impressive stone trails that go on for miles and miles
|It was all downhill from Ghandruk to Naya Pul (1,010 m / 3,333 ft), past increasingly agricultural scenery
|Not long after this picture was taken, Robin got baffed off the trail by a donkey! A train of donkeys was coming up the stairs as we were going down them,
and Robin got knocked off by one of their bulky packs. I saw her topple over the edge and came running. It could have been serious but it wasn’t --
she fell into some prickly bushes just a few feet below, bruising her knee (and ego!) but escaping unscathed otherwise.
|Robin shows off her war wound (does she look just a little bit sheepish?)
|This is Birethanti, the last town before Naya Pul. Only half an hour to go! We stopped to savor the moment and enjoyed a relaxing lunch by the roaring river.
|We saw this somewhat amusing sign
throughout our trek, but I only thought to
take a picture of it at our final ACAP
checkpoint in Birethanti (we had to check
in periodically to show our permits).
"Save caresses for the private moments"
is particularly apt. You NEVER see any
kind of physical affection of any kind
between a Nepali man and a woman --
not even hand holding or a simple arm
around the shoulders or (God forbid) a
hug or a kiss. Even if the couple has
been married forever, you just don't see
any holding of any kind in public AT
ALL. Which makes it all the stranger
when you see two Nepali men in public
with their arms casually thrown around
each other or holding hands. But here
that just means they're good buddies
and it has no sexual overtones at all
(i.e., of being gay) as it might in the U.S.
|Returning to Pokhara felt like returning to civilization
|The very next day I went to a barber's in Pokhara and he shaved off my "trekking beard."
I kinda miss it! I feel like a shorn sheep!