Long time no blog post. For the past two weeks I have been in the Mustang region of western Nepal away from computer and communication. More so than fun, it was very intense and interesting. I was exposed to so many different environments and new experiences.
First we flew due West from Kathmandu to Pokhara, the second largest city in Nepal. Pokhara is situated along a lake in a warm and green valley with the distant snowy Himalayas poking into view over the hills. We rented bikes and rode along the lakefront and took some breaths of fresh air away from the musk of Kathmandu. But the next morning to took another plane North to Jomsom, a town situated in the high plains on the other side of the Himalayas. Jomsom is in what is called the “rain shadow” meaning it is blocked by the mountains and has a desert-like landscape as opposed the greenery to the South. Starring at the very Tibetan scenery it felt for that first time that I was really really in Nepal.
We then trekked for 2 hours along flat gravel beside a river into the town of Marpha, an apple-growing region inhabited by mainly Tibetan Refugees. After spending the night, we trekked another 2 hours to Tukuche, the village we would be spending the next week in with families.
Tukuche was a very special village. While the smallest place I have ever been, it was very cosmopolitan in its own right. Situated on the ancient salt trade routes, international influences have always passed through Tukuche, most recently taking the form of trekkers. It was hypnotic to observe these foreigners as a foreigner from within a village house with my village family. In my host family was a mother, 17 and 14 year-old brothers, and a 10 year-old sister. We got closer and closer as my Nepali improved and by the end my host mother asked me everyday when I would come back to marry her niece and be part of their family. Anthropological success?
All in all, I really took to village life: walking across the whole town in 5 minutes, strolling into strangers’ houses and getting tea as if you’re family, watching a Tibetan lama dance ceremony, seeing the Himalayas to every direction on my way to class. Unfortunately, the last days of the trip were not nearly as peaceful. Leaving Tukuche, we took a 5 hour cramped and bumpy jeep ride South, followed by a terrifying bus ride along a cliff. The following two days we trekked 9 hours a day uphill, which could have been fun if we hadn’t all been in pain. The trip ened with a 9 hour bus ride back to Kathmandu…this is travel in Nepal.
Unfortunately upon returning to Kathmandu, we did not have time for bedrest but 4 days of final exams! Now I am completely done with classes, have time to write a blog post, and am preparing for my month-long Independent Study Project which I leave for tomorrow!!
More to come…