It’s our second day on Annapurna Circuit trek. Yesterday we arrived by bus from Kathmandu to Besi Sahar, but today is the day, when we start walking. I wake up and I feel ill. Having a good night’s sleep has had a good effect on me, but anyway I’m not feeling well. And it’s raining heavily outside.
It’s 8 AM, when I get out of the bed. We planned to leave already at 7 AM. But we didn’t, because it was raining. We check the weather forecast and it says, that there will be rain throughout the day. We don’t want to waste a day and so we decide to walk in the rain. After a breakfast of few bananas, peanuts and biscuits for me we leave the guest house and start our 3 week walk around Annapurna massif.
Soon we realize, that even though it’s raining and it has been the same for at least last few hours, it is not cold outside. In fact, it’s hot.
Today we want to get to Ngadi Bazaar. Because that’s what our map suggests. It should be some 4 hour walk.
We bought this map in Kathmandu. What we liked about it is that it has a day by day trekking plan on one corner. Helpful for everyone not only beginners to learn, how far all these mountain villages are each from other. In hours of walking not in kilometers. Because that’s how distances are measured here in Himalayas.
Not only maps and guide books use this system, but also local Nepalese people living in the mountains. Whenever you ask someone, how far is this or that place, you get and answer like – 1 hour if you walk slow, 45 minutes if you walk fast.
Today don’t we walk too fast, but not too slow either. It’s raining for most of the time. We walk mostly on the roads today, and they are muddy. 3 hours later we stop in a village, an hour walk away from our today’s destination, and order a pot of tea at the roadside restaurant. So far we haven’t seen any other foreigner here. Policeman at the check point, where we had to show our trekking permit, said that we were the first ones today.
There is one check point every 20 – 30 kilometers, where trekkers are advised to register. To make it easier for rescue parties later in case of some emergency, like earthquake or avalanche in particular region.
1 hour later we stop by some guest house. Owner, elderly woman, invites us in. After finding out, that it’s Ngadi Bazar – our today’s destination – we both agree, that it could as well be our place for the night. We check the room offered to us. It’s basic. But there is attached bathroom. Although, it is the same as basic and instead of doors it has a piece of clothing hanging from the ceiling, but still it is attached bathroom.
So we say – yes, we are staying. We leave our backpacks in the room and order the lunch.
We eat our lunch of vegetarian momos, brought to us by husband of that elderly lady, and order the same dish for dinner. It’s small family run business, as we see. They are cooking food in their house, some 50 meters down the road.
At 7 PM we have our dinner. We decide not to order anything for the breakfast. Because we don’t really like the food here and they don’t have menu. So we also have no idea, what to ask for and how much will it cost for us. After the dinner we pay for the room and both meals. It’s more expensive than we thought it will be, and man, who looks drunk, asks for a tip as well. “Only if you want,” he says. I give him 100 rupees, which is about 1 euro. And we go to our room.
Just down the hill there is a river. A loud one. If not because of the raging river, it would be a perfectly peaceful place. Apart from our guest house – hotel and owners house down the road there is only one building just across the street. It looks like another guest house. Only with no any guests. At least we don’t see anyone. I guess, that’s what off-season in Himalayas mean.
We are sitting in our bed. It’s pitch black outside. I’m writing down short notes about today’s walking on my iPad. Una is reading a book on her Kindle.
Someone is knocking at the door. I open. Nepalese woman, owner of the place, is standing there.
She takes quick look around and after murmuring something walks in our room. She says something about the chair or our things standing on it. I don’t understand, because her English is bad. At first I think, that it’s about the chair. That she needs it. So I start taking off our stuff to help her move it away from our room. But it’s not the reason, why she has come.
Seeing, that I don’t understand, what she wants, lady grabs my backpack and puts it on the bed. She takes Una’s backpack and does the same. Then she somehow ties them together and covers them with a blanket. It happens so fast, that I can only stand and watch. Now I see, how frightened she looks. But why? What has happened?
And then she starts speaking: “Nepalese people are good. And Nepalese people are bad. Too much alcohol. Too much alcohol. Nepalese men attack tourists. Nepalese men see tourists tired, Nepalese men attack tourists. Nepalese see money. Attack tourists. Too much alcohol. Too much alcohol.” She continues, partly speaking, partly showing with her hands. Making us understand, that we should hide all our electronics and valuables under the blanket and under the bed, or in our sleeping bags.
“No turn light off nigh. Light on. Doors close. Light on. Nepalese people are good. And Nepalese people are bad. Too much alcohol. Too much alcohol” she adds, when leaving our room about 15 minutes later, looking the same frightened.
What was it? Are we going to be robbed tonight? Or killed? We don’t want to believe in it, but then why would she be that scared? Like knowing, that something is going to happen tonight…
As soon as she leaves, I move the armchair to block the doors. I close curtains the way that it’s impossible to see what’s inside. We untie our backpacks, take out passports and money, and hide them in our sleeping bags. We pack our bags, so nothing is left outside the bag. I put our trekking poles within a reach. They have metal tips, and could be used for self defense.
Soon we are in our sleeping bags. Light is on. Lying on the back I see, how basic is the house where we are. It’s mostly made out of plywood (looks like plywood). Anyone willing to get inside could just kick harder at almost any place and he would be inside in a matter of minutes. Una soon falls asleep. But I’m lying on the back and looking at the doors.
I fall asleep occasionally. To wake up in pain 20-30 minutes later, because I have heard something or simply because it’s so uncomfortable. Our bags are in the bed, and thus there isn’t enough place for two of us. We are sleeping like sardines in a can. Light doesn’t make it any better. And then there is that loud river, which makes it similar to sleeping in a room with old and broken air conditioner running. Only this one has no turn off button.
During the night someone moves in the guest house. And then at about 3 AM there is a power outage, during one of those moments, when I’m awake, looking at the doors again and waiting for the sunrise.
At 5 AM I just can’t stand it anymore. I take out our bags from under the blanket, turn off the light and go to sleep. At 8 AM we wake up to leave the guest house as soon as possible.
A lesson learned: during this hiking trip we will not stay in such places anymore, where there is no one around. We will look for guest houses and hotels, where there are some other guests. Or for places closer to other people’s houses. And we will not stay in guest houses like this one, where all it takes to get in is one harder kick.
We loved our time in Nepal. We loved hiking in Himalayas. And we will definetely return to this beautiful country.
If you have some questions about traveling in Nepal and hiking in Himalayas, contact us!
Author: Kaspars Misins
Kaspars is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On We Are From Latvia they share their experience and things learned along the way.