Waking up at 4am to the sounds of people creaking their doors open, and wandering about outside past the paper thin walls, we fell in and out of consciousness for another two hours before succumbing to the noise. Also, we ordered breakfast to be served at 6:30am so we needed to wake up anyways. Breakfast was a delicious apple pancake, omelette and a type of Nepalese naan bread while sitting atop a verandah, with clear views of a snow-capped mountain far off in the horizon. Compared to other hiking trips we’ve had, this is luxury!
We stayed with two other groups of trekkers we met on the bus, but by the time we started they were already long gone. Most likely we’ll never catch up to them again. It’s not that we’re slow, but actually our porter was. A fairly tall guy in his early 20s, he had broad shoulders and looked capable of carrying loads. The other porters we see on the roads were short, skinny, but carried what looks to be well over 40kgs of stuff for the ‘luxury’ trekkers. We admit we may have overloaded our pack a bit, but it shouldn’t be more than 25kgs, about 5kg more than what the trekking company said was the limit =P. Although we’re eager to beat on, our porter would take the occasional rest but would make up the ground by walking pretty darn fast.
Just like the bud attendants, porters have one heck of a job. There are several types of porters. Ours is a porter/guide, who spoke semi-fluent English and would carry a bag not over 20kgs. The other was a porter which usually worked alongside a guide, and usually spoke very little English but carried 20-30kgs easily. The last, and looking the most physically demanding were the expedition porters. These people usually trekked in groups of 8-12, and have a guide speaking their own language (usually German or French) and slept in personal tents, with cooks having meals for them ready before they arrived. These porters usually carried, what looks like, 50kgs worth of gear ranging from sleeping pads, tents, and even tables! Usually what follows these tired looking porters were middle-aged trekkers with a light day pack and drinking beers over lunch. What a life!
Oh, and almost all porters wear flip-flops…. Even hiking these roads in flip-flops was going to be suicide for us, but they do it while carrying massive amounts of gear….. Respect.
For lunch, we ate at a restaurant perched high atop the village with a view of the surrounding patches of farmland. With its low-altitude, crops are just about being harvested compared to the early harvest of the high-altitude Tibetan areas we were from. Seems like wherever we were going, people were harvesting! Maybe we bring good farming fortune? Hehe.
Once you eat, you feel a bit more energized but the noon sun beating atop our heads was quite hot, and by the time it was 2:30pm we made the decision to stay put in a higher altitude village, with a view of this massive waterfall across the river. Settling down with a book, a cup of tea and some sunflower seeds on a patio in direct sight of a waterfall, it was a perfect way to end the day hiking. This seems pretty luxurious, doesn’t it? And to top it all off, hot showers was available (despite a 2hr wait) and dinner was tasty.
Annapurna Circuit Trek. Giggiddy.