Day 127: Chame (Annapurna Circuit) – October 22nd

As we get deeper into the circuit and higher in elevation, it gets cold real quick once the sun sets. Dining close to dawn at 6:45am, we had some corn flakes with apples. I’m not quite sure how it works, but corn flakes in the middle of Nepal’s mountain ranges seem pretty impressive to me. Problem was, I got pretty hungry pretty quickly.

Today’s walk required an elevation change of about 1100m, and knowing this it made every descent twice as painful, as you know later on you’d have to make up for it! After a steep climb up hill, we stopped at the top of the section with a rest stop for porters. Built out of several wooden wooden logs put clumsily together, it looked like those drug manufacturing sites you see on Discovery Channel with a wooden fire burning some blackened pots and selling what looked like to be Nepalese donuts. The craziest part though: they have Snickers for sale. Whoever is the sales guy for Snickers, they sure are doing a good job, considering there’s nothing else remotely recognizable or appetizing that you’d want to eat after gasping for air in the middle of a mountain trail.

Snickers seems to be the food of choice in the hills, along with Red Bull. Talk about a sugar high….

Shortly before lunch, we finally saw our first glimpse of a snow-capped mountain, Mansalu. The locals sure know how to do business, as they built hotels/restaurants with patios looking right at the majestic mountains. So lunch was pretty awesome, despite the 1hr wait for food (being 1 of 3 people there ordering food, too). The place had this Swiss-alps kind of vibe, with gently rolling grass, moo cows and pretty flowers lining the garden. The only problem though, was this bum kid that kept rolling around our luggage and playing with our shoelaces. He was only a nuisance until later, we found out he stole our chapstick that was hanging outside of our pack…. We found this punk kid down the road after lunch but he sat calmly on his roof and denied wrongdoing. Thinking this a small thing, we just kept going and let this go past us.

Continuing on, it took two more hours before finally reaching our destination of Chome. With the stupas and prayer wheels all around, it seems we have entered into Tibetan/Buddhist territory once again. At the gates of Chome, we were stopped by two army-looking dudes, and from afar you see a group of people gathered on both sides of the small village streets. Apparently, as the Nepalese festivals continue, today was the annual horse race!! Having seen our own share of horse races, we weren’t as amazed as most tourists, but we weren’t disappointed. Continuing on the tradition of not having very many rules, kids on horses sped down the road and attempted to pick up a hata laying on the ground. After about 5 tries, we got bored, and snuck into the village to find a hotel to stay.

By the time we unpacked, took a shower (wanting to have first dibs on the solar-powered hot water), and wrote this blog. Sadly, when I look out the window the crowds have cleared already and the horses were gone! Oh well, there’s always next year!

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