7/24/99 – Saturday – 9:45

In the middle of a Nepali sermon. [I’m pretty sure we only had English translations at the fancy church in Kathmandu, not here in Pokhara.]Nepali%20church_small[1]

I think I have the basic idea of a story to write.

In the unfamiliar streets of Kathmandu, I go shopping for Pringles. I step over the Buddhist shopkeeper; she slaps me [stepping over someone or pointing the sole of one’s foot at them is insulting and degrading]. I apologize; she laughs. I go to sit down on a box; she yells at me for sitting on her idol. I apologize again, buy my Pringles, and say thanks. As I walk out, she uncovers the box and turns it on. “Free Falling” pours out of the speakers. The streets seems more unfamiliar.

It has its basis in truth, the lady in Jomsom at the One Stop Shop. She slapped and yelled at Dan and played “Free Falling” when I walked out with Pringles one time. I don’t think the idol and the stereo were the same thing, but they have to be, since that’s the point of the story.

7/23/99 – Friday – 22:15

One last day in Pokhara, then to KTM. Today we ate at 10:00 or so, then the girls and I went to the main city of Pokhara to go shopping. They were buying punjabis, and I was looking for a G-string =). I ended up buying a punjabi. It was a fun time. Got back at 13:30 or so, then left at 14:30 to go to the Tibetan camp for our futbol game [arranged after an informal game during our previous visit].

We started out strong – a beautiful cross from the right corner by myself, and Jimmy with the goal. Football%20with%20monks_small[1]Then one by Garrett. Then they picked it up. I had a better personal game and lots of fun. We lost 7-4 in 2 15-minute halves. Went to supper at Once Upon a Time, and stayed to watch Payback. Danielle didn’t watch, but she sat there and read Newsweek….

Anyway, church tomorrow morning. Don’t wanna go, since I hate Nepali church, being an English speaker myself who can’t sit on the floor for shit. 12 days left.

7/22/99 – Thursday – 21:45

… Everyone else went to the Loba [Lopa] village today. Dan, Garrett and I stayed back, but I was sick so I didn’t see them much. Saw Entrapment tonight. Khogen and I are getting along pretty well. I really like him and feel back about the way he’s taken for granted. …

7/21/99 – Wednesday – 9:00

Didn’t do much yesterday. We were gonna go out on the lake, but it was cloudy. The rest of the guys did that; I went and watch Notting Hill at Billy Bunter. We ate breakfast at Maya (we’re there right now too) and dinner at Boomerang. Finished Without Remorse and The Street Lawyer yesterday and this morning. About 1/2 through the short stories book (O Henry). Gonna trade in the Runaway Jury and the Street Lawyer and get something else. Going to see Dolma at her orphanage today. She’s taking us to the other Tibetan refugee camp. Get back before 14:00 and we might go out on the lake. Not much else to write as far as events.

7/19/99 – Monday – 18:40

Back in Pokhara. Fun flight. I was in the front-left seat, so I got a great view of the mountains and the co-pilots instruments. Really cool.

Flying%20from%20Jomsom_small[1]Tracy, Dan and Khogen went in the 2nd plane. Was about a 20-30-minute flight, and we got in at 7:55 or so. Staying at a new guesthouse, across the street from Boardwalk. Feel some real tension within the team. Should be the easiest part of our trip, these last *18 days*, but I think this will be the hardest time as a team. We really haven’t dealt with a whole lot [of our issues]. Ate lunch at the Billy Bunter and watched the final of the Copa America futbol tourney. Going back in a few mins to see Wild, Wild West. It only came out two weeks ago =). Tracy’s birthday today. Heather got everyone else to go together and buy a disgusting cake. Cake had a buttery substance for frosting. Ate cake and steak at Everest, and I had a terrible cut of meat. I feel our team has grown apart.

I finally shaved today. Contemplated trimming it and leaving it on, but decided I didn’t want the tan lines. I think I looked older though.

Guitar is back =) but one string broke in storage. Tried to find a shop today, but didn’t see one. Just have to play like that for now.

Hate the climate here. Feel grosser after 20 mins here than I did after 2 rough days by Jomsom. Lots of tourists here too. Two of the Brits from Muktinath flew here right after us, and they’re staying by the dam or something. Maybe we’ll run into them. Flying back Sunday now, so we’ll be in KTM longer.

7/18/99 – Sunday – 16:00?

Our long trek at 6:00 til dark turned out to be to the Jomsom airport. It was a complete surprise for everyone but Tracy (she overheard). Unfortunately, it’s too cloudy near Ghasa for planes to get up the gorge, so we’ve been stuck here all day. We tried to use our time wisely though. At 7:45 I pulled out the map and suggested we go some place, meaning Mesokanto Pass. Jimmy was interested, and in a couple of minutes Garrett, Dan and Jeremy decided to go also. We gave ourselves til 2:00 to get there, then turn around. Unfortunately, we got to the first split of the Longpoghyun Khola and got confused. We missed the trail on the top of the north side, so we tried to go along the river.

First we tried the north fork. We got stuck and turned around. Then we tried the south fork, including a trail that seemed to head up to the top, thinking maybe we were at the 2nd fork. Dan got really wet when he did a spin move in the middle of the river. Finally we saw other people, and they pointed us to a trail that led up the ridge between the two forks (turned out we were at the first split). It was a hell of a hill, and it took some balls to climb. I led a lot of the time. We finally got to where we could see a city, and correctly guessed it was Kaisang. We could also see the correct trail on the other side of the huge gorge.

The trail we were on only led to a Nepali Army Mountain Training school, which Dan knew was at 13-some thousand feet. The base blocked our trail, so we turned back. It was a good time. We stayed on the bigger, and that gave us a flatter route over the ridge, but we still had the same steep decline. Halfway back we stopped and had snacks, as well as taking pictures in our underwear.

Underwear_small[1]Just as we got done with the pix a guy started up the hill, so we quickly got dressed. Walked back to Jomsom and took a shower.

I was kinda disappointed about flying. I really wanted to trek back, and was prepared for it (we still might have to if it’s cloudy for 2 more days). I really wasn’t excited about it, but I wanted to persevere and do it. Wasn’t at all disappointed about today – I wasn’t expecting to make it at all, though it would have been cool. Little sore though, so I probably won’t try to do it tomorrow. Hope the sky clears to the plane can come.

19:33
Finally got dinner. Took like 2 hours, and the girls and the other people here got food first, even though we ordered an hour before them. The guys got ticked off, but I can’t see the justification for that. It’s not America, and we knew that when we ordered. It works differently here, and we can’t expect American service. Kinda divided b/t girls and guys today, cuz we had separate days and now they’re eating in the other room. Think I’m gonna go to bed. Got sunburned today and feel pretty tired. Hope the flight comes.

7/17/99 – Saturday – 12:15

In Jomsom again, we’re staying here tonight, not sure why. Garrett said we’re staying here and resting, then leaving at 6 AM and going all day. What the hell is the point of that? Everyone got kinda irritable today. Descending%20to%20Jomsom_small[1]

We burned down the hill for awhile, but then we got to a river that had swollen since we came up to Kagbeni. Jimmy and Danielle went across with shoes on, and they were wet after that. I kinda fell in once and got all dirty. That kinda slowed us down. But we still got here in 4 hours.

The govt. abolished trekking permits 5 days ago, so we could have gone through Thorung La and into Upper Mustang. Sux. [Thorung La, yes; Mustang, no. That area remains closed, though it’s easier to get a permit now.]

7/17/99 – Saturday – 6:30

Well we’re in Muktinath and it’s cloudy. We saw 3 peaks for just a minute this morning, but it’s foggy and raining. Keep getting interrupted, cuz the porter for the 3 Brits wants to chat. It was an ok trip up, Jeremy leading. Went up to the temple here, then climbed a hill, ate dinner, talked, played cards, and went to bed. Gotta eat breakfast now, so I’ll write later.

7:35
So we started from Kagbeni going uphill for quite a while. Towards%20Muktinath2_small[1]Towards%20Muktinath1_small[1]

That was tough, but then it leveled out near Khingar and Jarkot. Stopped in Karkot for awhile. I just sat there, the rest got drinks. I’ve kinda sworn off pop for awhile. We were expecting another 2 hours to Muktinath, but it turned out to be 30-45 mins. I think we made good time. Chortens%20near%20Muktinath_small[1]We checked into the Hotel North Pole, which actually had 24-hour electricity. We got a double for Danielle and a triple for the rest of us. Before we checked in we went to the checkpoint, and some British guys came up right behind us. They ended up at the North Pole too, so we talked to them a bit. Another 2 Brits came after them. They had all gone over the Thorung La yesterday. We ate lunch, then walked to the monastery, where fire, earth and water come together. It’s a Hindu and Buddhist Mecca. But it actually wasn’t very nice.

Muktinath%20fountains_small[1]Muktinath%20prayer%20flags_small[1]

We couldn’t find the fire, which was supposed to be a natural gas vent that continuously burned. Then we figured out that the candles behind a window were the eternal flame [as I wrote in the margin a couple days later, this is not true. There really is a small natural gas vent that burns constantly – we just never found it].

Danielle went back to the hotel, then we walked toward the Thorung La. The police checkpoint is no big deal, and I think we could have done the pass with our permits. We checked in, but our permits let us go past that point cuz it’s in the middle of Muktinath. Muktinath%20gate_small[1]There’s no other checkpoint until the other side of the pass. Jimmy and I climbed a hill, just so we could say we hit 4000 m. (the temple was at 3800 m.) We got back at 16:00 and ordered dinner for 18:30 and breakfast for 7:00. Then we sat here for 2 hours waiting for dinner.Above%20Muktinath_small[1]

We walked around a little after dark, then talked in Danielle’s room for a while. She was a little nervous so she, Jeremy and I went downstairs and played Spades. Went to bed about 9:30. We all slept ok. Got up at 6, talked to the porter for a while, ate breakfast, Jeremy witnessed to the porter, and now I’m journaling. That’s pretty much all. Feel pretty good about today’s walk down. I like having only 4 people. Wish we were gone longer from the group. I don’t think I’m going to like the trip down, cuz we’ve already been over that ground. Wish we could fly from Jomsom; much rather do that than Pokhara-KTM. 8:02

7/16/99 – Friday – Morning

Going to Muktinath today, just Jimmy, Jeremy, Danielle and I. Garrett’s hurting, and Dan doesn’t want to go either. They’re going to Jomsom, and we’re meeting them there tomorrow.

It’s drizzling here. I thought it didn’t rain up this high, but it’s been cloudy and wet all night. Hope it clears up for the day. It’ll be more comfortable, and we’ll have a better view.

7/15/99 – Thursday – 15:00

In Kagbeni, and now we’re not doing any pass. We’re going straight to Muktinath tomorrow, staying a night and heading straight back to Beni. Kinda depressed and angry/irritable in general. Not sure why yet.

Hotel%20Nigiri%20View_small[1]

I’m back. Took a shower. Part of it is $. Another part, I’m sure, is that we’re not going to climb any higher than Muktinath. That really disappoints me, even though it just came up a couple days ago.

 Another part is that we have 3 weeks left, with basically nothing to do. Basically from the day after tomorrow we’re on our way home. We trek down, bus to Pokhara, hang our for a week, fly to KTM, hang out, and fly home.

 Yesterday I forgot to write about our afternoon trek. I wanted to walk to Kaisang, SE of Jomsom, on the way to the Mesokanto Pass. Jeremy wanted to come with, so we took off. We only had 2 hours, though, cuz lunch came late. So we just decided to walk for an hour and turn around. We walked for 45 mins, got on the wrong trail, and it was dangerous. Shale path on the side of the hill with high winds. Then Jeremy wanted to climb a hill, so we started up. I’ve never been scared so badly in my life. I honestly thought several times I was gonna die there. It was not steep, but it was all shale, and it broke off easily. We climbed up and down in a half hour, then walked back.

I bought a book of 100 O Henry stories yesterday. It’s got some good stuff.

Staying at the Annapurna Guest House, and it’s pretty nice. Hot showers cost $, but there are attached baths with each room. Lunch took 2 hours, cuz only one girl was working. The rest are in the fields.

Some people want to get horses (Rs. 500) or porters (200) for tomorrow’s trek. I think that would be stupid.