Black and white world II: Annapurna

We are already walking for a month. We carry our small world on our backs and have smelly feet almost all the time. Our hair is growing long everywhere. The Himalayas are so vast and gorgeous that it is impossible to run through them, even though we sometimes want to as our legs are as if they were made of steel.

Walking through rainforests, witnessing a 15 cm spider, descending on endless stoney stairs down the high-hills, sleeping in freezing cold, watching majestic mountains covered with white cream, living in the rhythm of nature; waking up at 6, sleeping at 9, admiring blooming rhododendrons, being invited to drink fresh, hot blood of yak at blood drinking festival, getting stuck because of food poisoning, walking in strong wind and having sand in our mouths, reading, having ups and downs, eating dal bhat every day, gazing at the scenery and feeling exhausted to death. Especially after climbing 5416 m high pass Thorong La where we met loads of trekkers doing Annapurna circuit in the “right way”. Apparently we are doing it the other way around so we mostly walk completely alone. This is our trek around Annapurna range. It was planned to be eight days long but we just kept on going, from Khopra ridge over Thorong La to Besishahar.

It is challenging. It’s like being the worst and the best version of myself at the same time. The ascends are tough and the descends steep. When my health suffers the factors are just adding together to a disastrous mood that will pass by while I drink another cup of black tea, that Tibetans spice with butter and salt, and roll in my sleeping bag. And, of course, look forward to having tsampa porridge in the morning.

People in the high hills live a peaceful life. They sit together in front of their houses, chat and observe what is going on on the main square in front of the gompa. Many animals step into the shot and apparently it’s ‘baby time’ as a man from the village told us. In front of the fence is a herd of baby goats. Nevertheless, the winter was tough and cold, many yaks died and mothers don’t have enough milk for their offsprings. The land is rocky, poor and cold and mostly uninhabited during the winter. Tibetan influence makes the culture with a mixture of hinduism and buddhism a special place to explore. Who knows how will Thakalis’ life look like when Nepalese succeed in building roads to the villages. Now every kilometer with the bus through Kali Gandhaki valley on the bumpy road makes an adventurous experience.

I wonder why do among all the places we’ve been to this one vibrates to me the most; the commotion of the cities and tranquillity of the countryside. Maybe I am, at last, ready to let go.

Text: Eva

Photo: Eva & Uroš, from my Iphone gallery