After a hateful night sleep that entailed more nauseous sweating than sleep I’m up into a new day and feeling definitely worse for wear, a rolling stomach has me in no shape for walking. Pisang isn’t an inspiring town with no electricity and therefore no contact leaving us cold, uncomfortable and isolated. We need to move down the hill to less chilly places and internet but I can barely muster the energy to walk to the dining room. Chame is the goal for today and the only way I will have a good chance of getting there is without carrying my pack, the weight would tip me over the edge of a walk I’m nervous about making even without it. With a little negotiation with the guys at the guesthouse they offer to ride our bags down on the back of a motorbike for a reasonable fee; problem solved but I have now committed to making it to Chame with no option of faltering short.
So we abandon Pisang for the town of Chame which has far greater hopes of the services we need. Walking is a challenge but without the pack we make slow but steady progress to Daikur Pokhari about an hour down the road and roughly a third of the way. The road is a ghost town, we’ve seen one bold jeep on the road in place of the scores of other days, not a single walker has passed us and most of the buildings we pass seem closed for business. The effects of the quake are further reaching than we often think of, this tourism dependant area has had it’s livelihood slashed in the rumbling of the earth in the second busiest time of the year for these people that need the income. Small groups of people sit outdoors huddling around radios listening for news with concerned faces and pensive postures granting more credence to a crackling voice from a radio than anyone wants to give.
The walk down the hill has taken on a vastly different complexion to the walk up, gone is the anticipation, the buzz of hikers, people sharing photos and warm happy hosts. In place of all the atmosphere that encompasses these towns we find no hosts asking us in for lunch, no cheerful ‘namaste’ greeting and no sense of appreciation for this amazing part of the world. We came up the track in one of the worlds most uplifting and inspiring places but we come back to the same sights yet the balloon is deflated, saggy and wholly unrecognisable. The pace is slow on account of my illness but still we push inspired by need rather than desire; we need to get out of here, we’re not wanting to be here.
Just after Daikur Pokhari we pass through a massive overhang, hundreds of metres of rock lie above us and there’s no other way, we have to go through. With small cliffs opposite the river tumbling down stone and sand in a never ending dribble of debris we’re reminded of our vulnerability at the worst possible time. Indeed the next hours walking is under massive cliffs, about 300m of rock rises up from our road nearly vertically as I muster as much willpower as I can. Our host passes us on his bike and after a quick chat he carries on to drop off our bags at the designated guesthouse.
This walk is just a little too long for me, I’m flagging badly but need to carry on, every few hundred metres calls for a sit down to rest below cliffs of stone and debris in a world that can rumble at any moment. We can’t stop but I can’t go any faster our constant dilemma. Our host is now coming the other way, Charlie pays him and chats while I sit bent over on the road vomiting last nights dinner, this is not my prettiest moment. There’s not long to go with Chame surely close and although not making it isn’t a danger this is by far the toughest day walking so far. It turns out that our host had taken the time to book in our room, carry our bags upstairs and brought our key back to us in what is now a typical Nepali display of care and sincerity. In the face of his nation suffering such destruction there’s always a space for someone in need it seems. With so many variants of culture in Nepal the mountainous region here is the very typical buddhist culture influenced from Tibet that a western mind imagines, the wise principles of buddhism don’t seem to be lip service at all.
The death toll is now up over 4100 and rising, the disaster keeps getting worse and worse. We’re in a relatively unaffected part of the country in statistical terms but it’s far from unaffected, we see a photo of a temple that we were on top of just a week ago that is now in rubble thankful that we’re this far away, we could so easily be two of the 4100. In a comfortable place in a town that has a small hospital and a military chopper we’re recovering tomorrow on a much needed rest day for me. Collapsing onto a bed sick and in desperate need of a shower I won’t have I can’t help think of the sad situation we’re in. Our blog is called ‘BitJealous’ in attempt at cheeky fun at those at home but right now when it comes to us or indeed anybody in Nepal there’s no one jealous, nothing to be jealous about at all.