I woke early and departed, looking for a quieter hotel, finding one which wasn’t surrounded by building sites. I met Stephanie, the French girl, for a late breakfast, unfortunately without her friends (who I was hoping to persuade to join me in trekking). I spent the rest of the day feeling pretty knackered, catching up on the blog and photos, using the web to research trekking and try to find trekking partners. At my hotel one of the other guests, an middle-aged American guy asked if I was going trekking. I said yes and he asked if I needed a walking stick. “As a matter of fact I do…”. The guy said he had just come back from the ABC trek and didn’t need his stick any more. He gave it to me, it was a strong, light wooden pole cut from a tree branch. He wanted to donate it to another trekker and I gratefully accepted his kind offer.
After a very late lunch I went for a walk along the path by the lake. Tibetan women were patrolling up and down selling fruit and jewelry. Families were washing their clothes in the murky-looking water and I saw a man bathing in it. Tourists and locals sat on the shoreline. I reached a scruffy campsite and a trotting buffalo which was mooing loudly. Fortunately it wasn’t on the war-path and went right past. Overhead a paraglider was very low and I wondered if he was in trouble. At the last minute he swung round and aimed at the path, coming to a running stop on it, his parachute settling behind him. Local kids ran towards him, laughing. Smooth moves.
The shoreline curved and I passed school children returning home. One boy walked with me, practicing his (good) English. Regularly along the shore there were little water pumps taking piped water from the lake over to nearby buildings. A bird of prey swooped down to a building close to me and I got my first good look at these impressive birds. I returned as the sun went down, and looked around to discover that the Annapurnas had come out of the cloud. They looked magnificent on the skyline.
The lake looked great too with the evening light and all the moored rowing boats and I took a load of pictures.
I headed to the hotel and climbed to the roof, where the skyline was impressive. Until, of course, someone started burning rubbish nearby (a usual disposal method) and the foul smoke blew across the view. I contacted Bhupen from Fantastic Nepal about my concerns with the mountain visibility for trekking – I’d only seen them on a few occasions. He said he’d send his trekking guide to chat with me tomorrow.
I decided to get a haircut. I hadn’t had one for two months and even before that it was quite long. It was a permanent permy afro I could no longer control. The experiment was over. I popped into a local hairdresser, haggled a price (you have to haggle for pretty much everything here!), and sat in a wooden stool. I asked to keep it a bit long and of course following the unwritten rule of hairdressing the guy chopped it really short. I told him to do what he wanted so I got a Nepali hairstyle with side parting. Then I had a wet shave, you have to trust you’re in safe hands when you have a bare razor grazing over your adam’s apple! It was finished off with a rather violent head massage which was actually pretty good. My head felt naked and I practically had to swim out of the place through all my locks, severed in their prime!
I met Stephanie and her friends, a Dutch guy called Rick and a German girl, at a restaurant for dinner. Stephanie was excited because her sister was in labour in France. We had a good chat and I tried to persuade them to come trekking with me. Unfortunately Stephanie was doing the epic Annapurna circuit, Rick didn’t have enough time and the girl was off to a monastery for spiritual healing. Gah! Christine joined us at the end of the evening, it was her last night here. I arranged with Stephanie to share a taxi next morning to Sarangkot, which has a renowned sunrise view, and wandered the streets to book one for us. We called it a night and I said goodbye to Christine. Just as I was about to turn in, I got a text from Stephanie saying she was ducking out of the trip tomorrow, she couldn’t sleep because her sister’s child had been born. Whilst I appreciated the situation I was annoyed because it was too late to cancel and taking the taxi alone was going to be expensive, exactly why I’d wanted to share in the first place!