Sunday, September 04, 2005

Back from Trekking

We’re alive!

After 10 days of walking, rain, cold, altitude, and magnificent views (not necessarily in that order), we’re finally back from our Langtang trek in Nepal.

In those 10 days I saw my first yak, detached my first leech (and was bitten by two others), saw my first glacier, reached my highest altitude ever outside a plane, did my first kora, had my first taste of dal bhaat and a surreptitious sliver of fried yak meat, and saw my first glimpse of the Himalaya.

My eternal thanks go out to the manufacturers of my waterproof boots, quick dry clothes, shock-absorbent trekking poles, and Ariel enzyme-powered detergent.

It was a great trip. And the air is marvelously clear at 4400 meters. But if I never see another pack of instant Rara ramen soup again, it’ll be too soon.

Our sherpa guide warned us that the first morning of our trek would be a sharp ascent, but then it would be flat the rest of the day. Apparently, "flat" for sherpas must mean the trail goes up and down in equally steep proportions. I couldn’t tell you what the view looked like on that first day... all I remember seeing was the trail in front of me, as I concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other. If our group didn’t have porters helping to carry our main backpacks, I would probably have quit well before lunch!

Thankfully, it did get easier from the second day onward, which is why I’m still alive to tell the tale. And which is also why we haven’t pitched our friend Romy down the side of a cliff... "just long walks", huh? Somebody forgot to mention several hundred meters of up-and-down trudging required to eke out a couple of hundred meters’ altitude gain.

At the end of the trek we chucked our budget out the window and recuperated at the Kathmandu Hyatt, which at $60 a night was a splurge in Nepal but a steal compared to Singapore hotels. After 10 days of teahouse living, it was refreshing to be in a place that had consistent hot showers (I was happy just to have the showers in the same building!), Western-style plumbing, and actually provided guests with complimentary toilet paper instead of selling it by the roll.

I’m glad we went on the trip and grateful for the chance to have seen both the lush green hills and the snowy peaks of the Himalaya.

Romy is now on his way to Tibet to climb Cho Oyu, the 6th highest mountain in the world. We wish him luck coping with his upcoming 30+ days of altitude, grueling climbs, and camp food!

More stories to come...

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At October 08, 2005 8:52 PM, Blogger josaw said...

HI Ching! My hat off to you and John for surviving Langtang and for not pushing Romy off a cliff during the climb.


At February 16, 2006 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting ....but i wish there were pix in your article. The views must have been oh-so-amazing!


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