Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Day 5 - Num to Seduwa

We were up at 6.15 so we could avoid the worst heat of the day as we walked to Seduwa.

We decided to have Roti and tea for our first breakfast in Num.

Strongman's 'sister' prepared them in the simple kitchen of the teahouse.

The roti were served with a simple sauce - basically tomato ketchup.

The bowls of sauce were still full when we were done..

We paid our bill which included 3 dinner, 3 beds, 2 beers (@ 300NPR ea), tea and breakfast.

The entire bill was 2,250 NPR (less than ($30)

The walk to Seduwa was 'Nepali flat' - we would start and finish at roughly the same 5,000 ft elevation.

The only catch was we needed to drop over 3,000 ft to the Arun river and climb back up the far side.

Before long we were caught in a traffic jam behind a mule train and the German trekking party.

It was tricky getting by on the narrow trail.

This is a small part of the group of porters travelling with the German trekkers.

For a group of four tourists they had about a dozen porters all of whom were heavily laden.

When we reached the Arun river there was a choice of two bridges.

The older one had wooden decking with just a few planks missing.

The new bridge has a spiffy metal deck.

The climb from the Arun river up to Seduwa was steep.

Elaine was enjoying watching myself and Mark suffer in the heat.

We stopped at a small shop 1/2 way up the hill.

Our guides cooked us second breakfast at this stop.

It consisted of a one egg omelet and a plate of fried beaten rice each.

The beaten rice wasn't so good - a bit like eating sawdust.

We stopped for a break to cool down just as we arrived to Strongman's village just below Seduwa.

This place was a hive of activity.

There were groups out harvesting rice in the fields.

While we were stopped a train of about 10 guys passes each hauling bundles of bamboo.

The bamboo is harvested somewhere way up the hill and dragged back to town.

It is beaten flat and used to construct walls and roofs.

We arrived at Strongman's house where we would stay for the night.

We first met his wife and 5 month old baby boy.

Strongman prepared pancakes and honey for lunch.

These were served with a whole pickle and pickled bamboo.

The honey came from a hive on the end of the porch where we were sitting.

The house was a simple cottage with just one bedroom and a kitchen.

The toilet was an interesting structure in an adjacent field.

They did drop leaves of some sort into the pit in an attempt to make it smell better for us.

We dropped our bags in the bedroom.

The three of us shared this one room and Strongman, his wife and baby slept on the mud floor in the kitchen.

It was only later I realized this was his parents house and they usually sleep on the kitchen floor.

They spent the night in the buffalo shed so we could stay.

We wandered into the town to buy passes for the National Park.

The official park entrance is in Seduwa

We were able to buy our park permits in the town at the government checkpoint.

If I recall correctly they were 3,000 NPR each.

Note that you can get your permit here but you must have a TIMS card before you arrive - they are not available in Khandbari or in any town along the route.

We had a look at the logbook in the permit office and it showed 90 tourists had bought permits there this season.

While the paperwork on the permit was being completed I had a game of footie with the local kids.

The goal was the side of the government building.

This is a picture of my football buddies.

They didn't speak English but they knew how to pose for a team photo.

I have mailed 10 copies of the pic to Strongman to distribute.

Heading back through town we stopped and some local kids explained the rules of caroom.

It's like snooker or pool in that you fire one chip at others trying to deflect them into pockets in the corners.

We headed back to Strongman's house (stopping for a sneaky beer on the way).

We later met his parents at the house.

His mother was constantly busy in the garden where they grew all the food they needed.

She would also head out occasionally to gather food for the three goats they kept.

Local kids would constantly come and go while we were at the house.

These two were nabbed for a bit of babysitting duty.

Strongman killed a chicken for evening dinner and longman was roped into helping with cooking.

It was interesting that the cooking fire just sat on the floor in the middle of the kitchen.

I don't think we saw a flue or chimney anywhere we stayed in Nepal.

I have been told there are two reasons for this.

First is that having no flue means less draw and therefore less wood is used. This is a big deal further up the mountains where firewood is scarce.

The second reason I heard is that the creosote which lines all the walls and the ceiling serves to waterproof the building.

Dinner was Dal Bhat served with tasty pickles and chicken butchered Nepali style.

If you don't like bones in your meat or if you care what part of the animal you are eating you probably should go vegetarian in Nepal.

Weather:  Still One Hat Weather

Accommodation: Despite the primitive bathroom and sleeping on the floor I would definitely call this a 3 cup experience. Strongman and family looked after us extremely well and the experience couldn't be beaten.

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