Donnerstag, 28. November 2019

SuzyBlue goes east 2019: Nepal part 3, Langtang-Gosaikunda-Trekking, 03.-13-11-2019

Sunday I change back to the ROKPA guesthouse within the Boudha Stupa area. After doing quite some research I book the 11-days-trekking and just enjoy having the time to meet more Nepalis and learn a lot more about their daily life, their culture and different relegions. Before I traveled to Nepal I was in contact with the charity organisation ROKPA and asked whether I could be of any help - next to bring clothes and Laptops to Nepal. With my hotel background they asked me whether I could make sort of a mistery-check of the guesthouse and all the services they offer. Next to the children's home and the sewing-workshop for women they started a hospitality-school last year.   They qualify about 30 young Nepalis during a one-year-training as either cooks, waiters or room keepers/receptionists. With this qualification thex have a realistic chance to get a proper job (and salary) in the huge hospitality business in and around Kathmandu and therefor also are able to support their family. Something that is absolutely not common here. My "job" was to have a businesslike eye on all the services but at the same time be just a normal guest. Next to the headquarter in Zurich and the manager nobody knew about my task. It is a great team working at the ROKPA guesthouse and I hope I could give them some useful tips what could be improved.


The days pass quick and on Sunday I start to my first and curious awaited trekking which will lead me hrough the Langtang Valley and as an extra up to holy lakes of Gosaikunda.
I'll be in the luxury situation to have a guide as a porter as well. On the one hand I booked them because I was beforehand not sure how good my freshly recovered knee would be able to match such an effort. And on the other hand I'll have many information about everything I'm interested in: the people, the landscape, the nature. And two young men will have a job with a decent salary for 11 days which allows them to have a living and support their families a little bit as well. There are dozens of trekking companies in Kathmandu and it took me quite some research to find one that has the reputation of being a fair entrepreneur. 3 days before the trekking starts we meet for changing the necessary information and requierements. Then on Sunday early morning the boss of the company picks me up at the hotel, together with my guide Bishal. With a private jeep - since my motorbike trip I don't trust the local jeeps and buses anymore - we drive to Syabrubesi whoch is only 150km away from Kathmandu. But because of the wretched road conditions it takes almost 6 hours to get there.
On the way we pick up Kushal, the porter, as well.

In Syabrubesi we stay at the "Buddha Guest House" and before the dinner I stroll around the village and enjoy watching the daily life. During the diner I get some "instructions" from Bishal and then go to bed early as we will start already at 7.30am the next morning.


The next days have always similar day-to-day routine: breakfast at 7am, start walking at 7.30am; depending on the availability we take lunch at a teahouse on the way and arrive - due to kilometers, altitude and my condition - at the next guesthouse around 3 or 4pm the latest. Relaxing and then having diner around 6 or 7pm. As I'm mostly quite tired and as it is always really cold in these guesthosues - the only heated rooms are the dining room and the kitchen - I go to bed around 9m the latest. The first 3 days we walk from 4000feet up to 11'500 feet to Kanjin Gompa, the last inhabitated village in Langtang valley. The scenery is just beautiful: forests of Rhododendrum and bamboo, nests of wild bees, edelweiss and gentian, the swoosh of the river Langtang Khola, makakes and langures swinging through the high trees next to us. And of course the first glimps of the already more than 18'000 feet high mountains: majestic, incredible beautiful.


The first night we stay at "Lama hotel", a place with a couple of guesthouses. The second then in "New Lantang village". On the way to there we pass the huge boulder field just underneath the Langtang Lirung (21'600feet) where the original village "Langtang" was situated. Right after the boulder field is now a Mani monument with the names of the more than 200 people that died during the devastating earthquake from April 25, 2015. The earthquake had a scale of 7.8 and loosened part of the mountain and of the glacier and of a frozen mountain lake just above the village. These landslide covered within seconds the complete village and killed all its inhabitants: about 170 villagers, 30 tourism staff and about 40 tourists fom allover the world. There was not the hint of a chance to escape. The landslide was that enormous that the resulting air pressure flattened all the trees on the other side of the narrow valley on a length of some kilometers. Only people hat had not been directly in the village survived but had to wait for a week to get some help from outside the valley. Everybody lost at least on or two family memmers, some families had been completely extinct. A really sad and touching idea. And it feels quite strange to walk over this rubel field and to sleep in this really simple new guesthouses.


"New Langtang village" is placed just little above the old village. Many buildings are still under construction. As well as in the next village "Kanjin Gompa" which buildings had been destroyed as well. The support of the governement - in spite of massive help from all over the world - works really bad and is even slowed down more through the immense bureaucracy and corruption  The very isolated place is hard to reach and everything has to be carried up by either mules, Yaks or humans. There are not many people who can afford to pay a helicopter to bring material up to the valley.

Thanks to some balloons I brought with me - a tip from the trekking company - I got in contact with some children and a local family. the mother Kurma Sherpa was just in Langtang for a short time - meanwhile married in the region of Helambu which was heavily damaged as well - and helping her sister-in-law during the prozedure of buring her father. Next to her the only one sof their family who had survived the earthquake. It really makes me sad to learn about their story - a story like many others here - to learn about how they handle this tragedy and how they try to find a way back into life and make a living for them and for their children. This sort of resilience might be the reason why Nepal did not collapse completely after the earthquake. The Nepalis are used to live under harsh conditions and their old culture and also deep religious thinking helps them to find a way. I leave as much clothes as possible with them and hope that I can keep the contact and maybe support them a little once back in Switzerland.


The next day we walk on to Kanjin Gompa which we already reach 4 hours later. We are now at an altitude of appr. 11'500feet and the thin air gives me quite a hard time meanwhile. I don't show any signs of altitude sickness but I walk really slow - although Bishal always encourages me and says that I'm strong and faster then most others. But the fact the the two young men always talk, lough and even sing while walking shows me quite clear that my fitness level is far at the other end of theirs ;-)
but they both take their job really serious, keep always an eye on me andmake sure that I drink enough and have sufficient rest. We have lots of fun together and we explain to each other many things about our very different lifes. It is still quie extraordinary and does feel strange that they never take a rest or have their meal before I had it. First they make sure that everything is ok for me and only then they settle down themselves. But they reassure me that this behaviour is really ok for them and just part of their culture.


To give me some rest I abstain from going up to mount Terko Ri (15'000feet) and take an easy walk further along the valley. I even spot some "blue sheep", a really rare animal. What a nice surprise. 

Being back in the village a visit the chees factory. Probably the only one on analtitude of more than 11'000feet. A Swiss guy who visited the valley in 1954 had shown them how to produce Yak chees. The building was destroyed as well during teh earthquake but built up again with the help of the Swiss governement.


After this 4 days we walk down again; as far back as to Rimche where we cross the river to the other side of the valley and walk up to Thulo Syabru on 7200feet. The holy lakes of Gosaikunda are our next destination.


After many sweaty walking hours and a stay in the guesthouse at Chalangbari we reach the lakes of Gosaikunda. We are on an altitude of more than 13'000feet now. Even to turn around in my sleeping bag is sort of exhausting ;-) but the unique scenery, die view of the many mountain giants around us (f.e. Mt. Manaslu with almost 25'000feet) are the effort more than worth.  

The next moring we get up early and walk up to the view point of Gosaikunda at almost 14'000feet where a breathtaking sunrise awaits us. 

I'm almost a little nostalgic leaving this wonderful place. We walk down and reach Dunche already the next day. After the typical Dal Bhat for lunch we drive back to Kathmandu, of course again in a private jeep ;-)

During these 10 days we walked more than 100km and a total of appr. 36'000feet of ups and downs. An unforgettable experience with again great encounters; with Nepalis as well as with other Trekkers from all over the world. I'm very aware that it is a huge privilege to have such a great experience.


I return back to the ROKPA guesthouse, tired but full of impressions. It is my last night in Nepal and I enjoy the great view over the nightly illuminated Kathmandu.
Thursday evening I get on the plane that brings me via Abu Dhabi back to Switzerland.

It is a wonderful feeling to be back home with my beloved family.
The six weeks in Nepal are still deep in my mind and I guess it will take quite some time to process everything I experienced, saw, drove and walked. I have the vague feeling that Nepal does not let me go that fast.

My SuzBlue is still on the way back from Kirgistan but nevertheless my trip "silkroad 2019" comes now defenitely to an end. And what now? I take time to decide what I will do job-related. But I'll not be bored for sure.

So here we are again: hasta luego, mi amigos....   stay tuned until my next adventure ;-)