Jiri and invitation to Rossi


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October 14th 2009
Published: November 12th 2009
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14/10/09

5:30 and 6:30 seem a bit too early, so I went for the 8:30 bus this morning, but it was actually departed at 9am, rather on time indeed. Bus was far more better that I had expected, sofa seat...kind of...at least you wouldn't feel the metalwork under you butt. Spacious would-be the word I used compared with buses in China, your knee wouldn't touch the back panel of the seat in front, in fact...I could even fitted my backpack there as well, very humanity design! The bus journey was far more longer than I thought, seem like never end, once left Kathmandu town the journey was curving around hillside on a narrow road, it was actually the road I had came down from Tibet, only until Lamosangu(lunch stop) then we turned right cross the Bhote river into an even narrower road up hill with many more sharp curves, there was many traffic on the small road, seem like there were many bus services from inside the mountain. A broken down bus stop our already long journey for another 30 mins, we carried on eastward crossing couple of valley, as my barometer shown the altitude ranged from 1500m till 2800m, up and down we went. The scene was quite pretty whenever I could looked through the gap of human bodies or the partly closed curtain, sometimes I saw small area of rice terrace like in Yuanyang, but here the mountain was so steep, and they formed a different shape, when around Charikot, the sky suddenly opened apart and a snow mountain appeared in the sky, just like it was hanging in mid-air, it looked familiar, I knew I had seem it in Tibet, only from the other side. Villagers in and out, but the bus was always packed, in one time I had 2 kids sleeping on my lap, sometimes there would be crates of fruit stick to my feet, one there was a big gas bottle, and even a goat onboard, but most of the time it would be an elbow, a hip, a children face or someone breast stuck on my side. It wasn't that worse, my worse nightmare was sick, probably by the winding road journey, I was vomited few times inside the crowds, but I wasn't the only one as plastic bags was pass out through the aisle. Later I find out it wasn't the bus journey, it was the yak cheese that I ate, it wasn't easy to digested and it created a block in my stomach that held everything in my chest, and with the rough ride, it all spilled! I gave the rest of the 500g yak cheese to the guesthouse in Jiri. Anyway...after 10 hrs we arrived Jiri in the dark...after 7pm! A tout who worked the bus show me a card with the name I saw before entered the bus park. Actually I saw couple of westerners sitting on the balcony there, and "150" was his replied when I asked the cheaper room rate. So...reasonable and all I want was a bed to lay down right away. It was actually quite ok and clean as I checked the other guesthouse later. There was quite a few traveler I'd seen in town, and 2 other bus arrived at the same time, some tourist with guide came to this guesthouse at the same time, so...the owner offered them the room which supposed are for me, and finally there were no room left. "here, 100 rupee, all for you,no other people" , he gave me a dorm room with 6 beds. I refused as I saw other guesthouse signs out there and tried to leave. "ok ok, you stay for free tonight, tomorrow I give you room for 150" he said as he knew I would stay for few days, haha, stay for free, too good to be true, but how could you turn down an offered like this, it seen competition was big in this small town. Why not then, as I really want sleep no matter where.

Note
Bus Kathmandu to Jiri 327 rupee

15/10/09

Feel better after a night sleep. Looked out the window and it was a sunny day. Only 8 o'clock and all the tourists had left, I went out and saw a big crowd with a banner across the street, a marathon run! About 30 people, westerner and Asian looking athlete, the opening speech was just finished and hada was being presented, and they all set out to the Everest direction. Heard it was about 2 weeks running till the basecamp then back down end at Namche bazaar. Tough work and in few second they all disappeared at the end of the market, with cameraman trailing behind with all his equipments, he should be the one won the prize I guess! That was the direction I will go later. I heard later that the leading runner took only 2 hrs to Kinja, and it would take us 2 days walk!
Jiri(@1900m) is a very small town, and it was already bigger than the one I'd read in my 12 years old guidebook, the single street had been extend further west I guess. more than enough GH on both side of the street with the bus park on the eastern end. Nowaday there was bus destinated to Those and Shivalaiya as well, seem like road work not extend too far deep eastward yet. Met the Nepalese young man again, we came on the same bus from Kathmandu yesterday, his name is Jiban, study in Kathmandu and part time working in a small radio station, a very nice gentle man, he was on his way to his village for the festival, and it was actually on the trekking route, so he invited me to joint him as well as showing me the direction on the 1st day. Why not as I might able to see some of the local life there. But 1st I need to meet up with Fadli, an Indonesian young man I caught up in the cyber world, to whom we will do the EBC trek together, and he would be in Jiri tonight. And finally he arrived by 4pm, far more faster than the journey that I had on the same 9 am bus, lucky him! So he had no problem to begin the walk the next day as it wasn't a too tiring bus trip for him.
Small incidence today. I moved out from the Cheerdung GH in the afternoon. They told me I should eat in their house as the room charge wasn't that much for their income if people didn't patron in their restaurant, fare but you couldn't forced me to do that, as I could choose where to eat as I prefered. "if you don't eat here, then you need to pay 200 for the room" the owner said, I then told him I better leave because there were GH charged only 100 for a far bigger room, beside...the price for food in his house was more expensive. He finally persuade me to stay on said no problem then, "stay here, make yourself like home"! But after that the faces of their family were different, blank with no smile everytime I greeted them with Nemaste. I told myself I will definitely checked out tomorrow so I just pretend nothing was wrong. And I had done my washing and many other thing, it wasn't sound right to just depart right now. But in the afternoon there was still no hot water that was promised since last night, and their attitude sound like you are not deserve it then I let loose, together with the still missing blanket(seem like I wasn't deserve to have one too), I packed and paid for the room which I wouldn't sleep in and left, they seem like ready for it too and it made me felt far more better, no explanation was asked or need as I knew they knew why. I moved to the Sherpa and was far more welcoming in the big room.

16/10/09

Met up with Jiban by 6 am, his mother has a small teahouse by the bus park and we all had breakfast there. Great to started the day with hot masala tea, couple of sher roti and boiled eggs. We headed out the main road and soon we began to climbing on a small trail. This was the main walking route for the locals came out from the mountain, even nowaday there was bus services, but most people still walk the trail as I could see many passengers along the route, many were women and childs. Jiban told me all the daughters had to go back to the home village for the Festival, that was why we seen many women on the trail. But the regular should be the porters, they carried heavy load from Jiri to Lukka or Namche, some of them had cargo over 100kg, kind of like 50 rupee/kg, then they could earn 5000 rupee for 10 days hard labour, it was really blood money! To sustained the horrible load on their back they all used chewing tobacco, and the tobacco's wrapping was the more popular piece of paper to be seen on the ground along the trail. A little bit more than an hour we came to the 1st top of today, and we saw couple of snow mountain top before dropped down to Shivalaya, a really nice little village by the river, full of guesthouse, a short break with hot lemon tea we again back on the trail for the long climbing aiming to Deurali pass at 2705m. It took us more than 4 hrs to got there as we made many breaks, but it help to eased up the tiring climb up. Again there were many guesthouse up there on the hilltop, it would be nice to stay the night there but our mind set in the village where Jiban home was. We began our descent after a quick noodle, fog flown in and the stunning view of the whole valley below had disappeared, reaching Bhandar was quick, it was the ideal night stop for trekker, but we carried on down hill to Rossi, a tiny village by the river where Jiban home was. "1 more hrs, only downhill" Jiban declared! So we followed although we were so tire, especially Fadli as he had carried far too much luggage for the trek, 2 packs was the fatal problem, together with a new hiking boots that was killing his spirit when the sharp pain created from his burning toes. I knew so well how it felt! We trodden downhill, the fog trailed in and it getting more dark. We went through some grass field it reminded me the country side of old England, through some small trail we were in the valley, suddenly I was back to Yuanyang, the mountain, the terrace field, it was very familiar, it looked just the same! My feet's rhythm sudden adapted to the roughness of the land, I was home as well, even the load on my back seem disappeared, I scaled down the slope in ease even in the dark(of course I had been twisted and fall as always!)). Finally we arrived Jiban home by 7pm, the more than 12 hours journey was over, what a released ! Actually it was the family of his uncle, but Jiban was grown up in this house. We were sorry to kept them waiting as they hadn't eaten yet, soon, foods was served, lovely huge cucumbers, fresh hot potatoes with chilli sauce, when they saw the chilli burned my lip, the traditional treatment presented...yak butter! It spread on my lip and the burning subsided, and I love the taste of it too! Then the rice was ready, top over with vegetable sauce and again different chilli, this time more milder, yak butter also added into the rice, mixed well by hand, then stuff into mouth with fingers. They all looking see how we would manage, disappointed of course as we all had been to India, although still crumpsy but we cleaned up our plate well! What a great way to end a tiring day with great food. We bid our goodnight as my back really crying for laid down. And we was wholly welcome, and I did made myself at home!

Note
A Friday market in the village Sotarmu, just 2km next to Bhandar.

17/10/09

A relexing day in the small village, now can really see it in day time. it was actually situated at mid-hill level, not exactly river side, but the view was great up here. "look look" the brother came running into our room this morning and pointed out of the window. Yes! a snow cap mountain slowly slowly appeared behind the cloud. Part of the Himalayas, another pyramid shape shown in the air, beautiful! We checked the map, from the location and direction that we looking at, it should be the Numbur, 6958m high.
Rossi village spread out on the hillside, couple of houses in different location linked by small trail, the family house of Jiban was more than 100 years old. here thing still running at the 80's time, cook by wood log, radio cassette and tape. Only the occasion mobile ring reminded me it was the 2009. Electricity was provided by a small generator for the whole village, so it wasn't really steady. Every family had cows, goats and chicken for cash crops I guess, and they grown rice, millet and some other simple vegetable, everything we ate were home grow, and the only transportation was by feet. Jiban left to visited other relatives from her mother side, and wouldn't be back until tomorrow, so we got to tested our limited Nepalese that we had learn. But nothing was matter as hand language could managed, we had our breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner well fed! Everything was freshly picked from the field around the house. And with the help of the phrase book that Fadli produced, we manage well. A short walk around to stretch our leg helped maintained our physical strength and leasing up our tensed muscle. And also got back the unseen view from last night on our way down, the big green mountain, the river and gorge all under our eye. A day with no stress and it passed real quick. home cooking was lovely, so far we got different dishes in every meal, the potato salad was superb! Mixed with different spices and their special small aubergine, tiny garlic favour in between, but the great touch was lemon juice, it made the whole plate alive! And the dhal was good in red pea, one special dish was the beaten rice with yoghurt, What is beaten rice? Yes...rice after beaten! It was like cornflakes thin, each piece was actually a rice but only being flattened, you could eat it like snacks with tea, mixed with hot milk or yoghurt. wonderful! I will probably gained back the 5kg that I had lost during travel in Tibet in this few days!

18/10/09

Although the Tihar Festival had already began, but it wouldn't be celebrated like in big city, here was more family thing. You would see every houses began the decoration of their door with flower, some got the house freshly repainted, and most important was light up the house, so every family would tried any method to wired a light bulb outside of their house, as legend said it help light the way for the goddess of wealth Lakshmi to visit. Tihar normally last for 5 days and each day was dedicated to different deity or object, like yesterday was dedicated to cow, so they gave thika to their cattle, all cow's forehead was coated with red paint! And today group of youngsters or individual musician would went around villages to performed dance to each house, to brought in happiness and luck, house owner in returned would put a plate on the porch with rice and flower, some food and money, performer would collected the contains in the plate before they moved on. Kind of like the house-call chorus in X'mas eve or the delivered of wealthy god at Chinese new year eve.
Today we went to the Sunday market in Kinja, relative of Jiban took us through the old trail along the Likhu Khola river, without baggage it took about 2 hrs in that beautiful road dotted with many stone houses, golden rice fields was ready for harvest on both sides of the valley, one we need to cross the river by step over rocks, and another hanging bridge before arrived Kinja bazaar. It was a tiny village with many nice looking guesthouse. Market wasn't big, "most people were occupied by the festival, normally it will be more crowded " a local told me, but the atmosphere was there, tea houses was full of market goers chatting to each other, exchanged with latest gossip. And a group of dancers making round in town heated up the spirit of the village. Today for us was an rehearsal walk, so we could start the trek later by ourself as we would already knew the way.

19/10/09

Today was the last day of the festival, also the most important. As usual the day started before 6am, footsteps and voices ring through the wooden floor. Kitchen fire had been ignited, cattle brought to open ground, simple field work began and morning tea presented. But today everyone washed and changed into their best dresses, face had been shaved, makeup was on. In tradition the sisters in the family will give thika to the brothers. What is thika then? Colours put on forehead! In Thiar this act mean bring good luck and safety to the boys, a protection act. And we were invited to received the thika from their sisters too, no food could be eaten until the ceremony had been done. as Jiban had no sister in his family, so he would received the thika from his elder uncle's daughter, set around the fireplace, flowers rain down our head, and the sister began to put colours on our forehead, first with thick yoghurt drawn a white colour vertical line , then dotted on top with different colours, in returned each boy would painted small colour on the sister forehead too. The brothers would gave some money to the sister when finished, in return the brothers got a plate of foods, the phuja. Me and Fadli also got our colours on forehead, and flower around our shoulder, a really interest experience indeed. Then lunch would began, and today we got the local mushroom which taste so good with the curry sauce. After lunch everyone heading to the festival swing, said by tradition people had to left the ground for some times after the thika ceremony, so everyone got on the swing and tried as hard as they could to fly up high, and hurray as hilarious as the higher they go.
We thank them for the wonderful experience in their village, no idea what we could gave them, so we decided a whole family picture as a gift, all relatives came if they were around, stood in front of the old house facing the camera, as usual were tense like in court, so I used the fresh learn word "mus-scu-dan-no..." to tried to ease them up, which mean something like "give some smile please", seem like it worked and Fadli captured the moment, "very very good" Fadli exclaimed after checked the image. By this everyone squeezed around the camera, trying to spot their own smile inside the small screen. Nightfall another dancing team tour the village, and together with dance they offered some traditional chanting which got an African feel with the drum beat. Our dinner they surprised us with chicken dish, "you taste the different?" Jiban would asked, as he said this is local village chicken. I knew it so well as it was the same like in my mountain village in Yunnan. The meat was so tender and taste so good with the curry sauce. suddenly they talk to each others and Jiban asked Fadli " too much meat for you ?" or something like " you don't eat that ?" and pointed to Fadli plate. I looked around, all the bone left on the plate was clean, only bone, without any meat on, but Fadli seem like only torn out most of the meat, but not those in between bones. I could see those hungry eyes when it was empty in the trash bin. Think meat dish not always present in this house!


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