Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Perfect 10, Except for the Crash Scene

Sarangkot offers a view of the Himalayan range that is "almost a religious experience", thus saith Lonely Planet Nepal. What you get is the panoramic glory of the Himalayan peaks, starting with Dhaulagiri (8167m), to Machhapuchhare (6997m), ending with Annapurna II (7937m).

Lucca and I started out fixing to get a bus to the bus park, take a second bus up Sarangkot and then walk from the parking lot to the top. We started a little late; no buses going by.  We hailed a taxi rather then walk all the way into Harichowk. We sidled in next to a mother with babe.
The driver agreed to take us to the bus park for a fixed sum.  At the bus park some shop ladies informed him of something and he told us that the bus was no longer running. We negotiated for a taxi ride, which we later renegotiated into an hour's wait and return fare; 2500 NR about $35.00.

The road up the mountain is a 20 minute continuous wind with blind corners; no problem. Actually this one only has a short white structure in the way; why that's an entirely clear view!

View from Inside the Taxi

The Nepali method of driving lets everyone know that something is coming around the corner as the moving vehicles continue to honk their horns, not slow down and certainly not worry about the driver coming from the other direction. It's the ultimate 'CHICKEN DRIVE'.

(Note: all the pictures of the roadway are on the way down; this is to give the Valium a chance to kick in)

The road changes from a 'roadway' to a "rockway" about halfway up. At one point our driver pulled over, got out and looked down the ravine. I thought, "Gee, he must have lost a hub cap." He then beckoned us out of the car to look down the mountain to view the crash scene. Last month a bus went over the side and since then "no more buses." Not a Kodak moment, but a small prayerful one for those 15 who perished in the accident.

Discharged from the taxi a 10 minute walk brings you to this:

Returning and re-ascending, the second path is strewn with shops, eateries and sleeping places.

Time for some food and a restful view.

I sat right at that round table to the left. The drop behind the tables was stunning and included lemon trees. While waiting for my order to be taken I noticed the dishwasher woman.
I ordered scrambled eggs. It was then that the girl who took my order brought a frying pan out to the dishwasher.

Yep, cold water, maybe some soap and a pair of strong utilitarian hands.
A few neighbors walked through the kitchen.

I decided to live dangerously and eat the eggs; they were good. Returning down the walkway everyday life continued, including the vendors hoping for a sale.

On the return trip down the mountain we passed the ledge from which the paragliders took off. Quite a view.

Quite a day.

No comments:

Post a Comment