Stood at the edge of a 200m drop. Everything feels light, I can’t feel the harness attached to me or the cord, expecting them to feel tight, they’re more like a lose backpack minus any weight! I look out at this vast expanse of nothing but air. This wide open valley which in meant to be throwing myself into- what the fuck am I thinking?! Why am I doing this? I know why because I’m bloody stubborn and two days ago at the top of a mountain decided to bungee to prove to myself I could! Right, get your shit together and jump. I’m nervously asking a gizzilon questions, you know so I don’t do something stupid and ohh I don’t know kill myself! Ok out of questions time to do it. 1, 2… I focus on the horizon of the mountain range, it’s just like jumping into a pool, 3 , into the pool I go. Nothing like a fucking pool! Shit!
Every part of my body is screaming survive, stop falling,the valley is passing by me so quick the ground getting closer I’m scrabbling wanting to grab onto something, anything. My mind is racing so quick, it’s on overdrive taking in so much information that I don’t even get that stomach in your mouth feeling. Then before I can truely panic the cord bounces and I’m hurdled back up into the air, this time my stomach really is in my mouth and again my limbs are all over the place at a lose again! I’m sure this is where you would go into some air dynamic pose if you knew what you were doing, but at this point I’m still swearing and screaming! Then as I fall back down everything slows and goes quiet. I’m falling and floating through the air so so slowly, it feels almost serine, feeling the fresh air, seeing the edges of the valley, my mind is so clear and free of thought. A few seconds later and I’m just hanging, fat grin amazed I actually jumped, now pulling myself back up to be lowered into a boat. Bloody shit scary, but so much fun, can easily see how that could get addictive.
If your thinking about, it do it! Pokerha, has so many adventure sports. Sat around the table at my hostel, there are a number of sleepy heads getting coffee down them at 6am about to set off on an adventure. From water rafting, paragliding or those loading the chocolate bars into their backpacks for a trekking to Everest base camp.
I stare at a steep uphill dirt path on the edge of the mountain, pushing myself up on the balls of my feet. “Erm so Raju is the next 5 days up like this…” “yes yes flat like this.” We laugh, “so this is flat?” “Yes, flat.” “No this is steep.” This shortly became a known as a Nepali flat. Essentially any part of the trek that didn’t have steps, our guide Raju, considered flat, just as anything without snow on it was a hill, to the rest of us definitely a mountain!
Salt crystals dry on my face, as the cold wind blows over my face. The next few days would be spend up and down stairs and many a ‘Nepali flat’ ascending through ranging landscapes. Dry forest, crumbled stone with towering evergreens, ragged exposed rock walls, marked by the stream of a waterfall during monsoon. Following gushing steams, cold blues, frothing white water crashing over the greys and light browns of the rocks. The water washing calm oasis through the valley.
A few hours later opening up to vast valleys, feeling tiny as you stare into the deeps vs, formed of luscious green. Feeling the force of how beautiful nature upon you- why have we destroyed so much of this elsewhere! As you turn the bend, you see the distant spotted houses of a village, delicately positioned like monopoly houses on the edge of a mountain. As near closer you pass the fields that these people live off, staggered along the steep face of the mountain; rice fields, vegetable patches.
Trekking through these lands you grow a deep appreciation for the way of life for the people who live here. There are no roads so anything you consume in the mountain is grown here, or it has to be brought up. The first day of trek very much feeling like mary and Jospeh, walking with my stick in hand looking for a place to stay with my herd of donkeys. Having spent 3 hours walking up a zig zaged stoned staircase, as a bunch of donkeys carried heavy loads of gas, stones for building and food supplies from one village to the next in front of me. Just as the next day we walked the entire day with an old lady with a cardboard box which contained a chicken strapped to her head. She would walk for 2 days to deliver the chicken for sale to a guesthouse to cook with, earning just £15 for the chicken at the end of journey. Despite the number of tourist walking through here, life is still very simple, they have their families, they depend on each other and take only what the need something more of us can learn from I think.
Driving through Nepal on arrival, felt like entering a ghost town. Quiet washed over the city, grey sky’s, and dust upon everything. A consistency and regularity to everything, everywhere had been put into order and then left. The shops front neats and tidy, no litter. Every few metres piles of bricks and mounts of dirt. Unlike India with chaos and litter everywhere, there was order amongst the rumble of the half crumbling houses. As we got closer to the city centre things got busier. People wondered the streets with masks on their faces, hiding from the dust. School kids, mums with baby’s bundled in scarves strapped to their backs. Colour started to leak through the grey, the reds of temples shrines and gold pray bells, the yellow and oranges of the the fruit filling the bowl in the front of a bicycle, rusted silver pots filled with powdered spices. Elements of Indian and Tibetian influence peaked through the square, uniformed streets. The deeper you walked into the old town, the more the layers revealed. Deep cracks through the road, turning a corner to the whole road in upheaval, climbing over mounts of mud, jumping over a ditch to get to the other side of the road, as people rebuild after the devastation that was the earthquake.
2 years on and the damage caused is still very much prevalent. On the outskirts you still see camps where people who lost their homes still live, people who lost their business. In the city every few houses are ripped open, exposed interiors that once stood whole. The amazing part is how they have rebuilt, the strength of the people. You will find old ladies with a woven basket strapped to their head, loading up bricks as they climb through the mud to empty the heavy load into a nearby truck. At home this would be the work of young labours, 17year old boys not 50-60 year old women, but they are there working hard to make the city. With so many people affected by the earthquake our hostel owner tells us that the most advertised products on television are now cerment, followed by steel rods and then biscuits!