It had been raining every evening since the first day of trekking. However, it began drizzling since this morning after just 2 hours of descending. We began our departure at 7 am. The heavens were crying so much as if the Gods were sad that we were leaving. Probably the monsoon was arriving much sooner than usual this year.
I placed my feet one after another very carefully in case I slipped and fell. Our target was UPPER SINUWA today. We will definitely get there slowly but surely. Other than the rough descend at Deurali, other parts of the journey such as Himalaya, Dovan and Bamboo were quite uneventful.
It rained very heavily by the time we trekked to Bamboo so we decided to stop there for lunch. I was seated opposite to the table occupied by a Korean man and two ladies from China. We’ve met each other on the way to the Annapurna Base Camp. The kind Korean gentleman had been really nice to offer me some ointment in which I politely declined. It felt good to see them again.
They enquired about my welfare and were puzzled about the reason I never ordered tea. I explained that tea contained caffeine. Although at a much lesser amount compared to coffee, I’d do anything to prevent my bad knee from getting worse. Women are more likely than men to develop osteoporosis. Furthermore, women are six time more likely than men to develop knee injury. My favorite beverage during ABC trek was hot lemon water with ginger and honey. I had instant Korean ramen with eggs for lunch. It was very comforting to have something piping hot when the weather turned chilly.
The Chinese ladies were curious about my plans after ABC. I shared with them that I will be heading towards Lumbini until Wesak then to Chitwan for the rhinoceros before returning to Kathmandu. They were also unsure about the type of visa they should apply in order to visit Malaysia. I explained that they needed to apply for a visa internally at the Malaysia embassy in their home country. Chinese citizens are yet to be granted visa on arrival in Malaysia. After that, we discussed about the different attractions in Malaysia.
We made a move to complete the last leg of our journey for the day when the rain subsided a little. The journey to UPPER SINUWA was no joke. On top of being long, winding and sometimes upward or downward (signature of ABC trekking), the staircases were also huge, slippery and steep. The relentless rain and cold became a real challenge to my aching knees. Part of me was skeptical that I would ever reached UPPER SINUWA the same day. In the midst of my internal and physical struggle, the Chinese ladies, the Korean gentleman and even Mr. Handsome passed by but I was unable to divide my attention. It was a battle of concentration I could not afford to lose.
Any misstep could turned into mayhem.
When I finally arrived at UPPER SINUWA, the rain too decided to cease. There was no prince charming waiting for me. Only a white domestic pony grazing nearby. I quickly checked into my room, cleaned my muddy shoes then relaxed out in the open air cafeteria.
Mr. Handsome really had a knack for surprising people. I was enjoying the cool breeze by myself when he suddenly appeared half-naked. Clad only in a piece of thin towel tucked at his washboard midriffs, he waited for his turn to go into the hot shower. That was not the last time we bumped into each other in awkward situation. It was such a visual torment! He had a very well defined muscular body that one can’t help but stare. The only problem was I can’t stare as I’m no pervert. If you’ve ever seen a peacock dance in high definition, that was the closest analogy to describe the event. Nothing short of sexual tensions.
Luckily, the girls from the US and Singapore arrived in time to save me from further embarrassment. We talked but they had to leave for LOWER SINUWA. Instead, we planned to meet at the Jhinu Hot Spring the very next day. Not long after Mr. Handsome went into the shower, the girl from Chile appeared with her new trekking buddies and we chatted. Before she left for Chomrong, I suggested that she too should join us in Jhinu. It will a fun girls day out at the hot spring.
The evening was long. Time seemed to have stood still. After having yak cheese pizza for dinner at an adjacent tea lodge, I went for a short stroll and again stumbled upon my prince charming – the white pony. He was now within the walkway area. I bought him an apple and the young lodge owner spoke to me. He told me that one of prince charming’s eye was bitten by leech. We talked further. About his life in Kathmandu, spending his vacation helping out his grandmother in UPPER SINUWA and his future plan of becoming a trekking guide. Nepali people are so friendly.
I excused myself to freshen up before returning for canned apple juice. The trekking guides invited me to join them for dinner in the kitchen so I stayed to chat. The guides were very interested in Malaysia. Similarly, I too was really curious about the Nepali culture. It was my first time visiting a Nepali kitchen where I could observe kitchen staffs preparing meals. We had a lively debate in there.
One of the guides and I took our conversation further into the open air cafeteria. I wanted to ask him about trekking in the Upper Mustang and Bhutan. A very diplomatic man, he started his tour agency not too long ago. The guide offered to show me around Lumbini free of charge but I declined. I felt that he was hitting on me. We talked for almost an hour. Throughout our conversations, Mr. Handsome came out twice for cigarette breaks. Then, Mr. Handsome sat directly opposite to me from within the cafeteria’s transparent glass window. He even made sure I could see him comfortably chatting up a beautiful blond who was seated next to him intimately. Guess who???
Bingo! It was the French girl who stayed next door to my room in Deurali. The one with an equally gorgeous Italian boyfriend. It was super tough holding in my laughter while trying to appear composed. Piecing together information was kind of my specialty. All the drama in vain!
Before retiring for the night, I went into the cafeteria and spoke for one last time to the young lodge owner while the rest of the other Caucasian trekkers including Mr. Handsome played card games. The nice young lodge owner patiently described to me about his family photos stuck on the walls within the stone layered cafeteria. With a stroke of luck, I discovered that his cousin is a famous Gurung actress and so is his grandma, the owner of the very lodge. The night was getting very exciting.
Out of a sudden, the lights went out. I switched on my head torch as quickly as I could. When the electricity finally recovered shortly after, I knew it was time for bed. I wished the young lodge owner good night and left, completely ignoring everyone else.