Saturday, November 28, 2015

Cre-8’s

Last week we had the “Christmas” meeting of our creative group, 8 amazingly talented women who get together 3 or 4 times each year.  The last meeting had to be canceled because too many people were unable to attend, so we had a couple of projects that were due.

The first was a project that we first discussed early in the year and then got together in June to talk thru our ideas.   The idea was that we would each make a project from this pattern……

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To remember our original plans, check out this blog post.

I think that none of us really got into this idea and thus it has taken us a long time to present our quilts and several are still in the planning or creating stage, but the ones that were shone were stunning…..

Cleo showed off her magnificent hand appliqued piece.   she is planning to add some beads and other bling to finish it off.   It will be amazing….

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Next was Denise who ALWAYS is the first one to be finished with her projects!!!!DSC06715

I LOVE her colors…..

Fay, who recently had a knee replacement and couldn’t be there, sent her W-I-P.   She is using crayons to color the design before adding quilting….. DSC06716

Ruhanna moved completely out of the quilting realm and made this adorable beaded purse……DSC06718

Linda went with fusible applique ad added some gorgeous gridded quilting.  She wasn’t sure about the inner border, but we all encouraged her that it added so much to the piece…..DSC06719

I had so many thoughts about this piece when the challenge was first released, but with all of the craziness of this past summer, I eventually went with my strength and simply quilted it…..DSC06734

I was originally thinking that I would work with a “Zentangle” approach, but wasn’t happy with how it was looking so I finally got out a marker and started adding the accents that I couldn’t do with thread.  For the basket, I sewed the grid in with thread and then drew in the checkerboard squares…….DSC06671

I also added a few dots here and there…..DSC06671

The final step was to add a bit of shading with Inktense pencils.   This worked fine until the very last leaf where I added too much water and the color bled outside the quilted line…..ARGH!!!…..

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To fix it, I let it dry and then added another line of quilting, echoing outside the original line.

But, the final frustration was when I trimmed it to the finished size.   I managed to cut it too short at the bottom and ended up catching part of the leaf in the binding…..

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When I have a minute or two, I am going to un-stitch the curve of the leaf and make it a bit shallower.   That will fix the ultimate problem, but I am still frustrated that I didn’t finish it well!!!

In the next post, I will show the Christmas giveaway project that we all worked on!!!!

Monday, November 9, 2015

You can only take one bag to Delhi!!!

 

Now that we have been home for over three weeks, I guess that I should finish up the story of our India trip…..

We had to fly back to Bangalore from Kathmandu because our US flight was based from there.   We had decided to spend 2 nights before we left and had wondered if we would enjoy the time or if we would be SO ready to get home that it would  be hard to stay there.

In the long run, we were still so tired from the Trek that we thoroughly enjoyed having a couple of days to relax and regroup before the flight home.   Plus, we had lots of opportunities to eat Tandoori meats and breads!!!

We got everything packed up into 2 suitcases and 2 duffle bags…exactly what we had brought with us.   This in itself was an amazing feat!!!

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Our flight was traveling from Bangalore to Delhi to Amsterdam to Atlanta.  

We  headed to the Bangalore airport and got into a long line to check in.  We walked up to the next agent, a young woman.  Everything was fine until she asked us how many bags we were taking.   We said two each and her face fell and she said “But you can only take one bag to Delhi”. 

We looked at her and reiterated that we were taking two each.   She repeated “but you can only take one bag to Delhi”!  Michael told her that we knew we would need to pay for the extra bags but she looked confused and said “But you can only take one bag to Delhi”.   At this point we asked to speak to a manager.

She called the manager who was two desks down and as we waited he continued to take new customers.   After he helped two other people, I finally walked over and got into his line.   When I got up to him, I pointed to Michael and said “we need some help over there”!!

Anyway, it was finally decided that we needed to pay extra for our bags and I was directed to another desk to make the payment.   I returned with a receipt and was assured by the agent that we were good to go.  This whole effort took 45 minutes!!!

We had a good flight to Delhi but when we got into line to get our boarding passes to Amsterdam, the agent asked us if we had paid for our extra baggage.  We answered in the affirmative and handed over the receipt.   The agent looked at it and told us that it wasn’t filled out correctly and that it looked like we had just paid to get the bags to Delhi and we would have to pay again to get them to Atlanta….YIKES!!!!   

He sent us to another counter where the receipt was scrutinized and then we were sent to see a supervisor at the ticket counter.   He spent the next ONE HOUR AND THIRTY MINUTES trying to get everything straightened out.  By this stage, it was about 1:00am, we had to hustle to get thru passport control and security and get to our gate for a 2:30am boarding!!!

Once we boarded, we were SO tired that we both fell asleep immediately and slept for about 5 hours….we NEVER do this!!!!

Now we arrived in Amsterdam and once again had to get a boarding pass for the next flight.   That part was easy but when we started to board the plane, our boarding pass set off a beeper which meant that we had to go to another counter before we could board….Oi Vey!!!

Fortunately, we finally made it to Atlanta where we used our “Global Entry” credentials to fly thru immigration and customs and were met by our Son and Daughter-In-Law.  

A quick drive to Athens meant that we were home in time for dinner and then BED!!!   

Even now we are still basking in the glow of our fun journey to India and our wonderful trip to Nepal….who knows where we will go next!!!

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Trekking Gear…..

 

I wanted to do one more post about the trek, this one talking about the various equipment and clothes that we took……

As for clothing, we basically took three sets of everything…..three pair of Trekking pants (or skirts for me), three short sleeve shirts, three long sleeve shirts and three sets of socks (both wool socks and liner socks).

The “super stylish” skirts that I wore were from Macabi 

(http://www.macabiskirt.com/shop/skirts/macabi-skirt)

I told Michael while we were gone that I wish I had the foresight to shorten the skirt just a bit and take some fullness out of it.  When I just looked at the website, I see that they have a new “slim line” skirt that would have been better.

Even without these changes, these skirts were perfect for the trek.  I selected them because they covered my knees which was the culturally sensitive way to dress.   The skirt had two large pockets that were perfect for carrying my little camera, bandana, etc.   I will definitely wear them again!!!

Other clothing items taken were…..

- Rain gear (tops and bottoms)

- Fleece jackets (these were great to have in camp)

- Waterproof Parkas - these weren’t necessary since we didn’t have any wet or snowy cold weather but we could have needed them.  With our weather, we could have just used down jackets instead.

- Snow Pants  -  same as above….not used but we could have needed them

- Wool hats and gloves – the gloves were from “Smart Wool” and were amazingly warm even when damp

- Long Johns  -  we took two sets, but only used one

 

We each had a sleeping bag and silk liner.  In the lower elevations, we often just slept with the liner as it was too hot for the sleeping bag.

We had never carried inflatable pillows but found them to make sleeping MUCH more comfortable.

We were told to bring our Thermorest sleeping pads, but the pads that REI provided were super comfortable so we never even pulled them out of the duffel bags.

Headlamps were a necessity around camp, both for walking around after dark and for reading in the tent at night and packing in the early morning hours.

Instead of carrying daypacks, we chose to take our full packs from ULA (Ultralight Adventure).  These fit us well and we knew that they would be more comfortable than a day pack.  All along the trail, Michael kept asking my how my pack felt and I could honestly answer “what pack”?   I was only carrying about 10 pounds and I really didn’t notice it at all.

One of the most necessary pieces of equipment were our trekking poles.  They were used for balance and support and often for pulling ourselves up onto that next step.   After using them for 10 days, I was amazed that I could walk without them.

I mentioned this in one of the posts, but one of the best things we did was to take a Hydration System that allowed us to carry 3 liters of water with a tube and suction nozzle that attached to the front of our pack.  This allowed us to be able to drink while we walked without having to stop!!

At the last minute we were advised to also bring a Nalgene bottle just in case the water was too hot to put directly into the hydration bag.  Since all of the water was boiled, it sometimes hadn’t cooled down much so this was a necessary product to have.

 

As for non-trekking equipment, we may have gone a bit overboard, but it certainly worked well!!!

We took two cameras, the small Sony Cybershot that I love…..

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….which fit perfectly in my pocket and was always ready for a quick photo.

We decided to purchase a new DSLR and after much research, decided on a Canon EOS 70D ….Canon_EOS_70D_front

After we purchased the camera, I started looking at various accessories and found this wonderful lens cap cover from OP/TECH USA……41yf1dTx2pL  It is called a “Fast Cap” and it screws onto the lens with the cover on a spring that opens easily.  It meant that we didn’t have to keep up with a lens cap!!

The next thing that we needed was a camera strap and some sort of harness for the trail.   I went back to the OP/TECH USA website and found a system that attaches short straps onto the camera itself and then has  a locking fastener that attaches the camera to whatever strap you are using.   We bought the normal camera strap….ProRed

….and also the camera harness strap….

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  This strap worked well as it kept the camera from bouncing around as Michael walked.   Also, the camera itself could be easily unsnapped from the harness so that I (or someone else) could use it.

We were concerned about whether or not we would be able to recharge batteries along the way so we bought extras for both cameras (5 for the DSLR and 4 for the Cybershot).   We did not have any problems with recharging so we could have probably only taken 3 and 2, respectively.

I knew that I wanted to be able to organize my blog posts while we were away and had really wanted to be able to type them rather than hand writing.  After a lot of searching, I decided to purchase an HP Pavilion 2-in-1 Laptop.

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The best features of this computer were that It can be used as a tablet or a laptop, it had a USB port, and it only weighed 2.4 pounds.  Let me say here that Michael carried this during the entire trip so his view may be that it weighed 2.4 HEAVY pounds!!! 

Finally, I knew that I would want to take notes on the trek, but also knew that I wouldn’t want to have to stop every 10 minutes to pull out my notebook so I purchased a Sony  Digital Flash Voice Recorder….

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The next problem was how to attach it to the pack and Michael came up with a great solution to wire it to a carabineer and let it hang from my pack strap….

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This worked perfectly as I could keep walking while I hit one button, recorded my note and then hit the button again to stop the recording.  Amazingly the batteries lasted for the entire trip!

At the end of each day, I would transcribe my notes and Michael and I would go thru the photos and write up any notes about those as well.   It ended up that I was too tired to actually write the blog itself but having these notes sure made it easier when I got ready to write.

The other thing that we did each day was to back up the photos.  The computer didn’t have enough memory to store all of the photos, so I would empty both memory cards onto the computer and then save them to 2 other memory cards which we carried in our packs.    It may have been overkill, but we sure didn’t want to lose the photos!!

In case you haven’t figured this out from the previous posts, we had a MARVELOUS time.   The trekking, the scenery and the crew were everything that we could have ever hoped for!

It is amazing to realize that we were in the middle of all of these stupendous mountains…..

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….and have returned to tell the tale!!!

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Thanks for traveling with us once again……

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Trek Day 10 -- Civilization!!!

 

Monday, October 12th

It was fun waking up this morning to the jangling of bells from the pack trains coming down the path by the tea house. Apparently the driver’s start getting them ready about 4:00am and then head off for their daily trip.  It makes for a VERY long day!!!

We packed up our duffle bags for the last time and met for a breakfast of boiled egg, potatoes and soft bread…..DSC06604

It had been really cloudy all morning and as we finished breakfast we heard the unmistakable sound of rain…..HEAVY rain!!!

This is the one thing that I had dreaded for the entire trip and sure wasn’t happy about it happening on the very last day!!!

We all started donning our wet weather gear including rain pants and jackets and rainproof pack covers…..DSC06605

We had a good laugh at Sabine and his wet weather gear….DSC06607

He sort of reminded us of a trash can on Star Wars!!!

Now let me be honest and say that, as this photo was being taken…..DSC06606

…..I was basically losing it!!!!

There were several thoughts going thru my mind…..  First of all, I was ready to be finished with the hiking and I figured that rain would just make it a longer trip.  Secondly, I was very worried that the trail would be slippery and dangerous.  Finally, I think that I was just tired and at a low point mentally.

As we were leaving, I asked Badri if there were steps or stones….he diplomatically said “there are steps made of stones”!!

But I shouldn’t have worried!!!   Badri set Sabine right in front of me and off we went!!!   Michael kept encouraging me to trust my boots and he was absolutely right.   The track was not as slippery as I thought it would be.  I just had to follow in Sabine’s footsteps.  And, as usual, I could count on Sera and Badri to stay close when it got really steep.

So after about an hour, I was still feeling a bit nervous but definitely doing better!!!

We passed several groups of kids heading to school in the rain….all in flip flops and not worrying about it being slippery at all. As we crossed one stream, we were all scrambling on rocks and trying to keep our feet dry but the little girls were happily sloshing THRU the water and not worrying if their clothes got wet.

We took a short rest stop in a small village and I was able to pull out the camera to take one quick photo…..DSC06612

It was VERY gray!!!

After squelching down the path for about 2 hours, we hit the road and more-or-less flat ground….DSC06613

From there it was a matter of following the switchbacks down the mountains.  Happily the rain stopped too!!

We walked on, breaking into little groups and talking as we walked and listening to the roar of the river next to us…..  DSC06618Then all of a sudden, we looked up and recognized our tablecloth and knew that it was time for our last meal together.DSC06621

We dined on a spam and mushroom stir fry, tasty pasta and egg salad and the MOST wonderful grilled cheese sandwich…..

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As we were sitting at the table, I noticed some red blobs on a log across the road.   Michael went to investigate and found these interesting fungi….

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After lunch it was time to gather for one big group photo….

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These guys were amazing and we are so thankful for the entire crew who made sure that we had such a fun and safe trip!!

Badri asked if we had anything to say to the crew and most said thank you to them for all of their hard work.  All that I could think to say was that I was sorry that my duffle bag was SO heavy!!!   Once Badri translated, they all laughed!!!

Next we presented the crew with their tips from all of the trekkers.   Michael read each person’s name and they came forward and shook every one of our hands.  It was a gentle and sweet gesture.

These were our wonderful porters……

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….our talented Cook Boys…..IMG_4391

….and our superior chef……

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There is no photo, but the clapping for Badri went on for a long, long time and came not only from the trekkers, but from the crew as well.  He was truly amazing!!

So, with one last “Tick Tock” and one last “Johnny Ho”, we headed out on the last stretch.  

Even though we were officially off of the trail, there was still plenty to see, including yet another pack train…..

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The road slowly turned into a small town with people living life along the street, completely oblivious to this group of dirty trekkers coming down from the wilds. 

Crossing this bridge over the Modi Kohla river….…….IMG_4419… meant that we were truly back into civilization….IMG_4420

I have often seen photos of kids playing with sticks and hoops but was excited to see it in person…..IMG_4425

 

Badri stopped at one of the trek checkpoints and came back out with our very own Annapurna Base Camp Passports to prove that we had made it all the way up to 13,500 feet and back down again…..photo

We met the bus at 1:10 and spent the next few minutes watching the porters get everything packed up.

I snagged Monise for a photo…..

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…followed by one with Sabine…..

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These two guys did a wonderful job of taking care of me and I had great pleasure in slipping them a few dollars extra!!!

It was quickly obvious that all of the people and gear would not fit onto the tourist bus that we were riding in, so they commandeered a local bus and started loading gear onto the top of it…..  IMG_4436

It was a hoot to watch them loading up…..IMG_4439

At last, the crew climbed on top with the gear, we climbed into the tourist van,  Badri got into the bus and yelled “Johnny Ho”,  we yelled it right back at him and we were off!!

A few miles down the road the bus passed us and we could hear the yelling and cheering of the guys on top of the bus.   We yelled and cheered back like a bunch of teenagers!!!

We stopped briefly at Phedi, the place that we had started our trek from and watched as all of the gear was unloaded so that it could be prepared for the next trek group which starts TOMORROW!!!

This place had a sense of déjà vu as the same little lady tried to sell me the same necklace that she had 10 days ago….. 

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Most of the trek crew stayed at Phedi but a few who are not on the next trek climbed into the bus with us.  

After yelling many more goodbyes we headed for the hotel in Pokhara, a stellar establishment called the Atithi Resort and Spa. 

After a long shower and dressing in clean clothes, Michael and I found the restaurant and spent some quality time relaxing in comfortable chairs, catching up on emails, and generally reliving our adventure.

We did manage to completely trash our room as we tried to dry out all of our VERY wet clothes….IMG_4449 We had all told Badri that we would like to take him out for dinner…anywhere that he wanted to go.  Well, he picked an Italian food restaurant so we walked the eerily quiet (the strike is still in force so there is very little fuel available for vehicles) street to get to our restaurant.   It was a nice way to end the journey.

The next morning we were met again by our tourist bus and Badri….DSC06658

…and carried to the Pokhara airport to make the flight back to Kathmandu.  It was a bittersweet time to say goodbye to our friend, but he didn’t have time to feel sad because the next group of trekkers arrived on the plane that we flew out on!!!

As we boarded the plane, we all hurried to get on the left side so that we could see the mountains one last time. They were just as beautiful as on the first trip and were yet another reminder of just how fantastic this trip has been.

The pilot announced that we were flying at 11,500 feet….hard to believe that we climbed higher than that on our journey!!!

The rest of the day was spent at Hotel Marshyangdi in Kathmandu.  We had the day free to explore the city, but we were both too pooped to do much exploring so instead we found a place to hang out and look at photos.   It was the perfect way to relax and enjoy our trip further.   

Now, I will say that we were disappointed in this hotel.  It was quite old, not very clean and certainly did not live up to the standards that REI had set for the rest of the trip!

The next morning (Wednesday, the 14th) we were picked up and transferred to the Kathmandu Airport for our flight back to Bangalore.   The only problem with the flight was that it was delayed by many hours and we spent a lot of time sitting in the airport and on the tarmac.   The excuse given was that it was for “official” reasons, but we noted that none of the Non-India flights were delayed so we are fairly certain that it was a way for the Nepali’s to get back at the Indian’s for the fuel blockade!!!

We finally arrived back in Bangalore at 9:00pm, were met by a driver from our hotel and were soon in our soft beds, enjoying sound sleep and dreaming of the adventures that we had experienced!!!!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Trek Day 9–Visiting the Gurung people

 

Sunday, October 11th

Yesterday, Badri talked to us about the Earthquake and the fact that he was leading a group that was one camp down from Everest Base Camp when the quake and avalanche hit back in April.   He decided that the group would move down one camp and, once there, he found phone reception and called the REI representative in Kathmandu to tell them that everyone was ok.  Then they continued their trip over the next seven days, not going any higher, but continuing around the mountain.  He said that some of the people on the trek didn’t want to continue, but he felt that it was the safest way to get everyone out.

Also, Michael and I found a small shop yesterday and bought a few things including a small scythe that we have seen used around here.   It is very sharp, and this morning I spent some time trying to figure out how to pack it so that it wouldn’t destroy everything that it touched.  I ended up putting the pointy end into a Tennis Shoe!

We woke up this morning to mountains in the clouds, again reminding us how fortunate we had been with weather on this journey….. IMG_4216

At breakfast, Badri told us that there had been a large rockslide about 3 years ago that had taken out the normal path to Ghandruk so now we had to climb UP over it and then back down the other side….IMG_4226

It didn’t look all that big, but it added a lot of hard work to the day’s walk and there were many times during the morning that I was cussing it!!!

We continued passing terraced farms perched on the sides of the mountains….IMG_4222

Regardless of the distance we still had to walk, there was always time to stop and reflect on the beauty around us….DSC06507

We continued crisscrossing small streams and crossed tons of small stone bridges….. IMG_4229

The trail varied greatly as we walked.  Sometimes we were on nice stone steps, sometimes we were scrambling over rocks and sometime we were sliding down steep dirt trails.  It was NOT easy!!  This photo gives some perspective as to how steep the trail was at times…..IMG_4240

Notice that Badri is right in front of me on this part of the trail!!

Sharp-eyed Sabine once again came thru and pointed to this huge toad (or was it a frog?) on the trail….. IMG_4236

It was good to see this sign and know that we were back on the main trail again….IMG_4243

Sabine stopped to talk to one of the locals and ended up purchasing a HUGE cucumber…. IMG_4246

…although she wanted to sell him this  massive squash…. IMG_4247

Sabine showed his football handling skills as he toted it down the trail…..IMG_4251

By the way, the box below the cucumber is a solar charger that was used to power the light that hung in the dining tent.   

We crossed another long suspension bridge…..DSC06508

There was a  Horse and mule train behind us and we took a short rest stop to watch them cross the river.   They didn’t cross at the bridge but instead walked thru the shallow part of the water……IMG_4253

A little while later we stopped for a cucumber break…..

IMG_4257 Personally it didn’t sound all that great to me, but when Badri brought out a mixture of red pepper and salt to put on it, he won me over…..IMG_4261

We all enjoyed the freshness and moisture of the cucumber against the spiciness of the pepper…..IMG_4263

This was a pretty little village so we had to take a couple of photos…..

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Michael ran ahead so that he could get a shot of us all on the trail.  Naturally, Sabine had to give us his “I’m too sexy” look… IMG_4268

We stopped for lunch at 11:55 after a hell-of-a climb!!  I was very happy for the rest!!!

These woman and girl were beating the hemp leaves so that they can be dried and were sweet to stop and pose for a photo…..DSC06519

This gorgeous woman let us take another, more portrait style, photo….

DSC06521….although she wanted to see it when we finished.

Michael spotted a deer in a far field.  Badri said that it would either be a Musk or Barking Deer. 

Lunch today was simple….soup first then Tuna, French Fries, Yak Cheese and a Cinnamon Bun….DSC06524

I was particularly drawn to crocheted banners that hung in each of the doors…..DSC06525

I feel sure that there was a reason for them (other than decoration) but have no idea if it was to keep bugs out or maybe for a religious purpose.

There was some yelling outside as a mule train came striding thru the town.   These were carrying large plates of heavy slate which were causing them to veer a bit from side to side.   There was a mad scramble to move everything out of their path….IMG_4278

As we headed out again it started to rain a bit but not enough to worry about and then, thankfully, it cleared again.

We named this the “Shop on the Edge”…..IMG_4281

You could tell that we were in farming country again as we shared the path with many different animals….IMG_4286At times we would hear the jangling of bells from the pack trains and would have to move off of the track quickly as they were heading down at a quick pace.  The guides were careful to put themselves between us and the animals

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We saw a Medi-Evac helicopter coming over the area and Badri said that it was coming from ABC so someone had been hurt there.   We laughingly asked if we could get the copter  to pick us up too!!

The path curved past many interesting buildings…. IMG_4291

We stopped for a longer rest and heard the sound of bells coming from below us telling us that a horse/mule train was approaching.   Michael took this wonderful video that gives you some idea of the sight and sound…..

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It is probably one of the iconic sounds that I will remember from this phenomenal journey!!

Michael found these interesting little bugs on a rock…..

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Badri called them “Sheep bugs”, so named because they “flock”.

As we have walked these last 8 days, Badri has often burst into song or whistled a tune or even picked up a leaf and turned it into a Kazoo.  It was always the same song and often the other guides would join him as he sang.  So today we asked him about the song and he told us that it was an old Nepali Folk song that goes like this…..

https://youtu.be/gnMVBD-ZUB4

After that concert we were off again, but before we knew it, we were walking down a nice, wide path leading into the town of Ghandruk.   Badri had told us that we could spend a bit of time looking around the village and seeing how the Gurung people live.   

As Michael stopped to take a photo of this simple flower, a little girl passed and said “that’s a flower”!!!……IMG_4304

She must have thought that all American’s were dunces!!!

At our first stop we found out that they were in the process of shooting a movie
(called “White Sun”) in the town so we were seeing a mixture of residents, actors and crew.

We stopped and watched this woman cleaning wool…..DSC06541

….and getting it ready to be spun…..DSC06542

….and then woven on a backstrap loom…..IMG_4310

The windows and doors in this village were intricately carved…..

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…providing some exciting new quilt pattern ideas for me…..DSC06552

Most of the buildings were made of rock and were fun to look at…..IMG_4317

This was a typical gate at the front of the house courtyards…..IMG_4322

This beautiful young woman smiled shyly for a photo….

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In one of the courtyards we could hear snorting  in a small barn behind us and found this cute little guy…..IMG_4321

As if on cue, another mule train moved thru the village….IMG_4323

However, these had already been relieved of their burdens and were headed to the barn.

We passed this group enjoying some tea in the afternoon…..DSC06566

We enjoyed watching the woman on the right play with a baby goat!!

The view over the top of the village was amazing, especially with all of the slate roofs!!IMG_4333

Many of the houses had deep blue accents in the architecture and most had corn drying on the eaves…..IMG_4332

If you blow this photo up you can also see a big dog resting happily on the table on the porch.

We passed this interesting gate…IMG_4336

…and Badri talked a bit about the symbol on the top right.   He told us that the various political parties have symbols such as this and that if people cant write, they just draw the sign when they vote.

This shrine was striking…..IMG_4337

We left the village, heading toward our home for the evening.   Along the way we passed two gentlemen plowing the terraces using Bovine power…..IMG_4343

As we watched, one of them walked up the slope with his plow on his shoulder…..IMG_4346

The dirt looked rich and ready to grow any plant!!!

We passed this very short entrance into one yard….IMG_4351

Badri said that there were two reasons why doors were short.  The first, obviously, was because people there are short.  But, many also believe that if you go away you might pick up bad things which fall off when you bend over to enter your home!!

Signs of the agriculture basis of this village were everywhere, from these forage beans growing WAY up in the air……IMG_4355

….to this corn crib built on stilts to keep the crop safe from rats…. IMG_4356

…to this chicken family sunning themselves on the front porch…..IMG_4358

I heard a sound that I know well…. the whirring of a sewing machine, and followed it to find this young lady hard at work in her shop…..DSC06578

This wood pile was incredible….DSC06580

We stopped in one courtyard where Badri had friends and watched this woman using mud (probably mixed with cow dung) to re-seal the spaces between the courtyard stones…..

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This very happy woman was one of Badri’s friends…..DSC06589

….and we enjoyed listening to her laugh and enjoy her life!!!

And, as you can imagine, I was very excited by this “patchwork” house…..IMG_4369

Michael was especially happy with this photo as he caught the rooster in mid-crow…..IMG_4372

We passed this little boy who wanted to wave and say hello…IMG_4373

…although he scared us to death as he came closer and closer to the edge of the roof that he was standing on.   Michael said that he had already figured out how he would get to him if he came off of the roof!!!

At last we arrived at Hotel Sherpa where we were told that we would, once again, be sleeping in a room rather than a tent…..DSC06592

It is nice to be indoors again, but it is sad that we didn’t get to say a proper goodbye to good ole Tent #32!!!

Sera pulled out all the stops on dinner and we dined happily on vegetable pasta, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and carrots and coleslaw…..

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And then the pièce de résistance…..DSC06597

After dinner, Badri stood up and said that he had a few things that he wanted to say since this was our last night together.   He said that he has two feelings….happy that the trek is almost finished but sad to see our group break up (he used the word divorce).  He thanked us for turning it into a family atmosphere and said that the porters and everyone else felt the same way.    He specifically thanked me for spending time in the kitchen the night before.  It was a sweet speech and a great way to end our night.DSC06599

One more day!!!

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