17th October - It was a six hour mini bus ride … hot, dusty and very tiring on rough potholed sometimes unmade up roads that threw us about inside the vehicle. However, there was a welcome stop for lunch on the banks of a beautiful river.
We arrived in Besisahar and after getting our permits validated, started walking at 4 PM, arriving at Bhulbhule in the dark (about 6 PM).
We passed the construction for the hydro-electric scheme being built by the Chinese. The mountainside is being ‘sprayed’ with concrete to stabilise it. From this dam they are building a tunnel over 1 km long to control the water flow.
The final lap was to cross the river by pedestrian suspension bridge. We were accommodated in a wooden tea house built on stilts above the river which appeared to sway. The roof was corrugated iron. We went to bed to sleep to the relentless roar of the river interspersed with the engine roar of the 30 tonne tipper lorries passing every 15 minutes or so throughout the night!
18th October - Initially the track followed the road being used by the construction vehicles until we reached the end of the dam project. The valley will be flooded but we have been told that no homes will be affected. We saw evidence of the Chinese presence. Meanwhile, Joe, George and Chris were ‘mugged’ by local kids. Joe decided to give a child a pencil only to be mobbed by a gang and to be ‘relieved’ of all the pencils and rubbers he had bought with him! Our lads didn’t stand a chance against these kids who have seen many gullible trekkers pass this way before.
Then we started to climb. It was tough going and my back decided to kick in and protest possibly as a result of the bumpy journey from Kathmandu to Besisahar. The heat was relentless and breathing became difficult as we climbed. At one point we lost sight of the rest of the group but an old woman understood our request for ‘Manang’ and pointed in both directions.! Later the lads waited for us to show the way then went wrong themselves only to be redirected by a four year old! By lunchtime we arrived at Bahundanda and ‘Hotel Superb View’ was everything it said it was with 270 degree views.
George was 19 years old today and the Nepalese love any excuse for song and dance so it was on with the music in the evening. Chris proved a great hit on the dance floor. All three performed but escaped early to avoid further embarrassment.
Our rooms were on the first floor separated by thin plywood partitions. You could hear every snore and there wasn’t a chance of a discreet passing of wind as discovered by Howard at 4.00 AM! A visit to the toilets in the dead of night was a magical moment with an opportunity to survey the clear starry sky and a half moon.
19th October - Sandra started today with a hit of paracetamol. This allowed her to perform as usual despite her back. We ‘fell off’ the back of the village and into a green verdant countryside. Here we hit the ‘school run’ coming the other way and much use of ‘nameste’ as the Nepalese people are so polite. A welcome break and really fresh orange drink squeezed on request helped us on our way.
We meandered on past children playing with CDs attached to sticks so that they could wheel them about, a lady spinning goats’ wool and some very productive gardens one with a very good crop of cabbages. We lunched on very good noodles in a small village and then struggled up 140 metres to our destination. We had a 202 metre waterfall opposite our Tea House so sleep was yet again to be accompanied by crashing water Children arrived with their teachers from the local school who told us they had ‘a problem’. When asked what was the problem it became apparent they had very few books in the school library and obviously saw our presence as an opportunity to obtain some money to buy books. This behaviour could be described as opportunistic but knowing how poorly resourced Nepalese schools are suspect we would do exactly the same for our children if that is what you have to do. Sue, Morris and ourselves gave them some money. We were asked to write down the amount together with our email address in a book that showed clearly they had followed this route before.