Getting to Know Manang

Day 6:

Manang: Rest day no.1

Distance covered: 6.2km

It was time to have a rest day and I was very excited. My weary body needed some time out from all of the walking. It was physically and emotionally draining at times and if we didn’t rest then it was not a holiday at all. Allan planned a 4 hour hike up to the Gangapurna glacier but I planned nothing much: writing my blog, a bit of meditation (headspace), snoozing and a short walk to Gangapurna Lake.

When you are hiking on your own more people tend to randomly chat to you. I noticed this today when I set out to trek up to the gompa tea house across the Marsyangdi river. An older guy and his wife told me that the tea house was already closed and visibility was pretty poor with the clouds and snow coming in. I decided to walk to the lake instead and try and get as close to the moraine as possible. No one else was around and the towering cliffs in the glacial valley made me feel minuscule. When I got closer to the moraine the boulders doubled in size, and doubling again until they were too big to scramble over. I thought “does anyone even know where I am? What if there was a landslide? They are common and if one of these boulders fell on me no one would hear my screams!”. At that point I turned back.

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I saw Allan walking along the ridge above the glacier on my walk back and we met at the bridge back to Manang. There were a few films showing in the town, most we had seen: Everest, Into Thin Air, Into The Wild and Seven Years In Tibet. We hadn’t seen the latter so we decided on this as our entertainment for the evening. It was really good, I thoroughly enjoyed it and we got some tea and popcorn too. The little theatre was a grey stone building with a log burner in the centre, which was lit when we were all settled and on the walls they displayed flags of European football teams. I felt a little bit proud when I saw Liverpool FC hanging proudly on the wall.

We headed back to The Yak for our dinner, the dining room was absolutely packed and we struggled to find a seat. We ended up sat with a guy called Raju and his 14 year old son, who were from Nuwakot in the Kathmandu valley. He used to be a guide but didn’t agree with how kindness was classed as business, so he had a career change. We had a really good conversation with him about how the guides get big tips, spending their money foolishly in dance bars as they don’t know what else to do with this easy money gifted by westerners. He said a lot of the tourism industry was in-genuine and he didn’t like how clients would only care for you when they employed you (as a guide) and not after as friends, and vice-versa. I suppose guides and porters build relationships with their clients and vice-versa, and this can be hard to switch off when the employment term is over. However, it’s like that everywhere in the world of tourism isn’t it?

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