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Though the multinationals are slowly entering India, in Nepal they are making themselves known where ever possible. That the bill boards spoil the view is only minor, spoiling peoples minds to drink garbage at high price instead of nutritional food. Also Alcohol is pushed everywhere and in the evenings you find many drunk. It's bad in the west but here the cost of it is so high that a lot of families cant afford essential things. It's sad, when you see the beautiful old woodcarvings and other handicraft made in the long winter evenings and now people drinking instead. The introduction of pseudo-culture robs people of their traditional values and customs. It has happened all over the world.

Still lot's of positive things everywhere but we shouldn't forget the impact the western nations have and what damage the multinationals are doing. With full legal backing naturally... morality is not an issue these days! We have to change this!!

Multinationals spoiling more than the view... Pamkaj in action

After all the travelling and stress of crowded trains, busses and cities it was great to be able to relax in quietude and peace. The hotel had a nice backyard with grass, and we were allowed to use the kitchen so we could cook our own food. For us it's hard to eat out because of the special vegetarian diet, so where ever we can we cook ourselves. This guarantees us not only the right type of food but also the right quantity... and much cheaper too! Preparing and cooking together is also very good to get to know each other better:-)

Malati who always joins and helps on
the trek. Our hotel in the back
Pokara lake

Just five minutes walk from our Hotel was the lake. Pokara has one part which is just normal city, noisy, dusty and crowded. But the other part is mainly for tourist, it's right on the lake and relatively quite. Especially this time in January it's very quite as its low season.

Steep trails along the Kalimandaki river Tatopani (hot water) with hot springs to
relax tight muscles and lots of oranges

After few days we were ready for the trek. A ten day 120Km journey from Pokara all the way up to Muktinath (3800m). Most of the trek follows the Kalimandaki river which has been flowing from the Tibetan plateau from much before the Himalayas were born. The result was that while the Himalayas were coming up the river was cutting down through it. So the river cuts right through the massive and brings us from the subtropical south side which has plenty water and plenty lush vegetation to the dry and desolate Tibetan side. At the same time we go up in altitude so we also move through all the different climatic zones. In the beginning there are bananas, oranges and plenty greens. Than apples & apricots around the village of Marpa. They have recently installed a solar drying system and the high quality dried fruits are found all around Nepal. Beyond there are no more fruits:-( But here buckwheat becomes more popular and makes a very tasty cereal also the pancakes are delicious! Beside food... also the character of the villages changes with the change in climate and altitude.

The older houses have beautiful and elaborate
woodcarvings around doors and windows
Modern suspension bridge, the old ones
are made of rope and wood.

One other feature is the multitude of suspension bridges, the old wood and rope ones some planks missing... and the new steel ones slowly replacing the older ones. The trail has been different every year as always some land slide will alter the route. Good for us that most of them take place in the end of the rainy season and not in winter. Still one huge landslide few years ago took place only short time before we came, the dust was still in the air and the river was blocked by the debris. That time we traversed a steep makeshift trail when already dark. We were shocked to see what we had done what we came the same route back at day time...

From tropical, to sub tropical to Alpine and beyond Meditation in the forest

I always like the day that we are walking through the pine forests, not sure if it's the quietude where most noise gets absorbed by the blanket of pine needles and the moss on the trunks or teenage memories of long walks in the pine forests where I grew up. Mediation was really nice there.

After the Alpine forests we get to cross some dusty dry glaciated valleys where the wind was playfully lifting the dust and blasting us merrily. But that and the wide views of the high mountains in the next instalment.


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