Happy 21st Anniversary Bonnie! This morning, our porter Mingmar literally bounced up the stairs to the dining hall to get my duffle bag – it's the last day our trek! And what a day; cloudless and windless with Annapurna 1 and Nilgiri off in the distance. The farmers were already bringing crops in from the field at 7:00 am. As they say in Game of Thrones – "winter is coming". Buckwheat, potatoes, tiny apples and peaches, spinach, carrots. This is a hardscrabble existence by a hardy people. That might explain their apparent ambivalence to the trash I see on the trails. Call me a bourgeouis Westerner but I'm constantly confounded by the locals approach to litter; particularly plastic packaging. At the magnificent new tea house addition I stayed at in Dharapani, the clearly astute business owner was taking my order when her pen ran out. I offered her mine whereupon she fired hers out the window, basically into the backyard.
As I sat in the restaurant yesterday looking at the stunning scenery, a hand casually reached out of the adjacent building and dropped an empty plastic bag down on to the rocks below beside the beautiful creek running through town. This doesn't appear to be an urban/rural thing nor particular to Nepal (Tanzania was similar). I'm sure I could Google this and find all sorts of fancy, Western scientific explanations about emerging societies. But clearly for the sake of the planet it should be illegal to use non-biodegradable packaging (says he buying two containers a day of bottled water!). Anyway, we made very quick work of the morning trek to Jomson. Chhongnuri gets it now and we quickly got off the busy road onto the vast riverbed of the Kali Gandaki. It was rocky but wonderfully secluded with Dhaulagiri towering above. Soon Annapurna 1 and Nilgiri appeared and we made Jomson with a comfortable margin before the fierce afternoon winds. Mingmar jumped on a bus back to Kathmandu while Chhongnuri and I kicked about til tomorrow's flight to Pokhara.