So tomorrow we head off for a spot of hiking around the Annapurna Conservation Area. Internet is unlikely so this will be my last spiel for a while. We decided that seeing as we are four young examples of health and manliness we wouldn’t need a porter or a guide for the forthcoming 15 days. Therefore we’re sending half our luggage to the finish line of the trek at Pokhara. This entails booking our luggage on to a bus by buying a seat for said bags. A foolproof plan I’m sure you’ll agree.
As part of my intense fitness training for the trek, I agreed to a wee mountain biking journey with Andrew “Monty Beaumonty” Spinks. We (well he) reckoned we could cycle to the mountain village of Kikani. The operative word here was mountain. Hundreds of metres of never ending ascent. Spinks, of course was off like a shot, leaving me to chug at sub-walking pace through terraces of ever-higher rice paddies and unsympathetic locals. Rounding a corner to see another strip of untarmacked slope I had a private hissy fit, chucking my muddy bike into a bush and rolling on to some grass for a breather and a potential cry. Leeches then attacked my legs.
When I finally reached Spinks at the top, who had presumably had time to read a novel and have a pedicure, I was a dirty, blood-encrusted mess. We had a beer at the summit and then whooshed back down, which more than made up for it I might add. The sunset over the valleys was the best of the trip so far.
However, the sun did set and neither of our hire bikes had been fitted with lights. The whole city of Kathmandu doesn’t have any street lights either. As you can imagine the traffic is quite hectic and there followed a rather harowing half an hour of swishing shadows, beeping horns, bumps, shouts, fumes and chaos. It was actually brilliant, or that might be the hindsight talking.