Have Fun Shopping at Ghorepani: 2nd Day in Annapurna Trekking

On the second day of our Annapurna Sanctuary trek, part of our 14-day journey towards Annapurna Base Camp (ABC), we began our morning at 7 am. My husband (55), our son (9), and I (50) went downstairs to the dining room for breakfast. Rex, our trekking mate and neighbour (58), was already there, having ordered his coffee and immersed in reading on his Kindle. Yes, my legs were sore and it hurt a lot when I went down the stairs (please read the article before this, you’ll see why).

‘Morning!! Did you sleep well?’

We asked each other how well we slept last night. This time, I ordered a set menu for breakfast. Sorry, I didn’t take any photos; I left my smartphone and OM-D in the room. I was so dazed that I couldn’t do much in the morning at all.

However, after ordering some warm ginger lemon honey tea, I felt like I was slowly awakening… very slowly, but okay.

Never Underestimate Nepal Trekking!!

Now, after breakfast, we all went back to our rooms and packed up.

This packing routine was extremely annoying! Every single day, we had to pack, then take everything out, and pack it again! Of course, our accommodation changed daily. We had to figure out how to pack efficiently; for example, my husband’s belongings had to be put in Rex’s backpack, so we took them to his room. This happened every single day!

Anyway, we didn’t carry our huge backpacks, we had two young porters, one of whom was our guide Mr. Ram’s nephew, a really sweet 19-year-old boy studying business at the University in Pokhara.

Every morning, Mr. Ram explained our schedule and we started at 9 am sharp. I asked Mr Ram how many stairs we had to climb, and he replied, ‘Not many like yesterday.’ Yes, yesterday was 3,600 stairs. Anyway, I decided not to think too much about what was happening that day. Just do it! Yes, you can do it!

“Just like watching where you are going, then if you see your steps and go up the stairs… climb. Yes, just like that, otherwise, you will be broken and devastated, physically and mostly mentally.

“OMFG! More stairs! Seriously!? EEEEEEK,” like that.

So, at this point, I was completely underestimating Nepal trekking. I just assumed that this day wouldn’t be as hard as yesterday, but then I overheard our guide, Mr. Ram, talking to my husband and Rex,

‘Today, it’s going to be a bit of up and down.’

‘What!? Mr. Ram, are there stairs again?!’ I asked him.

‘Yes, little big.’ he said.

Seriously····

Of course, what else could I expect? This was Nepal trekking, a world-class trekking route with stairs to climb every single day. Well, there was no point in crying about it… there was no way I could go back.

After all, I felt like I wasn’t really good at using my physical strength like this (inner voice).

After taking a photo with the hostess, we set off. The weather on this day was really nice. Well, it’s the dry season in Nepal, so it rarely rains, making it a great day for trekking. Mr. Ram asked my son again, ‘Did you put on sunscreen?’ – caring for my son, thank you.

After a while of walking, we came across a cow on the dirt trek.

This is probably a buffalo. Cows are considered holly animals in Hinduism, so they are not eaten or treated maliciously. Buffaloes are used for physical labour and are eaten. Sometimes they use buffalo milk.

My husband and I walked far behind because I was slow. Our son, Mr. Ram, and Rex were full of energy and led the way. Our son was probably stunned by the huge buffalo he saw up close for the first time.

I’m sure Mr. Ram explained to our son, ‘Look, that’s a buffalo.’

But you know what’s coming up…. stairs…. my evil best friend.
Mr. Ram had been supporting and escorting just beside him. Well, yesterday we thanked him for that then he told us that our son had no balance or any sense of avoiding any rockly steps, he had to grab his arm otherwise our son would fall over. Yes, sorry, he did not have any balance….that’s him.

Anyway, let’s get back to climbing stairs…. our accommodation lodging was going up to 2800m, so even if you think of common sense, you were only climbing!

However, it wasn’t too bad because there were waterfalls and there were many floating hills with Nepali prayer flags attached, so it was like light hiking. We enjoyed looking through the green landscape. My son likes the mountains more than the beaches. Also, we saw he was talking to Mr Ram a lot and Mr Ram was laughing quite a bit, very nice to see it though (I wondered what our son was talking about….)
And then, to my surprise, I found a Westerner swimming in this damn cold water.

Is he stupid?

That’s what I thought, but it’s okay. . . . He must be at the age where he wanted to do something like that. I touched the water, it was quite cold. I was hoping he wouldn’t have a heart attack.

Then, we arrived at Nangetanti, our lunch spot for the day.

First, we all ordered lemon honey tea.

Well, it was still pretty tough for me, though not as tough as the day before, for sure.

Our guide, Mr. Ram, had mentioned in the morning, ‘It’ll probably be about two hours until lunch.’

I’m sorry, it’s my fault. I was walking so slowly (not intentionally), it took me quite a while to catch up with the energetic guys ahead of us (my husband was always with me, of course). However, I avoided checking the time; I had already put my watch away. And I also decided not to ask for the time. After all, we were on holiday, we had a guide, and we were just walking!

We had lunch at the guest house/tea house, and I noticed some brown stuff in the window—it was corn. Corn was stuck in bundles in the window frames. At first, I wondered if it was for drying corn or for blocking the windows.

I forgot to ask Mr Ram.

Ghorepani Has Beautiful Guest Houses and Shopping

OK, we had lunch and our tummies were full. Let’s get going!

It will take about an hour and a half to reach a village called Ghorepani,” Ram said. My sense of time had already become numb, so I just didn’t care, ‘I’ll just walk and walk till get wherever’.

Along the way, we saw quite a few sheep…well, here in Nepal, if we weren’t in Australia, they would not be sheep! yes, they were goats. We encountered a herd of goats that they were strong against harsh environments. An old man who was a like shepherd with two dogs came from behind and passed us.

My son’s eyes lit up because he couldn’t experience something like this in the city.

So, as I went up and down, I saw the Welcome and Namaste signs and finally arrived at the Ghorepani checkpoint.

Mr. Ram took our trekking permits and went through the formalities at the checkpoint. During this time, we wandered around and took pictures.

There was also a tourist police presence here in Nepal, similar to the setup in Thailand. Countries that rely on tourism as a source of income often have departments dedicated to tourists, with police officers who can speak English. I’ve never actually spoken to the tourist police, but in Thailand, you can ask for directions and report any unfair treatment you’ve experienced.

After we finished the trekking check-in, we headed to our guest house in Ghorepani, Fishtail Lodge, a three-story building where each room had a bathroom.

Our room was the same as the one the night before, with a double bed and a single bed. By the way, don’t flush tissues down the toilet; instead, put them in the trash can. After relieving yourself, scoop water from the bucket into a ladle and flush it down the toilet. This was the same in Thailand, probably due to sewage problems. Please be careful. I always make the mistake once or twice, just like the normal way after you finish your business.

We had a lovely view from this window. When the mules passed by with their luggage on their backs, the bells around their necks would ring softly with each step. It was a moment when I realised that I was in a different world… a wonderful world.

In front of the hotel, there was a small Nepalese stupa with charming Nepalese eyes. Buddha’s eyes are said to symbolise the admonition that ‘Buddha is always watching.’

I found it cute, so I took a photo.

Ghorepani is a Good Shopping Place

Ghorepani was essentially a slightly larger village, almost resembling a post town. There were a few stalls on the roadside where you could buy souvenirs.

However, I thought it would be rude to the porter brothers with additional items to carry for the two weeks of trekking, so we only got what we needed there. Still, it was enjoyable to walk around. I noticed that the people in Nepal were remarkably calm and easy-going compared to the salespeople in Thailand and India (although I haven’t been to those countries yet, this is based on what my husband has told me).

And then, when we walked around, this lady gave my son a bell keychain! What a generous thing to do, isn’t it? We’ve travelled to Thailand several times, but we’ve never received anything for free. And her smile, isn’t it lovely?!

Ghorepani (2853m) is the nearest village to Poon Hill and is the starting point for those heading to watch the sunrise and sunset. It’s also a great place to buy trekking essentials like clothes, shoes, gloves, scarves, hats, etc. As you approach 3000m, the temperature drops significantly. You need warmer clothes and some protection.

We had also brought knitted hats, neck warmers, and gloves from home, but Mr Ram said, ‘It’s going to be really cold tomorrow morning. Do you have a hat? Do you have gloves? Can you show me?’ His advice was that it would still be a bit cold with them. So, we decided to go shopping.

When I went to the store in the photo above, I found a nice-looking woollen hat that covered the ears, and my husband and I bought matching hats. My son opted for a rainbow hat, which was very cute. Both hats were lined and looked warm!

Mr. Ram also noticed my son’s hat.

‘It gets cold at night, so you should sleep with that on,’ he said, squinting his eyes in satisfaction.

And then, I continued to walk around the village… but it was only less than 100 meters.

The sun was gradually setting, and it was starting to get cold, so we decided to go back to the guest house. When we returned to the guesthouse, the wood-fired drum heater was already lit, and there were already guests! Haha, there were our porter brothers and two older girls from England (with thick English accents) sitting there.

There was also a place above the heater to dry wet clothes.

At this point, we still had enough excitement with choosing our dinner from everywhere same menu (all guest houses have the same menu, probably the Nepali government or tourist agency organised that for sure!) We had a pizza, our son got mixed vegetable fried rice and I thought our friend Rex had fried noodles with vegetables with no cheese. After we had dinner, we decided to get an early night.

Our guide Mr Ram was surprised at how early we were off to bed, ‘ Are you going to bed now? Now?’ he asked us. Basically, that meant, they were free. During our dining time, they turned into waiters like taking orders, bringing tea, and dinner dishes and taking them back to the kitchen. Well, we must be easy guests, we went to each bedroom by 7 pm at least, sometimes earlier. Some guests were drinking and talking till late.

Mr Ram told us, ‘Tomorrow morning, depending on the weather, if good, we are going to Poon Hill for sunrise.’ So, the weather was good enough, Mr Ram would knock on our door at 5 am. Then, we could get ready to leave at 5:30.

‘Yeah, I guess, but I don’t think the weather will be good tomorrow.’

I muttered to my husband while I was getting into my sleeping bag.

I didn’t know what would be going to happen to me at all, so I knew nothing, I just snuggled into a sleeping bag and a comforter.

To be continued……. to the day 3.

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