Day 08. Past the gates of Paradise.

gate of paradiseGate of Paradise, as a visual aid on the Himalayan scale. Grebenshchikov on the way to the Buddhist monks. The first “high-altitude jokes” of the body.Route: Chame – Bratang – Lower PisangTraveled: 16 km in 5.5 hours, evening radial 2.5 km in 2 hoursThe total ascent is 1100 m, the total descent is 700 m.Altitude above sea level: 3240 m.Terrain: coniferous forest and juniper woodlands.5:00. Get up and go. No, not like that – got up, dressed and went. This is important because it is not hot at all outside. I go in a shirt, fleece, windbreaker, hat. I consider stopping and getting my wind mask out of my backpack. Not from the wind, but just to make it warmer to breathe.

Annapurna sunrise - taken from hotel in Cham

Annapurna sunrise - taken from hotel in Cham

Mani stones at the exit of Chame[ /caption]

Chame Buddhist Gate

Chame Buddhist Gate

Mani stones at the exit of Chame

Even in Cham, the trail is thrown to the right bank, and this pleases – the saving rays of the sun will get there earlier. We go in parallel with another five or six independent tourists (i.e. walking without a guide and porters), and this is also good – you understand that you are not a brake and you are walking “on the level”.7:00. In the forest we meet a platoon of Nepalese soldiers. They run! Sports country.
Toothy Himalayas

toothy Himalayas

crimson Taras

What color is Taras' fleece?

black bull feeding[/caption ]

8:24. We pass a tiny village. Nothing remarkable, except for a particularly diminutive breed of cows seen in local paddocks.

a path cut through the rock

path cut through the rock

black bull feeding

shaggy Nepalese birch

They have such birches

8:40. The wide path appears to have been carved into the rock relatively recently. Will they get the road here too? Purposeful country.
Shiva's Trident Rock

Shiva's Trident Rock

Annapurna 2

Probably Annapurna II

9:00. We pass to the left bank. There, after a slight ascent, a strange village begins. Right in the forest there are several abandoned-looking houses. Tourists scribbled profusely on the walls with their ingenuous “Keep on moving” and “Johnny was here.” There were also a couple of inscriptions in Russian with absolutely similar content – “Forward Russia!” and “B.G. is alive.” Not otherwise, Grebenshchikov himself scribbled (no wonder we remembered him).
souvenir sale

souvenir sale in the middle of the forest

holy place

Holy place (for Nepalese)

mountain wall

holy place (for tourists)

Along the road there are tables with souvenirs – the enterprising residents of Pisang were not too lazy to move forward to meet potential customers. We are not interested in souvenirs (we know for sure that they are cheaper in Pokhara), but we buy three red apples from one of the grandfathers. Now it would be necessary to find a sunny clearing in the forest and eat a little.9:50. Some sacred place in the forest. Flags, ribbons, heaps of stones.
the forest ends

the forest is thinning

high mountain

One more angle

Even on the bridge you could see a piece of Heaven’s Door. A giant rock amphitheater polished by a glacier. At first I was worried that because of the trees I wouldn’t be able to get a good picture of the Gate before it disappeared around the bend in the valley. Naive. Such hefty gates lead to paradise that they were perfectly visible two days later, from Manang. Their height is 4500 m, i.e. the upper edge of this wall is 2 kilometers above us.
First bike

First bike (of the trip)

full calm

full calm

stone mantra

stone mantra

10:20. At the exit from the next turn, the valley of our beloved Martianka River suddenly parted to the sides and turned from a narrow canyon into a flat plain. It is quite logical that it is here for the first time during the hike that we meet a Nepalese on a bicycle (culture shock!). The second shocking discovery was the silence – we are so used to the round-the-clock rumble (or at least the rumble) of a mountain river that at first we feel out of our element.


a student goes to heaven

a student goes to heaven

10:50. It’s getting quite warm. Although it’s only a couple of kilometers to the finish line, I can’t stand it and stop to change my shoes into sandals. My companions, meanwhile, are sunbathing.On the contrary, I diligently smear myself with sunscreen – I feel with my skin that this sun is no longer gentle. Even yesterday, I clearly saw in the French coming towards me what burnt lips are. Therefore, I shift the protective lipstick closer – into the camera case. While changing clothes, a slight shadow of pain flashed through my head – the height finally noticed us. You will need to listen more closely to yourself throughout the day.By the way, despite the heat, the streams in the shade of the forest are covered with a thin crust of ice.
pisang map

Lower Pisang Map

disguise sten

Look closely. See the village?

11:20. On the right side of the valley one can discern a chaotic heap of “Mexican” huts of Upper Pisang. The houses are made of the same stones as the mountainside, so it is not at all easy to notice them.11:30. We go to Lower Pisang. We slowly walk through the village looking at the hotels. Our predecessors recommended stopping at Upper Pisang, but it is a hundred meters higher, and the body is no longer capable of such a feat. Nothing hurts, just lethargy in the muscles and slight apathy in the head. I leave Sveta and Taras on the acclimatization bench, and I myself go to perform a civic feat – to look for a decent hotel.
pisang gate

Gateway to Lower Pisang

sorting juniper

juniper sorting

stuffed animal vulture

stuffed vulture

12:10. Stop at Hill Top Guest House. It’s opposite Eco Cottage (very modest establishment), on the left side of the street. Actually, on the left side of the street is not Hill top itself, but the beginning of a ten-meter staircase leading to it. The lodge itself, in full accordance with the name, is located on a hill (terrace). From there you have a great view of Upper Pisang and the Gate of Paradise, although the wind on the hill is also quite good.When I came to this lodge for reconnaissance, all the staff gathered in the yard. No, they didn’t meet me – a Nepalese traveling salesman came (for us already the fourth today). In addition to cheap electronic watches and spare parts for stoves, he laid out a pack of DVDs with Indian films. It was the discs that caused the unhealthy excitement. I had to look for a suitable room and explore the facilities without the help of the manager.
Hill Top Lodge in Lower Pisang

Hill Top lodge is really on the hill

Hill Top Lodge dining room

dining room at Hill Top Lodge

For 300 rupees we get a triple room with film-covered walls and a socket. Toilet on the floor. In the yard – shower working on wood (and not from the sun). While the water was warming up (about an hour) we managed to have lunch. For the first time, it occurs to me to order oatmeal, and not some kind of Dal Bat. Mmmm, yummy! From the windows of the dining room you can see that the village is slowly filled with tourists. This is catching up with us bourgeois coming with guides and porters. When I see that several guides are leading their wards to “our” lodge at once, I involuntarily feel proud that without a hint from “predecessors” I correctly assessed and chose the hotel.It’s time to take a shower, otherwise they’ll take it, what good. The water in it is so hot that you have to squat. Then, during the flight, it has time to cool down a little and no longer burns.

Tip: In Nepalese showers, adjusting the temperature of the water with a faucet must be done with extreme care. Cold water under high pressure flows through pipes directly from a mountain spring and can easily squeeze hot water back into the boiler.

Taking advantage of this luxury, we immediately arrange a laundry in a bucket found in the shower room. We wash trousers, shirts, fleeces, underwear, socks and hang them all in the open gallery of our second floor on a wire. The wind is strong and the laundry will probably dry quickly (if it doesn’t fly to Tibet).2:40 p.m. Like last time, after a shower, the body begins to freeze catastrophically. To save ourselves from this misfortune, we pack in down jackets and go for an evening walk. For inexplicable reasons, Taras again remains in the room to read a book. He took a volume of Pelevin on a hike and … this is a topic for a separate discussion :).

meet yaks for the first time

meet yaks for the first time

descendant Genghis Khan

What do you want, daughter?

nepalese girl

I want a mobile

To the Upper Pisang we rise very slowly and measuredly, so as not to lose our breath. When we were overtaken by a young Nepalese mother with a child in a sling, it was clearly audible that she was breathing heavily (Hurray-hurray-hurray).
nepal election poster

all vote

map of the road to Manang

two options for the road to Manang

Japanese woman lost

Japanese woman looking for her porter

15:30. The old village is very picturesque. Rough stone walls, flat roofs covered with wooden planks, very narrow streets (more precisely, passages between houses).There are several quite decent lodges with excellent views of Annapurna. We meet here “acquaintances on the track” – we personally do not know each other and have never communicated, but the faces have already become familiar and we greet each other when we meet.
Upper Pisang

Upper Pisang with Annapurna in the background

cut window

carved window without glass

It is striking that there are no normal stoves in the houses. Nepalese, living in the harsh climate of the highlands, for some reason prefer to bask at a primitive stone hearth (often without a chimney), at best, at an iron potbelly stove.
Storage of firewood

firewood for the winter

stones on the roof

stones press down on the roof

The predatory Whomping Willow from Harry Potter can also be attributed to acquaintances. She grew up near the monastery. The monastery, as it should be, is located above all along the slope and is easily distinguishable thanks to the whitewashed walls and the abundance of flags.
Wattle Willow

Thundering Willow

monastery gate

monastery gate

< a href="">mountains opposite

and at this time opposite...

15:44. In the courtyard of the monastery, several Nepalese guides wait patiently while their clients take pictures with Buddhist relics. The visit is free. If you want to support the monastery, you can pour yourself some tea from a thermos and throw some money into the donation box provided. There is a free toilet for tourists in the yard.
guides are waiting for tourists

guides are waiting for tourists

monastery building

monastery building

take off your shoes

you need to take off your shoes

Time has stopped. The temple is in twilight, and in the twilight, reverently hushed tourists roam. One of them (seems to be a Frenchman) sits down in the Lotus position on a special rug and is clearly going to fall into the astral plane.Unlike him, the monks do not pray on the floor, but on armchairs, covered with warm blankets (I don’t understand Buddhist rituals, and maybe I’m wrong about something).
meditating tourist

meditating tourist

bedspreads and books

bedspreads, tambourines and books in boxes

The vibrant wall paintings of tropical vegetation and half-naked Buddhas are in incredible contrast to the glaciers on the other side of the valley and the carefully bundled up monks.
painting in the monastery

wall painting

center dome
mandala on the ceiling

mandala on the ceiling

In the courtyard of the monastery, we noticed Thomas – yesterday’s talkative and hungry Englishman. He found himself a new victim – excitedly discussing photographic equipment with our other “acquaintance on the track”.


flags in wind

flags in the wind

she's not cold

< a href="">Nepal horse[/caption ]

16:01. The sun went down behind the mountains and it got cold instantly. We hurry down and on the way we inadvertently harass a Nepalese granny who does not want to be photographed. Quite a legitimate demand, only she goes along the same path as us, and constantly gets into the frame.18:00. Our hotel dining room is full of people. The most thieves places (near the stove) have long been occupied and we settle down under the window. People eat, drink Nepalese beer, play cards. Near the already mentioned stove, two Nepalese guides entertain their group with tasks for coordinating movements. A little later, a film show begins (there is a telly with a dvd in the canteen). Showing Nepalese movies!This is a film about Nepalese guerrillas fighting an unjust royal regime in the style of Indian militants. Pathetic speeches, courageous mustachioed faces, and constant fights (Tyzh-Tyzh-Bats-Kiyaya!). I wonder when this masterpiece was filmed – before or after %B0%D0%BD%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B0%D1%8F_%D0%B2%D0%BE%D0%B9%D0%BD%D0%B0_%D0%B2_%D0%9D %D0%B5%D0%BF%D0%B0%D0%BB%D0%B5″ title=”Nepal Civil War Wikipedia”>Victory over “Tsarism”?Dinner turns out to be unexpectedly tasteless – absolutely everything is fried black in old oil. Even apple pie. Strange, everything was fine at lunchtime. Maybe the chef has changed?Disappointed by such a flagrant injustice, we go to bed early. And we do it right. After all, tomorrow someone will have a very a hard day on sick leave…To report table of contents.Kirill Yasko. February 28, 2010.

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