Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Trailside Attractions, Revelations and Other Funky Stuff

Nameste - A common spoken greeting or salutation

This blog entry relates to unusual, unique or quirky things I found on the trail. I have a fondness for oddities, especially those found in foreign countries. Nepal excels in odd and interesting things.

On the drive to the trail-head, we came across this giant mural painted on the side of a mountain

The mountain-side was plastered in concrete with a mural painted on it. That's Mick on the steps.

Cheap seats

People hitching a ride on roof-tops was a very common sight

First of many guest houses or hotels (commonly referred to as teahouses) found along the trail. They are so common that one can do the entire Annapurna Circuit and overnight indoors instead of camping.

We stayed in two over the 18 days of trekking. They are generally pretty basic with few amenities. Usually two bunk beds and the toilet/shower in a separate room/building.

Lonely Planet says tent camping is preferable to staying in teahouses. I tend to agree with this comment.

Corn storage rack with a toupee

I have no idea why they do this but they came in a variety of shapes

Passing through one of many villages where you can find guesthouses, stores and eateries. In this one, the street was paved in stone and looked prosperous.

Cool java sign caught my immediate attention! Nice simple graphics.

We encountered many types of domestic animals - chickens, ducks, goats, sheep, and variety of cows and yaks, etc.

I like primitive signs and graphics. The town of Manang was a major destination on the Annapurna Circuit.

A Nepalese "7/11"

Postcards of the Annapurnas in case you miss the real thing

A hut-shaped stack of hay

Water Buffalo

Encountering a herd of goats and sheep on the trail was very common

They have the right of way

Mt. Everest beer (what else!), the most popular locally-made beer in Nepal

Very cute lambs

A farmer harvesting some kind of weed

Odd duck

Another kind of corn storage stack in the middle of the street

A row hanging off a railing

Fungus or bee hive? I think the latter. Found hanging from a cliff.

Nice simple decor in a trail-side eatery (above and below)

What the heck!
Encountering a mountain biker on the Circuit. Very hard, technical riding on the steep and rocky trail. This guy was a Swiss, I think.

He was walking more than riding

Chickens roosting under a table

Shama, our donkey driver, and Mick at a road-side rest-stop

Another primitive sign pointing the way to Manang

A "chorten" (Buddhist Gateway) with a stack of three chimneys was usually found at the entrance to a village

A lucky guy with three "Euro-babes!"

Passing a Nepalese Walmart, a full blown store stocked with everything

No, we didn't see any snow leopards

A schnoodle-like dog, a cute guy just like my neighbor's

A symbol found at many Buddhist monasteries, usually over a gateway or door

A horseman riding under a new power-line. Electrical power is coming to a remote part of Nepal.

Coke trumps Pepsi in Nepal. Never saw one bottle of Pepsi.

Passing through a very rustic village, looks poorer than most

An unusual rock-like facade applied to this building

Note off-kilter water tank on top of guesthouse. Doesn't look very stable. . .

Rustic rules. Nice combination of squash, sticks, and stone.

Neat organized stack of wood for winter

At the entrance to ancient Buddhist Monastery . . . fantastic colors painted on building details. Most buildings are stone and cold looking. The monasteries were usually the only buildings with any color.

Could it be a couple log bee hives or what?

Blue woman

Another Himalayan "7/11" with a lot of empty shelves.

A passing donkey train in front of a guesthouse

A donkey train has the R-O-W on a bridge

A porter going against a tide of a large herd of goats. He boldly plowed right through where we stepped to the side from getting run over.

Passing through another rustic village

Nepal's Apple Hill

A primitive water trough in a rock formation

Cows blocking the trail

Typical Himalayan menu

Mary Ann and Sue under another gateway chorten

This one had stones etched with sanscript symbols

U-Bang (sherpa), Kate and Leo at the only hotsprings we came across. Unfortunately it turned out to be a bust and wasn't so hot.

A happy donkey with feed bag

Angela and Arjun (helper) at prayer stick

Porter baskets

Himalayan cow

Colorful donkey blankets and saddles

We encountered this French Canadian couple numerous times on the trek

She was one tough gal. They back-packed the entire Circuit.

Dawa with a cute pup

Colorful donkey muzzles

YAKS!! I love 'em!

Herding Yaks

Yaks are a life-line for mountain people. A vital source of meat, milk, wool, and fuel.

Fresh yak poop!

Dried yak poop, vital fuel source for mountain people where wood is scarce

In the village of Nar, I came across the oldest looking prayer wheels (above and below). Very well-used and worn. These should be in a museum.

A neat pattern of stone, wood, and hay. A well-stocked house for the winter.

A naturally shaped bonsai tree

Another cool primitive 7/11, the Happy Teashop

With a well-stocked shelf . . . :-)

Huh? . . . Jungle Restaurant?

Looks like a new 2-story home in the 'burgs . . . note the satellite dish

Cool primitive signage

I luv' crude hand-lettered signs . . .

A four-wheel drive Yak stuck in the mud

A series of interesting signage

Yak heads?

My only opportunity for yak burger . . . but I passed

A bakery in Manang . . . looked better than it was

Stopping at a real quirky rest-stop high in the mountains

Mary Ann and Sue finding a comfortable seat

Our porter playing a rustic lute . . .

. . . with a great horse head carving

Next blog: Post Trek Days in Pokhara and Kathmandu
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