A bazar ending

Wednesday, 5 Feb, 2020

Sermathang (2600m) - Melamchi (860m)

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We woke to beautiful views towards the Gosaikunda range and a sea of fog below us. Mum had returned from the festivities and made our omelettes and chappatis for breakfast whilst the fire smoked in the corner of the kitchen.

We left about 8:30 and turned back a few times for photos as we made our way down the road. We stopped at an impressive statue of the second reincarnation of Budda whilst Puncha, who had trained to be a Lama, told us more about this reincarnation.

We turned off the road soon after and made our way down to a little village with a very impressive monastery that had been rebuilt after the earthquake. We moved between the road and narrow path shortcuts till we reached the village of Kalkani around 11am. We were happy just to stop for coffee but Puncha advised that we needed to have lunch as there wasn't anywhere else to eat before reaching out destination of Melmachi Pul Bazar. We had descended 700 metres by this time and still had 1000 metres to go. It was a lovely spot to wait for lunch with views to the ranges in one direction and unnamed snow capped hills in the other.

Back on the road we turned off again and passed through a forest filled with little stone mounds that turned out to be memorials with cremated remains stored within dating back hundreds of years. There was one very recent memorial, that clear!y belonged to an old man as evidenced by his stick and shoes.

We passed through more villages with people working in the fields and kids at school. They seemed to find a westerner saying namaste most amusing. We had a quick stop for a drink at a little restaurant where we found Bokta engaged in conversation with another pretty girl.

There were lots of roadworks and it was very dusty. It was a relief to turn off the road for the shortcuts but these became increasingly steep. We still had a few hundred metres to descend. We could hear lots of suburban sounds from the town below and soon it came into sight spread along the river. We continued downhill and a little girl named Albina followed us shyly for a while, skipping down the track at great speed and then waiting for me to catch up.

We crossed the suspension bridge and started up the other side towards the main road and the hotel. A group of schoolboys asked us where we were from. One asked where we were staying and we said we didn't know. He looked at us knowingly and suggested we would be staying at Malamchi Guesthouse, which turned out to be correct. A couple of minutes later he asked where the fires were. Amazing the awareness of the bushfires!

Jonno and Georgia were sitting outside and there were nice views over the edge of town and the river. We joined them and had a celebratory beer. Hungry after our early lunch, we sought out some snacks of peanuts and chip-like crackers that came in big bags full of air. Another beer and we adjourned to our rooms, delighted to find another good hot shower. The kids only had a cold water tap, so they used our shower before we ordered chicken curries and vegetable pakoras for dinner, both delicious. Puncha served us two plates of fruit. A fitting end to our trek!

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