|October 2, 2008:
Jomsom to Larjung
Woke up around 6 am and stayed in bed a little longer. Today, the plan was for Gyan and me to go down
to Larjung and then from there up to the Dhaulagiri Icefall the next day. I had my oatmeal porridge and
apples for breakfast. We packed what we needed for 2 nights and left the rest in the lodge. I was trying to
get Nepali Rupees from the ATM machine as I was completely out of them but he bank was closed for the
second straight day because of a Holiday. Nepalis and their Holidays and Festivals.... But as I did not
want to borrow even more money from Gyan, I went to a money changer and used one of my traveller
checks. The exchange rate was a total rip-off and the lady knew it which pissed me off even more, 65
rupees for one US-$. At the ATM I would have gotten 73 or 74 rupees.
We finally left for Marpha around 9:45 am. Once outside of Jomsom we watched a few airplanes come in
and land. These days, there is actually some road traffic here. Jeeps and motorbikes are quite frequent.
For the most part, we avoided the road and went along trails in the riverbed to Marpha. We did not go
through the village of Marpha as we wanted to do that on our way back, so we followed the road.
We continued to Tukuche. Here, we had lunch at the High Plains Inn, a Lodge under Dutch ownership.
Gyan and I had a coke and I ate noodle soup and french fries for lunch. I talked to the Didi for a while who
is Nepali and married to a Dutch guy. Very nice people. The High Plains Inn also organizes hikes into the
Dhaulagiri backcountry as well as ascents to Dhampus and Tukuche Peak. Certainly something to think
about for a future trip!
After lunch, we walked through Tukuche. Tukuche used to be a major hub on the salt trade route with
Tibet. After China annexed Tibet, this trade slowed down considerably. Today, many of the warehouses
are empty and falling apart, but the facades of the houses that line main street still show off their beautiful
wood carved balconies.
We continued our leisurely walk and arrived in Larjung at around 3 pm. We got a room at the River Side
Lodge. While arriving, in front of the lodge, there was a couple sitting there. I started talking to them. They
are from Basel, Switzerland doing the Annapurna Circuit. After a while of us chatting, they also decided to
stay at this lodge. From the rooftop terrace, there were great views of Nilgiri. Dhaulagiri was still in the
clouds but they slowly started to lift late afternoon. The Swiss couple and I were sitting up there and
chatting and enjoying the improving views.
There were several more nice people in the lodge. An older couple from New Zealand`and Australia and a
young French couple from Paris. Together, we had a pleasant dinner followed by good conversation,
much of it, of course, circling around the upcoming presidential elections in the US. Did I say that I cannot
hear the name Obama anymore??? Dinner was noodle soup and spaghetti with tomato sauce. However, I
did not feel too good and therefore did not eat that much. I am kind of loosing my energy. Went to bed
around 9 pm but slept really good.
Chortens at north entrance to Marpha
Dhaulagiri and Icefall