"The dawn was on fire: a small orange sun, low in the valley, was painting in light the snow on Annapurna and Machapuchare. Silence, flags in the wind, my mates preparing their backpacks. What a beauty, and what a peace! This is not rhetoric, this is Nepal." So my diary begins on the 28 of December. It was going to be a special day.
We left Tadapani at 8 am and started a long descent through small villages and terraced fields. It was hot, and made hard by the neverending series of steep steps. Villages were neat, cheerful and tidy. Beautiful babies, women looking serene and conscious, men at work. Then sheeps, cows, chickens and dogs. A few cats. When we stopped for a hot tea we saw an eagle regally twirling above the precipitous valley.
Once again we lost a lot of altitude, we crossed several rope bridges, the most recent, and we started again the slow painful ascent.
Fortunately it wasn't all stairs, but I had to focus again to keep a decent pace. The back guard of porters followed, tacful and kind, and one of them started singing a song. How charming his voice was! I couldn't help but smile.
We spent the night in Sinuwa. The trekking stage had taken about six hours and I was in need of a shower. I didn't wait for it to get hot. Then I slipped in my sleeping bag, and I couldn't help but listen to the music from downstairs. Someone was playing a guitar and many were singing, laughing and clapping. "After dinner" I thought enjoying my rest.
After dinner indead. The porters were siting outside around a fire and one of them was playing a guitar. Some from my group, me included, joined, others remained inside. and also among the porters some were a little shy about our presence, others more at ease.
The guitar's owner was the lodge cook, a young guy definitely gifted to play. The mood was merry, and after two cups of 'vitamin' - hot water and alcohol - someone was a little tipsy.
"I'll teach you a Nepali song! Listen! it's easy!". That was one of our porters, the one who was singing that afternoon. He's name was Lalit. The cook handed him the guitar and he started singing 'Resham firiri', one of the most popular Nepali songs. Then he asked us to repeat, and we went on a long while laughing loud and stammering like idiots. Fortunately it involved also a lot of Lalit singing, because I love his voice!
That was the begining of a warm friendship. Lalit Khaling is a special one. Tall to be a Nepali, you can't avoid to notice him because he dyed his hair red in a country where everyone's hair is black.
.....................MORE TO COME.......................