5.18.2017

Nepal: A Trekking To Hakula, Solukhumbu 5: where I learn to make Chapati, Momo and a few Nepali words

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Himalyan peaks from Hakula
Under the blanket in my confortable bed I'm not completely asleep yet, not because of the new place, as I'm used to sleep everywhere, but because of the many new experiences of the day, included a recent clumsy kiss. But I'm tired and about to sink in my dreams when suddenly a loud rumbling makes the building shake! 
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The kitchen
At first I think it's a earthquake, then I heard the pourring rain: it's violently washing the village. 
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Making chapati
It's fine. I believe that here I'm safe, and I fall asleep. "I didn't sleep well tonight" Lalit says the next morning "The rainstorm... " And now I know I wasn't that safe. In Nepal a lighthing can easily set fire to a house and destroy it in few minutes. Lighting rods are not in use and the steep precipitous slopes of those mountains work as a perfect trap.
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Cooking chapati :)
Anyway I'm alive, and Lalit decides to make me a chapati. I follow him to the kitchen, that's a small building a part, organised just like the one you can see in the Pokhara Mountain Museum: a stone flat surface and a metal trivet, some mattings on the floor, a kettle, a few pans, some bowls. He puts some sticks under the trivet and and lights their extremities in a way I had noticed also in the Annapurna trekking. 
The fire makes a lot of smoke that quickly fills the kitchen, there is no chimney, only some opening in the wall (see the pictures), and Lalit doesn't want me to stay there. Stubborn European, I don't move. "How don't you cry?!" he exclaims after a while, very surprised. "I'm a reporter." I say "I'm used to suffer." 
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The kitchen has some opening for the smoke
He's kneading rice flour and water in a bowl to make many small ball. Then he rolls them one by one using as a 'mattarello' the same metal tube he blew in to fan the fire. 
Five almost round chapatis are ready to be cooked! He puts them one by one in a pans with a little oil, waits and spins them like omelettes.
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The first chapati is ready
I eat my chapati with chocolate cream (from Italy) and local honey, rough and tasty, while sipping a warm mint tea. 
In spite of the huge rainstorm all is dry but the beautiful mountains are partially hidden by white wet clouds. 
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A traditional house
From here you can easily reach the Mera Peak (6,476 m) and other great trekking aims, included the Tengboche monastery area. We are indeed just out the Sagarmatha National Park and that could also be an alternative, less touristic route to the Everest base camp.
"Let's go visiting the village!" I say grasping my camera. Several houses are scattered on the terracing slopes of the mountain, bigger or smaller, painted in white and blue or red, with metal sheet coverings or straw roofs. 
There is a Christian church, but the most of the villagers believe in the traditional Kiranti religion. Lalit and I agree that everybody should be free to worship their god(s) how they prefer, but we are both perplexed about the convenience of proselitism... 
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Another kitchen
"You don't burn your deads, do you?", "No, we don't. When a person die he or she gets buried... there."  Lalit answers pointing to an uncultivated stretch of land. No tombs, no symbols, not even a fence. Back to the nature we belong to, growing grass and flowers from our flash, in the cold caress of the wind.  I like. "We'll see the rest after lunch" because it's definitely time to eat dal bhat.
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Mattings are made by the family itself
I'm feeling strange today. I'm about to cry and I don't know why. In the afternoon we visit some houses and everywhere we are offered food, tea or coffee. We get in, sit on bench, Lalit introduces me but I don't understand a word, they talk a little and then we leave. People are all absolutely friendly and I try to eat to please them, but it isn't easy. "You'll get shocked when you'll come to Italy and see how few I eat". Listening to their conversation isn't boring, I grab a few words that they repeat often and I ask for the meaning, so I learn that 'ohhh!' means yes and 'ohina' means no, 'la la la!' means 'I agree!'. 
Momo for dinner is a very interesting perspective! Lalit's sisters are already at work and we join them in the kitchen. One girl is preparing the dough - the same like for chapati - while the other one is cutting vegetables and meat in very small pieaces for the filling. 
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Momo
There is also a little girl that Lalit considers as his step-sister, and they are pasionately discussing about her name. "It isn't right. We must find another name for her.", "Why not? it's HER name. May be she likes it...", "That isn't a Rai name. Here we are all Rai, she has to stay here with us so she need a Rai name.", "But why has she got that name? I mean... there is a reason I suppose...". 
They go on preparing momo and discussing, I try to collaborate. My first and only momo is definitely ugly but I can improve. 
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Those are used to carry stones for building
As far as names, I defiantly say: "My name is not a Rai name, so what? would you change it too? find me a Rai name!"  ...and after a short consultation they do: "Gorimpool. It means 'White Flower'. Since then I'm Gorimpool and the women of the village are very amused. 
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Lalit plays fooball with Sanu
At this point my morale is high and I have no problem when Lalit announces that he's going with his father to a political meeting tonight. "I'll return very late. You don't get bored ok?" For dinner I eat our wonderful momos, looking each one attentively to see if I can spot mine, exciting the hilarity of the whole family. 
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Kids at work
After dinner other women come and we have a lot of fun. Lalit's sisters and brothers can speak English but his mother and the rest only know their own language and Nepali, but we understand each other with gestures and a lot of laughing. 
Image may contain: plant, flower, outdoor and natureThen I ask them to teach me some Nepali words and start indicating a part of my body: "How do you say this?"... 'aka' means eye, 'naak' means nose, 'much' means mouth, 'daat' means teeth... 
Rai women use to wear a beautiful headscarf arranged in a very elegant way. They teach me how and I try. I feel no difference between me and them, we are just a bunch of women enjoying each other before we go to sleep.
We had a great time together and no I didn't get bored. 
On my confortable bed I fall immediately asleep, but I wake up in the middle of the night and I have to pee. That means I have to put my jacket on, to wear my boots and to turn on my head-lamp because the loo is relatively far...
Hakula is completely silent. No lights, no noise, nobody in sight. The sky is totally dark, but clear and densely starred. Amazed, I forget about my pee. I turn off the head-lamp, I'm just here and now. I feel a perfect joy...

............TO BE CONTINUED....
SEE ALSO PART 1, PART 2, 
PART 3 and PART 4. .. 
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My bed room

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