The Annapurna Circuit: Beginnings…

The first week of trekking in the highest mountains in the world. Our first impressions of the Nepali mountain lifestyle, of eating Dal Bhat (the only food they seem to eat) and learning Nepali from our guide, Narayan, and our porter. Yes we were too lazy to carry our stuff ourselves! ;-)

Our adventure starts of with a 9-hour trip in a local bus from Kathmandu to Besisahar where we will start our journey. The guide and porter agency that we chose to part with assured us that “the journey will only take 6 to 7 hours in a good bus, an express bus”. Yeah right! Their “express bus” is just a local bus that stops a little bit less than other buses and in which everybody has an assigned seat. But it still is not guaranteed “break-down-proof” and so that is what happened: about 2 hours before destination the clutch decided it didn’t want to be maltreated anymore and go on strike. Great! 2 hours later, many tentatives of reparation, many “no problem” and “in 5 minutes all fixed, no problem” later, they decided to send another bus to get us to destination. End good all good and in the evening we arrived at Besisahar where we would spend the night to start with a fresh start the next morning. :-)

The beginning of the trek leads through mainly farmland and terraces where farmers work on the the land with help of oxes and buffaloes, yelling and shouting to make them do what they want. Mandarines are growing everywhere and are sold along the way. And if the landscape is green and lush in the beginning of the trek, it quickly turns more arid and yellow the higher we get. The same for the temperature: when in the beginning of the week we were walking in t-shirt, sweating in the sun and avoiding to suffer a heat-stroke, by the end of the week and at almost 4000 meters days got cold and dry despite the blue sky and bright sunshine that accompanied us during almost the complete trip.

As we like to adapt to the local life-style, we ate like our guide and porter did: Dal Bhat everyday at lunch and the evening. Dal (lentils) Bhat (rice) is, like the word says it, rice, lentils and curry (in lower altitudes often also served with some spinach) all mixed together and eaten with the RIGHT hand (the left hand being considered “impure”, as this is the one we use at the toilet, isn’t used for eating, handing over something or pointing).

We also learned our first words of Nepali like “Jam!” (Let’s go!) to which we liked to answer “no, honey please!” or later on in the trek “no Nutella with some brown bread!” ;-) and the ending “-gee” when we wanted something from our guide (hihi!). In this case he wouldn’t be just “Narayan” but “Narayan-Gee, could you please organise us a blanket for tonight/a hot shower/a cup of tea?” ;-)

We also better get to know our guide who turns out to be a great guy! 26 yeras old and with 10 years of guide and porter experience he has a charisma that is unmatched to any other guide we met! He is able to tell us everything about Nepali and Tibetan culture (a big part of the trek leads through Tibetan areas) and of course he is able to tell us the name of every mountain around including their altitude. Incredible!

Speaking about “mountains” it was written in a well-known independent traveler’s guidebook about the Netherlands that “the Dutch have the funny habit of calling everything higher than a speed bump a mountain” but the same thing can be said about the Nepali, because they definitely have the funny habit of calling every mountain of less than 5000 meters “not a mountain”. Therefore the following conversation was relatively common:

We: “Narayan-Gee? What is that mountain called?”

Narayan: “Which one?”

We: “Well, the one there, with the snow on top!”

Narayan: “That’s not a mountain.”

We: “??? What do you mean? The one there! The high one, with the snow on top of it! How high is it?”

Narayan: “Yeah I know which one you mean, it’s maybe 4760 meters. It’s not a mountain…”


Vera & Jean-Christophe


  1. Florent
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 11:38 | Permalink

    Super d’avoir de vos nouvelles ! Et ce “petit” trek a l’air bien sympa :-)

  2. Sabrina
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 11:39 | Permalink

    Coucou !!!!
    Je suis contente de voir qu’il y a du nouveau!!!!! Ca faisait un moment qu’on attendait !!! Le paysage devait être magnifique, mais où sont les photos ?????? :'(
    Gros bisous,
    Ah oui, et ma maman te donne le bonjour ;)

  3. Vera
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 11:50 | Permalink

    @Sabrina: On vient de faire le tri de 1500 (!!!) photos (olala) et la Jean-Christophe est en train de les mettre en ligne, donc d’ici 30 minutes???

    S’il arrete de “jouer” au moins… ;-)

  4. Posted December 4, 2007 at 13:06 | Permalink

    Vera, het is een groot avontuur, ik hoop dat je je goed realiseert hoe hoog het daar is. Veel geluk. Mam

  5. Posted December 4, 2007 at 17:40 | Permalink

    on attendait bien vite des nouvelles! je vous ferais remarquer que , pendant que vous vous déchargiiez de votre “fardeau”, il y en a une ici aussi qui s’est délestée d’un certain petit “poids”. mais elle par contre ne l’a confié à personne!! je vais vite aller faire un tour du côté des photos. Bisous à vous deux de :Mamie! youpiiiiiiii

  6. Posted December 5, 2007 at 19:27 | Permalink

    Eh oui, délestée d’un petit poids, mais elle en a repris depuis la petite, et à porter, c’est plus lourd maintenant ;-)…
    C’est fabuleux de lire vos aventures, je ne sais pas qui rédige mais en plus d’avoir des talents de photographes, vous êtes de belles plumes, on s’y croirait! C’est telement gai de se laisser porter à rêver… merci!