November 2, 2009: Kusma

The next morning there is a knock at the door at 7:30 and there is our tea, delivered right to the door. We are expecting two porters from Madi to come to Kusma to carry the two bags of toys and equipment we have for the child care center. That must mean they would have to leave Madi at about 6 AM and move at a fast Nepali pace to get here by 9. Just after we are finishing our morning dal bhat they show up looking hale and hearty and dig into their own dal bhat. Ten minutes later we are bidding adieu to the hotel owners and walking to the edge of the Kali Ghandaki ridge with the river about 400 vertical metres below us. We begin the big decent which by parts is easy going and at times quite challenging. Tineke and I are each carrying our own gear for our stay in Madi so our packs are quite heavy but nothing compared to the bags the porters are carrying. But even these are light change to these guys who by times can carry 50Kg. The bags are more like 20 Kg each so these guys have a light spring to their step.

At the base we cross the river and follow the shoreline of the Kali past some small temples and acres of fine grey sand which lines the shore. After an hour or so it is time to start the big ascent for in Nepal, when you decend you know sooner or late you will have to ascend. No decent comes free! By now though it’s quite hot and getting to the top takes well over 1 hour. Fortunately right at the top there is a small shop where you can get some tea and take some time to recover. Later we are following stretches of the “motorable road” and from that point on the grade is much gentler. We soon meet a jeep sidelined by a broken axle with three guys underneath the vehicle mending it. Parts of the rear differential are scattered behind them. They tell us we will soon be in Kusmi Sera but of course they mean it would be soon for a Nepali. We push on and soon can see the village ahead of us.

In Kusmi Sera we stop for a Fanta but they have none but do have juice boxes so we purchase their remaining 3 boxes which gives us the jolt we need. We are prepared to trek the rest of the way to Madi but Gyanendra talks to a jeep driver who is headed empty back to Baglung. For a fee he will detour to take us to Jardi which is right across the river from Madi. We weigh the calculation of 20 minutes in the jeep vs. 2 hours of walking and we are soon in the jeep.  Being only 5 we have quite a few empty seats and there is always a number of people heading that way who would love a lift. We hire the jeep and fill it up gaining good PR and karma with one swoop. At Jardi there is a suspension bridge to cross and a steep climb but then we are there – Megh Dhakal’s house – our place of refuge for the next week to 10 days. Megh is away on business but will return in 2 days.

Manikula, Megh’s wife has not expected us for dal bhat but she has plenty so we dig in but it is spicy – yowl! Somehow though when I look down my dish is empty  – twice over. It is 7:30 and the sun has gone down some time ago and a full moon hovers over the house. The night sky here is amazing with almost no light pollution and the sky looks so close you could touch it. It is here that you can really see the stars beyond the stars  But we are too tired for that and head to bed.

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