13 January 2013

Passed fields of cherry sized vine tomatoes, potatoes.

Had lunch at the Rainbow Restaurant Hotel & Lodge, Ghermu-5, Lamjung, elevation 1130. I ordered hot lemon, plain chapati, and vegetable soup. The chapati was clearly freshly made.

Still on river left. Across the river is a small hydroelectric plant at the base of a waterfall I estimate to be 600 feet in two steps. They collect the water in a pool, then pipes take it down to a generator. We haven’t left the road behind yet. Another superb view.

Lal brought me a “jungle potato”. Someone had been roasting them out back. It looked like a small yam, but actually tasted like a potato.

At Syange, where we crossed the river, a sign advertising the view said “INFORNT OF WATERFALL”. After Syange on the dusty road we saw a praying mantis (kamikira) and a herd of goats. We played by trying to block the way of some goats that had lagged behind the herd. I thought it would be easy to block the little one, but the mother was nearby and she wouldn’t take any crap.

A mile after Syange we watched the construction of a new hydroelectric power station on the other side of the river, where there is no road. Lal thinks it is being financed by foreigners. Workers carried bags of cement across a suspension bridge and up a rough trail hundreds of meters. A cable across the river was for transporting sections of pipe about four feet in diameter. I assumed these were for a pipe from a water source maybe 500 meters up the side of the mountain where could be seen cement structures with possibly a tunnel. No water could be seen up there, so possibly they are going to drill horizontally to get water from the waterfall that I could see the bottom of. Part way up the trail was a steam shovel, likely not powered by steam; it must have gotten across by the cable somehow.

Lal pointed out a cluster of large bees’ nests under an overhang on the cliff on the other erside of the river. A little later in a small ravine by some rough switchbacks was a grove of wild banana trees. The fruit is small and has too many seeds to eat. After a few more switchbacks a few meters below the trail some people were digging up jungle potatoes.

We checked in to the Super Rainbow View Guest House & Restaurant, Chamje, Lamjung, elevation 1385. Pasang’s printed itinerary said elevation 1410 meters. We are on river right. The rapids are class V-VI and the canyon has become narrower. The river can be seen from the dining room window about 150 meters and 70 degrees down. Directly across the river is a dramatic waterfall also about 150 meters, but there is possibly hundreds of meters more hidden in the crevice. We are on the outskirts of Chamje; Lal chose this place because the places in town are more noisy. The lodge is across the path; my room is on the second floor which means I have a waterfall view over the roof of the restaurant.

I ordered buffalo spaghetti and tomato soup, which had garlic in it. The tomato sauce, not from a can, had some greens in it, perhaps green onions. One of the best meals. Lal got me a glass of hot millet wine, called rakshi, very similar to sake.

In the kitchen a woman was mixing batter with her hand. Lal said it was special bread for the festival. Someone pulled one of the circular straw stools close to the small pot cooker for me to warm my hands on the coals.

According to Lal the owner is of a lower caste and used to work as a cook in another lodge. After he worked as a porter on an expedition, a rich trekker sponsored him to buy this place.

It was after dark when a group of three Asian trekkers with two porters checked in.