“The stoned westies of Lama Hotel”

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India Travel Diary 18  –Lama Hotel and back to Trisuli Bazaar

 Friday March 29th 1991

 Next day we walked to Lama Hotel, it is a base camp for Langtang.  Westies were sitting outside a café listening to Pink Floyd and the smell of hash was in the air, I still can’t understand the need to be stoned in such a wondrous place.  We walked onward on the trail till we reached the Langtang Khola once again, the water was really so cold, I built an ebatu  for the  Fastwurms (Fastwurms was an art collective I was part of)   and wondered what was going on with them back in Toronto. Then we decided the stoned westies hangout of Lama hotel wasn’t for us and  walked back  down to Ama’s, she made us some milk tea and we traded some rice that I had originally brought as an offering at the Monastery at Gosaikunda for some noodles. Then we made our way back down the valley to our first camp. We camped next to the Khola, it was hard to get a decent fire going, we sat in the moonlight  by the khola looking at sixty foot black snakes with wings slipping through the rocks of the  river, our illness was providing us with spectacular hallucinations.

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Back at Ama’s Evening Lodge

 Saturday March 30th 1991

We made it back to the sulphur spring on the second day, and decided to look for the source of the smell. I found a pipe leaking hot sulphur water in some bushes, someone was getting it from the other side of the khola. So we spend some time looking for a place to cross, the water was ice cold, deep and moving very fast,  the boulders were either too big too far apart or too wet to grab. After an hour we found a spot to cross, at one point I had to make my body into a bridge so Sabu could cross over me.  We made our way up the mountain for about 500 ft till we found small-abandoned camp, possibly a high pasture camp,  earlier in the day we had seen a red panda and some monkeys, so we knew we weren’t alone out here. So we rigged the roof of one of the stone huts to shelter us using a mylar blanket.

Map of our trek and our sulfur pool camp
Map of our trek and our sulfur pool camp

We spent the afternoon camping by the hot spring, reading,  talking and blessing this place. We cooked some noodles at the camp then went down to the sulphur hot spring, where in the afternoon I diverged some water to a large stone and mud hole. We set up candles and ate chocolate and watched the moon appear over the mountainside. All the pictures of this place didn’t turn out because unknown to us at the time was that the camera wasn’t advancing the film, so it goes. I did however manage to make a watercolour of the trek and our shepherds camp.

Sunday March 31st 1991

Got up and decided to go on my own climbing straight up as far as I could go in less than thirty minutes. I found myself much higher than I thought I could go, I had managed to go up several hundred feet when I stopped. I looked down and there was this large eagle feather on the grassy ground. I turned to go down and realized how steep the hill was, a bit too steep for walking down on long green dewy grass. It took me a lot of holding back my energy, keeping my heels dug into the dirt if possible, trying not to fall on my back because I knew if I slipped I would most likely tumble down for several hundred feet unable to stop. A few times I slid on some loose soil and started to slide, so I would claw into the grass and flatten my  body while kicking to get a grip into the soil.  So the thirty minutes up took an hour to come down, and soaked in sweat and thankful to be on level ground. We made our way down the valley and found another stone outcrop to make our camp, we were visited by passing kids. During a furious thunderstorm that came roaring down the valley we were visited by  two young Tamang girls ducked under an overhanging rock face with us, to smile, eat chocolate, giggle and chat with Sabu and I. We  waited for the rain to slow down and we took some pics that didn’t turn out.  It was such a simple, and peaceful moment ahead of a night of freezing, and shuddering in the cold sleeping in a clearing by the side of the trail.

Monday April 1st 1991

Chilly selfies  in the Himalayas
Chilly selfies in the Himalayas

It was a cold morning and that gave us the determination to make it back to Dunche today regardless of how long it would take and get a warm bed and a warm meal, under a solid roof. This morning on our way running down the valley we passed a Tibetan house were a prayers were helping a sick and dieing man, there were drummers outside, and prayers, we did our blessing for a while and prayed then we excused ourselves most respectfully and moved on. A very strange thing about the trek was that all the time we were out there we never saw the peaks of the Himalayas because of fog, but as we approached Dunche the fog lifted and we realized the enormous scale of the mountains we had just visited, truly humbling and much taller and massive than we had imagined.

When we arrived in Dunche just after sundown we went to have a chai and a cookie but when we saw the bus back to Trisuli Bazar we jumped in and made it down the mountain in record time, in Trisuli we found a room, I took a picture of it but decided to look for something else.  It was so creepy that we found another room empty with about fourteen beds in it,  so we stashed our stuff under our beds by the window and went out to check out a festival in the full moon. It was a festival of drunken angry Nepali men, dog kickers, and card fights, it was like that episode of Star Trek “Festival” where every night  after sundown when it’s festival where  it’s mayhem, rape, killing and wanton destruction

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First scary room which we turned down

We went back to our fourteen bed bedroom, I have to add that all the beds were singles and they are set along a wall side by side with barely any space between them at the foot of the bed there was barely eighteen inches of  space with  hooks along the length of the room, sort of a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs set up. We settled in by the window to sleep while the rumble of drunken Hindus went on way into the night.

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Second room with fourteen beds

In the morning I opened my eyes to a room of fourteen snoring, scruffy, hung-over festival guys. In a panic I woke up Sabu  very carefully covering her mouth and a silent shush finger on my mouth and pointed to the snoring men. No need to explain, Sabu got it and we tip toed out of there before any of these morning boners would realize there was  blonde western girl in the room. I wanted to take a picture of the scene but worried the click of the camera might awaken the sleeping mob.

Tuesday April 2nd 1991

 We walked out into the street, to see a jeep getting ready to drive back to Kathmandu.  We decided to spend any amount money and simply get back to something a bit more civilized. The jeep broke down a few times but eventually, after many hours, almost the entire day, we found ourselves back in the familiar room we had left behind, and our bicycles waiting for us. I also got to see myself naked for the first time in fourteen days when I saw myself in a glass mirror. On the trek, the best mirror was polished semi crumpled aluminum mirrors. I had lost over thirty five pounds, I usually weigh a hundred and eighty pounds and now I weighed a hundred thirty seven pounds. I was extremely strong but I had too much skin and cellulite. When I did my yoga I was able to do my sun salutations with incredible strength and flexibility. At one point  Sabu and I sat cross legged across from one another and I was able to pick her up by her crossed thighs and lift her over my head, I was truly amazed. 



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