Day 2 – Getting Acquitted with Leeches
The morning part of trekking was very easy for me. I was playing music on my phone to keep me hyped. Things started to go south in the afternoon. It started raining around 1:30pm while I was having lunch.
A girl told me that she was bit by a leech this morning. As we were talking, her boy friend got a leech on his arm. That was my introduction to leeches. I have read in my guide book that there were leeches in the mountains during monsoon season, still I was shocked. For those of you who are fortunate to have never dealt with leeches before, they look like tiny worms that would swell once they get your blood. I actually saw some that morning and was wondering what those little things were, now I knew they were leeches. (Tears on my face, lol)
When I was leaving the lunch spot, the porter who was walking with me the day before caught up with me and started walking with me again. The rain was steady. We had to take a break every 20 minutes. He was carrying a big load. When we stopped, my new friend pointed out to me that there were two or three leeches on my shoes. They looked like they were trying to get in my shoes. I was glad that I didn’t faint. My friend took a small stick and got them out of my shoes. He checked himself too. So now we checked for leeches every time we stopped for a break. We found a huge one on my backpack! One time, he took my face in his hand, I was not sure what he was doing until I realized that there was one on my neck. I tried to calm myself while he found a stick to remove it.
Maybe he took pity on me because I was walking by myself. Maybe he thought I was cute. I didn’t know. Nevertheless, I was glad that my porter friend walked with me, because I had no clues on how to deal with leeches. I would be panicking even more if he wasn’t there. Luckily we reached our destination in two hours.
He stopped at the hotel his group was staying at. I thanked him and kept going to Poon Hill until I found out there was no hotel at Poon Hill and stayed at Ghorepani as well. I took my rain coat off to check for leeches, sure enough there was one by the neck area. I took it out and killed it with a stone. I saw some blood. Bastard!
That night I stayed in a hotel with the European group I saw on the first day. They were a French family, parents with two adult kids. I also met a very nice guide who helped me glue my shoes and provided me some really helpful information about the route.We all sat by a stove and dried our clothes over it. It was a nice feeling sitting among fellow travelers. (We talked about leeches of course!) It made me feel like I was not alone.
That night whenever I closed my eyes, I kept thinking about the damn leeches. I was very anxious about the next day. I would wear my high cut socks the next day that’s for sure.
Day 3 – Trekked 7 hours to Only Ended Up at Where I Started.
Just when I thought I had seen the worst on day 2, I was not prepared for what would happen on Day 3. This time it was not the leeches, I went to the wrong way!
I set my alarm at 4:30am to check the weather. It was raining outside so we wouldn’t be able to see sunrise at Poon Hill. No need to get up then.
I was one of the last ones to leave the hotel. The only other patron left was a Japanese guy traveling by himself.
I followed the main road to a sign that said, Tatapani. I vaguely remember it was where I was going and didn’t bother to check my map. I have followed the main road these past two days, it didn’t give me any trouble. So I didn’t think twice.
Only in about half an hour, I met a really cute local lady and took some pictures of her. She was ahead of me but waited for me to catch up. When I did, she asked, Tatapani? I said, Yes!
She became my guide. She walked so fast that I could hardly keep up. She took me to some short cuts. She chatted up with other locals as we went by their houses. She seemed to know everyone there. We stopped by this one lady’s place. She must be a close friend because they chatted for quite a while.
I was getting a little worried then because the short cuts she was taking. I wanted to make sure we were going to the same place. I showed her my map. But both her friend and her couldn’t read the map. I didn’t think she could read English. Actually she spoke no English besides, Hello! Here! But it worked so far.
Anyway we kept going, I slipped on the way, fell to my side and got mud on my pants. When we walked past a stream, she signaled me to stand by the stream, she put water on my pants and rubbed the mud away. How smart! I thought. She also showed me other things like putting stones in the stream so we could pass easily. She was wearing rain boots, she was just doing that for me. She even held my hand at some point to make sure I wouldn’t fall when we were descending a steep hill.
I was like this was so cute! I had a local as my guide. We finally got to a town. She took me to the check point there. I asked the lady in the office where I was. And it turned out I had gone to the wrong direction. Tadapani was where I wanted to go,which was to the east. but I went to the direction of Tatapani, which was to the north. By then, I had been going that way for three hours!
I thanked the nice lady who led my way and started to head back. It wasn’t her fault really. I found out later I was already on the wrong path when I met her. The main thing was that I mistook Tatapani with Tadapani. I had to go back because I was not going to change my travel plans. On the way back, I met the Japanese guy from the same hotel, but he was heading to a different place. We gave each other blessings.
The way back was very strenuous, because it was all uphill now. It took me all together four hours to get back to where I started. I couldn’t believe it took so long because it was so easy going down earlier and the distance seemed shorter. The only other traveler on the road was an older French guy with his local guide. They heard my story and felt sorry for me. A group of four strong Germans and their guide marched past me. I had to take a break every few steps. I was absolutely exhausted by the end. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast.
There were not many tea houses on this route. The ones that were there were closed because it was off season. It rained in the afternoon as usual to make things worse. When I finally saw a shop that was open, I rushed in and dropped all my stuff on the ground. I felt like a wet chicken. We have a saying in Chinese called wet chicken. It depicts somebody who is wet and in poor conditions. I got two bags of biscuits and a hot tea. I just sat there for half an hour to recover a little bit. I used my last strength to climb the final steps back to the hotel.
I got to my room, changed to dry clothes and went to sleep. When I wake up, it was already 7:40pm. I slept about three hours. I got dinner and chatted with a local guide(actually the guide with the four Germans). I told him my story. I said, “Nobody told me to take the other way this morning. I just followed the main road.” He said, “You didn’t ask. People don’t know where you are heading you know.” I thought about it, “That was true. I didn’t ask.” He said, “You need to ask from now on.” I nodded.
We talked about Poon Hill and if the weather would be good enough to see the sunrise the next day. He said, “You should go regardless of the weather. Even if you can’t see the sunrise, just the view was worth it.” I thought about what he said and there must be a reason I ended up at the same place twice. I decided to make a trip the next day for Poon Hill for sue, which turned out to be totally worth it.