Nepalese Notebook: September 12th, 2014

September 12th, 2014

Machhakhola 869m

Many bugs fill our room tonight, which overlooks a small street near the water-pump where everyone in the village comes to congregate.  The looks of the people here are menacing and berating and we can only keep our heads down and act in a kindly way though it serves little purpose.  From the rooftop, we may discern in any one direction 3 or 4 waterfalls of enormous height plunging down from the cliffs into the river; some even coming out of the clouds, where hidden beyond, they flow from the upper Himalayan range.
The trail ran high over the river today, the weather cloudy and humid for the most part; half of the time our clothes were damp and covered by a mist, but whether it was from rain, or the gushing of the waterfalls, was hard to tell.  Before arriving at Machhakhola, we crossed through a large river-bed surrounded by cliffs on either side which, when the Budhi Gandaki begins to flood here in the rainy season, must fill and make the river at least half a mile wide.  Low make-shift huts were constructed here, frequented by the caravaners, and as we passed through, from the dim fires and smoke inside, dark faces and indescribable figures laying on straw or hay, and drinking tea or rakshi, stared out to us in a grim manner.  There was a tension that ran through the air, and the rough and tumble character of some threw us on our guard; this was a place none of us imagine exists until we see it, one that as you pass through in slow procession, feeling that you no longer have the privilege to look up, opens your mind to compassion and humility but makes you feel smaller than the smallest grain of sand in the river plain.  You think quickly of the far west and how it must have been and then you find yourself in the middle of Nepal and are almost upset at the comparison.
Up in the village, we arrived at the same time as a teacher coming down from the mountains and going in the opposite direction; a time of traditional celebration was approaching and he was heading back to his family by foot, the only way until one reaches Soti Khola; he claims to have over 400 students.

Douglas Thornton


Popular Posts