Unlike other countries which only have four directions, in Nepal we have six cardinal points on the compass: North, South, East, West, Up and Down.
It is this third dimension that has given rise to the mainstay of Nepal’s tourism industry: trekking. The word ‘trek’ is derived from the Afrikaan word ‘trekken’, which means: “Carry your body weight and a backpack weighing a ton up and down vertical mountainsides for 10 days, share sleeping quarters with yaks, while attending to calls of nature in full view of spy satellites.” Why we had to import a South African word for a completely indigenous form of torture, I have never figured out.
At the start of the autumn trekking season we bring you some useful tips on making your next trek fulfilling for mind, body and sole:
Am I fit?
The main pre-requisite to trekking is that you should train yourself in the art of walking straight up and down like a gecko. Practice on a wall at home. Dig a hole behind the bush in your garden and practice outdoor squatting every morning.
What should I eat?
Muesli. This energy-packed cereal is what they give mules to eat for breakfast on the Lo Manthang trail so their after-burners can kick in during the steepest inclines, adding critical thrust to propel them over Chuksang Pass in time for lunch. Important hint: According to Newton’s Third Law of Thermodynamics, burping slows you down.
Dal-bhat with alu, dal-bhat with mula, dal-bhat with banda, dal-bhat with bodi, dal-bhat with sag, or even dal-bhat with dal-bhat.
To level out a steep uphill there is nothing to beat the locally-brewed, high-octane apple brandy. Pour a little of this into your tank just before a steep stretch and watch yourself fly like the wind. (Statutory Govt Health Warning: Hangovers are a pain in the ass.)
Is it safe to drink the water?
The first rule of thumb is not to drink anything that doesn’t have the mandatory hologram Seal of Approval of the Nepal Bureau of Standards ISO 90002. Adhering to this rule will mean that you will die of thirst on the first day of your trek. Management does not bear responsibility for any untoward incidents if you drink pure Himalayan spring water directly downstream of defecating water buffaloes.
Nepali greetings on the trail:
Very beautiful! = La-la, chha-chha!
How’s it hanging, bro? = Bhat khanu bho?
Hi, no money. = Namaste ma bideshi datri sanstha hoina.
Whose father can do what? = Kasko bau ko ke tagat?
There are fleas in my bed, I’m going back to Tokyo = Malai udus ra upiya le tokyo.
I want donut and jam. = Euta chukka jam dinos.