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  • Writer's pictureHannah Bywater

Annapurna Circuit Day 3

The election is happening here in Nepal so many people have been travelling to their hometown to vote. Apparently, it is very busy around here which is hard to believe since I have been the only guest staying in my accommodations over the past 2 nights. The owner of the guest house last night recommended that I stay another night to avoid any chaos that might happen due to the election. He explained that sometimes people from opposing parties pick fights with each other around this time. I am sure it happens, but I think it is more common in the cities. Out here in the small mountain communities I feel safe. Although I appreciated his concern and had a comfortable stay, I was looking forward to the adventure ahead of me. I packed my things to trek on. The mountain had transformed from the rice fields that I had been walking through in the previous days. Now I was walking in the valley with tall mountains towering beside me. There were waterfalls everywhere, including on the road. I passed this one waterfall where the plunge pool was literally on the road. Someone had placed some large steppingstones in order to cross. Otherwise, the water would go up over your ankles. I can only imagine what this waterfall is like during the monsoon season. I would think that it is almost dangerous to cross then. There are some adventures that I have gone on in the past that have been specifically to see even just one waterfall similar to these and here there are so many here, there and everywhere. Over the past three days the trails have been very quiet. I knew that many trekkers skip over this section of the circuit, but I didn’t expect to be alone. It’s okay with me though, as I am enjoying moving at my own pace and expressing my goofy self along the trail. I came upon a small village where the election was happening. In somebody’s garden were a row of tables with d.i.y. cardboard dividers and a few chairs. There were people in line along the garden fence waiting to vote. Armed guards were posted in every corner which was maybe a bit intimidating it’s just a formality. I greeted some of them and they were very friendly. The roads were very quiet at this time as it was prohibited for the general public to be driving on this day.

As I reached the end of the village there was one sign that read “Odar 30 minutes” with an arrow pointing up some stairs. I hadn’t heard anything about it before, but I was intrigued and decided I wanted to check it out. I thought, what’s an extra 30 minutes. Well let me tell you, it was a workout. The path was steep stairs the whole way up. By the time I reached Odar I could barely feel my legs. A local pointed me to a ladder that led to a little temple at a viewpoint. I sat there to rest for a second before making my way back down the very sketchy ladder. I walked around for a bit and admired the quaint farming community. As I was making my way to the next town I poked my head into someone’s yard to watch them weave a basket. He introduced himself in perfect English and invited me to stay with him and his family. It was only 14:00 and I had a ton of daylight left so I politely declined and continued on the trail. I walked 100m before turning around. I remembered the lesson from the audiobook I learned yesterday about making good time. When I arrived to their gate Deeman welcomed me in with a wide smile. I placed my bag in my room and changed into more comfortable clothes. He was still weaving his basket and his daughter was sifting their dried corn. I asked if I could help her and at first, she declined because I think they wanted me just to rest. Little did they know I am a busy bee and the only thing I wanted to do was to be involved in what they were doing. She had a lot of corn to sift so I grabbed a bowl and started copying what she was doing. She had a young daughter as well and when she caught wind that I was helping to sift the corn she wanted to join as well. They kept whistling a specific tune while sifting the corn and I was so curious about the significance of this. They told me that they whistle to the wind for it to come and blow the shells away to help them sift. How beautiful is that? Together the three of us whistled to the wind and sifted the rest of the corn. Deeman and his wife were in the kitchen cooking dinner for us all. Of course we were having dal bhat. Deeman had killed one of their chickens specifically for our meal together. He explained that they don’t often eat meat but it was a special occasion since I was staying there. I also don’t eat a lot of meat but I wasn’t going to reject this gesture. Throughout my travels I have found myself to be in many situations where I am invited to someone’s house for a meal and I just eat whatever I am served. Food is such a big part of culture and I won’t turn down any opportunity to experience it. I am not a picky eater and I will try anything at least once. For this reason, when I am travelling I have a flexible diet. Not only did I enjoy delicious food but I enjoye the company so much. I had such a wonderful stay with Deeman and his family and I am so glad I decided to come up to the village of Odar. If you ever find yourself here stay at homestay no. 10 and give Deeman a hug for me.


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