November 16, 2006 - Rice stalks are cut and layed in neat patterns around...

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Leaving Syuli Bazar we walk with Marie and Serge then walk slowly to savor the last glimpse of Gurung village life. Families are all out in the fields early before the children leave for school. Rice stalks are cut and layed in neat patterns around the fields, as others gather the stalks into tent style mounds. Pairs of people, two women, a woman and man, two girls, alternate beating the millet with long sticks in a rhythmic fashion. Teams of water buffalo drag a plow with a husband and wife, trying to keep the rows straight. Today is Alex’s birthday and he would so enjoy this walk with the beautiful views and opportunities to observe the villagers.

Thankfully for our tired knees, this trail is the most gentle of the ones we have taken on the trek in the Annapurna region. The trail takes us along a river which we cross repeatedly on stones or small bridges, often treated with waterfalls along the path. Many children are out and they gladly pose for our pictures. After a two hour walk, we return to Nayapul and gratefully find a taxi waiting for us. Within a hour or so, we are brought to a lovely hotel in Pokhara with views of the mountains and lake. We are given a high room to enjoy the views, but groan walking up the steps to the third floor. Our room has its own bathroom, a treat after the shared bathrooms of the trek. We take our first shower in six days and are surprised how good we feel. We are ready to eat lunch and explore the lakeside town of Pokhara. Pokhara has many small Tibetan shops and outdoor restaurants along the lake which we explore.