Day 6: (14th Nov)
Route: Lower Pisang – Lunch in Munchi – Manang
Today was one of the highlights of the trek, as all of us being carnivores and having consumed many days of vegetarian food, we discover that the lunch place in Munchi serves Yak Burgers!
Raphaelle was advised not to eat meat with a sore throat…I was advised against it aswell, but don’t bother this time as the thought of eating something else than Daal Bhat or the rest offered on the tourist menu excites me unbelievably. I. cannot. see. the.same.tourist.menu.again! And it’s only our sixth day.
Prior to our lunch break, we hike another 267 m in altitude passing stunning scenery. The mountains make us appear like miniature versions of ourselves. Photos taken look as if someone had painted them. We pass long stretches of untouched wilderness with beige grass land, pine trees and the snow-covered mountains in the background.
We all stop many more times, unlike previous days, to admire the beautiful flora around us. I’m whispering little ‘thank you’s’ to myself as we seem to walk on ‘western flat’ grounds for a long period of time. ‘Nepali flat’ was what Ganesh refers to whenever he told us about flat stretches ahead of us, which in truth turned out to be quite hilly. So, from now on, when he refers to ‘flat’ stretches, we ask “Western flat or Nepali flat?” which makes him laugh every time.
At lunch, we glimpse out of the window and we spot a group of women carrying their heavy baskets on their back filled with firewood. “Oh…there is a child in there, look!”. The lady had removed a jumper from the pile of wood which was hiding her toddler. Holly and I go outside and ask if we can take photos. One thing I did notice in Nepal, are the smiles of children. They seem always happy. The women are OK with us taking a few photos – but eventually excuse themselves to continue their long journey. The toddler seems quite shy and confused about us Westerners.
Our Yak Burgers are more like potato mash patties – I’m not even sure how much meat is in there but it tastes delicious and the fact that we are eating something we had not eaten before, makes us all enjoy our meals in silence!
It is interesting when a group of introverts have meals together – there are periods of several minutes where no one says anything. It does not seem to bother anyone overly though. Later on during the trip, when Raphaelle & Ed joined a group of other French people for a round of games, I do notice them to be much more chatty. It is true, we do feel most comfortable around ‘our’ own people. Nationality is something which gives strangers something in common immediately – making it easier to relate with each other – establishing this instant bond.
I do admit that if I was sat with german-speaking people, I would naturally talk more. I would laugh at silly German jokes that no one understands and would get a response back when telling my own curious jokes that no other nation seems to understand. “Germans are not funny” I’ve heard people say in the past.
I find them hilarious and struggle with the British humour instead. It took me forever to understand sarcasm, for instance. Whereas Swiss people engage in quite a bit of sarcasm themselves, they usually smile at you when they are being sarcastic which makes it obvious that they are making a joke. The brits would stare at you with a serious face, be sarcastic and this would be the moment where I would so often misunderstand their intentions…
I observe how Ben says some sarcastic comments to Ganesh who looks at him with bewilderment. I whisper to Ben “careful with sarcasm…some cultures might not understand it” giggling as I can relate to Ganesh’s look on his face.
Germanic people like to take the piss out of each other – but it can be done in a very rude and morbid way which has so often put me into trouble. The germanic directness does not make any halt in jokes – a reason why I have had a lot of shocked faces stare back at me way too many times back in London.
It is not only our nationality or language that binds us – our humour provides a necessary way to connect with each other too. And if two individuals don’t understand each other’s humour, it can get very awkward very quickly.
I snap out of my day-dream and am so glad that we only have another 120m in altitude to go before we arrive in Manang where we will be staying for two days, as at 3540m it’s time to squeeze in a day of acclimatisation.
Raphaelle, Ed and Holly are off to explore Manang, one of the biggest villages we had stayed in so far, drink a few beers – while Ben & I retreat to our room for a long and much needed two hour nap. Surprisingly, we don’t struggle to sleep this evening either.
Do you agree that nationality and humour serves as the binding glue when you meet someone? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.