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Himalaya

Day 50: Chomrung to Dovan

Michael Palin - HimalayaWe set off about eight. Our 35 porters, though expertly marshalled by our 13 Sherpas, are not used to the stop-start interruptions of filming, and by 9.30 we have reached only as far as the Chomrung General Store. More worryingly, our progress up to Annapurna has been entirely downhill. We'll surely have to pay for this.

The store, crowded with schoolchildren buying sweets before climbing up to their school in Chomrung, is our last chance to buy what J-P calls 'sophisticated provisions'.

The range of goods on the shelves gives a foretaste of the weapons we might need should we ever have to touch the void: Pringles, porridge oats, toilet paper, vodka, 'Man's Briefs', chocolate, 'Bandage for Knee Caps', nail clippers, Chinese playing cards and rum.

Once outside the village we continue down on paths occasionally stepped with wide stone slabs (mostly laid by women of the local Gurung tribe) until we cross the Modi Khola (the River Modi) and at last the ascent begins.
The porters bend to their work. As I watch their rubber sandals nimbly negotiate the rocks ahead of me I'm ashamed to think how long I spent deciding which kind of boots to wear. And some of them are carrying 40 kilograms in their wicker backpacks.

For a while it's idyllic. Prayer flags festoon the trees at intervals, fat bees feed off the cornflowers, lizards sprint across the mica-sparkling rock.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 50: Chomrung to Dovan
  • Country/sea: Nepal
  • Place: Chomrung
  • Book page no: 111

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