Thursday, October 9, 2008

10/9 Kalopani

The hike the next day to Kalopani, which means "black water," was relaxed and short relative to the prior two days. The highlight was coming across a ceremonial slaughtering of sheep in the middle of a village. We watched as they brought out sheep, sprinkled with an orange powder -- saffron I think. One villager would hold the sheep's head down by a rope tied around it's neck while another villager used a machete-looking blade to chop off its head. Thakur explained that it is a big honor to be the one chosen to do the slaughter, and it is considered good luck to behead the sheep with one strike. He also explained that eating meat was a very rare treat for the villagers, and the whole village would share the meat from the slaughtered sheep during a big feast.

We ate lunch at Larjung, which was the village we had planned to stop at for this night in our original plan, but it would have been a very short day, and it was a pretty run down village, so Thakur suggested we continue to Kalopani. We reached Kalopani at 2 o'clock and were amazed at how nice it was, especially our hotel, the Kalopani Guest House. I would be happy to live in a house as nice as this place, especially with the tiled bathroom. We had dinner in the hotel (Q = fried rice, me = thupka, or noodle soup), then took a walk through town where we ran across another guy from California. He had recently graduated from Univ. of Washington, and was planning to move to Colorado to be a ski instructor.

It was pretty cloudy and drizzly for most of the day, but in the evening it started to clear up a bit and we got our first cloud-veiled glimpses of Annapurna. I didn't sleep well that night because my cold was getting worse, while Kirsten's seemed to be getting a little better. I woke up in a feverish sweat and took off the comforter, but of course then I was cold the rest of the night. In the morning I woke up feeling pretty cruddy and took a Sudafed, which didn't seem to help much, and now we only have one left so hopefully we're both better soon! After a nice, hearty oat porridge with milk and honey breakfast, we set out for Tatopani.

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