Chocolate and Love in Nepals Himalayas


This is it.

The tents are set on the banks of the river and the road peters out to a path which, in one place, disappears. The monsoons have washed this part away and the cliff is accessible only over large pieces of bamboo that are somehow held together tightly against the cliff edge over the roar of river below. I lie back against a boulder on a dry part of the river bed and look up at the cliffs above me. This is what I travelled a third of the way around the world for; first by train to Mongolia, then by
plane here to Nepal.

Was it worth it?

It sure was.

‘Chocolate?’

I look up from my boulder and his young white teeth smile down at me.

Again he asks, ‘Chocolate?’

Chocolate. Always chocolate.

‘Chocolate chhaina’ I laugh (which loosely means ‘I don’t have any chocolate so stop asking me for it’)

‘What’s your name?’ I ask him.

‘Deepak Pandi.’ He grins again ‘Chocolate?’

‘Chocolate, chocolate!’ I laugh, ‘Always chocolate. I’m going to change your name,’ I tell him. ‘I’m going to call you Deepak Chocolate.’

I look at this boy, sappy and happy. This kid is street-wise, or at least he would be if this village had a street.

It is so beautiful here; I have fallen in love. So green. So lush. The mountains are the most beautiful I have seen. Tonight I camp in view of the Annapurna Mountains under a clear sky and near full moon. Above me stars and the moon in the same silver sky that I watched in Mongolia only a week ago. Below me small villages are visible in the dark as clusters of orange dots randomly and sparsely poised on the hills.

And above me the mountains. They shine gossamer above the black tree lined lower mountains.

‘We’re bloody high!’ I hear one of the other trekkers exclaim in the morning when he gets up. We arrived in cloud last night, ‘Look at that mountain over there! It’s only a little bit higher than us!’

I love it here. I could stay forever.

Ram, the mountain guide, has been teaching me Nepali. I’m fluent as long as the conversation contains only the words thank you (Dhanyabaad), is (chha), mountain (himalayi), man (manche) and, my favourite word, beautiful (raamro).

raamro

Roll the first ‘r’ on the tip or your tongue and let the ‘aa’ slide over the back of your throat. Allow your lips to flirt briefly with each other as they close over the ‘m’ then drop the second ‘r’ into the ‘o’.

raamro

raamro Nepal

raamro himalayi

raamro himalayi manche

Maybe it’s because I’ve fallen in love that everything seems so very beautiful; because falling in love causes an ethereal, chaotic beauty. Unplanned, unexpected, intense, spontaneous and carefree. Of all the places I have been I love Nepal the most. To sum up this place needs only two words:

raamro chha

It’s beautiful

A Greenwood

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