First of all, a little note regarding the spelling of Nepali villages. I'm using the spellings on the map, which is German in origin. It's made by a team from Munich and is the de facto map series for Nepal. Some comparisons are shown below:
|Map's Spelling||Lonely Planet's Spelling|
With the exception of Jomsom, I've used the map's spelling. I assume the differences arise from translitterating the Nepali script. Today we set off at 0730 and got here at around 0930. The walking has been easy, mostly downhill through forests. The path also cut across streams this morning. The sunrise this morning was better than Poon Hill as we could see the horizon and thus the colour changes in the sun itself. At Poon Hill we could only see the changes in the sky as the sun was hidden behind hills - another reason to ditch Poon Hill. I guess its popularity stems from a mention and a photo of a TNF Nuptse clad trekker admiring the view from the top in the Lonely Planet guide book. The photo is amazingly composed considering its direction and lack of benches or watch tower. I'm currently burning in the sun admiring the views of the snowy peaks as I wait for the rooms to be cleaned in the hotel. Ghandrung has some solid buildings - indicating its prosperity.
I've just gone to my room and was delighted to find that it offers panoramic views of the Annapurnas - cash back! This village has excellent placement. I've just nipped to a Gurung museum. It was about the ethnic group and contained everyday objects and tools of the people. The room was small and dark as the electricity was off so I went around with a dim torch. It was classic. Afterwards I had a cup of local 'wine'. It was basically watered down lao lao and gave me a headache just sniffing it. I only managed 3 sips as it brought back bad memories from Uni.
I'm warming to the idea of going to Lumbini now. I can stay in Bhairawa and just take a bus there. As I have to confirm my bus seat to Sunauli when I get back to Kathmandu I'll see if I can rearrange it, at no extra cost, for a day earlier. Sitting in the sun dappled shade under a tree at the birthplace of The Buddha should be relaxing I imagine - as long as there are no Maoists.