I was brushing my teeth this morning when I heard over the radio that a plane crashed in Nepal, killing 19 people on their way to Lukla, a village where they would have staged their two-week trekking to the Base Camp of Mount Everest. A chill crawled up my shoulder.
I was trekking in Nepal earlier this year, and the trip to the Base Camp was my originally plan, but as I was alone and it was risky for me to hire a local guide(or go without one), I gave up the plan and did a relatively shorter, cheaper and easier trekking with a friend I made on my way in the Annapurna region. Still, it was a thrill.
All started from the road trip to a village called Naya Pul where our mountain-climbing permit would be checked. The mountain road was bumpy, narrow and out of shape, and Nepali drivers drove with a mix of straightforwardness and aggressiveness. Our minivan passed at least two vehicles that had bumped into the rocky mountain or got stuck between the two stone blocks established at the other side of the road , fencing vehicles from falling off the skeletal mountain range into the white roaring water hundreds of feet below.
In the middle of no where the bus conduct, a young Nepali man spoke incomprehensible asked everyone to leave the bus. We got off and thought it was just another toilet stop, and the bus drove away. I watched the bus disappeared among a heavy dark smoke, apparently lighter and faster than before, and quickly revisited in my brain all the surviving skills I had learned in a book ten years ago. Fortunately two German girls had a guide who spoke Nepali, and the humbled man asked our way back to the right track.
The first day was easy, even a bit mundane–the mountain path went through a few villages, zoomed into a forest and reappeared at the other end. At evening we arrived at a guesthouse where hot tea was served 10 tens the normal price.
It was once again proved in Nepal that the nature of beauty can only reveal itself fully after we have accomplished a trip difficult enough. The third day we had to go over a slow mountain. Slippery, cold, muddy, and dangerous. My shoes were soaked and my trousers were wet till my waist. Most of the time I was crawling on my fours, holding on to a skinny branch of one empty bush and trying to reach a further one, using which I could pull myself a bit higher. It was only a small hill, it took me hours to get to the top, and all of the sudden I saw the beautiful Annapurna standing afar, like a Goddess who possessed all the elegance in the world. Himalayan wind blew up her white gown, in which she kept a forever stillness.
The way down the hill was even harder. The snowy path went like “Z”, at each turning inertia was pushing me off the mountain. Thanks to my trekking buddy Ruben, who would wait at each corner and stop me from flying off the mountain with his body.
9 months have been passed since the trip, but I was not able to write about it, for the fear that these memories of mine would be tainted by my clumsy narratives. But the tragedy of the tourists who died today rekindled my desire to tell. Anyone who have been to the Himalaya range knows that Mount Everest is no easy-decision to make. I feel sorry for them, they should have a chance to experience the Everest instead of being killed by a artificial plane craft accident. But this fact does not make them less adventurers.
- Plane crashes in Nepal enroute to Everest, killing 19 (guardian.co.uk)