10月8日 Bhulbhule -> Bahun Danda -> Gharmu
山谷裡的村落及供應遊客的tea house的物資都靠背夫扛上山，問一個背夫，他說擔子足有45公斤。Ange 跟 Penny 嚇了一跳，連連替背夫抱不平，發揮西方人慣常的“人道精神”。其實背夫負重這情況在中國屢見不鮮，哪一座名山不是靠挑夫把旅遊發展起來？我也並非認同“應該不發展旅遊而讓挑夫不那麼辛苦”。不過當我們在為山上的物價越來越貴抱怨言、或暗地裡希望物價能便宜點的同時，又認為背夫被剝削了，是否有點偽善呢？背夫的生計、經濟發展的訴求、遊客的需要、還有bottle water破壞環境的問題，構成一連串永恒的衝突、不能解決的矛盾。
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1. Lok is our lovely guide-porter. 29 years old, father to a 4 year old boy and a 4 month old girl. He studied economics in the University in Kathmandu, and therefore possesses a good command of English. After graduation, he decided to return to the mountains, where he belongs, and trained to become a guide on the annapurna range.
Lok started as a porter at the age of 15, then at 22, he earned the license to become a guide (the license is to be renew every 2 years). In these 14 years, he had circuited the annapurna over 50 times, fostered many "useful" relationships in the mountains, and is therefore able to get the best rooms with the best view for us :)
Lok is genuine in his appreciation and admiration of the nature. He upholds traditional family values, and is not shy to give me a lecture of the importance of cultivating the relationship between husband and wife.
Being the clumsiest person in the team, I was always far behind Ange and Penny on the trek. Lok would faithfully walk beside or behind me all the time, though walking slower than usual for him is tougher because he had to bear the weight longer.
I felt so blessed to have Lok to be my guide and porter. If you need someone to guide you through the Annapurnas, get Lok: email@example.com
He checks emails may be once a week or two weeks, if he's on a job, he won't have access for at least 3 weeks. So be patient!
2. On the first 3 days, we trekked in subtropical humidity (200%!) , excruciating heat, and occasional storms. I started with 1 liter of water on my back but very soon, I have to maintain 2 liters to get me from one rest stop to the next, which is usually only one hour apart.
From the village of Tal (arriving on day 3) and on, every major village along the trek would have a safe drinking water station. The scheme was mandated and installed by ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project), funded by a New Zealand group, managed by the locals who receive training from ACAP. It is an effort to reduce plastic bottle disposal on the mountain by the trekkers, thus increase the sustainability of the treks, and also a mean for the locals to increase their income