Thousands of photos are stored in my Google Photos account from the past year of travel. I selected the 10 best pictures, with the most interesting stories, to give a good impression of my journey. Sit back and enjoy!!
“Would you like to try a local drink?” one of the guys asked me in broken English while handing me a bottle. It is difficult to see what is in the jar as the small room is scarcely lit. It is packed though. About ten other guys are sitting around me either on the small bed or on the moldy carpet. The centre piece of the room is a small TV, filling the walls with colourful patterns creating an almost club like atmosphere. A cricket match is showing and occasionally the guys enthusiastically talk in their local language.
I’m in a house about ten minutes drive down the hill from the small Himalayan village Nako. It is in the middle of nothing close to the Chinese-Tibetan border. Earlier that day I travelled by local bus on the narrow twisting roads leading higher and higher into the unforgettable mountains. A landslide blocked the road for hours until the excavators finally cleared a path. One by one the cars and trucks carefully pass the point of failure. The bus driver didn’t hesitated one second to regain some lost time. With immense speed we twisted left and right following the mountain roads. The finally climb was dusty, dark, and slow. The bus was heavy and in lowest gear it slowly twisted up the steep roads toward Nako.
“You want to stay with my friends” the guy next to me said in the bus. I was a bit overwhelmed and my mind was racing. I have been talking to me for the past hour or so. He is from the local village Moorang about two hours bus ride from Nako. His cricket team, PKC Moorang, is gathering for a tournament in the early mornings. I barely knew him but somehow it intrigued me. “Yeh… that sounds nice” I hesitantly replied. As soon as the words pass my mouth I felt the fear exploding in my body. What am I doing…?
An old dusty jeep stops in front of me and my new friend. Four to five young guys get out. A quick round of hello’s and shaking hands. They offer me the front seat. The jeep turns right, back down the hill, and stops about 10 minutes later at a small settlement of about 10 single story houses. We get out of the car and walk a narrow pathway to one of the houses. The house is bare bones at best; concrete, cold, bathroom only a hole in the ground and a single bucket for a cold morning shower. I am kindly introduced to the other team members sitting around in a small room watching cricket on the TV. Then I start to realise, my god were am I…
“What is it?” I ask with the bottle still in my hands. “Local apple wine, homemade, the best of the best” one of the guys replies. “Alright, let’s try it” I say as I didn’t want to decline their kindness. They hand me a glass and carefully I pour some of the crystal clear liquid in the cup. A small sip. A strong sharp taste fills my mouth. “Great…” I say trying to smile.
I’m saved by two other team members entering the little room. In their arms two bags full of chapatis, dhal, subji, and paranthas. I welcome the food gracefully! The evening passes quickly as we are watching cricket and I’m asking questions on the rules of the game. At some point I start to wonder were all the people are going to sleep. Do I have to spend the night on the concrete floor? I just couldn’t see any other bed around.
“Are you a bit tired, you want some sleep?” one of the guys asks me? I couldn’t be happier to be honest. The bus ride of 12 hours clearly took a toll on me. I nod. “Alright, follow me” the guy said. I follow him out of the house into the night. We take the path leading to one of the other houses. The guy in front of me enters and turns on a small light in the main room. “Here, this is the room and the bed you can use” pointing to one of the open doors. “Here the shower and toilet” waving at a sparsely filled room with a hole and a bucket. “Thank you very much” I reply generously. The guy smiles and leaves the house.
I put my backpack down in the room and with a sigh relax on the bed. The room is rather dark and I’m not sure if a light is even available. On my right I start to notice some clothing. It looks like uniforms of soldiers or some kind of police officers. Then on the wall opposite the bed I suddenly see five real looking rifles. There are hanging on some kind of wooden rack firmly fixed to the wall. Wait what… what is this house?
The next day the team tells me that this is the local police house. Actually all the houses in the small neighbourhood are from people working for the government. After a quick breakfast I join the team that morning for their cricket match. I practise cricket myself and later found out that they won the tournament. What a beautiful memory!