Home again, and after the Himalayan foothills everything seems so very … flat. Quite literally.
While I was away, I wrote a scant few paragraphs on a short story, and nothing more. Instead, I concentrated on stopping my head from spinning and sliding around inside my skull in the thin mountain air. I received a proposal from an eleven year old boy (he's going to be a doctor when he grows up); trekked through the Black Mountains accompanied by an ever-growing pack of friendly stray dogs, ponies with bells, and a horseman in a red cap mad to have his photo taken at every opportunity; played marbles with Bhutanese schoolboys1; taught a pack of children how to say "Hello'ello'ello!" and how to play Giant's Treasure; saw more penises painted on the walls of buildings than I could count; saw yak in the wild, and takin in a reserve; helped string some prayer flags across a mountain pass; wore a kira (and subsequently figured out why the Bhutanese women don't gain weight — the belts on those things are close to corsetry); climbed up and down a multitude of stairways which shiphands might look at as being too bloody steep, thank you very much; rode a pony up to the mind-boggling Tiger's Nest monastery; choked on various incarnations of ema-datse — and did I mention hiked in the Himalayan foothills?
The only reason I didn't hold the entire group up was because a more experienced hiker very kindly came down with altitude sickness to slow our pace for me.
- badly — their technique is tricky! [↩]