The Last Resort, Day 1.

I should have brought a headlamp. Or, I shouldn’t have shoved my headlamp so far into my day bag that there’s no possible way of retrieving it now. The Last Resort office is actually only two long blocks from my guesthouse. But it’s 5:30am and pitch black, apparently street lamps aren’t a thing in Nepal. I’m wondering if this is safe, after all, I can’t see anything and I’m in a major city before dawn. But my guesthouse assured me I would be fine and that taking a taxi was unnecessary, it was so close. And it was so close, only, without street signs or general indications of where I was two blocks could mean a variety of things. The map isn’t helpful. After stopping several times to ask anyone who might have any idea as to where I was going, I made it. Or I made it to a locked gate. Luckily there were two Danish girls also heading up to the resort waiting as well. After a few short minutes we were let in and soon on our way for the 3.5 hour drive towards the Tibet border.
As we climbed out of the city daylight began to break. A still red sun cast pockets of light across the valley and as the city came to life.A haze blurred the lines of of rooftops and hills in the distance, giving the whole city a transparent feel. As we left the city the earth turned from slate to red to green with expanses of terraced hills, houses popping up sporadically.
Authors since the invention of trains and buses have waxed lyrical about the beauty of this form of travel, and I have to agree, it’s an especially unique way of seeing a country. Outside your windows you have the luxury of observation, your destination is secured and you no longer must think of where you are going. Instead, you are afforded a view of everyday life unfolding in front of you. You do not affect it, or change it in anyway, it simply an unadulterated view of another culture. Children walking to school, men carrying brief cases or heavy loads on their backs, women selling produce or making offerings along side the road. a glimpse into a world to which I do not belong, and will likely never fully understand.
Our bus takes us far from the city, we can breathe again. Wax Tailor’s “Que Sera” blares in my headphones, and I feel I have finally arrived. All I can think is, I am so happy. Tears of a new kind well in my eyes, emotions almost too strong, I am reminded why I love this so much. And maybe im even a little proud, that i can hurdle myself into the world, untethered and not only land on my feet, but have a damn good time of it too. I sink back into my seat, thankful to be exactly where I am and watch the scenery blur past, we are almost there.
To reach the resort we must cross over a bridge. Not just any bridge, but the same bridge budgie jumpers will propel themselves 160m the next day. Though it sways a bit as we cross I have, surprisingly no issue with the height, nor peering down over the ledge. Ironic, because my Danish companions who are set to jump the next day (where as I opted for hiking and massaging) are short step shuffling and emitting high pitched girlish squeaks every now and then. But perhaps when it comes down to it, they will be the ones willing to soar straight towards the earth. While something certainly on my bucket list I’m saving it for when I get to share it with a loved one. Such a monumental adrenaline fueled experience seems best preserved for a close relationship to experience together.
I am, by myself, and not wanting to pay a single supplement I’m risking having a tent-mate, but luckily I am alone in my safari-esk permanent tent, pitched below a red thatched roof. It’s cozy and perfect, vastly superior anything in of doors could offer. As my new companions leave to scale down the side of a waterfall, I am left to fill my afternoon with reading, writing, and meandering through the hilled compound in search of the massage room, where I get a phenomenal hour long hot stone massage for about $20. I am basking in my solitude finding company in words, written or read. Appropriately I’m reading Peter Mathhiessen’s “The Snow Leopard,” a good deal of which takes place where I will be trekking in few short days.
I’m watching dusk set in, turning the arid mountains a rust orange. I wouldn’t have guessed this was part of Nepal, while not entirely arid, it is more tropical in appearance with bare dusty mountains lining the horizon, as opposed to the snow capped variety on the other side of the valley. But it is still, quite beautiful. And though I certainly plan to return and visit Tibet, for now this is the only glimpse of the landscape I’ll get.
A blissful day eases into evening and I think, I could stay here much longer. Though I must leave tomorrow for errands and logistics before my upcoming trek. Over curry and Danish beers we recount our day and swap travel stories. A fantastic end to a fantastic day.

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My room

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The bridge to The Last Resort

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