Ghorepani was more of a true village than Ulleri had been. There was a general store, which sold touristy things like postcards alongside more useful necessities, like food and hygiene products. There was more than one main path through the village, and buildings which had no clear purpose. The settlement sprawled out for a fair distance on the hillside.
We walked straight through to our guesthouse, the Hotel Snowland. Hotel Snowland was perched pretty high on the hill, affording a great view of some of the far-off peaks. Another benefit of traveling with a guide—they knew which teahouses had the bets views. If I’d been trekking independently, I undoubtedly would have chosen to stay in one of the lodges in town, which had no view of the peaks.
We ate lunch. I again avoided the Dal Baht, opting for a Tibetan dumpling dish called “momos” instead. The lunch was hearty, filling, and cheap. My stomach stayed quiet. I ordered a pot of ginger tea. I was beginning to see where the phrase “teahouse trekking” came from. When you finished your walking at 1 in the afternoon, there wasn’t much else to do but sit around sipping tea.
I thought of leaving the lodge and exploring the village, but the prospect of walking back down the stairs to the village proper seemed pretty daunting. I figured I had better stay put.
People came and went, but the teahouse remained largely quiet throughout the afternoon. I sat and sipped my tea until it was gone. I wrote a little bit in my trekking journal—I was trying to keep a record of the trip, so I wouldn’t forget it. I was finding it difficult to write though. I was tired. I put aside the journal, and promised myself I’d come back to it after dinner.
It was getting colder—we had gained quite a bit in elevation, and afternoon weather was rolling in. You could see it obscure the mountains in the distance, dropping snow on the high peaks. The temperature in the lodge dropped noticeably. There was a wood-burning furnace in the center of the room, but the lodge owners wouldn’t start it until people paid.
This is how trekking goes in Nepal— the basics like food and lodging are cheap, but you will be charged through the nose for every little extra. Heat, wifi, toilet paper, showers, charging your electronics—each activity carries with it a fee; a price that increases with every meter or elevation you gain.
So we did not start the fire that afternoon.
I abandoned the quiet common room, and retreated to my bed, where I wrapped myself up in my sleeping bag and tried to sleep for a few hours.