I had hoped to put the following up as as audio post, but technology has let me down…

Monday 18th March

We seem to be following snow and power cuts – not necessarily together. The lights went out in Manang last night, not long after we got back from the ‘cinema’, and they are still out. Despite the lack of power Jim and I found a phone, which was where the idea came from for an audio post.

Manang is a small town, it’s like something from the wild west, with a wide dusty main street, stone built tea houses with wooden verandas and ponies, donkeys and cows roaming around freely.

We’ve been here three nights doing some survey, but we’re heading on tomorrow. Tonight is our last night camping. We had planned to go over a pass by Tilicho Lake, one of the highest lakes in the world, to do that we would have camp. Unfortunately, we’ve had too much snow to go that way safely, so we’re going over the main Thorung La pass instead.

With no need to camp, we will be staying in tea houses from now on, which, to be honest, I’m quite looking forward to. The down side is that we sadly lose our fantastic cook, Kumar, and his kitchen team. They’ve done a superb job keeping us fed and watered for breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between.

Our last supper was definitely one of the best, yak dal bhat! We’ve barely had the Nepalese staple, dal bhat, because Kumar has cooked us something different every night. It was also our first taste of yak – like beef, but more gamey. Dil said later that it was an old animal, which accounted for the flavour.

We usually have tinned fruit for dessert, but today Kumar had baked and iced us a cake – decorated with red icing by Dil. It was to wish us luck on the rest of the journey.

As well as being a great cook, Kumar cured the persistent headaches that I suffered from for the first week or so. His advice, was simple – wear a hat and don’t take it off. There are such extremes of temperature between day and night and I was frequently waking up in the morning with headaches. Since wearing my hat to bed, I’ve not had a single headache.

Location: Manang
Altitude: 3540m