‘No tea house here’

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Saturday 23rd March

‘You want rest?’ came a lady’s voice from the flat roof above us. At least that was what I heard. We had paused outside her house for Jim to take a photo of the street.

James, Jim and I had taken the morning off and we were meandering through the narrow streets of Purung, on the way to finding a vantage point over the valley for a panoramic photo. It was another traditional village, like Jhong, just a few hundreds yards from main Around Annapurna trekking route.

The lady on the roof, then dangled some scarves over the piles of wood lining the roof. Ah, she wasn’t offering us a rest, but a scarf.

‘How much?’ I shouted up.

James and Jim both looked at me as if to say, ‘You’ve started something now.’

The lady came down and showed me that scarves, we all ended up buying one from her. They were ones she had made herself and had just come off the loom – they hadn’t even been cut into individual scarves yet.

We managed to establish her name, Tchang Pu Che. She spoke some English and told us she had two children. She seemed keen to attract tourists to her village, as most don’t venture through despite it being on one of the marked side trekking routes.

‘No tea house’ she said, frowning and shaking her head. It makes you realise how much the local economy relies on tourism.

I took a photo of her, but not before she had unzipped her North Face fleece to expose a beautiful turquoise and coral necklace for the photo and arranged her position in the doorway. She then wanted a photo taken with me – Jim obliged.

In broken English she asked if she could have a copy of the photo. I promised that if I ever return to the area I will bring a copy for her.

‘Tchang Pu Che. Purung. Here.’ She repeated the name of the village and her name to make sure that I knew where to come again.

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