Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Nepal 4

All of the world-famous, life-list treks we've done in the developing world (e.g. Machu Picchu, Kilimanjaro) have featured amazing local porters who carry ridiculous loads, practically jogging up a hill, wearing beat-up sandals. In Nepal, there was a fair amount of that. There were also yaks carrying some heavy loads. But for the tourist crowd, there's no need to carry tents or stoves because the trekking is village-to-village and nights are spent at inns with restaurants.

The flip side of that is that there is no road bringing construction materials up to these villages to build shelter for the ever-increasing hordes of tourist trekkers. The obvious solution is to hire someone to carry all that construction stuff up the mountain for you. Pictured above is one of the many guys we saw with several full-size sheets of plywood on his back. The strap that is across his chest as he's resting goes on his forehead when he's lifting and carrying this stuff. And if that wasn't enough, the gap you can see between the first and second sheets of plywood? That's where there's a sheet of corrugated metal or two (I presume tin, but who knows) stuffed in between the plywood. It makes it a little harder to complain about the crummy plywood-box rooms when you realize what went into building them...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The strap that goes over the head is called a tumpline. Wikipedia has a good description of why/how they're used. Patagonia *sells* a tumpline. And if you would like to read how Yvon Chouinard got converted to tumplines, check out, then follow the link to view all stories, and select the "simplest solution" story. It's pretty interesting.

Aunt Pat