Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Trek Days 16-17: Rest in Gatlang and return to Kathmandu

It's possible to do all sorts of 'activities' in Gatlang - plant potatoes, spin wool, weave bamboo baskets, mill flour and so forth.

Or that's the theory anyhow. After many confusing conversations, the thrust was that the only real option was to watch khukri knives being made at the foundry. Which was handy really as we really wanted the kids to take home a khukri knife each - the quintessential Nepali souvenir.
It was a fascinating three hours watching three men make the knives ($6.50 each!) amongst their existing workload of axe heads and similar. We were all fascinated and will remember that day clearly every time we look at or use those knives. They're raw, undecorated.
The conditions in the foundry were medieval. No eye protection, no masks, no shoes. Manual bellows made from yak hide (how did that young man pump those bellows for so many hours under his left arm?).

By eye, the chief blacksmith made the two blades identical to each other and to the master blade. He was an expert at work, passionate about his trade.

The handle was made from fencing wire, melted in a crucible and poured into a mould (no gloves).

The kids were a continual source of fascination, particularly from other kids.
Tom was playing hop scotch with a large audience.

We asked Sandesh to 'move them along'. The obstinate few sat from a distance as a seated audience.

The following day, Bernard joined us for the jeep ride back into Boudha. The road from Gatlang to Syabrubensi was a remarkable feat of road building and provided views up the Langtang Valley, allowing us to reminisce our entire trip. It also provided views over Gosainkund and we started planning our NEXT trek...

The landslides didn't seem so bad second time around.
Shane, Helen, Rosie and Tom

Location:Boudhanath, Nepal

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