May 15th 1984

posted in: The way back | 0
Val washing

Not a crack of dawn start to the day, not least because it was Val’s turn to feel ill.  But at least we didn’t have too heavy a day to cope with, just to Syabru, about 6 hours further on.  Even so, until Val got into her stride + was able to summon some energy from somewhere, the going was painfully slow.  At Lama Hotel, we stopped once more for hot lemon, + were able to trade a sarong + blouse that we had been given in Malaysia for a hand-woven belt.  It was that rare but best kind of deal where both sides were entirely happy with the arrangement.  But the rest of the day was not much more than a slow but steady plod.  It was mostly downhill now, of course, but generally too steep downhill to be enjoyable or easy.  Towards the end, when we were on the final climb to the village from the river, we grew exceedingly irritable with each other, + this culminated in a row.  It started over the smallest of incidents, Val being angry with me not being able to hear her as she walked along, but it was not really about that, if you follow me.  We have amazingly few rows, considering we are generally together 24 hours a day.  That is partly because we are neither of us confrontational people, + would avoid an argument if possible, but we are sometimes shoved in that direction because of the democratic way we try to run our partnership.  My mum + dad never argued in public, + perhaps in private too, but then Dad made nearly all the decisions, + mum liked it or lumped it.  (Val tells me it was similar, in reverse, for her parents too.)  For us, nearly every decision has to be thrashed out between us, big things, small things, + with 2 people that means unanimity.

The climb up the hill was not all that strenuous, but the climb up thro’ the village itself nearly killed us.  However, we made it, + killed our irritability towards each other.  It’s difficult to argue when you are having difficulties breathing.  We stopped at one place for several glasses of hot lemon, but didn’t want to stay there.  It was neat + tidy, but infested by hundreds of flies.  They were everywhere, even climbing over the baby’s face.  So we selected a different place just above it.  Food was prepared + eaten in a simply smoky hut, while the bedroom was in a different place, one of the regular cottages.  We were the only guests, so had the place to ourselves.  The evening meal was depressing, sitting in the squalid gloom, eating greasy food.  Then Val discovered that the blood from a sheep’s head hanging in the eaves was dripping down onto her back + hair.  Once more we indulged ourselves with a tin of mixed pear + peach, but it wasn’t enough to salvage the evening.  It was a relief to retreat to our sleeping quarters.  I slept well – it was Val’s turn to be kept awake by the howling of the dogs.

Very much a downbeat day, just retracing our steps on the way back to Kathmandu. Actually, I do seem to spend a lot of time describing our rows, but I suppose that is to be expected.

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