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Loss of Annapurna Circuit

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Re:

Postby kevin trieu » Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:44 am

Damien Gildea wrote:
...STFU whitey.

...Try telling all thos fat Indian ladies on the back of motorbikes that they should walk instead.

D

i love this post. i just did this trek from Besi Sahar to Nayapul. mostly i was trying to avoid getting ran over by buses/jeeps/motorbikes/bicycles/the French/Euros.

why do people expect this to be a wilderness experience? it isn't. people have been living in this area for thousands of years. it is a business. the fixed pricing was a bit annoying. i don't want to pay 400 Rs for veggie dal-bhat every time. most of the bigger hotel owners higher on the east side of Tharung La pass are assholes. they have stopped trying to be respectful or friendly. there are no return customers and the whiteys keep coming in waves so why try? they get business regardless of the level of service. this trek is where whitey go meet other whitey to enjoy a cappuccino and reflect on their 3 hours of hard trekking over beautiful roads.

overall i did enjoy the experience but it wasn't what i expected. it is all about expectations.
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Re: Loss of Annapurna Circuit

Postby fatdad » Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:30 pm

Kevin, your post would have been more meaningful if you wrote with some context or understanding of what the trek was like before it devolved into the sad scene you describe. First, no one expects a wilderness experience. I think some who commented earlier In the thread who hadn't hiked it made that comment. You are hiking from town to town, not thru a wilderness area. The experience is primarily a cultural one with rad mountain scenery throw in. Two, did you ever stop to consider that the scene you desribe is a direct result, at least in part, of the area becoming more accessible and hence more commercialized.

I did not experience any of what you describe on my trip. What described sounded more like a crowded slum in Dehli. That's too bad. It was a beautiful and memorable journey.
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Re: Loss of Annapurna Circuit

Postby fatdad » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:46 pm

fatdad wrote:Kevin, your post would have been more meaningful if you wrote with some context or understanding of what the trek was like before it devolved into the sad scene you describe. First, no one expects a wilderness experience. I think some who commented earlier In the thread who hadn't hiked it made that comment. You are hiking from town to town, not thru a wilderness area. The experience is primarily a cultural one with rad mountain scenery throw in. Two, did you ever stop to consider that the scene you desribe is a direct result, at least in part, of the area becoming more accessible and hence more commercialized.

I did not experience any of what you describe on my trip. What described sounded more like a crowded slum in Dehli. That's too bad. It was a beautiful and memorable journey.


Edit: Kevin's thread has kind of made me angry, not so much for his naive observation of 'I didn't think it was that nice because of all the cars' but because of the impact of what he described. I think that it's worth noting that the only motorized vehicle I saw on the entire trip was at Besinagar, where we got dropped off, and where we hopped on bus to Pohkara at Birethani (with the exception of a couple small planes that landed at Manang and Jomsom). For all of those who expressed the opinion that the road was a good thing for the people who lived there, Kevin's post described a trip that people would now be avoiding. I made this analogy earlier, which I think is still valid: would you hike the JMT if it ran next to a paved road? I wouldn't.
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Re: Loss of Annapurna Circuit

Postby Damien Gildea » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:49 pm

fatdad wrote: For all of those who expressed the opinion that the road was a good thing for the people who lived there, Kevin's post described a trip that people would now be avoiding.


So what? They can holiday somewhere else. How about let the people who live there decide what happens there? As stated earlier, the benefits of trekking to most locals are minimal to the benefits of transport and communications.

I made this analogy earlier, which I think is still valid: would you hike the JMT if it ran next to a paved road? I wouldn't.


And it is an inaccurate, inappropriate and useless analogy. California is not a Third World Country. It is a totally different situation with regard to priorities of recreation and 'wilderness' preservation vs. economic development. There is no need to do that in California/USA. There is a need to do it in Nepal - whether you like it or not.
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Fletch

Re: Loss of Annapurna Circuit

Postby Fletch » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:59 pm

Damien is right. Sorry Fatdad, but your nostaligia is getting the better of your common sense. People have been complaining about the big wheel in the sky turning for thousands of years (including Nepalese).

(I suspect, this is where Larry links a youtube video to a Boston concert - ha!)
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Re: Loss of Annapurna Circuit

Postby kevin trieu » Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:03 pm

fatdad wrote:
fatdad wrote:Kevin, your post would have been more meaningful if you wrote with some context or understanding of what the trek was like before it devolved into the sad scene you describe. First, no one expects a wilderness experience. I think some who commented earlier In the thread who hadn't hiked it made that comment. You are hiking from town to town, not thru a wilderness area. The experience is primarily a cultural one with rad mountain scenery throw in. Two, did you ever stop to consider that the scene you desribe is a direct result, at least in part, of the area becoming more accessible and hence more commercialized.

I did not experience any of what you describe on my trip. What described sounded more like a crowded slum in Dehli. That's too bad. It was a beautiful and memorable journey.


Edit: Kevin's thread has kind of made me angry, not so much for his naive observation of 'I didn't think it was that nice because of all the cars' but because of the impact of what he described. I think that it's worth noting that the only motorized vehicle I saw on the entire trip was at Besinagar, where we got dropped off, and where we hopped on bus to Pohkara at Birethani (with the exception of a couple small planes that landed at Manang and Jomsom). For all of those who expressed the opinion that the road was a good thing for the people who lived there, Kevin's post described a trip that people would now be avoiding. I made this analogy earlier, which I think is still valid: would you hike the JMT if it ran next to a paved road? I wouldn't.

I can see why you feel strongly about my post. What you experienced on the track vs the what trekkers experience now are vastly different. The road on the west side goes up past Kagbeni all the way to 4,000m+ to the Thorang pass. I suspect in the next few months/years it'll get to the pass. The road on the east side goes all the way to the village of Chame if I remember correctly. That's about 70% of the trek. The smart agencies here are starting to offer mountain biking packages on the Circuit. There are motorcycle tours going up from Beni to Kagbeni. We talking big old British bikes, Harley size. Fat rich White folks that can't barely walk ripping past you as you "trek." There are many other treks in other regions that are just as spectacular. Things change fast here. Can't stop progress. If people want to experience a better cultural and wild scenery, maybe they should take up the Manaslu trek. Manaslu is like Annapurna, 30 years ago.

So I stayed at a local guesthouse Ghasa, mostly for Napalese because the beds are tiny and the owner doesn't have a fixed menu for food. His son goes to school in Beni, which is about an 8 hour bus ride from Ghasa. If there isn't a road there, it would take him and his son over 3 days to walk to school. Think of the children!
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Re: Loss of Annapurna Circuit

Postby Scott » Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:10 pm

Just got back from Nepal. I agree that it should be up to the locals to decide. I'd disagree that the benifits of trekkers to the locals are minimal though.

Anyway, it is true that the Annapurna Circuit is history. The Dhalagiri and Manaslu Circuits are good alternatives though.

The Everest Trek is more civilized now. There is a Starbucks in Lukla (which may not be genuine):

Image

The Lukla Airport is now paved. Porters now chat on cell phones while carrying loads. A cell phone tower even adorns the summit of Kala Pattar (near Everest Basecamp), and cell phone towers are present in most of the main villages including next to Tangboche Monestary. All teahouses have electricity and most have places to recharge your laptops. Internet cafes are present in many of the villages and about half of the teahouses have satellite dishes. Most also have flush toilets, though they are frozen in the winter at higher elevations. Prices have risen dramatically since our visit 11 years ago.

On the other hand, the people are still very friendly, the mountains are still spectacular and litter has actually been reduced more than it has been in some previous years. Sanitation has been improved and many areas, and at least in the Khumbu many areas are being reforested. People, especially in the trekking areas are overall better off than they were. Nepal is still very much a worthwhile destination.

Also, the development that has happened still pales in comparison to the development around most of our national parks and in many of our mountains. We mine our mountains for metals, forest products, etc., so we can't really complain about what has happened in the Himalaya. It was still a very enjoyable experience.
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