Annapurna circuit day 11 The wedding in Braga

Manang rest day

Where we would have a car park, Braga has a horse park for the wedding

I didn’t take anything for the pain last night and didn’t sleep much at all.  The third night of being forced to sleep on my back was taking its toll.  I already have sore heels from walking in my MTB shoes and they are not improving with sleeping on my back all the time.  I tried to sleep on my right side with a pillow between my knees, something I learned when they replaced my hip, but it was too painful.  Ria didn’t sleep well either, I snore when I sleep on my back and she was showing signs of altitude sickness.

The saddles stacked neatly at the entrance to the car park

Today is our rest day, not that we have much choice, but it was planned this way and we have the added advantage of a wedding in Braga which is 3km back sown the track.  This morning things didn’t look good: BJ was very upset at the state of things even though it is absolutely not his fault in any way whatsoever, Ria is down because she is tired and suffering from the altitude, I am down because I have ruined the entire trip with my stupid accident.

Our support team Zaggar, Suraz, Tikka & Moan

Time to change the outlook.  I wasn’t planning on going to the wedding but I knew that if I didn’t go then BJ and Ria would not go either so I insisted on going.  I really wanted to see the wedding as this is something that will never happen again and an experience I would regret missing if I didn’t go; my problem was the 3km on a horse to get there. I took a painkiller and rode down on Single Speed who has new shoes this morning so his feet were not quite so tender, which made him a bit more sprightly, but still only 1 gear!

The local show-off demonstrates his horse's speed

As we approached the wedding we could see lots of horses in the surrounding fields.  In Europe it would be the car park full of cars, here it is the field full of horses.  We were given white scarves and ate Yak stew with rice and vegetables.  The Yak was slaughtered yesterday specially for the wedding so it was quite a rarity; it actually tastes a bit like beef I think, but with all the herbs and spices used, it was difficult to isolate the actual flavour of the meat.  We drank rice wine, Rachi and water straight out of the tap.  Normally we wouldn’t drink tap water here in Nepal, but up in the mountains the risk is low.  Other specialities were the deep fried japatties, which taste a bit like pork scratchings and popcorn.  After the meal all the guests pass in front of the groom and bride, place a scarf around each of their necks and leave an envelope with money in it.  There were surely more than 200 guests so I imagine the newly weds had a good start to their married life together.

Single Speed went home to Chame with his owner so I was taken to the river just outside Manang by motorbike (not too painful) and Tikka carried me across the river on his bare feet then BJ and Tikka supported me to ‘walk’ up the final slope to Tashi’s guesthouse.

It is obvious that our plans to cross the Thorang Phedi pass are no longer viable and we have 2 choices: either return the way we came with me on a horse or take a helicopter out of Manang.  To return is not really an option as some of the land slides are not possible to cross with a horse and for me to do 4-5 days on a horse doesn’t bear thinking about.  So we are left with the helicopter which is $6,250!  We are insured but don’t have the policy number with us.  A call to KBC which took half an hour of unhelpful discussion didn’t help at all.  Now Vanessa has to scan and mail the policy to us this evening.  Then we fly out tomorrow……………….all being well

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