Extract from ‘Around Annapurna’

I remained outside later than everybody else. It may have been sensible to settle at dusk, to get into a good trekking routine, but I needed to feel the thickness of the air on my face and to touch the baked ground of an unfamiliar continent. I was drawn towards the village’s single room dwellings. Through the open doorway I saw two bundles on a trestle table, the tops of tiny human heads and the tightly swaddled blankets around their infant bodies. There was no other furniture except the saucepans on the wall and I assumed that their parents were sitting out of view on the floor near the candle.
There was something reassuring in the austerity of the clay, wood and metal and it gave me the confidence to wander alone for a mile or so along the track alive with clicking, trills and whistles from unseen mouths.
As we approached each village on subsequent days, we were greeted by clasped hands and bowed heads, – from women at their pots, toddlers in filthy vests and wellingtons, or whoever
‘Namaste!’ they said, meaning ‘I salute the God within you!’
We were careful in our responses and easily drawn into the sincerity of the ceremony.

(nb. ‘While Giants Sleep’ does not contain photographs. These have been included only for the purposes of this blog. Photographs are taken from Google Images )

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