Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Hanging around in Junbesi, rural Nepal (Nepal 2017-11)

On the Kathmandu to Everest Base Camp trail, approaching Junbesi.
The cheerful Sherpa town of Junbesi was our base for visits to nearby monasteries and for some trekking. The town is in a valley which opens up to the south and is surrounded by both forest and verdant farm fields. This area has not been deforested to the degree suffered by many other parts of Nepal, which has led to myriad environmental consequences, such as soil erosion, runoff, and flash flooding.
We stayed in the Apple Garden Guest House & Restaurant, which was clean and cheerful. The rooms were clean and the food was good, but the toilets and wash facilities needed work (typical in most of the country).
Room with a View - Junbesi from the Apple Garden Guest House.
Pack explosion = room with a mess. In the Apple Garden Guest House.
Entering town from the south, you are welcomed by a chorten with prayer wheels on all four sides. You are supposed to circle a chorten clockwise, meaning pass to the left, and spin the prayer wheels for good fortune and health. Chortens are found throughout the country, and range from huge structures in the city to small units on trails, villages or mountain cols. They serve as a religious focal point in the town or countryside and have a positive effect on the people who live nearby or pass alongside. "Building a chorten is an especially karmic act, helping to ensure fortunate rebirths."
Late tomatoes still ripening in the sun.
Toilet brushes ripening in the sun.
Most of Junbesi is cheerfully painted and in good maintenance. Some of the stores have odd items on display. A couple of my co-travelers found plenty of beer for sale.

We met an Australian dentist who comes to Junbesi once or twice a year to treat local residents. He had a clinic in a small building which was equipped, he said, to do most procedures that he might encounter. He brought most of his supplies with him when he came from Australia. For fillings, he used composite resin. He told me no longer used silver amalgam because the material was too heavy and there was the issue of disposing of waste. The day we talked, he was awaiting nuns to come down the mountain from the Thupten Chöling Monastery.
A short distance up-valley is another prosperous Sherpa town, Phungmoche. This photograph was from the trail that leads uphill to the Thubten Choling monastery.
I have already written about the Thupten Chöling Monastery before, so will only show one photograph. Drying barley in the sun is a common late autumn activity throughout Nepal.
A short distance below Junbesi, a lady was sipping her tea in the town of Benighat.
The boys of Benighat, cheerful and optimistic.
The photographs with grain are from Kodak Ektar 100 film, shot with a 35mm Yashica Electro 35CC camera. The grain-free photographs are from a Nexus 4 phone.

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