tomorrow morning i'm making the hairy 2-day trek from Kathmandu to Thuman village. last time i went, i was confident that riding in an ambulance with 2 nurses and a doctor would have been the surest way to get there unscathed while still soothing my adventure itch. but like a fingernail-happy kid with fresh mosquito bites, my itch quickly turned into an irritated wound after a couple of hours on the trip.
we got stuck on the mountain in fog as thick as my mom's cheese grits. had to have two guys walk ahead to make sure we didn't glide off the side of the cliff. like a puberty ridden teenager with too much makeup in hand, fog caked over the pimply cliff only an arms length from our shifty convoy. we stopped often to dig ourselves out of the days' previous landslides. all laughs and the nurses in high heels, we dug a path and slowly bumped our way to the next stale landslide.
the nurses, 23 years old and complete virgins to village life, got back into the ambulance shrieking like seagulls who had just eaten alkaseltzer. what on earth? leeches. im not talking Stand By Me leeches. these are conveniently small black slivers of slime. they hide in between your toes, only detectable by a sting and itch after finishing their dinner. without a word i picked them off of the girls and threw them back to their jungle. their mouths, in return just as silent, looked at me like i had eaten a baby.
at dawn, we abandoned the ambulance and walked 10 kilometers (the nurses in their high heels) to the medical workshop camp. of course i developed diarrhea on the walk and had to pop a squat every 2 kilometers. my abdomen has a special knack for cultivating diarrhea at the most inconvenient times. as soon as we arrived, i devoured rice and lentils with a tinge of disdain. the girls had refused my carefully planned and packed goods the night before because they weren't spicy enough.
after the workshop that day, they went back to their cozy (leech-less) homes in Kathmandu and i headed out on my 6 hour trek to the village (diarrhea-less). im working on a story for an NGO about a pregnant woman who survived a 6 hour trek to the nearest hospital - epileptic and in the throws of birth. she is the reason MAHENDI was created: to aid villages without proper health care nearby. i hung out with her and her bubbly bundle of baby fat. nepali kids are so damn cute.