THE SOUND OF LABOURED BREATHING

Step by step on the Annapurna Trail

The beginning..

We call ourselves Hendo’s Hiking Harem, since the 2 Henderson brothers are the sole males in a party of 7 setting out on a 20km per day hike in the Himalayas.

There are 8 in the Nepali support group including head guide Kirat, beloved of us all by the end of the trek.

The first part is easy; Brisbane to Bangkok on a huge plane with all the attendant excitement and anticipation. Luggage booked through to Kathmandu, Jano arrives in Bangkok carrying nothing more than a handbag.

But first the plane trip, where Jano finds herself sitting beside a man who is enormously tattooed. This is discussed with some vigour; the man expresses huge regret at his youthful folly in getting drawn all over, and the huge cost of tattoo removal which faces him now that he is an older man of stature.

Now that he is a father he has a different image to project, he says.

Bangkok is about sleeping, and Jano’s birthday dawns on 17th March as a day of travel with one of the few people who have known her since the beginning of her time; her sister Tina. Hendo’s Hiking Harem flies together to Kathmandu, catching a postcard glimpse of white mountain tops above the clouds. The Himalayas!

And Kathmandu! Smoggy, dusty, noisy, crowded, broken in bits from a recent earthquake – but for Australians, resonating with romantic notions.How utterly incredible to be here.

*****

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