17 June 2006


it's quite hot in the vallies between the himalayas and our area is
characterized by epic trees and dramatic descents into the glacial water.
these mountains have a certain violence to them. in front, the green foot hills
covered in jungle look peaceful enough. but a long glance through the humidity
haze just right reveals these stony, staggeringly tall jagged peaks raking
through the clouds.

we rented a humble rowboat for the river that feeds into a huge lake near where
we are staying. the river moves slow and is the temperature of bathwater at the
surface. leeches aside, quite pleasant.
so we set out further towards the lake and entered a period of silent
timelessness, staring at the ridges of the mountains and the clouds and birds.
then of course the boys got hungry so we landed our craft at the foot of a long
set of stone steps delved out of the mountainside (the mountains literally fall
into the water--this lake is still so new that there is no shore). climbed to
the top where there was a single table with an old drunk man.
we sat on the stone verandah and consumed chai and fresh fish till we were
satiated. a tarantula captured and killed a beetle.
then the monsoon poured over the bowl of the mountains and rushed towards us
with surpising furiosity. within minues the rain was raging and treebranches
were being ripped apart in the wind. we moved inside and rested in a rainy day
half daze till the calm came back. then back to the lake for hours
more..swimming in the middle, exploration of a swamp, etc.
finally after one of the most dramatic sunsets ive ever seen, we figured it was
time to return the boat. it being a complex post dusk navigational feat to find
the tiny cove of our origin, i am surprised we made it on the first try.
we disembarked and made our way up the stairs to the owner's shack.
there was a small group of very excited looking men standing at the top of the
stairs. the owner came up to us, obviously distressed, and they all started
talking at once in their broken english about the storm and how dangerous the
lake is:
'that water 180 feet deep in middle! no tourist know!'
'every year they die, in the monsoonsummer 25 europeans die!'
we, being previously unaware of both of these facts, were slightly taken aback.
they said theyd sent out search parties & asked everyone if theyd seen us; since
we were gone for some 7 hours, they concluded that we had drowned

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