It was a tough start to our journey around the Annapurna circuit with Lena and Ali both having had food poisoning yesterday. As we drove out of Kathmandu I reflected on the changes I have seen since I was there in 1983, 24 years ago. There are a lot more people and there is a lot more pollution. The rapid change in temperature that occurred over the last week, and affected ourselves with food poisoning and apparently many others, is a clear warning sign for the future. I see a serious deterioration in the environment of the Kathmandu valley.
The other thing that I noticed as we drove east is the level of haze, far worse than I remember. This was a major disappointment for Lena who had imagined us journeying into clear mountain air. Our road journey ended at Besisahar and then we walked to the village of Khudi, where we stayed the night. Not many trekkers stop here now, with the road for buses continuing to Bhulbhule. More on the road later. Our guide, Karma Lama, thought that Lena and Ali might be better for some walking, but they really struggled … even with only day packs to carry. It was a relief to get to the guest house.