Left Shivalaya for the 6.5 hour hike to Bhandar with the Quebec couple we had met, but didn’t walk with them for long as I wasn’t feeling too hot and had to keep taking extended bathroom breaks. It was a steep climb but we finally got our first tiny glimpse of the Himalayas. The hike was exhausting as I wasn’t in good enough shape yet and my hips and feet started to blister from my bag and boots. All in all it was by far the hardest day I’ve had yet and my productive response to was to have a cry sesh over how bad I felt for slowing Sean down so much. He was really awesome and patient and we finally got through it; the hiking has been much better ever since.
Over halfway through the day, just far enough to not justify going back, Sean realized he had left his day bag under the bed at the River Guesthouse in Shivalaya. It had about $50 and his camera charger in it, the latter being much more valuable. When we arrived in Bhandar we found the Buddha Lodge, owned by the brother of the owner of the River Guesthouse, and although we had written off the idea of ever seeing the bag again we asked if he could help us retrieve it. He talked to his brother on the phone several times that night and told us that the bag should be delivered to us the next day for a fee of less than $10. Much to our surprise the next afternoon a Scotsman named Keith showed up from Shivalaya with the bag! He told us that the lodge owner had looked all over town for a tourist or porter headed to Bhandar. All of the money was still in the bag and Keith also told us that the lodge owner had counted it out twice to him, insisting he pay attention. We really couldn’t believe the trouble all these people had gone to for us when they could have just kept the bag and money for themselves. The honesty and friendliness of the Nepali people has been a theme we’ve encountered continuously on our trip through the country and it has really added to our experience.