A Snow Leopard

We spent another week here in the beautiful Himalayas. The weather has been nice so far and as for the school there also have been no problems at all so it’s not easy for me to find anything to write about. Perhaps just that we went with the kids to collect litters strewed in the village on Wednesday so we’ve made the village a little prettier. The kids are making progress day by day which is a great moving force for all of us.

Of course we also go on with those demanding visit in the families of our students. This week we went to Spalkit and Dorge. Unfortunately, not one of them had mercy with us - the meal was perfect and there was plenty of alcohol too so some of us needed more time to fully recover from these visits. For the curious ones I can only say that I was not among them.

Unexpectedly, a harddisc on the computer we use for communication with the rest of the world died and the loss of data as well as chance of communication from minute to minute was pretty surprising.

I tried to repair it but I hit it in the flare of anger because there was nothing else to do anyway...and to my surprise it started to work for a moment so at least I managed to save the data. It seems that there must be some guardian angel even in this high elevation but the thin air must make him feel really bad because he doesn’t show here very often.

But back to the weather I was talking about. It’s quite pleasant and warm here if we take into consideration that it’s December already. Even the locals are surprised by such nice weather but they say the worse is still to come. Only the day I went for a hike was cloudy but it didn’t discourage me. Anyway, the temperatures during the day often reach 5 °C so in the building we have almost summer temperatures. We often have over 30 °C inside so the difference between outside and inside temperature is 35 °C.

Me and Pyru planned a hike for today to the top of the hill behind the school but in the morning we were betrayed not only by the weather but also by Pyru’s digestive system... I am probably condemned to walking through these mountains alone. As I was walking towards the river I couldn’t take my eyes off the hill on my left side so I stopped and looked from the river to the mountain and again and again and I was trying to make up my mind which way to go. I can walk along the river anytime even when the snow falls but try to make it to the top of this mountain I can only now when I am alone because I doubt that anyone would join me in my attempt. So I made for it walking straight up the hill. A slate subsoil is not really solid so it was not easy to climb on it. But the effort was worth it - in addition to the breathtaking views the sun glanced out through the clouds and three beautiful eagles arrived just a moment before I reached the top to as if they wanted to greet me there. I even managed to get my camera ready to take a snap of them. By the way as I said in one of the previous posts the real top of this mountain cannot be really reached from this side but I made it as far as I could which was about 5 200 m above sea level. From this point there is only steep upright wall leading to the top. I searched it trying to find some crack which I could climb up through but I didn’t find any. Only to traverse on such a steep hill was quite difficult so I found a tiny ledge and I was carefully shifting myself to the edge of the rocks. When I reached the “corner” I wanted to look behind it and after I did so I stood frozen without a move for ten minutes. That is to say that behind the corner was standing a huge snow leopard staring into the valley below him. Maybe he was not that huge but I was so scared that he seemed to be at least the size of a cow. He wasn’t a tiny kitty, that’s for sure. I was painfully aware of the fact that I am too close and therefore the “cat” could consider me as a life thread (I was barely 50 m away) so I kept standing motionlessly on the tiny ledge hoping that the leopard had not seen me. I was standing there, motionless like a statue, wondering how to turn off my MP3 player because I know that the catlike animals have extremely good sense of hearing and the leopard could therefore hear the music even though I had it only in my headphones. But I did not manage to turn it off because I was not able to move on that tiny ledge so I enjoyed the song called The Fourth Sister and then, because my player has quite sick sense of humour, I listened to Darmoděj by Jarek Nohavica (very sad, dramatic and dark song by Czech folk singer) and then something else. After a while I took heart to look behind the corner again and fortunately the animal was gone. I quickly swallowed a bar of chocolate and returned to the village.


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