What looks like half-finished buildings of untreated stones is in fact one of the larger villages on the track. Manang is milestone of the Annapurna circuit where all trekkers come through – and it is famous for German bakeries. Looking back now I damn myself for not having taken pictures of the fantastic pies and cakes they produce here. All I can state is: be sure that you try at least two or three sinful products and never be shy to enter all bakeries along the way, inhaling the sent of butter, sugar, baked apples and cinnamon.
Apart from food, the “town” does not look spectacular. Unless you are fancy about Wild West desert atmosphere, that is. Along the way you will stumble over temples, stupas and mane stones every once in a while, filling the dry earth with spiritual enlightment.
The neighbouring village Braga is dominated by a Buddhist monastery built half way up the hills. Between apple pie and dinner we head up to the cloister, taking care of body and mind all the same.
As usual, the cloister consists mainly of one square room with holy books stacked up to the ceiling. Colourful decorations, pictures of holy Lamas and uncounted Buddha statues accomplish the scenery.
While the local priest tells a bit about the ascetic monk who founded this place, my mind starts wandering from past events to life, the future and all the rest. I think of big-hearted friends that have died too soon and of the ones left behind. I remember others that struggled with socializing skills and responsibility and I think of the things in life that count in the long run. Must be a bit of dust in my eyes, while in fact I don’t care: if not shedding a tear in a Buddhist temple on top of the world, then where? I let loose, not thinking about tomorrow, nor about trivial things such as job or money. If Nepal / Himalaya journeys come at the price of esoteric influence, fine by me. (Later I check: still pretty nail polish on my toes. Still no batik clothing in my wardrobe. Probably the esoteric impact is not of the severe kind, yet welcoming all the same.)
The relaxed Joker Day around Manang has been an excellent step embedded in our trek. Bistare, bistare (“slowly, slowly”) I get more and more settled into the surrounding – even more with delightful Dal Bhat dinner coming up this evening in our lodge.