Day 3 - Slow and Steady
Nepali entrepreneurs

We follow behind a grey-haired porter who plods methodically up the trail, carrying a stack of five wodden crates full of Coca-Cola on his back. Each crate holds twenty-four full bottles. Dominating his tiny fragile-looking ankles and knobbly knees, his calf muscles swell like inflated balloons, pulsating veins criss-crossing the bulging claves with each step ascended. Shoeless, not much more than five foot tall, almost bent double with the weight of his burden, he leans on a thick bamboo pole with each step. He is one of the legions of porters who have carried salt, rice, and other basic trading goods up and down these valleys for centuries, crossing borders, oblivious to the boundaries relatively recently defined by Western powers. I follow him for hours, which gives me plenty of time to wonder about the absurdity of this man struggling to carry liquid up these monsoon-soaked mountains to cater to the tastes of Westerners seduced by the far-reaching marketing stratagems of Coca-Cola.

From Annapurna Circuit - Himalayan Journey by Andrew Stevenson.

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Photo by Alistair Adams