The time I got leeched

One day I decided to clean up my room and I found some old family videos. I decided to watch them and came across a video of my family when we were on a holiday in Nepal. It reminded me of one of the best and worst experiences of my life. It was an adventure to say the least and I thought I’d share it with whoever cares to read this.

Fair warning, this story gets fairly disgusting and bloody by the end of it, so if you’re squeamish, you might want to stop reading.

In 2005-2006 (I can’t remember the exact year and the family video isn’t dated, very inefficient), my family and I went to a city named Pokhara in Nepal on holiday. My father was working there away from us at the time, so went there often. One day we decided to go to a place called the “World Peace Pagoda,” a popular tourist spot which houses a giant Buddha statue. I remember being slightly reluctant on going there because we had to leave fairly early in the morning and I just wanted to stay inside (a bad way to spend a vacation I know, but I am an introvert!). My parents made me go along anyway (as parents do) and I honestly look back at the memory fondly (part of it anyway, I’ll get to the horrible part of the experience later).

We decided to walk to the Pagoda since it wasn’t that far, but because the way was very hilly, we got a fair workout.

The peace Pagoda is located atop a mountain which can only be accessed on foot, so once we reached the bottom of the mountain, we followed the path and began the long climb. The thing about Pokhara is that it’s generally cool and windy but when the sun beats down on you it gets hot really fast; so we got hot and sweaty fairly quickly. After two hours of hiking, we finally reached the top, and it was a truly gorgeous sight. The giant statue was awe inspiring, the view was beautiful, and the other people around were rather friendly too. After we had had our fill of the place, we decided to head back down.

This was where the horrible part of the experience started.

For some reason, we decided to go down a different path from the one which we had come up on. It was basically a jungle, and it looked like we could reach the lake at the ‘Lake-side’ (another well-known tourist spot in Pokhara) if we went down that way.

We were following a path but it ended abruptly. In our stupidity, we figured we could work our down fairly easily but instead we just got lost. It was from here that we came in contact with the leeches. Unfortunately for me, I had decided to wear sandals for the trip, so the leeches were able to reach my feet and legs easily. My parents came in contact with them too, but I got the worst of it. I thought of pulling them off but I knew that then I would just keep bleeding and attract more leeches, so I continued walking while covered with leeches. It was starting to get dark so we were getting worried. After some time, we came across a group of locals who were carrying baskets and climbing up the mountain (my guess is that they were gathering herbs and the like). We asked them if they could tell us how to get down, but to our horror, they said there was no path down and the bottom just ended at the lake with no easy way to reach civilisation. Worse still, they said that since it was so late, there was no way we could reach the city before nightfall if we decided to climb back up, they themselves were planning to make camp and spend the night in the jungle.

As you can imagine, we were devastated and frightened beyond our minds when we heard this. After a quick discussion, my family and I decided to continue down to the lake and hope that one of the boats that regularly circled the lake would help us. After more walking through thick forest, sliding down mud, and more leeches, we came close to the bottom and thank goodness we saw a boatman with a boat. We called out to him and he immediately came to help us. We explained our situation to him and he agreed to take us across the lake, to civilisation!

 

Exhausted, we sat on the boat and went across. When we reached the other side, my parents and I found a tap and washed ourselves. By then the leeches had had their fill and had fallen off; but there were some stragglers sadly, and I had to deal with them by pulling them off! Not pleasant by any stretch of the imagination.

My feet were all bloody and because of the anticoagulant in leech bites, they wouldn’t stop bleeding. I cleaned myself as best as I could, but there wasn’t anything I could do about my bleeding feet. It wasn’t too bad actually, but it looked pretty messy because of the blood. We thanked the boatman profusely for his help and finally made our way back home.

Later that night, we went to the hospital and got some medicines and tetanus shots for good measure.

I learnt two things from that experience: first that some people are more than willing to lend a helping hand, and second that when you travel, you need to be very careful when you walk off the beaten path, because if you are not prepared, you could bite off much more than you can chew.

Well that’s it for this post. I hope you liked this story and I hope you have a good day ahead.

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