Saturday, 8 March 2014

Post Thorong La day - Incentive systems, commerce

First day with porters getting into Manang, my bag was earlier than most but I didn't see my porter. Second day up to Thorong Phedi it was there when I arrived. I asked the group of porters who we're socializing who brought this one, then told him straight up he was awesome fast and gave him a solid tip.  This was the start of something good...

Leaving Thorong Phedi there was a rap on the door at 5 minutes before 3am. I was just trying to zip my bag closed. I gave it to him. By the time he left I realized I forgot to put my glasses case in. He was already over where we start the race and about to climb the first switchback. Wow - he was 30m from the room and hoofing it!

Fast forward to apr├Ęs race, we're lounging, and someone says Kate's TransPortugal bag arrived. She said it wasn't hers, and saw my tag on it. My porter was standing by smiling. The very first bag!!

I gave him a solid tip again. That has real value. I've been conversing enough to try to understand what people make and get by on a month here. I think he got a good bonus and I got good value!  As in priceless value. 6h later people are waiting for bags and are in kit, sun is down and it's hard to stay warm. When sun is down, second issue is only hot water is from black solar tanks. Absolutely the best value pickup ever.  Like bike racing, you can't tell from the outside who has an engine. This guy does. It's only funny a day or two later rather than at the time, but Gerry's bag was last, frozen, full of snow, bottom was sliced from being tobogganed down the hill, and his young newbie porter was I'll prepared for footwear and was freezing his feet so pulled out Gerry's boots to hike in. Fair enough not to freeze on someone else's behalf, but those were to be Gerry's only dry footwear and they were saturated blocks of ice. Better to prepare than learn portering on Gerry's dime. 

Washed up and went to the local restaurant with the guys who were still in kit. Yac Donald's!




Cory saw the guy chopping meat right off a leg to make the burger. 





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