Foreigners call our mountains as paradise. They come here just to see our mountains. Now is the season, I can go up and down the Annapurna eight times, and earn 10 dollars a day. Not so bad. But I have to carry over 50 kilogram of tourist bags on my back. It is not heavy, but I know I can’t do this job forever. I want to be a Gurkha soldier in the United Kingdom, the salary will be about 3,000 dollars a month. I have taken the test three times, but I always failed. Next year I will take the test again. It will be my last chance. The world is strange. Even a street cleaner in Europe can travel the world and be a rich tourist here. While for us Nepalis, even if we work like donkeys, it’s still not enough to buy the cheapest camera the tourists use. Perhaps it’s my karma for being born in Nepal?
—a Gurung porter from Annapurna.
Thorung La Pass (5,400 m), Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, 2005