I haven’t written a blog in a long time and I suppose that’s mostly just me being lazy. So I guess I need to start way back in Nepal.
Nepal was awesome. Thinking back the most appropriate thing to say was that it is beautiful. It starts with hills (which we would probably call mountains) which are terraced all the way up, scattered with small villages, and criss-crossed with footpaths.
I can’t think of a much better way to describe it than to give you the short log I made while there and my pictures. So… (excuse the many errors and such, It’s a not very edited set of notes basically)
The city was loud and busy. Everything seemed chaotic. Very dirty too. It was interesting that they do cremation publicly and even more so that people who didn’t seem to be tourists watched. Got trapped this morning into buying some expensive paintings. Obviously the guides friend and gave like a 30 min lesson then proceeded to selling. Not my favorite way to spend $80 but ill live; at least they were nice. The whole town seems built on tourism or large sections at least. At night, after the guide had left I was walking around the area by my hotel alone. I turned around really fast cause I thought I felt something on my backpack only to find everyone looking at me funny. Oh well, just a little paranoid carrying $1000 in electronics around one of the poorest countries on earth.
Coolest part of the day was meeting the drivers friend\girlfriend who was from Japan. She has been in Nepal for 2 years working as a midwife. Fun coincidence and got a little Japanese practice.
Strike. The government is raising the price of gas (I think this might mean lowering subsidies) and so the people are on strike and letting nothing move. I woke up at 6:15 and my guide didn’t show up until almost 7 at which point he said there was no way to even get to the bus company. So, I just figured I’d ask how far it is. 30 minute walk. Why in the world is he worried about a 30 min walk when we were going to be walking hours on end for the rest of my stay?! Alas, it was still no use. When we were almost there we met the clerk of the bus office and he said nothing was moving. Well crap, back to the office to figure out how to fix this problem. They said all the “green plate” tourist cars were already reserved cause people were worried about the strike. Again, this raises questions as to efficiency. If everyone else planned ahead why didn’t you? After much negotiation and lots of persistence, I convinced them of an idea of my own design. We were going in a circle, so why not just get to the end point of my trek which was much closer? Well they dragged their feet but i eventually convinced them. Apparently my bag was light enough that my guide can carry my bag and his.
About 10am we met at my hotel. My guide then had the somewhat absurd idea to take a rickshaw all the way to my endpoint (about 7 miles from the hotel). I went along with it and paid the $26 fee and we were off. Really was quite fun. Made it to the endpoint before noon and had a doable day. People stared the whole way. Who takes a rickshaw that far?
Continuing stairs. I thought we were climbing the staircase to heaven. Just up and up and up and every time i thought we got to the top we hit another set of stairs. Only two small blisters. I really felt much better than anticipated.
That is our rickshaw in front of us. The protesters made it clear that we were going to get out of the rickshaw one way or another and walk at least when we were near them.
Beautiful views. That sums up most of the day. As for the night, i got the special treat of seeing a Hindu ceremony for healing (the owners son was sick). Guy used dough like stuff to make statues, beat a drum, chanted, and wore bells. Dinner for me was egg over a whole bunch of potatoes. Filling and good.
Just a little lost. We took a wrong turn and got lost for 1.5 hours. A poor guy that followed us down the wrong side but fell behind may still be there. Hope he found his way out. The night before we discussed the route and such. We changed it a bit. Going to only spend one day at the lake cause it will be so cold. I had to really push him all day to go as far as we can. He’s trying to be careful with me I think but he was planning such short days I felt Id be wasting my time. I also decided I want to get back to Kathmandu one day early just in case there is another bus strike. I cant afford to miss my flight. I think it can be done easily. As i said, they were making rather short days in some cases so i will either skip the rest day on combine another. I hope to combine not skip the rest day. Omelets are good here but quite small. Their “double” was barely larger that what i would call a normal sunny side up egg. Rooms have nothing but a padded bed like thing to put your sleeping bag. No heater. Electricity either not at all or only a few hours.
Oh, one big problem; I’ve forgotten my guides name.
Going over the pass was the mentally and physically hardest thing ive ever done. It was about 10 degrees, very windy, steep and icy. Met another group at the top who recognized how bad I felt. I don’t know how they, 2 in their 40s, seemed so fine. No room in the hotel so we stayed 500m down. My water froze solid in my room. No idea how people live there.
Down to thulu which is a big village but apparently their electricity and internet had been cut. I hoped to email you from there. I sat outside for hours taking pics with my telescopic lens. Later there was the fun fire side wait for dinner with a very old woman and a younger one who played on her cell while caring for her child. Also the view at night was amazing and my pictures do no justice.
Short day today. Just went a few hours to a small little village right on a roaring river. The path here was a lot of fun. Was filled with all sorts of plants and flowers. It was almost like a rainforest. The other side of the valley was just like a desert though. Such a huge difference. At the place there was this little girl, maybe 6 or 7, that seemed to do everything (Turns out she was 9). She waited on us, she did the dishes, she washed clothes, she brought chairs, and heck, she even brought wood. I finished the return of Sherlock Holmes today and might finish the man who knew too much tonight. The lodges are quite interesting. Just like walking into a family’s house, eating with them, and be putting up in a spare room. I have about 900 photos right now I think. Been trying not to take so many that I’m overwhelmed when I get back. The diet here consists of bread and honey with milk tea for breakfast and dal bhat for the other meals. Dal bhat is rice with curry potatoes and lettuce with lentil soup. It makes up a good 75% of the diet here. I’ve been eating a lot of fried potatoes and eggs for variety. Every place has the exact same menu so it becomes somewhat predictable. The fires in the main room is nice. I’m writing this by one right now. Very warm and get to watch the people interact. I’ve gotten more used to mu lack of showers but i will be very glad to have my heated room and daily hot shower back. I think they are carving up a freshly killed chicken in the kitchen right now. I see the feet.
PEOPLE carry these things!!
Another short day full of listening. My hair is quite greasy. Sigh. What do you do when there is no shower. I need to do a little laundry I think. My shoes are extremely dirty and beginning to look a little worn. I hope they last. I’ve been using a lot of battery so i hope i will have enough. Paid 100 rupies for 1 hour of charge today. Met another Japanese guy who takes photos and writes for a Japanese food magazine.
Going to be cold tonight. I got a shower though so i feel a bit better. The owner of the hotel walked with us half the way cause she spotted us on the way. Hope there is a fire tonight. (There was)
Went to kansing gumba and got over a pound of yak cheese for 290. Great snack and its good. It’s a hard cheese but doesn’t have a particularly sharp taste. I’ve notice my feet are getting a bit torn up. Hope theyheal. Looked in the mirror for the first time in like a week. How many times have I been able to say that? Even me, who’s not notably self-conscious, looks in the mirror every I go to the bathroom. Not as bad as it could be but daily showers and a shave will help. Wish i could bring back yak cheese.
Knees got sore from going downhill today. Took a bunch of pics of plants. Noticing how much boys are preferred. The girl has done the laundry and the dishes and the boys have moved from card towers to marbles. She might be a little older but still. Also, i eat a lot here. Im thinking 16 to 17k rupies, about 200 dollars for a tip. Also met a police woman from France today who is taking a year off to travel. Reminded me of Nan.
Got internet today. That was nice. The hotel owner seems really cold\uncaring though. Also had the worst spaghetti I’ve ever had. Would have been ok if not for the sauce which tasted like a lightly sweet barbecue sauce.
Guide got the bus tickets today and I’ve mostly relaxed and such. Did more laundry. Sent a few emails, caught up on news, found out it costs 1700 rupies, about 20 dollars, to leave Nepal (It did not, that fee was gotten rid of a few years back). Not a bad day. Oh, and sat on the second floor balcony with my telescopic lens and took pics of people.
So that pretty much sums up my trip. The last few days I was a little sick, probably from the weird food for two weeks and exhaustion.
Then, as you all know, I spend a little over a month home which was a lot of fun and a great break. I loved getting to see all of you again and just sit at home and eat American food. Spent a bit of time with Stormy which was great as always, and now back in Japan. It is a little like home too. My own room, my stuff, my computer. Also, I got here just in time for cherry blossom season which is absolutely beautiful. They are everywhere and now that they are beginning to fall it is like snow. Little white pettles fall all around you and gather in the corners. They blow around like snow drifts, whisping across the road in little curly cues to the next drift. Almost tempted to grab a handful and send them home to you but I suppose that might be like trying to mail a snowflake. Wouldn’t do them justice anyway. One of the streets near me is lined with them so it is just this endless line of white trees converging in the distance. Despite being a huge city, Tokyo has a lot of natural beauty.
There are some spots that are really popular to go “hanami” (literally flower watching but it just means to have a picnic under the cherry trees). I think I like the quiet spots better for photos though. It is impossible to get a good picture with 1000 people around you vying to take the same picture.
School started yesterday and I think the new semester will be fun. I’m taking mostly Japanese language classes. The others are public speaking, marketing, and finance.