Nepal

Here are all the posts for Nepal, part of the Himalaya trip. See the travelogues for the other region and countries: China, Tibet, and India.

Nepal Photos

Here are some of my favorite photos from my trip to Nepal. Click any photo to see the slideshow.

Nepal is different

Nepali portraitLike the descent from Tingri to Zhangmu, the change from Tibet to Nepal was immediate and sudden. The bone structure of the people was thinner and the skin tanner. The intonation of the voices changed. Red dots were on many foreheads. Women, in particular, wear bright pastel colors.
We boarded a bus and remarkably the roads got worse. They drive British-syle on the left side of the road. The roads themselves are narrower and fall off into deep cliffs without shoulders or guard rails. It’s important not to rest your elbow on an open window or the mirror of a passing truck or bus will surely take it off. The windows are open and our down jackets and fleeces have been put away. Waterfalls are in abundance. Everything is green. People use wood for fuel.

Dhulikhel

hard workAs I write this, I am sitting on the balcony of a room at High View Resort. I’ve awoken early (still on Tibet time — 2 hours and 15 minutes earlier). An expansive valley opens up bfore me. I’ve been told you can see the Himalayas from here but it’s cloudy and foggy now after last night’s rain. A cuckoo is calling, a rooster crowing, insects chirping and someone is singing a Nepali song. I’m sitting in my T-shirt sipping green tea I bought in Beijing.
Today we will take a walk in the local village with a Nepales guide. We will learn about the Hindu caste system. Tomorrow we will go to Kathmandu and the following day our Intrepid tour will end.
We are resting. Since we left Lhasa, we have been on the go, traveling most of the day on rought roads and staying in guesthouses with latrines and little in the way of hot water or showers. Our laundry is getting cleaned. They have good food here with an attentive staff. It’s a good place to recharge.

Khatmandu

Holy CowKhatmandu is a city, but it is unlike any other city I have been in. It feels like Asia, Indian, and exotic. The streets are abuzz with people, carts, rickshaws, motorcycles and streams of pedestrians. Vendors hawk their wares from stores, stalls and simply sitting on the sidewalks. The streets criss-cross and are more like alleys than streets. There are no proper blocks in the sense that you turn right at several corners and return to your destination.
The colors are bright and the designs intricate. There are many tourists and ex-pats. Restaurants have every type of food imaginable. The weather is warm. Living is easy. It’s a good place to walk around, hang out, and relax.
Today we leave Kathmandu and Nepal. We fly to Delhi, India and take the night train to Haridwar.
Our tour group is all but broken up. Once we leave. only two of the original thirteen people will remain in Khatmandu–one will travel three hours by bus to bungee jump into a gorge.
By now, we are rested and have recovered from our various ailments related to altitude, air, water and food.
We have two more weeks until we start our long journey home.

Freedom

Freedom to go where we want and do what we will
Freedom to think what we want–to say it, to write it down
We can read what we want without fear of reprisal or punishment
Freedom to move, to travel, to return, to start again.

I know I like to travel and want to see more of the world than I have seen. I know I’m a tourist, a sightseer and taker of snapshots. Travel gives a sense of accomplishment–I have gone places and done things. I have seen things I did not plan, expect or dream to see. I want to say that travel changes me in a positive way–makes me more flexible, open, aware, and tolerant. I learn tidbits of geography, history, culture, politics, language, and the more practical details of tourism and travel.
I frequently have a good time, am excited by the natural geograhical wonder and fascinated by the human spectacle.
I am not trying to accomplish anything. I write and post my blogs; I shoot and upload my photos. I travel, I photograph, I journal. I post.

Khatmandu airport

pedicabSecurity does not make me feel secure.
When we first entered the airline terminal, all our bags were scanned and I was patted down. After we paid our departure fee, but before we checked in at the airline, all our bags were scanned again by a different machine and I was patted down again. After we went through immigration, our carry-ons went through another scanner, we went through a scanner ourselves and I was patted down again. Before we got on the plane, Air India thoroughly went through all our carry-ons and again patted me down. I don’t know enough about the instability of the Nepalese government and the Maoist situation to speculate why the security procedures are so numerous.

Himalaya Top 10

map Himalaya routeI am somewhere off the coast of Greenland as I write this. Our B-777 left Delhi about midnight; it’s now 11:30 a.m. Delhi time. We have about 2 1/2 hours more flying time to Newark. I arrive in Charleston about 30 hours after leaving Delhi. It was a great trip; the Top Ten are:
EverestEverest Base Camp in Tibet
homestay with Tibetan nomads

pilgrim stempede in Jokhang Temple

Tianamen Square and Beijing

Labrang Yellow Hat Monkschanting monks at Kirti Gompa in Langmusi
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