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Mountally challenged => Previous: Harry's 2004 Everest trip updates => Topic started by: 7summits on Aug 24 2004, 20:03

Title: Nepal, 24 aug 2004, 1380m asl...
Post by: 7summits on Aug 24 2004, 20:03
Namaste from Kathmandu!

History meets the present; I am typing this in Katmandu, literally looking out over the biggest Stupa from Nepal (Asia?), The Bouddhanath. You know, with those eyes...
(http://www.visitnepal.com/hotelthamel/bouddhanath.jpg)

 Finally feeling a bit better after a very serious foodpoisoning on the Karakoram highway in Pakistan, 2 days before we flew out. There were some serious doubts if I could go at all, especially as I had lost 5-6 more kilos in a few days, but on the day of departure  I was able to at least carry my own backpack again... Also the luggage, including my Millet Everest boots and other irreplacable and necessary gear had dissapeared afte rarriving back in Amsterdam. But fortunately it was recovered again in London and delivered to my door about 12 hours before departing to Nepal...

The flights to Kathamandu (Via London & Abu Dhabi) were on time and this time all my luggage arrived with me, hurray for Gulf Air! Tendy from Iceland trekking was there to pick me up as promised and 20 minutes later I was standing on a hotel roof in the center of bustling Kathmandu. An amazing mix of narrow and larger streets, old buildings and many, many people and their means of transportation: bicycles, mopeds, motorbikes, rikshas, taxis, trucks, buses and much more.
Great vibes!

After a restless sleep because many dogs did not like the sudden thunder, I went out to walk the town. No use hiding my cameras as my long blond hair gave me away, so loads of pics and film
  ;D

First stop was the Swayambunath Stupa or "Monkey temple" nicknamed so because of the herds of monkeys running around. As most of them became agressive after getting too much food from teh toursit, many were removed, but there are quite a few left. I met a Nepalese student who wanted to practise his English and he showed me aroudn teh many sights on the hill and in the park: giant and tiny buddha's and many, many prayer flags and wheels. Om Mani Padme Hum: as Alec le Soeuir nicely put it in his brilliant book ("5 years in Tibet, running a hotel on the roof of the world"): it's like airmiles, the more payers you say, twist of blow in the air, so higher your chances are for becoming someting far better in your next life until you are enligtened.   
:)

The great thing about Nepal is the coexistence of Buddhism and Hinduism. They are mixed in many ways and often temples are placed next to eachother. Main difference with being in Pakistan is obvious: suddenly there are women on the streets!  Only now I realized how strange the situation was over there if half of the people are not allowed to go out. It was less strict in Islamabad, but even there is is 95% males you see. It is very refreshing to see girls and women walking the streets again; although the Pakistanis are extremely friendly as well,  life seems much more in balance over here...

I tested my new found/twisted & airmiled good luck by taking a taxi into town, always an adventure in any developing country 
:P
But I realized that this was not the best way and rented a bicycle soon after, for about $2 I can use it 24 hours, great way to test my orientation, stamina and strenght. Seems I am getting a bit stronger again every day, but some of the steep hills were tough...

I appear to be strange sight in the narrow streets as many people look very surprised to see a blond guy on a mountainbike. Fortunately Amsterdam with iths thousands of bikes, tourists and trams is the ultimate learning school, so I made better time across town than most of the taxis and buses
8)
Now I only got to find my way back, and it's dark now and the thunderstorms are coming again...

Today the Visa office was closed, that's why I had time to sightsee and do last minute shopping, tomorrow we will get the required Chinese visa for Tibet and head of directly afterwards. As my (free) Nepali visa was only valid for 3 days and expires, I have to leave the country tomorrow. But the Chines customs close early, so  I will have to spend the night somewhere between Nepal and Tibet ?!?
Well, we see tomorrow...

Signing of from a friendly and busy Kathmandu,
thanks and keep climbing..

 O0
Harry
Title: Re: Nepal, 24 aug 2004, 1380m asl...
Post by: RomkeJ on Aug 28 2004, 02:35
Well done Har! Finally in mountaineers' Mekka!

Wishing you a good trip to Basecamp, but don't get tempted to go there all alone on your mountainbike!