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Back from Trekking

August 26th, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 03-Nepal - (4 Comments)

Just to let everybody know we are back from our trekking expedition safe and sound, albeit tired and very dirty.  We had the odd scary moment avoiding landslides etc. More on that later.

We had a fabulous time and took over 1,000 photos, so as soon as we’ve had a chance to whittle them down we will provide some updates.

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Annapurna Base Camp

August 18th, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 03-Nepal - (2 Comments)

Having chatted with many of the locals and trekkers we have selected Annapurna Base Camp as our Trek – aka Annapurna Sanctuary.  Today we are organising clothing and footware which can all be hired locally at a reasonable price.  We also meet our guide to run through some safety aspects, at this time of year the trek is prone to landslides and avalanches – don’t worry, we’ll have our St. Christopher medals with us.

The trek starts in Pokhara with a 1.5hrs drive to Dhampus Mailee where we hike over several days through Phedi, Tolka, Chhomrung, Bamboo, Doban, Machhapuchhare Base Camp and finally onto Annapurna Base Camp with an altitude of 4,130M.  On our return trip we deviate slightly taking in Poon Hill and some of the Jomsum Trek.

Once in the Base Camp we hope to have a clear view of Annapurna I, II and III, Varhashikhar , Khangsar, Gandhravachuli Tare Kang – all are above 7,000m – this will be truly amazing! 

We have discussed Sam’s ankle at great length and have provisioned many stops along the way.  If she feels she is unable to complete the trek, she will stay at one of the guest houses until we return. There are many hot springs en route so she will be in heaven.  

As you will appreciate there will be no posts for at least ten day or more while we complete our trek.  I’m pretty confident there will be no internet access en route.  If you get a minute you should look up on Google images some of the names listed above to see the views – wow!

Annapurna Base Camp

En route to Pokhara

August 17th, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 03-Nepal - (0 Comments)

Yesterday we made our way to Pokhara in preparation of our 10 day trek to the Annapurna Base Camp.  The 7hr bus journey was breathtaking, especially though the Kathmandu Valley.  I said in a previous post that I would ride on the top of the bus, but at 6am it was pretty cold and decided against it.  It’s pretty surreal driving through the clouds in the valley.

We started our trip with few cups of milk tea (7p each) at the bus stop – lovely bubbly. Below you will also see a picture of a hut which is actually a shop, there were many dotted along on the roadside throughout our trip.   

Some photos of our journey, it was difficult to take photos out the window while moving:

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Swayambhunath

August 17th, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 03-Nepal - (0 Comments)

“The great Buddhist temple of Swayambhunath is one of the most popular and instantly recognisable symbols of Nepal” (Lonely Planet).

From the hilltop you get a great view over Kathmandu and the valley.  It is a good 20 minute walk to the top, dodging and weaving the vicious monkeys – Sam had her skirt pulled and ankles scraped several times – needless to say, I didn’t hang around.  If you make eye contact they hiss and screech and if you don’t move on they make a run for you – it’s quite scary, unlike the monkeys at the Sun Temple in Jaipur.

Atop of the dome you’ll see the watchful eyes of the Buddha (Stupa) which gaze across the valley in each direction – known as the symbol of unity of all life.  Between and above the two eyes is a third eye, which symbolises the Buddah’s insight – I have the t-shirt

Also below you’ll see a picture of Kathmandu 1965 compared to one we took on our visit – what a difference a few years makes.

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Kumari Bahal

August 17th, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 03-Nepal - (1 Comments)

This post is interesting while somewhat disturbing. The Kumari Bahal (The House of the Living Goddess), is home to the Kumari Devi, a girl who is selected to be the town’s living goddess until she reaches puberty.

The Kumari is selected from a particular caste of Newari gold and silversmiths. Generally, she is somewhere between 4 years old and puberty and must meet 32 strict physical requirements ranging from the colour of her eyes and shape of her teeth to the sound of her voice.  Her horoscope must also be appropriate.

Once suitable candidates have been found they are gathered together in a darkened room where terrifying noises are made while dances in horrific masks and 108 gruesome buffalo heads are on display.  Naturally these are goings-on that are unlikely to frighten a real goddess, so the girl who remains clam and collected throughout is selected.

As a living goddess she is confined to the house 24/7 and only makes a few public appearances annually.  This is a huge honour for the girl and family, especially when she reverts back to being a normal mortal.

She is required to sit at a particular window for several hours a day so visitors (tourists) can take photographs.  We decided against it – she has enough on her plate without having to look at us ugly mugs.

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