Wednesday, February 24, 2010

hello from the himalayas

I apologize that is has been sooo long since my last post! The main reason is that Nepal only has electricity about 5 hours a day- which happen to be during the hours we are normally sleeping. We thought losing power 5 times a day in Bangladesh was bad. We were wrong.
We arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal on Feb. 15 and the moment we arrived at our hotel- 4pm- the power went out- meaning our room was dark and freezing cold. We requested extra blankets, were too cold to shower, and got in bed at 7:30pm- not to emerge from our respective cocoons of warmth until almost 10am. The night before we bought a Nepali cell phone and were able to call home for the first time!
On Feb. 16 Zach arrived and although we planned to go visit expat prisoners in the Kathmandu jail we ended up hanging out in Thamel, the backpacker district where we were staying, and eating and book shopping. We also planned out the rest of our time in Nepal- which was to include a few day trips and a 4-day Himalaya trek- which some of us have come to regret....
On the 17th- the fourth day of the Tibetan new year- we went to Boudha to circumambulate (walk in circles) around the stupa- where a ceremony was taking place. We returned to Thamel in time to catch our taxi to Nagarkot- 1.5 hours out of Kathmandu and a great place to get a view of the Himalayas. We stayed at a place called Hotel at the End of the Universe- and it felt like it. It was perched on the edge of a cliff, far away from any other hotel or restaurant, so instead of venturing out we played cards for about 3 hours waiting for the sun to set. Unfortunately it was a bit foggy/hazy for a great sunset- and it got cold really fast- so we huddled at the hotel restaurant, ordered a pot of hot chocolate, and went to sleep- hoping for a brilliant sunrise.
The morning view did not disappoint! And little did we know that this would be only one of the many amazing views we could see over the next week.
On the 19th we headed out of the capital to the city of Pokhara, an eventful 7-hour bus ride away (we had some steering issues at one point). Upon arrival we rented sleeping bags and jackets in preparation for the next morning's departure up to the mountains. Our enthusiastic guide, Zeban, was to accompany us for the duration of the trip. After a 1.5 hour windy ride up to Nayapul we were dropped off, not to see civilization again for 4 days. After about 15 minutes of walking- when we stopped for lunch- Mason and I looked at each other and seriously thought about reconsidering. At this point- she really wishes she had!
The first day took about 4.5 hours- we stopped at a tea house in Tikkedunga for the night- and were then told by Zeban that the next morning we would have to climb over 3200 stairs- consecutively. We didn't think much of it until the steps began the next morning- a seemingly endless hell. Hours later we made it to the "top"- we still had many hours ahead of us before quitting time- and I though Mason was going to behead me for suggesting that a Nepal trek might be fun.
Finally we made it to the town of Ghorepani-2570 meters-where we sat by the fire in the common room and ate some apple pie.
The plan for the next morning: rise at 5am and head up to Poon Hill at 3200m to see the sunrise over the mountains. Well, it all went according to plan until we were 4 minutes into the walk- at about 5:34am- and Mason and Zach decided to go back to bed- leaving me to scale the mountain alone! (Well, with Zeban and my headlamp). I thought the climb was well worth it! The view was awesome. The only drawback being that after returning from Poon Hill we still had a solid 8 hour day ahead of of us. Mid way through the day- as soon as we started descending the mountain via steep stone steps- Mason's knee/leg injury flared up and Zach's knee also gave out- so I was left with 2 pained people for a good 5 hours of trekking. Needless to say it was a bit unpleasant.
I was really enjoying myself until I woke up in the middle of that night stiff and sore, utterly dreading the final day's 5-hour descent. It was a painful day for all of us- but definitely more for them than me- and again- I though Mason would like to kill me in my sleep.
But finally we made it- after a small rain storm dashed any remaining ounce of morale- and we have lived to tell the tale.
This is a very mild version of the story- more details to come- and i'm sure Mason would love to fill everyone in on her hatred of nature and mountains.
Today none of us can walk properly so we basically sat around eating all day.
Heading back to Kathmandu tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. A. By "we" you mean you and mason ate MY apple pie.

    B. Mason wasn't the only one planning your untimely demise for the trekking choice.

    C. You forgot to include that not only are my legs shot (trekking), my arms are now shot too, thanks to someone's incredibly sub-par rowing skills. COUGH COUGH. Your crew coach would be horrified.