Bags arrived, trekking tomorrow

By William Bakker | 10.30.05 | Comment?

Well, it seems like we have everything in order for our trek. Our bags arrived yesterday, thanks to the Virgin staff in Delhi and Arjun Chhatkuli, the owner of our trekking company Himalayan Humanity Trekking. He was our contact person for Virgin and Sahara Airlines (who flew us from Delhi to Kathmandu) so we could go explore the Kathmandu area. I don’t what would have happened without him because we talked to a Finish girl yesterday who had been waiting for over a week now.

To avoid further damage the Air Canada transfer desk in London might have caused us, I decided to call Gulf Air, our airline who’ll fly us into London, to make sure our tickets are ok. Well, it turned out Air Canada didn’t only cancel our flights on Gulf Air from London to Kathmandu, but also our return tickets. So I’ve spend the whole day correcting their mistake by phoning faxing and finally sitting in a cue for over an hour so Gulf Air could re-confirm my tickets. Un-be-lie-va-ble. I’m not a person why gets mad easily but I’m ready to sue at this point.

So we’re back in our Zen mind now that we’ve got our trip back on trek. Tomorrow we’re going on a 7 hour busride to the trailhead in Besi-Sahar. From there we will start our 16 day trek around the Annapurna Circuit. We’ve spend the last two days sightseeing with one of our porter-guides Rajar and a guide called Taranath. If you ever go to Kathmandu, drop Arjun an email because the experience wouldn’t be the same without some of the great legends, history and relious stories Taranath told us. You also don’t have to worry about how to get anywhere and they’ll tell you what you can and can’t do. We usually don’t travel using guides but in this case it was worth it.

So we visited Budnath, the largest Buddhist Stupa of Nepal, Pashupati, the largest Hindu Shiva temple on the Indian sub-continent, along a holy river where they cremate their deceased. A very strange experience to witness. Monkey running around everywhere, bodies burning, ashes being swept into the river (Watch Video) while 100 meters downstream people are bathing in the same water. A very surreal experience.

Our last stop yesterday was the town of Patan, the old capital of Nepal with another Dunbar square with the old royal palace and temples. Another beautifull place to visit. The artwork on the temples is of a very hight quality. The drive to Patan was another experience by itself. We had to go through an alley that must have been no more then 8 feet wide (2.5 meters). We were following an army truck with military in the back, guns leasurly hanging out the back pointing straight at us (Watch Movie Clip). There were bikes, pedestrains and oncoming traffic. I still don’t know how we all managed to get through there. I’ve observed that there are two two rules in Nepal. 1) Drive on the left side of the road. 2) Don’t hit anybody. That’s it. For the rest, it’s a complete free for all on roads with potholes the size of bathtubs. You honk once to make sure people know you’re coming. You honk twice when you’re passing or turning. If it’s a potential dangerous move, you increase the number of honks. It’s bizare but I haven seen a single accident (knock, knock) or any form of road rage. People respect everybody, but they won’t give anybody the right of way, even the 80 year old woman who was standing in the middle of a 4 lane highway waiting to cross the other two lanes.

So today we’re taking a rest day and tomorrow we’re off. I probably won’t be online for a while so (family) don’t panic when you don’t see anything from me.


In front of the Stupa

Patan; Dunbar Square


Patan; Temple Art Detail

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