Montag, 10. Januar 2011

2011 - NEPAL tourism year

2011 - Nepal tourism year

Just returning from Nepal, really!!! :-))
I liked very much this idea. I just wonder why they didn't take advantage of the image of Mount Everest in background, the best product they actually have,  the most requested trek and one of the most beautiful and adventurous area in Nepalese Himalaya.

Take your dear boots and go to feel the Himalayas, you'll never regret it! It can be your last chance for meeting the taste of adventure, in case you still didn't do it in your life. 
 Go there and be open to try, to taste, to feel, to touch, to hear, to listen and to ask. Go without any expectations, so you will enjoy being there on a higher level. 
It looks incredible, right? I have to say that I was very surprised about having wireless in almost every corner of Thamel, in Kathmandu. The fact that the local people recognized the potential & relevance of this tool for the incoming tourists - and they take accommodation in Thamel area, probably 98% of them - it is a surprising thing.  And I bet that many of the guests feel quite happy about it.  I am not an internet freak (at least I like to believe it!:-)), but I found this possibility very useful. So, the days I spend in Kathmandu, I fully enjoyed my breakfast in the garden and my writing or surfing on internet looking for information. I had my own veeeeery small notebook, I bought it especially for this trip, to be very small, easy to carry (1,2 kg) and large memory (250 GB) for saving the pictures. Even if those long power breaks are coming in the Capital city - 2 to 6 hours, about 10 to 12 hours per day -, you still can use internet connections in hotel room or lobby, restaurants, lodges and so on. And the local owners have their profit from that, no question about it. When I want to relax after a long trek, I take my notebook and look for a nice place to spend not half an hour, but several hours. ”Do you have wireless?” If the answer is positive, I know I will spend there at least 2-3 hours and this is meaning not just a cup of tea, right? Everybody feels good, win/win situation.
As the air company lost/delayed my backpack, I had to take care of finding out if it's there and to go to pick up. Kathmandu is full of taxis, of course. The prices to the airport are between 300 NRP up to 700 NRP (10 USD!!), only one way. In this case, it's better to think about asking your travel agency to manage a private transfer. This is meaning, the driver bring you to the airport, wait for you to solve your problem and take you back in the city. The prices are subject to be negotiated. It is sure, quick, flexible, no stress, friendly and clean.
Almost sunset in Kathmandu, seen from the terrace of a hotel. There is the water for the shower and there is an excellent dialogue about this in the book "Shantaram". Buy the book and read it, excellent lecture!
These people seem to enjoy their business. Treat them with fully respect. They take care that your boots shine and approach their work in a serious way. If all people would become lawyers, doctors, managers .... who would still take care of our small needs? And you need them after a long trek, believe me by word! :-))
Yes, the air is polluted in Kathmandu, but think about the fact you are just a traveler and don't have to stay there for long time. Enjoy the crazy city. You are safe and if you don't feel safe in such a strange and new world, maybe they could give you a better feeling? Nepalese police men by duty.
Coffee break for writing post cards. Enjoyable moments in the garden. Yes, I know, you wonder about the glove :-) I was just to early, 8,30 a.m. is not the ideal time to sit in the garden, but I just wanted to be outside, to feel the morning and to listen the quiet sound of the sunrise.
 One of the holiest Buddist sites, placed in Kathmandu. The Stupa of Boudhanath dominats the skyline and can be seen from the airplane. The ancient Stupa is one of the largest in the world. Start in the morning, after an early breakfast and go this place by foot. Or by taxi, your choice. Take your time and spend a day there. It will be a new experience.
There are some places in the crowded Thamel/Kathmandu where you can get isolated and enjoy your lecture, coffee,
 talk with friends or other tourist, spoiling yourself with a nice meal. This is one of them, inside Kathmandu Guest House. You don't need to be guests in this hotel for sitting here and enjoy the quiet time.
The picture below: 31.12.2010 - one of the most spectacular sunsets I've ever seen in my life. I took the picture from the window of my hotel room (5th floor).
I agree that "la dolce vita" can be very different, but the tourist here have the chance to feel it how it is. Like everything on our short lives, there are different levels for all things in life.
The taste of the brownies here - hmmmmmm!! You just have to feel it. Take care and don't eat much before, a small brownie like this it's so consistent, that you'll feel full for a long while. Delicious, I congratulate the confectioner!
I've read this visiting .... the toilet of an open restaurant in the heart of Thamel. What wonderful could be, if we, in Europe - some places I know -, could keep in mind this and apply it every day!
Somehow ..... amazing beautiful works!
Again to the sweet things of our tastes .... It was only the pretext for siting here about 5 hours, enjoying wireless, writing, reading the book of Sir Hillary, listening a nice music and tasting this tiramisu and big mocha coffee (about 350 NRP, if I remember right, this is meaning 5 USD).
Pashupatinah is for sure a place you should visit. It is on the way to the airport, so I would recommend to take a taxi for 300 NRP. From here, in half an hour you reach the Stupa of Boudhanath and I assure, you will enjoy the walk.
Pashupatinath Temple (Nepali: पशुपतिनाथको मन्दिर) is one of the biggest Hindu temples Lord Shiva in the world, located on the banks of the Bagmati River in the eastern part of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. The temple served as the seat of the national deity, Lord Pashupatinath, until Nepal was secularized. The temple is listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
This (picture below) is another place you have to visit in Kathmandu. The right place to see with your own eyes that the world of temples and monkeys is not a legend, but a present fact. Did you read the "Jungle book"? If not, you have seen for sure the beautiful animation Disney movie, right? So ....
go in the world of Swayambhunath Stupa, known as the Monkey Temple, as there are holy monkeys living in parts of the temple in the NW. The Tibetan name means "sublime trees" for the many varieties of trees found on the hill. Take a day long and ..... feel like a holy monkey :-)
The Swayambhunath complex consists of a stupa, a variety of shrines and temples, some dating back to the Licchavi period. A Tibetan monastery, museum and library are more recent additions. The stupa has Buddha's eyes and eyebrows painted on. Between them, there is something painted which looks like the nose - but is the Nepali symbol of 'unity'.
It took about one hour to go around the large Swayambhunath complex and I have to say that I did this round and I touched and spun every of those prayer wheels. And there are hundreds of them, maybe over one thousand, I did not count them (yet) :-). I will do it next time.

I asked the holy monkey for permission of a special picture. The permission was granted and I share it with you :-) If the holy monkey could see how a king is looking like ....

Now I wonder if you feel like starting a trek into Himalayas .... hm?
Don't worry, we go on trek (we start to the west), then we visit another city of Nepal, only 200 km away from Kathmandu, then we go on trek again, but to the opposite side, to the east. Do we have a deal?

The little guy here said: ”STOP!! First you have to check your equipment! I suppose you don't intend to trek in those clothes?!" 
Hm .... I have to think about it.... What to take with us in the backpack? So, I need my time now, to thiiinkkk .... and we all know that thinking hurts (!) ... auci!! I need a break.
OK, not so big deal, but important, you have to think about clothing, outerlayers, gear, electronics, first aid, toileteries and what ever you need, it also depends of the period of year you do the trek and the duration.
If I
may, please, an ADVICE:
at home, 
 take the mouse:-))
So, and now to more serious things, right?
Nepal is a very easy area to trek through. You need some formalities, which can be arranged by a travel agency - trekking or/and climb permit, bus or/and plane tickets etc. -, then I advice to change your rupees in small money, so you avoid any discomfort in the highlands, where the local people do not always have small money for change. And the small money are very useful when you wish to leave some tips, which is a very welcomed gesture, but in a different way as we are used in Europa/States/NZ/Australia. Everything is different. You don't have to let, the decision is yours, but you'll see how nice it is to do it.
Trekking in the Himalayas is a life experience. The routes are different, so you have to climb up ........
or climb some stairs down .....

the landscapes are different .... as this one:
 or this one:

or this one:
or this one:
or this one .....
Are you bored?
or something like this:
levels are different, down there ....
 or up there ....
 or down again ....
and UP again !
(should I continue?)

Villages ......
and populations are various ....
Sherpa women (above)
Hindu (above)
 Sherpa (above)
Different habits:
The very best things for you are, for example, you don't have to build a house there ....
or, if you bike, you don't have to hurry for delivering the post ....
for sure you don't need to carry this for your pets ....
or you don't have to collect, shape and dry yak sheet/dung for making fire every evening ....
Here, a small joke we sometimes say around a stove, in the evening, inside a lodge, when the fire is starting to die: "Oh, shit is happening again!! This is really nice, thank you!"
You don't have to carry your own food supplies ...
or fire wood ...
or your own tableware ....
And now, let's go in the kitchen :-))):
oooooo :-( ! Are you still hungry?
Oh, no! You don't want sugar? Maybe later then. It is sweet and very nice indeed, you trek, loose energy, so you will ask for it, for sure. Let's try something specific, as the dhal bhat and the various variants of it (but same principle):
in Bhulbhule (above)
in Gokyo (above) - most delicios I tasted
in Namche Bazaar (above) 
and something other delicious meals:

Changing the subject, do you know what a mantra is?
A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that are considered capable of "creating transformation".

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