Day 2 – Nepal Day 1 – flight to Nepal

Still trying to adjust to HK time, so I woke up at 3:30am.  I was staying in my uncle’s place  in Sheng Shui.  It was very breezy and cool at night even without air conditioning.  Everyone must have sensed I really like dim sum that majority of the time I eat out in HK was going for dim sum ;-)   I had yet another dim sum (breakfast this time, it was dim sum lunch the day before)

After breakfast, I got to relaxed for a couple hours before meeting with my two secondary school friends (who were also my Nepal trip travel-mates).  I first met Natalie at Sheng Shui station and asked her to exchange major of the Canadian dollar.  Lucky that I have done that, the Canadian dollar had dropped so painfully that I couldn’t believe it.

Yes, it is a bit unusual, we were flying to Nepal from mainland China.  This was not because we wanted to save some money to get the cheaper ticket.  It was because there was not free space to fly back from Nepal back to HK on the day we plan to leave.   This had been an interesting experience but I would rather never repeat this.  It was quite troublesome to haul big backpack across border and especially annoying going through multiple security checks just before and after the train rides.

The flight was rather short – only 3.5 hours.   The time to get the airport almost took just as long.  This was also my first time ever taking flight operated by mainland china airline.  Apparently it is already second largest airline.  However, both food and flight attendant services had a lot of room for improvement.

When we finally arrived in Kathmandu International Airport very late at night, the line-up to get the visa was not only long but also completely disorganized.  There were two lines, one for just paying the fee ($25 USD for 15 days)  the other for handing in the application form.  Unfortunately, those two line got mixed up and I ended up standing in the line that was not moving at all.  But this was not the worst problem, my friend passport was taken by a rather careless visa applicant standing in front of us. We would have been in a lot worst shape if that person keep taking the my friend’s passport and never came back.

But the most scary part was yet to come… it was the mini-van ride from airport back to hotel.  The ride itself was very short, only 15 or at most 20 minutes.  However, the ride became very “adventurous” when the van-mini was obvious too old to be even running on the road.  Also there was really no way that tiny almost unmovable thing could take eight passengers and all or heavy backpacks.  I kept smelling something was burning…. obvious sign of being way overloaded?!  I was just completely relived that we made it to the hotel FINALLY…

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Day 14 – Nepal Day 13 – Pokhara to Nagarkok

There was not much activity that day, we spent 6 hours on the car for long long drive from Pokhara, passed Kathmandu then up to the top highest viewing point of Nagarkok.

At one of the quick stop where there was a small market, Kazi bought a few bags of beans for his wife.  And surprisingly we passed by Dawa’s mini bus and Kazi was able to pass all the stuff to Dawa.  Actually Dawa mini bus looks reasonably new, safe and comfortable.  If I travel to Nepal again, I must choice that instead of the special personal vehicle arrangement.  Saving both cost and environment!

After we arrived in Nagarkok, we just spent the rest of the day sitting around and reviewing all the pictures taken from the trip.  My friend was making detail note of each pictures.  I was too lazy at that time and only make point form note highlight what we have done so far.  That note became extremely helpful for creating this detail blog entries…

Day 13 – Nepal Day 12 – Trekking back to Pokhara

Before the longest descend trek back to Pokhara, we spent the morning taking a lot of very pretty pictures up in the secret viewing point. Normally everyone visiting Sarangkok would be all crowded in the top of the hill which is not necessary the best viewing point with the electrical wires getting into your pictures.

Here is a very nice video live-commented by my friend Betty during the easiest part of the descend.  Kazi was always a bit ahead of us (but to me, it is so far that I could never catch up to him =P) You can see Shree and Dawa staying behind and helped us while carry our heavy backpack.  You should notice the lack of huge tree along this walk… totally felt I could roll myself all the way into the lake =P

There were still half a day sight seeing in Pokhara and we decided to see Devi’s Fall.  Oh what a disappointment.  Especially with my legs were still aching from the trekking, we still walked for more than 45 minutes to see tiny “stream” and very weak water fall. The day ended lovely with a large feast with Kazi, Dawa and Shree to celebrate the safe & successful completion of  trekking.   Honestly, I had planned and expected helicopter rescue ;-)

  

Day 12 – Nepal Day 11 – Trekking Sarangkok

We couldn’t wait to get out of Chandrakok.  We skipped breakfast and started the day immediately after eating a couple biscuits.   The first part of the downhill walk was very easy, then we hopped on a local bus because Kazi believed we probably couldn’t handle walking all the way.  It was not hard, just long boring walk along a road.   What was supposed to shorten our trip ended up taking much longer because Dawa forgotten to take Kazi sleeping bag when he got off the bus.  So he had to run after the original bus until he finally caught up and bring back that sleeping bag which appears to have invisible legs =P

We ended up waiting for almost an hour in the bus stop before resume the long walk up to Sarangkok.  Due the that wait, we ended up walking up to Sarangkok in the brightest and hottest mid-day sun and my arms became uneven!!!  My right arm was noticeably a few tone darker than my left…

It was indeed very rewarding to finally arrive at Sarangkok.  The view was amazing and we were so lucky to bump into two very very cute baby goat twice!!

Day 11 – Nepal Day 10 – Trekking to Chandrakok

After two easy days of trekking, I was completely unprepared for our first day of downhill trek.  Thinking back, we really should have taken Kazi’s advice and relaxed more in the beautiful Aust. Camp.  It was just so much fun just sitting around and watching the gorgeous view and bugging Betty while she was sketching.

Shree and Dawa were hiking with us that day.  I was so grateful that they have done that because their steady helping hands were huge relief when walking (which felt more  like “sliding”) down the steep hill.  There was point that I rather just stood still and not moved at all because I so feared of rolling down the hill like a big round ball.

When arrived at the guest house in Chandrakok, we thought that’s only a temporary rest area, we were a bit shock that we had to stay there for the night.  This is the only place where we had to use squat toilet which was very dark and smelly.  The shower had no light and very awkwardly positioned window to bring natural sunlight along with direct and clear view of anyone who want to take a peek at inside of the shower =P   My friends and Kazi created a great cover for the window but the shower become too dark that at the end we had to leave the door open a bit to see inside.  That whole shower experience becoming a major activity that we planned very well — what to bring in, who to guard the door and what to bring to read while waiting ;-)

There were bees kept on flying around one of my friend.  One of the old man sitting around told us that’s poisonous and my friend became hysterical and cried uncontrollably.  So all of us retreated back inside the dark eating area of the guest house and spent the rest of the day playing card games.

One truly memorable thing for me that night was spending one either evening and night without electricity.  It promoted so much more interesting conversation among our group.  But I was very scared when my friend finally spilled out the word “ghost-house” which I had been thinking but did not dare to mention it.  Immediately, I was so worried that I couldn’t sleep the whole night…

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Day 10 – Nepal Day 9 – Trekking to Aust. Camp

I was sleeping right next to the single plate glass window, so I felt quite cold during the night.  Both Betty and Nat couldn’t sleep well because their sleeping bags were not warm enough.  Although it was colder, I was rewarded by seeing pretty sunrise right within the comfort of my own warm sleeping bag.

Although Kazi had not waken us up, we still were able to get up to see sunrise.  Actually the guest was slept in has very thin wall and I have been early noise from neighbour even starting as early as 5am.  It’s ok, I was going to bed really early that I did not really need that much sleep anyway..

 

This morning was very relaxing, even Kazi, Dawa and Shree were joining us for a long relaxing breakfast.  Kazi brought out his digital camera to record some video.  I am now actually very interested to see what he has recorded.   The route to Aust camp was very short and enjoyable.  Betty was stunned that took such a short time and couldn’t believe we arrived so soon.  Both Dawa and Shree were walking with us that day because it was indeed too easy.

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We spent that long afternoon playing card games.  We learned Nepalese matching card game and we also taught Kazi, Dawa and Shree the popular HK card game big-2.  I was surprised that they actually like it.  Too bad I couldn’t teach hearts or euchre because that involved explaining a lot of concept and rules to all of the players.

The starry night was so beautiful that night.  When I looked up, I felt I was blanketed by endless sky with lots of sprinkling stars.  I never see such bright and so many star in the city.  That was such a wonderful experience even my neck hurt a bit by the end of the night.

Day 9 – Nepal Day 8 – Trekking to Pothana

The first night was quite cold.  It was 10 to 12C which is not “that” cold by Canadian standard because that’s double digit temperature.  Even for whimpy Vancouverite ;-)  But when there is no central heat, that is already pretty cold.  I felt lucky that I was able to use the rented sleeping bag because that had kept me nice and warm over unlike very thin sleeping bag form Hong Kong.  Even though that’s easier to pack, I probably would never, ever use sleeping bag that’s not warm enough ever since my Contiki experience.  I got sick because I caught a terrible cold because the sleeping bag was not keeping warm though late spring cool night..

While it is still a bit dark outside, Kazi lightly knocked on our window to wake us up to see the sunrise.   It took us  a while to get ready for the cold morning.  I had put on my green fleece jacket and scarf warped tightly around my neck before heading up to the roof top to wait for the sunrise.   It was indeed quite cold as we were waiting.  Sunrise actually did not last very long.  In a matter of a few minutes, the sun was completely out and the surrounding mountains reflects the amazing red-orangey glowing colour.  It was really beautiful.

One really lovely thing with taking a “soft” or “baby” trek was how relaxing we could spend our mornings.  After sunrise, we enjoyed breakfast looking over the stunningly amazing view  of the Fish Tail mountain (Macchapucchre).  I could finally feel the warm of the sun and the sky was so prettily bright blue and clear.  Later, our guide and both porters taught us how to play a local “Carrom Board” game which played our fingers (which was quite painful at times when I did not know how to aim at the disk.  Life can very simple but still fun in a place without my usual basic “necessity” like Wii, Facebook and my MSN.

Ok, back to the trekking.  It was very relaxing walk that day with a lot of frequent stops.  We walked passed a wide grassy slope covered with very pretty tiny blue flowers on the ground.  It looked like the prettiest carpet created by nature.  Accordingly to Kazi,  if you are not staying guest house, you could camp on this slope.  Though that sound intriguing but I NEED a bed =P

During one of the rest stop, I finally noticed my backpack (the smaller one which I carry myself) was falling apart because one of the shoulder strip was almost 80% detached.. I was so worried because it was only 2nd day of the trek, how could I carry my stuff for the rest of the trip.  Luckily, Kazi and Dawa know how to fix backpack!!  So happy to be able to continue to use my 10 years old backpack… I know I should get a new one, but I really like this one even it is not any any famous brand name product.