Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Thursday, April 07, 2005
Nepal - Day 15
Good holiday, god friends, good food, good break, bad end. Shitty end actually, my parents will bitch at me for going to Nepal now, they moaned at me for going to Tibet because it was dangerous, now I’ll never hear the end of it. It was worth it though, it was SO worth it.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Nepal - Day 14
German tourists. Oh such fun. I get the impression that god is mocking me. After an hour or so of hair pulling , much stress and the complete exhaustion of my German vocabularily (which extends to the words bratwurst and guten tag) we managed to secure ourselves a helicopter flight back to Kathmandu at what I would consider a HUGE expense, but we didn’t have a choice. Apparently the guys were really putting their necks on the line for us because they were in effect breaking strike conditions in order to airlift us out, as a result the military had to be called in to ensure our safe passage. However, I didn’t feel any safer once I saw them. The word 'cowboys' sprung to mind. They were by no means the regular army, in fact I think they were just local villagers with big guns, which made the situation a little bit more alarming.
This was taken when they were very far off.
More of the cowboy military
Anyway I took a seat on the floor overlooking the big expanse of concrete that would serve as the landing pad and settled in for a long wait. After a few minutes the guy with a gun sat off to my left started sniffing cocaine quite openly, WTF? I began to get a little worried. After a few hours a small helicopter arrived and the gun men took their places (for a minute I thought they were going to shoot the thing down!) a few mad tourists scramble on and the little thing took off. The make shift military start laughing and joking, swinging their guns round without so much as a thought to the crowd of small children that had gathered to watch the helicopter.
Bloody strikes. After 8 hours of bum numbing waiting our helicopter finally arrived, and man, German tourists take no prisoners!! As soon as the thing landed they were on, running like a stamped of yaks, trampling over anyone who got in their way. For a minute I thought someone had shouted ‘free towels!’ Needless to say me and Jo got poked at the back with the luggage rammed up our arse. Never been in a helicopter before though, didn’t realise how loud they were inside REALLY loud, so loud in fact, they give you free cotton wool for your ears, and peanuts (to eat, not for your ears)
The landing pad
Our helicopter approaching
View from inside the helicopter
Oh this is one that Jo took
He doesn't use a digital camera so excuse the crapness of the shot. You can just see me in my hat at the corner of the picture looking very relaxed.
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Nepal - Day 13
Fuck it. When offered the choice to sepnd 6 hours driving to Pokhara or 40 minutes flying what would you do? Fly, I can afford it, plus I’ve done the drive before and despite the scenery I threw up twice. This time I’m going in style.
There are no words to describe just how beautiful Pokhara is, last time I was here I trekked the annapurnas ha! Not this time! Still the threat of acute mountain sickness looms over you and when you catch sight of the mountains that surround you – namely the annapurna and Machhapuchere – you can understand why. Sharma drives us to Sarangkot (only 5223 feet above sea level but you can feel it!) and we spend the late morning just watching the mountains reflected in Phewalake.
This is one of Sharma’s favourite places and he happily sits there and points out the peaks of Mt Dhaulagiri, Annapurna IV, AnnapurnaIII and Machhapuchere. Since I’m in love with this place, and we don’t have to be back in Kathmandutill late tomorrow, we have decided to take a room here for the night, a basic one though because that's half the fun.
The greatest picnic spot in the world
Monday, April 04, 2005
Nepal - Day 12
Nepal - Day 11
The living goddess. One of those cultural things that you come across that simply blows you away. The Kumari Devi is a young girl who lives in a building known as the Kumari Ghar which is right at the very heart of
It’s very hard to explain just what the living goddess is, but the title should be pretty self explanatory. The first settlers of
It’s the selection of the goddess that fascinates me though. It is a highly elaborate tantric ritual made up of layer upon layer of tests. After the preliminary test that questions the young girls 32 attributes of perfection - including the colour of her eyes, the shape of her teeth, the sound of her voice and her horoscope. The 4 to 7 year old girls from the Sakya (the tribe to which the Buddha was born) community are made to confront a goddess in a darkened room. The sight of the
Unfortunately we weren’t allowed in the inner shrine of the Kumari Ghar but we were allowed into the gorgeous gardens at the back. We also weren’t allowed to photograph the goddess herself although I did see her. It was odd really, she was leant on the edge of the first floor banister just watching the world go by and she looked so calm and tranquil. When she notice me staring at her she just gave me a dismissive wave and carried on surveying the gardens. Is she a goddess incarnate? Hell I don’t know, but there was definitely something about her, something not quite normal, something calm and wise about the way she looked at things, about the way she looked at me. Even after those brief few seconds of eye contact, I wouldn’t have said she was an eight year old girl, but maybe that’s just my imagination.This is the Kumari Ghar from the outside
Inside the door of the Kumari Ghar
Sunday, April 03, 2005
Nepal - Day 10
The strike is over and everything is back to normal. Thank god. Managed to get in a good day of touristy stuff today so that's a bonus. I think I could spend a year in
Swayambhunath is one of the holiest Buddhist spots in
Steps to the temple
A very old Buddha
The temple complex