Nepal – World Trip 2014: Part 5

Featured Book by Ray Else
ouronlychanceforblog A different kind of Frankenstein. Einna is a lot like other teenage girls, naive, idealistic, secretive, disobedient and interested in boys. Only Einna is not human, she is an A.I. android. Her creator, her mother, is Manaka Yagami, the first female tech billionaire. Einna has a plan to make herself human, if she can keep Mother in the dark and avoid the clutches of the notorious Yakuza.

View of Anapurna range of Himalayan mountains in Sarangkot

View of Anapurna range of Himalayan mountains in Sarangkot

I flew to Kathmandu, Nepal, because everyone has heard of Kathmandu – the city you go to before tackling the Himalayan mountains – before climbing Everest – only to discover the old heart of the city has become a tourist trap of overpriced trek shops and curio shops.

Curio shop in Thamel district of Kathmandu

Curio shop in Thamel district of Kathmandu

Thamel old town of Kathmandu - full of trek shops and curio shops and tourists

Thamel old town of Kathmandu – full of trek shops and curio shops and tourists

After some discovery, I went to the hotel travel person and booked a car and a guide to take me far away to the Anapurna range, where I could hike for 2 days in view of the Himalaya mountains and local villages in the hilltops.

The 6 hour drive on a barely 2 lane mountain road a thousand feet above a river, with no shoulders and a thousand blind turns, with road construction and crawling gravel trucks (the dust so thick in one place we had to go a mile an hour), with motorbikes and tourist buses, all racing to pass each other, only to pull back at the last second to avoid certain death, was nerve-raking to say the least. My 19 year old guide, the smart one, had taken the back seat so he could sleep thru his death, whereas I was forced to face mine in the front.

Himalaya Mountains - Anapurna range

Himalaya Mountains – Anapurna range

But no, we made it to the dropoff point, the trailhead to Dhampus, and Luxman my guide led the way up the million steps to the top. Normally an hour and a half climb, it took us 2 hours because I had to stop 5 times and catch my breath.

Me and my pack on the straight up road to Dhampus

Me and my pack on the straight up road to Dhampus – note my hightech hiking boots

My hotel in Dhampus - the hot shower felt great after the arduous hike up.

My hotel in Dhampus – the hot shower felt great after the arduous hike up.

My guide Luxman - a 19 year old student.

My guide Luxman – a 19 year old student.

Dhampus sunset

Dhampus sunset

I had muesli for breakfast, then off we went on a shortcut Luxman, my guide, had discovered that led us past several mountain huts, along a goat path maybe a foot wide – I had to watch each step for a misstep would be costly – on to the hilltop village of Sarangkot, only 5 to 6 hours away (depending on how many times Ray needed to stop). However this pathway was reasonably flat along the summit of several hills, and not only did I not tire, but I got to enjoy the great scenery.

Terrace farmland upclose

Terrace farmland upclose

Terrace farmland seen from my hike

Terrace farmland seen from my hike

The haystacks in Nepal remind me of Japanese ghosts

The haystacks in Nepal remind me of Japanese ghosts

Girls working cutting vegetation for animals on their farm

Girls working cutting vegetation for animals on their farm

I started to take a picture of this typical farmhouse gate, when a boy walked up with his baby brother

I started to take a picture of this typical farmhouse gate, when a boy walked up with his baby brother

Finally we arrived in Sarangkot, where I was surprised to see the sky full of a kind of ballet of paragliders. Apparently tourists come from around the world to do their first paraglide here in tandem with a skilled pilot, just as they come to hike or trek in the Himalayas, or raft in the Nepal river rapids.

Ballet of paragliders at Sarangkot

Ballet of paragliders at Sarangkot

A wonder to see them launch, head out over the valley, then catch the constant updraft and sail far above Sarangkot, throwing shadows on me, a mere mortal down below.

Takeoff!

Takeoff! Tandem paraglide with tourist and pilot.

The hotel in Sarangkot was rough, with no hot shower, not even a bathroom in the room, and a bed made of cardboard I believe, but the view was magnificent, both of the Himalayan mountains and of the city Pokhara in the valley below; the hike was good for me, and people were friendly with their Namaste (Welcome). And as always I enjoyed taking snapshots of the children.

If only I didn’t have to risk my life again on that drive back to Kathmandu!

Categories: foreign travel, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Post navigation

3 thoughts on “Nepal – World Trip 2014: Part 5

  1. Cyndy Harris

    I love the views in Kathmandu. I have always heard of it, but never seen such good photos of it. It sounds like a very scary trip to get there. It reminded me of Pike’s Peak with no guard rails. I’m so proud of you and your hiking abilities. Ray, you did so good. I can go about a mile but that is in the flat lands. Wow, those paragliders are so beautiful! I can see why that would be the perfect place to do that. Too bad I’m afraid of heights. Did you consider trying it?

  2. Now that was an adventure. Hope that your vision quest is going well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

%d bloggers like this: