Published: December 6th 2008December 6th 2008
Hello everyone, and thanks for subscribing/looking at our travel blog. We've been away for 2 1/2 weeks now, and this is our first entry - apologies for not being able to let you know we're still alive earlier, we've had problems with unreliable internet, power cuts and there are no internet facilities in the Annapurna mountain range!
But, we should now be able to bring you up to speed with our trip so far. We've just finished our 11 day trek, and are currently in Pokhara - a beautiful city next to a lake with incredible views of the Annapurna range. Before the trek, we spent a couple of days in Kathmandu (Nepal's capital). This was quite an experience in itself; very busy, noisy, dirty and run-down in some areas. But, the people were great and everything was very cheap (especially after living in London for 4 months), and we enjoyed the time we had there. On our second day in Kathmandu we meet our tour leader for the trek, and the guys who would be joining us. Everyone was very nice, Raja (meaning king!) was the tour guide and there were 11 of us in total on the trek - 4 other Brits, 3 Aussies and a couple of Belgians. We all went out for a little introductory dinner that night, sampling some local cuisine and Everest! Beer.
The next day, there was a tour of a couple of Kathmandu's most popular tourist sights - The Buddhist Monkey Temple, and Durbar Square. Both were very interesting and we're going to try and include some photos in this blog rather than boring you with wordy descriptions!
By the middle of the day James was starting to have 'tummy troubles', which wasn't a good sign - more on this later!
The following morning we had an early start (the first of many) to catch the local bus for a 6 hour drive to Pokhara. This was quite a hair-raising experience as the bus was rather 'rustic' and the route followed very high, winding roads through the mountains - the ominous sight of a bus wreckage at the bottom of the valley didn't really help matters! James' personal problems had also reached their peak by this stage, and even 6 imodium didn't stop the frequent trips to the not so pleasant on-board toilet (maybe too much information). As if this wasn't stressful enough we then had a 5 hour traffic jam that resulted from a hit and run on a young schoolgirl. But, we survived the first big trip of our travels, and made it to our hotel in Pokhara. This was quite a sleepless night however, due to James' poorly state, and a course of antibiotics was started in the morning.
Despite the ill-health we began our 11 day trek to Annapurna Base Camp. What followed was one of the most incredible experiences either of us have ever had. Despite little sleep, the same menu daily, very cold nights, a lack of showers/electricity/drinkable water, and very hard work everyday (made even tougher by the fact that nearly everyone in the group - including Raja - fell ill at some point, and there were more antibiotics, nurofens, ibroprufens and paracetamols quaffed than would be needed to OD a herd of cattle) its safe to say that everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The highest altitude we reached was 4470m - Annapurna Base Camp is 4120m - and some of the pictures (and, more importantly, memories) we have from there are truely mindblowing! We could quite literally write pages and pages about this trek, and we may have time to return to it in a later blog, but the internet here is still very dodgy (its taken nearly 2 hours to write this much!), so you'll just have to be satisfied with this short description and whatever photos (if any) we're able to upload.
We arrived back in proper civilisation yesterday morning and, after 10kg! of laundry and a proper shower, we treated our tour guide and porters (who thoroughly deserved it) to a big meal in one of Pokhara's many lakeside restaurants. Most of us also left clothes/boots/bags and other bits and pieces for the porters to use, and they greatly appreciated the gesture (we left Hannahs boots for our Porter who told us many times 'me too happy' - which can only be a good thing).
Everyone else from the tour group has now returned to Kathmandu, but the two of us have decided to spend another 3 nights here in Pokhara. After this we plan to check out the Royal Chitwan National Park and Lumbini (the birthplace of Buddha!), before heading into India. Anyway, as we said earlier, we could easily keep writing and writing, but we're very lucky to get this far with the power cuts and antique internet connection, so we're not going to push our luck. Hopefully we'll be able to upload some photos (but apologies if this doesn't work!) and we'll try and write again in the next few days.
Hope everybody is well, and thanks for all your messages - we really appreciate them, so keep them coming!
Until next time......