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January 9th 2010
Published: January 10th 2010
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Daal next to the Paki embassy!!!!Daal next to the Paki embassy!!!!Daal next to the Paki embassy!!!!

I never expected to like lentils!!!!
Dear friends,

Riding the rapids

here is our update since the last entry. Yes, we disappeared last weekend... we went rafting! White water rafting, more precisely on the Trisuli river. For the first rafting experience it was pretty good, but at the end of the 2-day trip we wished for more currents/rapids!! Yes, the river had some rapids which we took relatively easily, so now we are prepared for some more serious fun! But the trip was cool, we were rafting with a group of local rafting guides (I felt damn safe), they were supposed to do a weekend training but they took us on. We spent the night camping in tents with campfire and freshly made local food, really good! Now I know the recipe of daal bhaat with curry, jummie! An other recipe to try out at home. And we made sure to buy the local spices here in KTM and hopefully they can depart towards Holland tomorrow in a parcel.. Fingers crossed.

Visa, visa, visa

Yes, we were back on Monday at the Paki embassy and YESSSS, we got our visas! And hereby I unofficially request the Netherlands officials to

Street party in Kathmandu.
relax the travelling rules towards Paki citizens, as Chris' visa costed way much more (USD 109 for single entry) than mine (USD 60)... reciprocal treatment. Thanks God Hungary is cheapy-cheaper, but still could "relax" further... From the Pakis we ran immediately to the Indis and we could file our visa application relatively quickly. Waiting 3 hours in the queue at the Indian visa center is a relatively quick processing. As we only had to go back to the Indians on Friday we had 3 full days to spend. And yes, definitely outside of KTM as we have spent already enough time in this city.

Trekking the valley

Our Dutch travel companions were still in KTM at this time, so we agreed to hike together for 3 days, kinda "farewell" hike together. KTM is situated in a big valley, so we decided to trek in this valley and make the most out of it before they reach the starting point of their own trek.

The first day was a bit tough as we had to hike uphill the whole day in order to reach the edge of the valley as we wanted to hike over the
Hungarian delicacies. Hungarian delicacies. Hungarian delicacies.

Tibi csoki in Nepal, and it was actually one of the cheapest chocolates.... they also sell Bombonetti!
"backbone". Yes, I was cursing again, as with all uphill treks but it was worth it. We finished the day after a 15km trek in Nagarkot, this village is a perfect place to look at the sunset and sunrise over the Himalaya range. We did so, you can see the pictures, awesome.

Next day our mission was to reach Jullee, but we ended up in Bhotechaur accidentally. Yes, this day we opted many times for sneaky trails instead of the standard roads so just before dusk after loosing our trail we decided to ROLL DOWNHILL! Rolling in the sense of getting down to a village through the creeks on pretty steep land, but we made it. And we did not hit that far. Bhotechaur was just a few km away from Jullee... Again, we found an OK accommodation. This time we really think that we used the own bedroom and kids room of our "hotel" owners... at least it looked like. Their 12 year old daughter spoke surprisingly good English, so we dealt with her in fact. Her mom cooked perfect daal for us, had some fun with board games and almost said happy farewell to each other the next morning. Only almost... as here again, as already before, our hosts tried to cheat on us on all prices. This seems to be something typical in Nepal: you agree on a price and later the seller/provider changes mind and charges more. Or just does not remember the agreement. And what can you do? Sometimes we just pay what we think the fair price is but this does not always work. Anyways, we left this family with annoyed feelings, but we were out in nature again! And we like it!

Our third day trek was a bit disappointing as most of the trek went on car trails in a nature park. Yes, in a nature park, this is weird, as we expected this part to be the most interesting. But the good thing is we met 3 guys from Romania, who appeared to be from Transsylvania. Transsylvania used to be part of Hungary, so yes we were speaking in Hungarian. First time in 4 months I talked to other Hungarian speaking travellers. And we got invited to Transsylvania. Yes, I wanna go back there too, as it's just so beautiful there...

Our trek ended in a place called
Rafting campRafting campRafting camp

next to the river in tents, and once more the daal tasted good! But next time we have to bring marshmellows...
something like Sundarijal, a touristic enough village. And here we were supposed to pay for the entrance to the nature park, which we were just exiting. No, there was no ticket booth where we entered. But as in the last 2 days we had some annoyance due to the Nepalese mentality, we decided to trick the ticket officers (backed up by a soldier with gun... still dont know why).. So be bluffed and told that we already through away our tickets as we did not expect to show them at exit. They did not want to believe us, but the end they let us go also due to the help of some local teenagers who saw us throwing some garbage into the bin before exiting... This little action of us felt like a good revenge so our faces had happy smiles again. Until next morning...

India, what's wrong?

So we decent travellers went back to the Indian embassy Friday morning to hand in our visa application forms. Yes, on Monday we spent 3 hours only with filling and filing the telex request form whereby the Indians ask for our credentials from our home countries. So we
Nepalese rice fieldNepalese rice fieldNepalese rice field

During our three days trek around KTM valley.
were here again, now with application forms, money etc and hoped for a standard tourist visa, being valid for 6 months, preferably multiple entry. However, the unfriendly officials told us that we will only get 3 months and single entry as the rules have become more strict and by the way our home Indian embassies did not confirm our credentials... But apparently, we were not the only ones, most of the applicants got the same answer. And the official went even further. He said in a few months foreigners will only be allowed to apply for Indian visa in their home countries (this is really bad for long term travellers) and he also said only 20 people will be granted visa at a time. WEIRD! Has something changed in India's foreign diplomatic affairs? We dont really read the news, but looks like there is something in the air as we met 2 Swedish girls in China who could easily get their 6-month multivisa without problems 2 months ago...
So annoyed again we left the embassy, but we still had to come back in the afternoon to pick up the passports. An other queueing, but this time only take half an
Yawn, again the Himalayas...Yawn, again the Himalayas...Yawn, again the Himalayas...

Nice, but I do miss the Valkenberg with its awesome 324 meters.
hour.... So we dont know where we continue from Myanmar. Returning to India (new visa apps) or towards SE Asia (Bangkok)? Will see...

One more to annoy us, Paki flight ticket

Looks like Nepal brought us some difficulties or challenges. I remember Chris telling me that he does not mind to make some extra efforts for the Paki visa as then he will appreciate it even more... but I think by now he should be oversatisfied with the efforts... at least I am for sure...

Last Monday we ordered our Paki one way flight ticket to Islamabad at a local agency. The whole situation was a bit "Asia-like" we handed over almost 500 euro next to a candle light to our ticket agent... yes, the electricity is switched off for 8 hours in KTM every day... we only missed the "Godfather" from next to the table... So with our best hopes we left this office and hoping to receive our flight tickets on Friday. "we tried to be efficient with our arrangements..." Friday we visited this ticket office 3 times... still no tickets. The first story was that the airlines alerted us that we might need to have an onward ticket from Paki when we enter the country. Well, as the embassy did not ask for such thing, we ignored this alert and gave the green light for ticket issuing.... Few hours we came back, still no ticket. Reason: electricity is gone again, e-ticket is sitting in email box but come tomorrow morning. By this time we were really annoyed, anyways we gave our email address to the agent to send us a copy Friday night when the power is back and we pick up the original in their office the next morning (yes, you need an original agency stamp on an e-ticket here... then I dont understand why they call it an e-ticket).

So at 9 pm we checked the emails... no ticket... shit! OK, maybe the guy forgot to fwd it but we get it anyways next morning. So next morning we are there AGAIN, guy has a day off, he did not leave a print out in the drawer for his colleague/boss as promised... but we got him on the phone. He could not explain what happened. Thanks God the boss took left the playing card table (was playing with his
Sun rise Nepali styleSun rise Nepali styleSun rise Nepali style

The view from our sleeping place in Nagarkot.
friends when we arrived), arranged some tea for us, asked for patience... again and took ownership for our case. For at least 2 hours I was setting up scenarios in my mind: what if this is a scam. Do we get back our money? Go to police? Delay departure? Extend visa? Smash into their face? So the boss disappeared on a friend's motorbike, left us behind in his office. Took some time till he reappeared again, this time with our flight tickets... No clue where he got them, but at the end our energy drainage was stopped. We left the office around 1 pm totally tired of the day already, even though our only activity that day was to go to the agent... hard, hard, yes, our life can also be hard... But it looks like we can board for Islamabad on Monday... :-)

Additional photos below
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Duck on a leash.Duck on a leash.
Duck on a leash.

Somehow Agi found this were interesting....
Typical AgiTypical Agi
Typical Agi

No clue where she is, but the road sign are behind her. Imagine the suffering I have to go through ;-)

10th January 2010

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