In the Steps of a Sherpa!

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November 10th 2011
Published: November 10th 2011
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Blog- 3 India and Nepal
Namaste everyone, this is my third blog entry from my around the world trip. I am sorry it has taking so long to complete this entry; I have being very busy and had a 3 week period where I had no access to internet. This Entry will contain stories from my experiences in India and Nepal.
India was the third country visited on my ATW trip. We left Zanzibar, Tanzania Sept 31 and arrived in New Delhi the next day after a very long sleepless night in an Oman airport. New Delhi was huge, busy and extremely dirty. We stayed at a small Hostel in the North, the man who owned it was a Doctor and he was extremely helpful. We spent 4 days in New Delhi, I cannot say that I really enjoyed much of my time there. I had a horrible experience around the red fort during my second day that involved some crazy Muslim throwing Hydrochloric acid on me. This ended with me going to an Indian Hospital for burn treatment. No one was really able to tell me why this happened, some police and people at the hospital said it could have being because I looked American, it was not from my dress since I was wearing pants and a t-shirt. The local authorities did nothing and I had to get both the American and Canadian Embassy’s involved.
I ended up spending a few more weeks in India but cannot say much positive about it. Could be because I was bitter from my Second day event, but mostly just did not enjoy the culture. The highlights in India would definitely be going to the Taj Mahal and experiencing a camel safari in Jaisalmer.
The Taj Mahal was beautiful; I could have just sat on the steps and stared at this amazing building all day. The white marble glistened in the sunlight giving the building an outer worldly appearance. I definitely recommend heading to Agra for this experience, but you could easily make it a day trip from New Delhi.
Jaisalmer was the last city I went to and it took 18 hours of miserable train rides to get there. This city was in the Thar dessert, around 45 mins away from the Pakistan border. This has to be one of the hottest places I have being, it was almost impossible to sleep at night due to the heat, definitely missed north American Air-conditioning while I stayed there. The main attractions in Jaisalmer are the desert and the camel safari’s. We booked a one day safari through the local camel driver company called Ganesh travels. This company was recommended by lonely planet and they were definitely cheaper than all the other companies in town. We were super happy to only have done the one day safari because riding camels HURT haha! I think I bruised every inch of my bum and was thrown into 10 trees by my camel that had an itchy neck! We watched the sunset from the desert and then sat by a bonfire while our guide cooked us an amazing local dinner. I definitely recommend a camel safari if you are in this area of India but do not go for more than a day, the camels hurt and there are a lot of bugs/beetles running around in the sand, you will be sleeping with the bug’s for sure.
After another 12 hour Indian train ride (not fun), we ended up back in New Delhi where we caught our flight to Kathmandu, Nepal. I was extremely excited to be leaving India and too met up with my British Girlfriend Natalie in Kathmandu. Our flight was delayed a few hours in the air because the Kathmandu airport was closed due to smog. I have to say Kathmandu might be one of the most polluted cities I have being too. It is horrible; half of the locals wear masks just for daily activity. My Asthma started bugging me within a day. It is definitely not good to stay in any of the large Nepali cities for long before trekking since it makes your lungs very crappy quite quickly.
Our intentions once in Nepal were to head into Lukla and Sagarmatha National Park immediately but we were unable to get flights right away. We ended up taking an eight hour bus ride to Pokhara which is near another huge trekking region called Annapurna. We didn’t end up doing any trekking here but we did go Paragliding which was a lot of fun. You get driven up to 1800m and then take off tandem styles with the Annapurna mountain range surrounding you. Our flight time was around 30 mins and it was very peaceful, not scary at all. We booked this through a local travel shop, which ended up using one of the larger companies but offered us a better price. All together the paragliding was around $84 USD, which I think is as cheap as you will get.
We ended up booking flights to Lukla for Nov 21 and after a few hour delay we landed in Lukla, a 2800m high mountain village. This is also in the world’s top ten worst airports, the runway ends 60 meters higher than it starts and is literally built into the side of a massive mountain. The weather was not good; it was cloudy, raining and cold. The second we got off the 15 person plane we were throwing layers on. We had booked a guide for our trek through a company in Kathmandu for $17 USD / day. This guide met up with us in Lukla and to be honest he was completely useless. He barely spoke English and was very young. We definitely got screwed by the Kathmandu Company. What we learned from this was if you have done climbing before, then hiring a guide is a waste of money. We only did it because out of the three of us trekking only I had any altitude experience, so we thought it would be safer if something were to go wrong. But trust me you do not need a guide if you know how to trek mountains, the routes are mapped out extremely well and there are small villages the whole way, you are also always surrounded by other trekkers.
We had picked to do the 14 day Everest base camp circuit trek, with a few rest days thrown in to acclimatize. We ended up not completely making it to base-camp because my girlfriend ended up being affected by the altitude and to be safe we turned back around 4600m. This Trek was very hard, lots of steep sections and it was extremely cold. One of the hardest things was being exposed to such low temperatures all the time. The tea huts are barely better than sleeping in a tent outside and they almost never put their fires on.
Something we had found interesting was that it took 5 days of trekking, to 4000m before we could even see Everest for the first time. It seems funny how it takes 5 days, height of 4000m to even see the world’s tallest mountain. The range surrounding Everest is Huge, with three 8000 plus peaks very near by, so these big mountains hid Everest for most of the Trek, which is alright since they are just as beautiful to look at, favourite being Ama Dublam!
Even with all that happened I enjoyed my trek through the Himalayas, definitely one of the most impressive mountain ranges I have ever laid my eyes on. We met a lot of amazing people along the way, great memories. So once we finished trekking we ended up back in Lukla the starting village where the small airport is located. When we got to Lukla it was pouring rain, we later found out the weather has being bad for days and no flights were going in or out. We ended up being stuck in this mountain village for 7 days, before flights started to move again. There was no heating, the weather was freezing, food was running low and hotels were kicking people out due to lack of room. In the end I was told around 3500 people were stranded in a village, whose population was around of around 400 people, mostly all Sherpa’s.
On top of being stranded i got extremely sick 2 days in and ended up being hospitalized in a small Swiss Hospital, the only one in Lukla. My insurance company was amazing and eventually got me down by helicopter and took me to a Canadian sponsored Hospital in Kathmandu called CIWEC. I am good now, was treated for moderate dehydration and malnourishment due to a horrible Cipro resistant Bug that lives in mountains spread by the poor quality food.
So that has being the majority of my last month and a bit of travels. I have to say they have being stressful to say the least, lots of dramatic situations and truthfully I am at a point of being fed up. I have to admit there have being quite a few moments where all I have wanted to do is go home, but they pass and I know the next 2.5 months of this trip will hopefully be better.
My next stop is to South East Asia, we missed our first flight to Thailand due to being stranded on the mountain so we are now leaving tomorrow. Due to the severe flooding in Bangkok we are probably staying there for a night and then flying out to Cambodia. Definitely excited for Asia and what will come, just hoping it does not involved any hospitals!! I have seen enough of those to last me through my whole trip!
I hope everyone is doing well back home, I miss everyone!

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10th November 2011
Photo 7

This photo is geourgous!

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