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Published: March 19th 2010
It’s so incredibly noisy here in Kathmandu. Car horns, squeaky bottle horns from rickshaws, diesel generators, motorbike engines, people selling and shouting… The senses are generally pretty overloaded - and the lungs - so tomorrow I’m trekking again. Between brain freeze and power cuts, I’m not sure as to how much I can get out in words, but the pictures will hopefully upload before a disconnection and tell a good part of the story. An obvious highlight of being in Nepal was Carolyn’s visit. It was so refreshing to see a familiar friendly face and to spend some quality time trekking and journeying about the place - and someone who understands my jokes! We played Holi (festival of water and colour) in Kathmandu before leaving for Pokhara and the Annapurnas for a 5 day trek around Poon Hill and the hot springs at Jhinu. Then, off to Chitwan National Park where, with expectations rock bottom after reports from a couple of our fellow travellers, we were shocked and surprised to be attacked by a crocodile and up close to a one-horned Rhino (from the vantage point of the back of an elephant)!
We also visited the Manakamana temple, where Hindus
make pilgrimage to pray (and sacrifice goats and chickens) for their most sincere and heartfelt wishes. The method of worship often involves making sure the gods (whichever of the 88 million of them you chose), are awake to hear you. This takes bells and chimes and singing in wonderful cacophony and there is colour everywhere. Hinduism and Buddhism are key guides to a way of life here whereas politics and authority have become confused and seem to be generally disregarded as a vehicle for the corrupt and weak. Nepal is currently drafting a constitution (due in the next two months) when there are 23 political parties with seats in government, none of whose manifestos seems to be anywhere to be found. Meanwhile, India and China are like two economic tectonic plates squeezing for rights, through finance, over Nepal’s future. Still there are 16 hour power cuts and bad water supplies to the cities.
I should have been crossing into China by now, but the border north is closed whilst Tibet is gagged. I need to wait for further news. In the meantime, I’m trekking, picking up tips on being calm and at peace, practicing a bit of yoga, and
getting over having to stay put for more than five minutes. Finally, I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I’ve got lots of little stories I want to write about which will be coming up in the next update, but now I’m going to try and get this one online.
I hope that everyone is well and have pulled through the long winter happy and ready for spring!
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