In one of my first posts for this adventure, I asked if it was inauspicious to pick March 15 as our departure date? Maybe it was because fate was not done with us yet. Can you imagine both of us in hospital in Kathmandu at the same time? Continue reading Bittersweet homecoming
Our fourth day on the trail came after a euphemistically named “rest day” in Namche which involved climbing to the Everest View Hotel, approximately 440 meters in elevation gain, and back down again. It’s a technique used to help the body acclimatize to high altitude.
Day four would bring us above tree line at times and we would reach 4,200 meters by the end of the day. Continue reading And then Everest said enough
Our first view of Mount Everest was like a special gift from our guide Lakpa to us. At a hairpin bend, less than half way up Namche hill, he directed us off the trail onto a narrow footpath. About 10 meters along, he pointed north and said Everest. Everest, indeed, sparkling in the distance, showing off an immense snow plume blowing east from its summit like a bride’s veil caught in a gust of wind. We simply stood and looked, speechless, nearly forgetting to take pictures. Continue reading Into the mountains
We could see high peaks from the runway in Kathmandu the day of our early morning flight to Lukla to begin our trek. That’s a rare thing now that the city has grown to more than a million and the Kathmandu valley has become very polluted.
The flight to Lukla is as spectacular as I remember from my last trip here, except this time the forests below us are dotted with large patches of variegated pink where stands of rhododendrons are blooming. Continue reading Off to Lukla
Kathmandu is like Delhi, except not on steroids. The traffic is nuts, there’s dust everywhere, the little shops with roll-up metal doors sell nearly the same things as in Delhi and so do the street vendors, but it’s less intense. You don’t get solicited at every step. You can actually walk down the street without having to say no constantly. But you do have to watch out for cars. They have no fear of pedestrians and skim by you only a hair’s breath away as you walk along. Continue reading UPDATE FROM KATHMANDU
Traveling is about trying new things, so why not tandem parasailing in Pokhara, a world-renowned location for the sport? Besides the exhilaration of walking off a mountain with only an oversized kite to support you, the views can be breathtaking. The Annapurna range is only 25km to the north and has several of the world’s highest peaks.
Our launch site was on Sarangkot, a 1590 metre mountain north of town. To get there, five members of our group climbed into a four-wheel drive vehicle along with the five pilots we’d be flying with and a driver. It was a bit tight. Continue reading FLYING HIGH OVER POKHARA
One of the rhinoceroses was so close to our jeep that even the driver started taking pictures. We knew this was no ordinary sighting during our jeep safari in Chitwan National Park.
The meadow was deserted except for our two jeeps and three rhinos. We were stopped while two of the rhinos were heading straight towards us. Continue reading CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH RHINOS
Probably the activity I wondered about the most on this 15-day tour was the two-night stay at an indigenous Tharu village near Chitwan National Park. What would the accommodations be like? Would I be staying in a family’s home? Would I eat with the family?
One of the reasons we were going there was to visit Chitwan National Park, Nepal’s largest and oldest park, home to rhinoceroses, crocodiles, tigers and leopards. Continue reading HOMESTAY IN NEPAL’S TERAI REGION
We left India after visiting three major cities, Delhi, the second largest in India with 27 million inhabitants, Jaipur 3-4 million, and Varanasi, 1.4 million and nearly as many visitors each year. As tourists, we visited only the old parts of each city.
These cities are frenetic with activity, dusty with age and history, full of vitality. Life is squeezed in everywhere. Half-built houses already have shops on the ground floor. Continue reading LEAVING INDIA
Varanasi is chaotic, fascinating and unique. It’s located along the Ganges, the river sacred to Hindus and is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. The city is crowded with people, animals and vehicles. Even the buildings seem to huddle together like old men sharing secrets. Traffic defies understanding and leaves your head spinning. Continue reading VARANASI – SPIRITUAL CAPITAL OF INDIA