Monday, 13 March 2017

Holi in Nepal

Woken at 5am by the call to prayer at the other side of the village, Michael is up to meet his nemesis, the squat toilet. Then outside to chat with Nirmal and some others who were keeping warm by a fire, not used to this unseasonably cold spring.

Michael comes back to get me just before 7 and we walk to the market in the next village for some chai. Every house in the village seems to be in the middle of butchering a goat for their festival feast, and I find it strange that others goats are so close by, seemingly unaware of what is happening to their kin. We see goats hanging and partially skinned, or further on in the process of being dissected, with intestines and other organs laid out on mats, the whole family gathered at each house to help or watch. It is quite a sight and not one we are comfortable with, yet what they are doing is very real. Everyone is completely in touch with the source of their food, they are confronted with the fact that a life was sacrificed to provide their meal. It is brutal to see it, but so much more respectful that what goes on behind closed doors in abattoirs so that we can just go into a supermarket and purchase a cleanly packaged lump of meat and not question where it came from or our conscience. Thankful today that I am a vegetarian.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Nepali Motorbike Adventure

Today we started our adventure away from touristy Nepal; we were off to visit Nirmal and his family in their village and celebrate Holi with them.


Saturday, 11 March 2017

The day we saw a rhino!

A quiet day in Sauraha yesterday to recover from the adventure of getting the 4 buses down. Completely spoilt by Michael, who arranged breakfast in bed for me after a long sleep in. We book our jungle walk, which seems pretty expensive but we figure we have come all this way, so we had better get out and actually see the National Park. A short while after we book, and after intermittent rain all afternoon, we check the weather forecast and it is due to rain for most of the next day, so we dither about whether to postpone the trip or not. Two hours in a dug out canoe in a rain storm does not sound like fun.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Bandipur to Chitwan

A fitful night's sleep, as is always the way when you know you have an early start. Not helped by the rain, which at some point woke me due to its hammering on the corrugated tin roof outside our window.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

A Mountain Walk from Bandipur

Back to the sweet shop for breakfast, more puri with aloo curry for me and an apple pancake for Michael. Plus donuts for the road. Today we have decided to walk to the next village. We are already 1000 feet up a hillside and Ramkot, where we are heading, is of similar altitude, but the pathway there is not straight or level.


Tuesday, 7 March 2017

First day in Bandipur

Not the best start to the day, as not the best sleep. After spending ages choosing a room we had chosen a dud! The room was nice enough, the balcony and the view were great, and the price tag was low. The bed however was hard, far too hard. It was like someone had stretched a bed sheet over a block of wood, with a smaller block of wood for the pillow. I got some sleep, but Michael was up for much of the night. Our second mistake was thinking that a squat toilet would be ok. It wasn't. And with Michael's giardia lingering it really wasn't ideal. We wander down the vehicle-free streets to the sweet shop with the donuts, took a bar style table overlooking the table, and had aloo puri for two. Over breakfast we discussed our options and then Michael's stomach decided it was time he was back in the bathroom.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Pokhara to Bandipur

Time to move on from Pokhara. Back to the same woman for breakfast; we consider ordering the same thing to save her having to cook two different orders, but in the end opt for our usual. We make the same order, only something gets confused and while I get my puri curry, Michael is presented with a fried egg and toast. It comes with some lovely fried potatoes, so he isn't too disappointed.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Pokhara

A six am alarm call then sleepily down to the car at seven. Bags loaded we squeeze into the tiny car, Michael in the front and me in the back. As we leave the village on the bumpy, dusty, unmade road we are followed by dogs barking and chasing down the car. Through the three one lane bridges, then a quick stop at the driver's office, then we turn north towards Siddhartanagar and then begin the drive into the hills. The roads are incredibly windy and I am soon feeling terribly sick in the back of the car. It's not helped by the heavy braking and swinging about the driver does in an attempt to avoid potholes, not to mention other vehicles. Every so often the poor quality tarmac ends and we drive on gravel and rocks. We pass villiages and agriculture, in places the land has been terraced to grow rice and other crops. The road is filled with bikes and scooters and many 'deluxe' busses as well as trucks. By the time we reach Tensen and stop for breakfast, I am positively green. We have a samosa each, and a sel roti, which is a kind of skinny donut made of rice flour with cardamom and cloves. Back in the car and I am so miserable in the back, so at one of the security checkpoints we swap and Michael folds himself into the tiny back seat. I am soon recovered, but Michael is soon realising why I was feeling so bad, the rear of the car having no suspension at all. There are a couple of hairy moments but on the whole nothing too bad, and we conclude that busses will be no problem for the rest of the trip, as this is hopefully the worse road in our trip. We find a hotel at the edge of the lakeside area and head out to explore and find a late lunch.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Lumbini

We wake having had more sleep than many previous nights put together. Michael is still not feeling 100 percent, so I am up first for a change. A strange breakfast of puri, mushroom soup, and momos, then we enquire about bus options to Pokhara before setting out for a day of touristing.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Into Nepal

Woken at 5am by the lovers on the opposite bunk, who wake just in time for their stop, then jump down, throw on their shoes, and leave the train before it departs with them still on it. Two more hours till our stop, but there is no more sleep to be had, so I wait for Michael to fold up the middle bunk and join him on the seat down below.