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Trekking in the Himalayas

Trek, Trek, Trek ya bodayyy

sunny 32 °C

So the day before we were to trek, my stomach wasn't feeling great and my cold had still not gone. I decided to do even less today and just pump myself full of antibiotics and vitamins to try and get in better nick for the trek to Poon Hill.
We met up with Jenna (From Pushkar fame) and went for lunch and chats. Jenna told us she was going to do Poon Hill all by herself!! I came over all mom-like and quizzed her on how she would cope, why she was going alone, what would happen if she stumbled and hurt herself or what not etc... I was a bit worried about her going on her own, but she said there'd be loads of people doing the same trek. She would meet lots of people in tea houses along the way, and would be fine. I think she would have liked to do our yoga trek, but the cost was a bit much.

We pottered about later getting everything ready for our trek. We rented some sleeping bags (mine stunk!!) and bought some t shirts, wipes, snacks etc. : )

Our trek was with Purna Yoga. It was a combination of yoga, meditation and trekking. We would be doing 6 days trekking - a variation of the Ghorepani - Ghandruk loop in the Annapurna Range. This trek would venture through Gurung Villages like Tidkehinga, Tadapani, Chuli, Kat Donda and would peak (boom) with a dawn trip to Poon Hill (3200m) to watch the sunrise over the mightly Annapurna Mountains. As ours was yoga based, we would be doing meditation and yoga for 2 hours every morning before trekking for 6 - 8 hours, then guided meditation or Yoga Nidra as it's known in the evening. Here's the blurb on yoga nidra..

Yoga nidra or "yogi sleep" is a sleep-like state which yogis report to experience during their meditations.
The practice of yoga relaxation has been found to reduce tension and anxiety, headache, giddiness, chest pain, palpitations, sweating etc
Yoga nidra refers to the conscious awareness of the deep sleep state, referred to as "prajna".
Basically it's kinda like being hypnotised imo.

I personally thought the trek sounded awesome and it would be a bit easier than the normal Poon Hill trek as that takes 4 - 5 days. (pffffft)
We went to the Purna Yoga Centre to drop off our duffel bags. (The trek included all food, accommodation, porters, transportation, guides, duffel bags, yoga, yoga mats etc etc) I think we were late to the studio as when we went upstairs, we discovered our yoga guide Mahesh sitting in the lotus position at the head of the class, while a few people waited patiently on their yoga mats. Oops. So Mahesh gave us the lowdown on the trek and what we would be doing. I.e. Rise at 6am, tea, yoga and meditation at 6.30, breakfast at 8.30am and trekking at 9.30am. We'd stop for lunch and then continue trekking for another few hours. Then when we arrived at our destination for the day, there'd be stretching, Yoga Nidra and dinner.
He said days 2 and 3 would be the most difficult as there would be a lot of upping and downing. Yikes!
After our instructions, we were invited to stay for a yoga class, so we did. It was ace! Not too hard but really very relaxing and rejuvenating!

DAY 1

So off we trotted to Yoga Purna for a round of meditation, joint loosening and yoga! The meditation bit was very hard for me. We had to sit perfectly still for 15 minutes in the lotus position. Who chose that position to be the position of serenity???? It feckin hurts. My back hurt and my legs got pins and needles. The joint loosening bit was cool though and the yoga class was great. After yoga, we met the rest of the group for breakfast. 6 women in total - all solo female travellers from all over the globe and all great fun.

There was me and Lindsey, Zemming (29 Singapore, married, on a years travelling without the husbo..haha. score!), Krissey (34, California, divorced, bubbly, super positive and had a tendency to shout ''Allegria'' quite a lot. Allegria means happiness), Beate (39, German, loves hiking and is training to be a Yoga teacher. Would like to open a Yoga-hiking B&B in the Alps), Kathy (separated, out on 10 weeks travelling and doing the Annapurna Base Camp trek).
We had the first of many delicious breakfasts of muesli with fruit and curd, eggs, bananas and chocolate buns. We also met our other guide Sumit, and our 4 porters who didn't say much at first. We piled into the jeep and drove through gorgeous mountainous scenery for 2 hours ish to our starting point - Naya Pul.

We donned our souvenir Purna Yoga Trekking hats, grabbed our trekking poles and started off through lovely little stone alleyways with cosy rustic restaurants aimed at trekkers dotted along the way. We headed up past the river and on up a steep road into the hills. It was a hot day and the skies were clear. Not clear enough to see the Himalayas, but we had some lovely lush country scenery keeping us inspired as we walked.

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After lunch, where we spied a big group of bufty men trekkers, (phwoar) ;), we trekked on. I stayed behind yapping to Kathy and Sumit but they were very slow as they stopped a lot to take pictures, so I decided to trek on a bit on my own (the rest of the gang had gone ahead already). So I'm walking along beside a load of ponies and I look up the hill beside me to admire the view, and what do I see, only a small man in a red cap with his hand down his pants having a bit of a fondle of himself! I was like WTF?? I expected this type of shit in India, but not in Nepal!!! Well I was Nappauled! (boom). He kept watching me and following me as I wandered along and when I looked up, he'd duck his head and hide! LOL... yet gross. I decided to wait for Kathy & Sumit and pointed out this public pervert to them as they approached. It was so funny to see his red cap bob up and down in the bushes as he tried to spy on us... WEIRDO!!
Anywho, I stayed with the two lads for another while and then plodded on again. Luckily after ten mins, we reached Hille - our place of rest for the evening. I got a cold lemon drink on arrival, and when Kathy landed, we all did a few stretches together with Mahesh before hitting the showers.

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Later we had our first yoga Nidra session with Mahesh. The six of us all squished into 3 beds and lay beside each other covered with our blankets. Mahesh then spoke softly to us for 40 minutes and put some of us in a trance. It was quite like hypnosis! We all drifted in and out of what he was saying. The goal was to try and stay awake for the whole time, but it's very difficult after a 6am wake up call, 2 hours of yoga and 5 hours of trekking. :D I managed to hear most of what he was saying. He made us mentally countdown from 27 to 1 and told us to visualise a lovely pond full of colourful fish and with a golden Buddha in the lotus position in the middle. The pond I visualised was full of lillies and I spent quite some time trying to get the lillies out to see the fish! :D It was very relaxing though. 2 of the gals fell asleep and were snoring away the whole time. he he.
At the end Mahesh told us his joke of the day! :)

Dinner was delicious and was followed by a rowsing Nepali dance show in our tea lodge. The guy who ran the guest house, put on some Nepali pop music and did a little dance for us. It was so funny! This guy would give Warren Swords a run for his money. He was bumpin and grindin away - he knew all the words and had all the sexy moves off pat. We were cracking up. Then he got myself, Zemming, Lindsey and Krissy up to dance with him as well. It was a howl, busting sexy moves in this Nepali kitchen high up in the hills. We were swingin each other around the place, narrowly missing the locked cupboards full of chocolate and booze.

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Great first day of trekking. Fab scenery, good long enjoyable walk that wasn't tooooo strenuous, delicious food and lovely fun positive people! : )

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For lots more pics - check out my Flickr website.

Posted by squeakylee 23:20 Archived in Nepal Tagged trekking tea dance hill poon nepali lodges moves Comments (0)

Trekking - Day 2 & 3

sunny 30 °C

Well it was up and atom at 6am for a mug of herbal tea before meditation and yoga at 6.30am. Myself and Lindsey were late again. :D Despite it only saying 6.20am on our clock, everyone was still there ready and waiting before us! SIGHHHH

Meditation today was tres difficile. I can't sit still comfortably in the lotus position for 15 minutes. My back was hurting me, my legs hurt and I just wanted to give up and stretch it out. But I ain't no quitter! ;) It was 15 mins of pure concentration face, then 20 mins of stretching the joints and an hour of yoga. My legs were aching from yesterday and I couldn't really stretch out properly. Nevertheless, we cracked on. It was a beautiful morning as we sat on top of a mountain and looked out at a blue sky, sunshine, hawks in the air and lots of tiny houses in the distance on the mountain opposite us.

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After another nom fruity breakfast,

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we trekked on. Today was much more challenging as we climbed up stone steps for at least 4 hours before lunch. Some of these steps were up to my knees! It was roasting and I was sweating my head off. My hair was soaked and the sweat was dripping into my eyes and making my face salty. We had a teabreak at about 12 and then trekked on before having lunch at a place that had a plant with broken egg shells hanging on it. :D

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After lunch it was more tough trekking but mostly uphill through a lovely gnarly forest, so the ground was a bit softer and easier on the knees! Myself and Lindsey were knackered after another 4 hours of trekking, and only the thunder and threat of a soaking hurried us up to our next lodging place - Snowland Hotel - the nearest hotel to Poon Hill in Ghorepani.

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The lodge had a big fire on and we showered and warmed ourselves by it quickly. Then we had our Yoga Nidra, which was awesome - I managed to stay awake and alert for it! :D After dinner it was straight to bed with us, but I couldn't sleep at all. In hindsight, I think I got a touch of Altitude sickness. I had a blinding headache and every time I thought I was just about to fall asleep, I'd wake up struggling to catch my breath. Then I was afraid to go asleep in case I died in my sleep! eerk...

Day 3

So after a night of no kip, we got up at 4am (well the girls giggling next door woke everyone up at 3.30am) and off we trekked to Poon Hill. It was so hard to try and get our legs moving and going uphill at 4am!! But once again, it was so worth it. The sunrise we saw was great! Not as good a view as at Sarongkot the other day but still lovely and magical. Poon Hill was packed with trekkers and we bumped into Jenna again who was walking with a bunch of Egyptian lads.

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There was no yoga this morning, just breakfast and onwards. The morning trek was delightful with a fantastic view of the peaks for about half an hour.

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Then we ventured into a forest stuffed full of pink rhododendrons (the national flower of Nepal).

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Then we trekked down beside a lovely cool stream and back up up up the other side. Today was very tough because the auld legs were aching and I wasn't sure if I could do another flight of steps up after lunch, but just about made it. It started to thunder and rain just as we crossed some stone and fences into our next place of rest for the night - Mountain Discovery Lodge! This lodge was awesome but had no hot showers which I discovered while in the shower. brrrrrrrr..

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Later I fell asleep during the Yoga Nidra. DOH! I apparently missed the best one of all. Balls. :( I only remembered the start and the end of it. I didn't get any sleep the night before though, so that's my excuse. :) After dinner, we had to leave the dining room as a big bunch of English guys and gals were in there drinking and shouting really loudly. It was redonkulously loud - maybe they were trying to get us to leave. We were too tired to go drinking, and went to Beate's room and had a great auld chat!

Posted by squeakylee 21:50 Archived in Nepal Tagged mountain trekking hill yoga poon tired nidra Comments (0)

Trekking - Day 4 & 5

sunny 33 °C

Day 4

Next morning we got up at 5.45am to see the Fishtail Mountain in the sunrise. The lodge had an amazing view and we could see the peaks a little bit through the clouds.

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We had our tea and then attempted to do yoga while the entire group of English lads and lassies stood outside laughing, chatting and shouting to each other. Me being me, I couldn't concentrate at all - I'm pretty sure that's another sign of failure in the Yoga world, as you're supposed to be able to ignore all outside interference! :D But my head hurt again and the sun was bouncing off my noggin. I felt a bit sorry for myself and had a bit of a moment in my room before heading back out to have breakfast. It was a glorious day and on we trekked through the terraced landscapes til we came to our gaf for the night - Little Paradise!

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This lodge was so cute. It had a lovely dining hall, small little bedroom huts, blankets that smelt nice, delicious organic homemade and homegrown food, pet rabbits, chickens, dogs and huge spiders in our bedroom!

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We only had a half day's trekking today so we were delighted to be able to wash our clothes, read, snooze, eat again and laze about! Sumit did today's yoga nidra for us and it was so cute - shadow climbing Annapurna 2 and getting showered in stars! awwwww..

Dinner was mushroom soup and a delicious apple, banana and chocolate roll. We were back in bed by 8.30pm and then chasing spiders around the place til 11. How on earth I was supposed to sleep in the room with these MASSIVE spiders was beyond me. (More proof that I am not a humoungous 'hut' type person and do appreciate 4 walls with no holes in them!!) ;)
We had a riot trying to get the JUMPING spiders out of our bedroom and we had to sleep with the light on so we could see any more of these monsters! ;)

Day 5

Got a weird kip due to not moving from my one spider-prevention-sleeping-position - i.e keeping my sheet over my head! :D
I kept waking up and doing a bug patrol too. (I know, I know - grow up Kenny!) We then slept through our morning wake up concert - Sumit playing the singing bowls!
Yoga today with Sumit was very difficult - he had tougher moves and we were all very stiff. It seemed to go on forever, but just behind him were awesome views of the moutain peaks. We were supposed to close our eyes during meditation, but there was no way I was taking my eyes off this sight..

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I just pretended to pay attention and gazed at the mountains. The sun was out and the sky was blue and everything was punky brewster. After a mahoosive breakfast and some dawdling around, it was time to leave Little Paradise behind. :( Just 10 minutes after we trotted away from the hill with Little Paradise perched on top of it, the clouds surrounded it and it was no longer visible to the eye. I wondered aloud if the whole of Little Paradise had been a dream or if we were still in yesterdays yoga nidra! :)

We saw giant vultures circling above us as we walked and chatted, and soon we were surrounded by lots more lush green mountains and terraced hills. Tons of donkeys carrying heavy loads and wearing lots of jingly bells trundled past us non stop. Today's trek was all downhill and we passed through lots of lovely stone villages with friendly locals and cute kids.

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We stopped for stretches and lunch in this lovely flowery joint, then mosied on to Sauyli Bazar - our last night on the trek. (1100m) Today was due to be a 3 hour trekking day, but I think it was more like 5 or 6 hours. It seemed very long and was all downhill steps, so we had the worst wobbly knee syndrome ever when we got down. Trekking is not a walk in the park (he he), it's pretty exhausting! Luckily we have had great weather for most of our trip, narrowly missing huge downpours by a matter of minutes. We've had great scenery to inspire and rejuvenate us, as well as the yoga to stretch us out every day and ease our stiff joints. The meditations helped us relax and calm our minds. I would thoroughly recommend the Yoga trek to those who like to take their time and take in the views!

(Yoga Nidra today contained a wandering 'you' who got in a boat on the lake, looked into the eyes of a fish, and then moved up a mountain to join a Nepali family for a dinner by candlelight.)

After a real dinner by candlelight, it was into bed at 8pm. There was no electricity and bog all to do but read in bed by torchlight. The place outside was pitch black and totally silent. It was very eerie! Myself and Lindsey had our regular evening chats about life and the universe and what not and hit the sack.

Posted by squeakylee 22:37 Archived in Nepal Tagged trekking hill sunshine yoga poon peaks lodges Comments (0)

Trekking - Finishing up

sunny 34 °C

Next morning it was up and atom at 5.47am for tea, meditation and yoga. The yoga was a bit better today but there were quite a lot of bugs flying into my eyes and ears determined to break my focus!!
Then it was off on our final 2 hour downhill trek back to Naya Pul. Today's trek was beside the river and with more great mountain views.

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After a bumpy, speedy, wild bus ride back to Pokhar we had a lovely lunch with Sumit and then checked into our fab hotel with a gorgeous view of Fewa lake from our balcony. Later we had our farewell dinner of macaroni and cheese and 2 desserts cooked by our lovely porter Sucile.

Our last days in Pokhara were spent lounging, organising and eating delicious dinners. I had my first glass of wine in 2 months, followed by an enormous vase of Mojito and some chit chatting with some odd Psy Trance dudes. (Odd balls - one lad was a bit older than most and seemed to be majorly negative about life and the djing world. He was ok after a while, but wanted us to come along to some psy trance festival in the mountains. I have no interest whatsoever in Psy Trance and it seemed like everyone in the pub was a bit fond of the auld narcs, so we politely declined. We heard later that the lads had travelled on a bus for 6 hours to get to the festival, and when they got there, the festival had already been shut down. Ouch!!

On our last day in Pokhara it pissed rain for hours. We holed up in a restaurant with cocktails and sat with this older Dutch couple who were telling us how they met and how they had an open relationship. I was sure they were going to try and get us to go back to theirs for some ''funtimesh', but alas it was not to be! ;)

Posted by squeakylee 23:05 Archived in Nepal Tagged trekking annapurna lodges Comments (0)

Kathmanduuuuu

sunny 30 °C

We caught the 7.30am bus to Kathmandu. The trip itself was grand - but the bus was pretty hot and we were kinda stuck to the seats, but it went past fast. I read my ''Into Thin Air'' book and I was basically a cryfest all the way to K. We arrived in K by lunchtime and headed out looking for some accommodation. After trying a few places, we settled on Hotel Potala - or Hotel Potato as it came to be known, as there were a few of us from Ireland there. (least I think that's why we dubbed it that! )

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Please note - as writing this in China - i can't actually see what photos I'm inserting as loads of sites don't work here. So random photo insertion ahoy!

Kathmandu is busy, dusty, noisy and a bit dirty in some places. Most of the main roads in the touristy area Thamel are quite clean, but on our walk to the Monkey Temple - aka Swayambhunath, we encountered very littered streets and the ''river'' was destroyed with garbage. There was a family of pigs walking in it munching their way through the garbage! he he... It had a whopper stench.

Our first day in K we decided to just rumble round a bit and see what was around us. There are lots of bars, cafes, shops, stalls and restaurants in Thamel. There were so many signs and shops and bikes everywhere, that I got sensory overload very quickly. We dived for cover and a nom late lunch in this veggie place called Or2k - which was to become a regular haunt for us. Then as it was happy hour, we went for a cocktail in the local Irish bar. After that we went to this awesome bar right opposite our hotel called the Buddha Bar. We ordered an Apple Sheesha pipe and got chatting to 2 lovely ladies beside us.

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1 of these ladies was living in Kathmandu and could speak Nepali! Her friend was visiting her here on holidays. After a while the visiting friend's sister came in with a load of locals and joined us. She started wearing the face off one of them at the table. lolz. Then she kept talking to me as if I couldn't understand English or maybe she thought I was really slow or something. I was like; ''why are you talking to me so slowly and skipping out words - I speak English ye know''. She said that she had just gotten used to talking like that!!!! I was like - eh wtf? ''how long have you been here?'' and she says ''2 weeks''.
ahhhh herrrrrrrrrrrrre love - go wan outrra dat.. I'm pretty sure I scoffed out loud and narrowly avoided calling her a muppet. :D

Anywho, we were all having the craic, getting lamped and at 11pm, we headed out for the last hour to go dancing in some ''nightclub''. The club was full of men - there were literally no women anywhere around us. We fell out of the place at 12 midnight. Everywhere closes at 12 midnight these days - it's a bit pants!

So anyways I was dying the next morning but ate my free delicious breakfast and we got on with the sightseeing. We decided to do our own walking tour and see some of the tiny temples and shrines on the way to the famous Durbar square. The shrines were pretty shit in fairness. They were dirty and not really worth seeing at all to be honest. Instead we ducked into The Sticker Shop and blew some dough on awesome stickers that I will never know what to do with. :)

After some more temples and stuff, we ducked down a laneway into a very cool small square with lovely old buildings and a nice stupa. Then there was more trundling and picture taking, til finally we arrived at Durbar Square - the apparent architectural pinnacle of Kathmandu. We spied an official looking lady in a booth waving furiously at us to pay 750 rupees to enter the square! 750 rupees?? yeah right lady. We both weren't that pushed about going to the museum so decided to head off in the other direction, only to end up back in the square from the other side. hmmmmm oops! We tried to duck and dive the payment booths and had a brief look around the square. It had some nice Chinesey looking buildings alright, but no one else was being made to pay to enter and it seemed a bit unfair to just charge foreigners 750 rupees to see a square! Anyways we got a bit lost so stopped to check the compass, when this scruffy looking loonatic comes up to us and started spitting on us!! EWWW - he spat twice on us and was getting ready to hawk up his guts again, so we legged it off up the road! It was so gross and we were slightly miffed. Everytime that we heard anyone clearing their throat after that, we turned quickly to see if we needed to start running!

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Anywho we were hungry so went back to Or2k for lunch. It was delicious and we needed a nap after all this heavy eating so returned to Hotel Potato! Later we headed to Tom and Jerry's bar were we met some of the lads from last night and another 2 huge lads from Ireland, the craic was mighty. ;) We ordered drinks and then the barman kicked us out 5 minutes later! DOH! A bit like home! :D

Next day we decided to wealk to the monkey temple. The walk brought us past the river in the middle of the city, which as I mentioned was an absolute pigsty! Literally! There was a family of pigs marching and munching their way through the river of garbage as they went.

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A couple passed us by on the way to the riverbank, and I assumed that they were going to maybe say a prayer or raise an offering at the edge of the river. But they just trotted right up and flung a bag of garbage into it! Right in there with the rest of the krap. Ewww. So we kept walking as the smell was pretty bad and investigated the nearby temples and shrines. We took some blasphemous photos before rocking on upwards to the monkey temple aka Swayambhunath.

The temple itself was a great big stupa - a big white dome representing the earth, thirteen tiers representing the 13 stages man must go through to achieve enlightenment, the Buddha eyes, and the squiggle as the nose which represents the number 1. The stupa was up a steep set of stone steps, with colourful statues of Buddha and other interesting figures dotting the stairway. At the top around the temple. were lots of monkeys, people selling colourful stuff, those twirly prayer yokes and of course great views of the city of Kathmandu.

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We trundled around for a bit then made our way down on the other side of the hill. We saw lots more monkeys drinking from fountains and a sign that said ''RASMITA WEDS BRITISH MAN''. he he. :D Lucky Rasmita!

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After a delicious lunch of veg lasagne, we decided we'd done enough to earn another nap. :D Later Lindsey showed me how to make some macro may bracelets so I can continue travelling the world and never go home, financing myself by selling these bracelets at festivals! Hippy life and dreadlocks - here I come! :D

Later we headed out for a drink at Buddha bar and met some Czech lad that we yapped away to. As we left the bar, at 12 midnight on the dot, we crossed the alleyway to the gate of Hotel Potato and were besieged by weirdos! A Nepali guy came up to offer us hash, a mad American with a bandage on his foot stumbled up to us looking for ''the tall Irish guy Damien'', and an aggressive dude came up shouting ''Sup Sup???'' almost demanding we came to his roof to ''smoke some shit''... All this as we were trying to bid adieu to the Czech guy.
We said ''no thanks'', to the Nepali dude
''No we don't know Damien''... to the mad US dude
and
''No we don't wanna smoke on your roof''.. to the aggressive dude. ..

No one was taking any notice of our refusals though and we had to keep saying ''no, no, no, no, no'' as Lindsey rattled the cage/gate to get into Hotel Potato. WTF??? Then the US dude thought that we had invited him up to our gaff with us!! F*ckin Hell!
Finally the Czech dude managed to get them away from us. Then he goes and joins them on their roof to ''smoke some shit''.. Good Lolling Jaysus. :D We escaped to the comfort of our roach-free-room. 8)

Next day was Lindsey's last day. :( We decided to take it easy and hang out at the Garden of Dreams. The GOD is a lovely big park with nice green grass, lovely ponds with goldfish and lillies, flowers, trees and lots of little nooks and crannies to hide the amorous Nepali lovers. :) We hung out in the sun for the day reading and eating ice cream.

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As we sat there minding our own business, a bird popped on LIndsey's head!! It was a pretty large and gross poop as far as poops go, and poor Lindsey had to retreat to the bathroom to wash it out.

The garden was full of Nepali people and tourists alike and we started chatting to these lovely bunch of guys and gals who had just returned from Everest Camp 3! After just reading ''Into Thin Air'', I was dying to hear their tales and see their pics so we agreed to meet up later in Sam's pub. We didn't know if they'd turn up as they were on a mission to eat and drink as much as possible after coming down. But lo and behold they appeared later on. There was Joe and Mollie and Keith from the US, and 3 Ozzie lads - Rob, Mario and John. THe lads were great craic and we hung out with them for the night yapping and doing shots. (urrrgh) We had intended going home early as Lindsey was up early the next morning, but Balls to that! :D

I was super sorry to see Lindsey go the next morning, I also felt her pain having to get 2 flights after a night's boozing... STANDARD... Lindsey was a great roomie and awesome travelling companion and I felt sad to see her mosey on to India.

Posted by squeakylee 18:03 Archived in Nepal Tagged temple monkey of everest garden pond kathmandu stupa dreams Comments (0)

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