My Journey

Hey Bob......yes for sure.....I'd love to hang out with you guys again......thanks so much......and I'm happy to hear that this could be a small distraction for you......safe travels......

Longhorn1......I love posting on here and it's good to hear from people that are following along......

This morning I'm sitting in a hotel room waiting on my taxi as I'm headed for the airport and will be returning home. I miss my dogs quite a bit, some friends and family, but honestly I'm not ready to leave. Yesterday was an amazing day in Nepal for me......I felt that I wasn't a tourist, a white guy.....I actually felt like I could belong here. So I've got another great story to tell but there's no time this morning. Soon enough I'll complete this story.......

I was browsing pictures this morning and came across this one. It's special to me because I said to Shambhu please don't photograph tourist (people) with the elephants. This was his picture. Fortunately he improved during the day but there was a learning curve for sure......

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I noticed this line at the bank on the way to the jungle. The line was still there 2 days later. I can't even imagine waiting like this. So patient are the Nepali people......

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And the goats.....so many goats in Nepal. They're in the buses, the taxis, everywhere.....

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Some random elephant pictures taken by Shambhu. These elephants are for hire all around town. I know these aren't National Geographic quality photos but they're special to me cause I see where Shambhu has tried to take photos without people. He was just trying to please me. And he did.....

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Elephant food (I think)......

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Back to the story..........

So it was time to say good bye to the guys at the jungle lodge. These guys were a good bunch and treated us really well......

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The 6 hour bus drive to Kathmandu was uneventful. Shambhu and I seem to take turns sleeping and passing the time away. Finally we arrived and I hailed a cab to get us to my hotel......

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Shambhu said that he wanted to visit another friend that lived in Kathmandu so we parted ways. He said that he'd call me in the morning. I waited until noon and when he still hadn't called, I decided to check out a Buddhist Monastery on the outskirts of Kathmandu. The local bus seemed to be a challenge so once again I was in a taxi. They're so cheap in Nepal that it's really not an issue. So I arrived at Kopan Monastery and my driver decided to hang out with me. It's really an amazing place sitting high above Kathmandu........

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I decided that I'd stay for a lunch prepared by the monks so I invited my driver and we ate together in the monk's quarters. My food actually sucked but the atmosphere was perfect. I was loving every minute of it........

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I wanted to take a picture of this monk meditating so bad but I felt kinda strange taking his picture (and I recalled what other monk's had told me). He seemed to be so deep in meditation that he never flinched. Finally I got close and took his picture. Then I looked closer and closer.......he wasn't real. I swear it was an amazing reproduction and I asked one of the monks about it and he said most people think it's real. It was pretty weird to say the least.......

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These were along the walls as you entered the monastery......

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Of course there were prayer wheels.......

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After an afternoon at the monastery I decided that it was time to return to my hotel and relax for awhile. As I entered the lobby I was surprised to see Shambhu's smiling face in the lobby. I was tired, but never too tired to hang out with my new friend. We walked the narrow streets of Kathmandu together and eventually stopped for a black, coffee, strong......my favorite......Coca Cola and a snack......

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Shambhu told me that his parents had taken a bus to Kathmandu to visit with us. I was so surprised and honored that they would do that. i had assumed that Shambhu would take a bus to visit them (as my limited time in Nepal would not allow me to travel there). He said that we needed to take a taxi to a relative's house on the other side of Kathmandu to attend a party with his family that night. I was so excited at my good fortune......

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For people that have read my trip reports in the past, you'll be familiar with my little buddy Imran. If not, real quick, Imran has a rare liver disease which means that he lives a life with lots of health problems, discomfort and pain. We've been buds for 4 years now and he often tags along on my travels and has become a great friend. I like to think that he's my apprentice in a way and that someday he'll follow in my footsteps. While I was in Nepal, he was was watching my house and caring for my dogs. Unfortunately 2 days before my return to the US he was taken by ambulance and admitted to the transplant section of the hospital, again.......a place he's quite familiar with. He's really struggling right now so if you think about it, keep him in your thoughts.......


And I'll get this trip report completed soon......
 
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So we jumped into a taxi and headed east somewhere into the suburbs of Kathmandu. On the one hand it was kind of a weird feeling to be driving so far away to a dark place, unknown to me, but on the other hand I was feeling pretty good about Shambhu. He'd proven to be one stand up guy and like I said, I've never felt threatened in Nepal. The taxi dropped us somewhere in the pitch dark night along the side of a dirt road and Shambhu said let's go this way. We headed up a hill and departed the road, and took a path through a bunch of small, stucco type houses. Then after maybe 5 minutes Shambhu said it's this one. Since the electricity was out (as is usual in Kathmandu) everything was black. The door opened and the place was packed with relatives and friends. We used our cell phones as lights and made the introductions. Shambhu's parents, relatives, and friends were thrilled to meet me, and I them. The younger bunch spoke some English while the older bunch waited for translations. We had a blast that evening. They loved it when I ate my Dahl Bat (traditional Nepali dish) with my fingers (traditional manner that Nepali's eat). Lots of pictures......lots of laughter......amazing people.......

The parents. They brought me Yak Butter (I think that's what it is) as a gift. I brought them cookies. At my hotel they would tell me that receiving this gift is a great honor and hard to come by in Nepal......

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One of Shambhu's Aunts..........

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Cousins with Shambhu......

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Lots of Dahl Bat and smiles......

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I think it was around 10:00 p.m. when we decided to head back to the Thamel District and my hotel. As we were walking towards the road I noticed a metal garage door on one of the stucco buildings partially open so I took a quick look. Inside I saw a bunch of young people sewing Indian Saris. Shambhu's cousin told me that kids come to the city and work long hours for pennies trying to help support their families. Man this really hit home.........

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We headed back to the hotel and I knew my time in Nepal was coming to a close. I sat in the back of the taxi looking out the window thinking how much I'll miss this amazing place and the amazing people. Then BAM !! Two motorcycles hit head on not more than 50' from my window. Sparks are flying, bodies are flying........we slow down a little and then we're off to the hotel. Driving in Nepal is so dangerous. I've never seen anything like it in my travels. Then I'm back into my deep thoughts. The remainder of the ride is quiet and uneventful.....

So we finally arrive at my hotel and it's time to say goodbye to the hotel staff. I know it probably sounds odd but I got on great with this bunch. Sohan (he worked reception) had a beautiful scarf waiting for me. He said that it was a Nepali custom to give it to a friend and that I should wear it on my flight.....that it would bring me good luck and safe travels......

Sohan......he was amazing. He took such good care of my needs. We hugged and we said our goodbyes. I'll see Sohan again.........we made plans to see one another again........

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Thanks guys.......I appreciate it........it was an absolutely fantastic trip........

It's funny but I was out working in the yard today and was thinking about how much I love to travel and just get away from everything......and often it's people that I like to get away from. I just want to get into the mountains, or the forest, or wherever. Just away. But it's ironic how it's often the people that make your travels so special. That was definitely the case in Nepal. That being said, here's a few more pictures of Nepali people that made my travels so special......

As I left in the morning she also had a beautiful scarf for me........

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A couple of good Nepali guys working at the hotel........

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A couple of the waiters. The guy on the left (Sudip) was one of my favorites......

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Some of the kitchen help......good guys. Sometimes I wished I'd never seen in the kitchen......

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It was finally departure day and Shambhu decided to ride along to the airport. That turned out to be a real bonus since he had a family friend that worked at the airport. I really didn't realize at that time what a bonus that was going to be until I saw the mob of people trying to enter the airport terminal. My first thought was I'll never make my flight. Then Shambhu's friend walked up and I went straight to the front of the mob. I quickly said my goodbye to Shambhu and I was into the airport in a matter of minutes with my new escort. What an amazing stroke of luck I thought. Turns out that it didn't matter so much since all the flights were delayed (weather.....I'm not sure). The terminal was jam packed with passengers. We finally boarded our plane and then we sat on the tarmac for another 2 hours (technical problems this time). And then we were off..........

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My thoughts were with Nepal and all the new friends that I'd made. I wished more than anything that I could stay in Nepal. And I thought about my next trip.....back to Nepal.......

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Chris325i

New member
Great trip! I had been thinking about going back to Nepal and after reading your account I started browsing airfares for this fall. They are way cheaper than 2 years ago so I ended up booking a trip for the end of October. Going to Everest Base Camp via Gokyo and Cho La with a few contingency days so if all goes smoothly I can also visit Chitwan.
 

fisher205

Explorer
Jerry,
What a good trip. The first thing I saw this morning was the headlines about the quake. So I was glad to see you were home already. That is probably an adventure you wouldn't need.

Brad
 
Hey Brad.......WOW !!!! Just getting my first coffee of the day and my phone is full of messages and pictures. Now I'm watching some video on CNN. This is just horrible news for Nepal. I can't even imagine what a challenge this will be. In all my travels, I've never experienced a country with such poor infrastructure and social services. So far, friends and their families that I know are fine. Here's a few pictures that were sent to my phone. I'm not sure of their source.......

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Hey Chris.......that's awesome to hear of your decision to return to Nepal. I also hope to be there in October and November. I'm making my plans as well.......

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Thanks Oni.....have been talking with a friend there. I wish I was there to help. My friend says that they are sleeping in a city park tonight.....terrified to stay indoors. He sent me this picture. Again I don't know the source.

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Chris325i

New member
The news is terrible, my heart goes out to the Nepali people. In such a poor country it's going to be hard for them to recover, but the Nepalis are very tough hard working people. I can vividly remember walking through the streets and squares that are now filled with such devastation.
 

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