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Nepal

Nepal

Curious what backpackers do in Nepal? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Day11

    -Elevation 2610 m

    Today we walked 14 km and my slightly sore throat has developed into an upper respiratory infection. We have finally hit the main trail to Everest Base Camp and there are many more tourists on this trail. It is very different than what we've experienced so far. As grueling and difficult as these days have been, it was lovely to see the less touristy side of Nepal.

    The people here are amazingly tough. They have to be because they carry everything they need for many miles. Apparently, all supplies are trucked into Phaplu, where we started, and then carried everywhere else. It's taken all our strength to walk from Phaplu with just a day pack on our backs, never mind some of the loads we've seen people carrying. You just cannot match the toughness of these people.

    We stayed in a very upscale teahouse in a room with its own bathroom sporting a western toilet and a shower. The tea house had a large dining area but the food was the same as we experienced all along.
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  • Day9

    Elevation - 1680 m

    Today we walked 19 km and, no word of a lie, it was all steeply downhill and very rocky. Every step down was a precarious balancing act. Because we were decending, it was very warm and dusty and we all felt nasty and dirty when we arrived in Jubhing. This was the worst day for Jon because all the downhill was very hard on his knees. And to add insult to injury, he got a very bad case of chafing in his nether regions!!
    We were so very glad to finally make it to the tea house.

    We desperately needed a to clean up but there was no shower. They had a separate building for a toilet and shower which looked fairly new but they hadn't got the shower hooked up yet. We had to make do with buckets of cold water in a little shower room. It was actually quite refreshing and it felt wonderful to be clean.

    This tea house looked fairly new so we figured it had been rebuilt since the earthquake. We had actually planned to go a bit farther and sleep at a higher elevation but there was no way we could have walked anymore. Unfortunately, there were mosquitoes at this level and as we hadn't planned to stay this low, none of us had gotten malaria vaccinations.

    I felt as though I was developing a cold so, once again, I stumbled off to bed right after supper.
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  • Day10

    Elevation - 2730 m

    Well we have discovered a new use for duct tape! Jon put some sterile gauze over the chafed area and then covered the whole thing with duct tape. It hurt like the dickens when he took it off, and he is now sporting a bikini wax, but the area is healing up nicely.

    Today we walked 16 km but it was a mixture of up and down. The scenery is absolutely amazing and, of course, pictures don't do it justice.

    We have been running into more and more donkey and cow/yak trains. Cow/yaks are a cross between a cow and a yak. Their horns are different than a yak and their hair is shorter. These animals are harnessed up with wooden devices that sit on their backs over a pad. The gear is then tied to these wooden things. The donkey trains are rigged up in the same way but are quite sad. We saw a few animals with terrible sores and the men driving these trains threw rocks at the animals to get them going. The cow/yak trains were much more civilized and we speculated that because the yak trains are much shorter, they are probably family owned. The donkey trains can be quite long and are probably driven by hired help who don't really care much about the animals.

    It started to cloud over as the day wore on and made for a nice walking temperature. Just minutes after we reached the tea house a crazy hail storm hit. We figured the blessing we got from the Buddhist monks had saved us from being out on the trail when it hit! The noise was deafening on the roof of the tea house.

    After the storm, we had bucket baths with lovely hot water that was already heated in the kitchen. The rooms were like little cabins and the dining room was lovely and warm with a little woodstove in the middle.
    And surprisingly, this family even had a fridge sitting in the corner of the dining room. Someone would have had to carry that fridge over the rough terrain we had just traversed to get it there!
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  • Day23

    We were up at 5:00 am to pack up and make the one minute walk to the airport. Thankfully, Jon had improved and was no longer shaking with chills. And luckily, Elizabeth had also improved but neither of them were 100%.

    We repeated the chaotic checking in process and, once again, found ourselves in the cold Lukla Airport waiting room. We were certain that we would be the first passengers out but, with dismay, we again watched several planes come and go. It was explained to us that in Nepal, if your flight is cancelled, you go to the bottom of the list and have to kind of take what you can get. We were offered no compensation and no special effort was made to get us out. It's a very different mentality to every other airline in the world but apparently the norm here.

    We were booked on a different airline than the day before. We would be flying Nepal Air, a government run airline, and finally at about 8:00 am our plane showed up. All the passengers on this flight had experienced the same cancellation problems we'd had. When the plane showed up we all literally ran out the door onto the tarmac. No way was anyone going to spend another day in Lukla!!

    We boarded the plane, which had seen better days and which seemed to be held together with duct tape, and we were soon on the runway and taking off. I thought I would be happy to finally be leaving but, as arduous as the journey had been, I found It a very bittersweet moment.

    The flight only took about 30 minutes and in no time we were back in Kathmandu in the warmth, chaos and smog. A driver was waiting to take us back to the Dalai La Hotel.

    We had one last meal with Bijay, a delicious breakfast at our hotel, and then said our goodbyes. I think we were all a little sad. He was an excellent guide. He had also been very sick on this trip, first with food poisoning in Namche Bazaar and then with a fever and lung problems for the rest of the trek. He said that in all the treks he'd been on he had never been sick like he had on this trip. In spite of his issues, he continued to look after us. Even though we urged him to rest, he wouldn't leave us until he had looked after our needs. Tomorrow we were to meet with the owner of the trekking company and we were going to give Bijay's boss a glowing report.

    Once in our rooms, and being the spoiled white people we are, we luxuriated in hot showers, clean clothes and naps on super comfy beds!
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  • Day24

    It's been an easy relaxing day. After breakfast we walked over to the trekking company to drop off the borrowed equipment and to settle up. Because we cut our trek short and came back to Kathmandu early, it ended up that we had paid for more days than we actually used. We had signed a no-return policy so we weren't hopeful we'd get a refund. Jon worked his usual magic and finangled us not only a refund but a car, driver and guide for a day trip tomorrow to some points of interest outside of Kathmandu

    After lunch we took a walk to a lovely walled garden nestled in a busy area of Thamel. It was a beautuful oasis of trees, fountains, paths and flower beds. Apparently it was built in the 1920s and recently restored with help from the Austrian government. We spent about an hour there and wandered back to our hotel.
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  • Day24

    Breakfast (eggs, bread, porridge, fruits, coffee) with a good with on Himalaya. Then work started. Digging all day long. We're building two houses. There are several teams doing different jobs: mixing concrete, brick laying,... Almost everything is done only by pure muscle power, no machines. It's gonna be a real interesting experience to build a house this way. For lunch we go to one of the restaurants in the village, it seems like there's gonna be Dal Bhat every day again :D
    In the afternoon we started digging a hole for the tanks of the toilet. It's supposed to be 2m deep, so might take some more days ^^. Work finished at 4:30. Till 6 there's free time, to take a shower, relax, .... At 6 is daily meeting, progresses from the day are told, new people introduced, ... Round about 7 is dinner time. And today was Nepali lesson, learning some basic sentences and questions.
    I think it's gönne be a good time here with lots of hard work but also nice people and a good community. Day 1 is already done :D
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  • Day6

    10 hours bus ride to jiri. Finally I leave the overcrowded, loud and dirty Kathmandu and I get to see more and more of the beautiful scenery (and unfortunately also all the rubbish and pollution). Maybe one of the worst trips of my life :D (I hope I'll never complain about bad streets in Germany again^^). But the landscape is amazing, especially seeing the high mountains and glaciers. On the bus I got to know Sadish (from India). That's very helpful, because he speaks Hindu and can communicate with most of the locals.
    We arrived at half past 4 in Jiri and it was already too late to start walking (gets dark by 6). So we took another bus and had again a 1,5 hours adventure ride to Shivalaya. After dinner I went to bed immediately. The mattress was really thin, but nevertheless I had a good sleep.
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  • Day4

    We have arrived and Kathmandu is an assault on the senses!! As we descended to our landing we discovered that the city is enveloped in a smokey haze. As soon as you step off the plane onto the tarmac you are breathing in this smokey haze and the surgical masks that you were advised to bring but didn't, make sense.

    The first challenge is to get out of the airport. It's chaos but we were among the first ones off so we got through in reasonably good time. The hassle is that you have to purchase a visitors permit before you leave the airport. Once the immigration officer gave us our visas we went to collect our bags. We had to show a security officer our luggage tickets and then we were officially in Nepal!

    Outside the airport it's a crowded mess of people wanting to take your bags and drive you somewhere. Jon spotted the sign for our trekking company, our luggage was deposited in the trunk of a beat up old car, we were deposited in the back seat of said car and we were on our way.

    The first thing the driver did was to drive forward over a sidewalk and right into traffic all the while honking his horn. I knew we were in for a wild ride and our driver did not disappoint. My first impression was that it was very similar to Peru or Mexico but much more crowded and intense. The electrical system is insane with big clumps of wires hanging all over the place. No one seems to bother much about the lanes and what appears as utter chaos actually has a weird sort of flow to it. Motorcycles weave in and out everywhere, vehicles pass each other any which way while brave pedestrians bodly step into this fray. Our driver was amazingly talented and deftly wove through this craziness and deposited us safely at our hotel.
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  • Day7

    We have chosen to do this trek with only the four of us, Elizabeth, Reig, Jon and me, in the group. We were not trying to be anti-social, but we have planned a trek that's a bit different than the usual one people do and also we wanted to be able to go at our own pace. Adjusting to altitude can be tricky and we didn't want to feel pressured to keep up if there were younger more energetic members in the group. Going up too quickly can lead to lots of problems.

    Apparently, there are tons of tourists in Nepal right now - many more than were expected. It's great for the Nepalese as they need all the business they can get. We will have a chance to visit with other travellers along the way and in tea houses in the evenings.

    I had to pair down my gear even further to only 17 kg. I'll carry 5 kg and the porter will carry 12 kg. The porter will also carry 12 kg from Jon. Makes us westerners seem like wimps by comparison.
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  • Day18

    Elevation - 4620 m

    Our destination today was Thukla but I had a very bad night of coughing so we decided to stop in at Pheriche where there is a medical clinic. Depending on what the doctor advised I would either go on, stay in Pheriche or go down while the others carried on.

    We got our usual start at about 7:45 am and got to the clinic about an hour later, a few minutes before they opened. This clinic is really cool. Younger doctors volunteer for two months at a time. Westerners pay to be seen and for any medications, etc. This pays for the locals to receive medical treatment for only 50 rupees which is about 50 cents! The doctor told us about a local man who had appendicitis and needed IV drugs and to be airlifted to Kathmandu. All this only cost him 50 rupees.

    I met with the doctor and he listened to my chest and heart and checked my oxygen levels and pulse and they were all good. He said I was doing everything right and gave me some cough syrup to help me sleep. He said I would be at a way greater risk of developing altitude problems so I'd have to watch for that. I felt so relieved that I could go on and that I wasn't developing pneumonia. After paying the $80 US for the visit we carried on to Thukla.

    It was going to be a short trek today. From now on the days are short as we climb to higher elevations. We walked through a beautiful valley surrounded by sharp jagged cliffs. The last hour we climbed up to Thukla. This is a very small collection of buildings. It seemed that there was really only one tea house there. We ate lunch in a sun room, organized our gear and then had a whole afternoon to kill. We collected in the dining room were we visited with two very interesting British fellows. They had saved for a couple of years and then had sold up everything and had commenced travelling around the world. We had some interesting conversations, and finally at about 4:00 pm the stove was lit. We were relieved as we were all cold but then commenced the toxic brew of yak poo and cooking smoke. The toxic brew won out because the elevation made it very cold and we stayed in the dining room.

    Eventually they stopped adding fuel to the fire so we wandered off to our cold, cold rooms. This was one of the dirtiest, coldest and most miserable places yet. I'll be glad to get out of here.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, Nepal, Nɛpɔl, ኔፓል, نيبال, Непал, नेपाल, Nepali, নেপাল, བར་ཡུལ་, Nepál, ނޭޕާލް, བལ་ཡུལ, Nepal nutome, Νεπάλ, Nepalo, Nepaal, نپال, Népal, Nèpal, Neipeal, નેપાળ, Nefal, נפאל, Նեպալ, ネパール王国, nepal, ნეპალი, នេប៉ាល់, ನೇಪಾಳ, 네팔, نیپال, Nepalia, Nepálɛ, ເນປານ, Nepalas, Nepāla, Nepala, നേപ്പാൾ, नेपाळ, နီပေါ, Nephali, Sańghīya Loktāntrik Gaṇatantra Nepāl, ନେପାଳ, Nipal, नेपालदेशः, Nëpâli, නේපාලය, Nebaal, நேபாளம், నేపాల్, ประเทศเนปาล, نېپال, Nê-pan (Nepal), Nepalän, Orílẹ́ède Nepa, 尼泊尔, i-Nepal

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