Thursday, February 28, 2013

seen around town

One is never alone in Nepal, there's always someone or a group of people from your neck of the woods. It's one of the most popular places for yoga, trekking, cycling or just hanging out. One can visit all year round even though the winter months are cold, its actually quite pleasant in the daytime.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Seen around town

This and many other scenes are typical of what happens when the sky darkens in Nepal. Because of load shedding, the hydroelectric dams does not generate enough power, residents only get a few hours of electricity each day. Most businesses have generators that run for a few hours. There's absolutely no heat anywhere except in luxury hotels. So the people resort to burning anything they can get hold of to keep warm. The night that I arrived I was driven in total darkness except for a few fires by the side of streets where the residents or the military burn stuff to keep warm. We need to be really grateful everyday that we don't live in Nepal. When was the last time you said a thankyou prayer?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

More from the streets of Pokhara

There were a few Chinese restaurants, not suprising they are everywhere in the world.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Seen in Pokhara

This is a thangka painter. A Thangka is a religious Buddhist painting usually on fabric. It's hung in homes, temples and there are gigantic ones that are displayed on mountain sides during festivals. Each is painstakingly painted.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Himalaya, the movie trailer

I watched this online on Netflix the other evening, amazing movie, an old one which received Oscars nomination for best foreign film, filmed in Dolpo, a very very remote part of Nepal near the border with Tibet. It is life changing about a people living in a really inhospitable area of the world. Their way of life is fast changing as mordern tourism enters their area. The French director, Eric Valli spent some nine months in this very difficult area making the movie. That's Eric's CV, the most unusual and remote areas of the Himalayas. I heard somewhere recently that 'when life offers you two paths....choose the difficult one!'


 Where do I get my ideas for my travel itineraries? From books.... I love the bibliography in books. They can reveal a lot more ideas. It builds, you read a book, get some ideas, you check their bibliography and find more stuff. I intend to be standing in front of this chorten one day. Isn't it beautiful? It would be wonderful to one day post my own picture and probably have myself standing in front of it. It's images like this that takes hold of me and won't let go.
I thank the authors of this and many other books that I have for their incredible ideas. Lets go.....

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Onward to Pokhara

 This was the tourist bus, supposedly its better maintained, safer but costs more money than the local buses. Most locals can't afford the US$20 fare (one way) to Pokhara. Most tourist places prefer to accept foreign currencies.
 Here on a very chilly morning a whole bunch of us were waiting to leave for Pokhara. It was quite dark when I left my hotel, a 5 minute walk to the bus station turned out to be a half hour, I couldn't see the place. We left at 7.30 am.

 Some of the passengers walked to the station too but had this guy bring their luggage.
Here we are in Pokhara, a sleepy village. Pokhara is the trailhead for treks to the Annapurna range. There's this beautiful lake and on a clear day, one can see the reflection of the Annapurna mountains in it. But the 2 days I was there, I couldn't see much, just distant views of the snowy peaks. It was still magical. One thing great about the tourist bus is, one can meet a lot of other travelers from all over the world, exchange travel plans and such things. It was great.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The first evening in Kathmandu

 Evening comes on my first day in Kathmandu and time to look for food. Dahl baht is usually what people eat here. It's vegetarian though meat is readily available but the vegetarian meals are cheap and delicious and probably safer considering how they slaughter their animals and how the carcasses are being stored and handled. I found a Tibetan restaurant near my hotel and there was where I had dinner, a vegetarian Nepalese meal. It was very delicious.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 21, 2013

25 most miserable places in the world

 Nepal is number 8 in the misery index, crushing poverty and lack of opportunities is high on the list. There is only a few hours of electicity every day. Roads are mostly unpaved and full of potholes, and crowded with all kinds of vehicles. The people of Nepal really have to put up with a lot of misery, it should make us grateful.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Kathmandu Durbar square

 I didn't want to pay the 750 rupees to get in so I took pictures from the outside looking in. Most places has some area where you can squeeze in without paying but that day they were watching out for gate crashers and I being Asian stood out.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


 Some Tibetans were making momos and I bought some. I asked them what's inside, they replied, 'buff.' It took me a while to understand what was 'buff'. The cow is sacred and so there is no beef to eat in Nepal. However the buffalo is 'demon' according to one of the guides I had. So they eat buffalo meat and that's why 'buff' is on the menu.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 18, 2013

Downtown Kathmandu

 Downtown Kathmandu on a Sunday afternoon is impossible. It's choked with people, vendors, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, and every form of transportation. There is a Hindu shrine at almost every corner and vendors are there to sell flowers for 'puja'. I had a guy who offered to take me around but he said, 'not today' because he knew its almost impossible. It was a pity, I tried as best as I could considering the little time I had. It would have been nice to stroll and have all the sights pointed out and explained to me.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 17, 2013

More Patan Durbar square

 Intricately carved wood, beautifully ornate bronzes and stone deities, Patan Durbar square is a delight and a real treat. One can spend a lot of time here and not be bored. Unfortunately I'm always running and rushing through every trip. This was my third major site that Sunday, my first day. I arrived the night before, at 10pm and after all the visa and customs rituals, my taxi took me to my hotel. We passed a really dark city, there were no light because of load shedding. We were on dirt roads full of potholes. I said to myself, when morning comes, 'I'd better see more delightful things'. I did. Kathmandu and Nepal, in spite of their problems is a wonderful place. I was not disappointed. In fact, I'm planning to go back to do some trekking.

Posted by Picasa