Archives for posts with tag: Nepal

These last five days have been a complete whirlwind consisting of a trip to the hospital, bus rides, plane rides, quick connections in Delhi with even slower security, taxi rides, tuk-tuk rides amidst a full out water-war, a train ride, a ferry ride and finally relief on the beaches of Ko Tao. I think I have finally caught up to all the crazy, but really when I think about it, I can’t think about it, if you know what I mean.

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The night of my last post, Rob caught a bad case of food poisoning. After staying up for most the night, thinking it was just a small thing that might pass, we decided that we needed to get to the hospital since he wasn’t capable of keeping even water down. It was 3:30 in the morning and no one was out. We had to wake the staff at the hostel we were staying at and he managed to hail some random passerby and convince them to take us to the hospital for 400 rupees. When we got there, no one was awake. I woke the nurse, the pharmacist, the lab technician and the accounts payable person. The nurse sent me to the pharmacy to pick up the syringes, the IV bag, and all the medication. It was perhaps the strangest thing ever. I was running samples to the lab and results back to the nurse. I suppose it was something to do besides sit there and worry. In the end, Rob heroically (Rob’s words, not mine) pulled through barely scathed, but out about $40. Yup, that was the total bill. And I think I may even be over-estimating that.

We were exhausted on our bus ride to Kathmandu to make our flight out the next morning (where I was frisked about 6 times before boarding the plane). The flight was nothing to write home about, but the security at our connection in Delhi was a nightmare. It resulted in us running to our gate, which proved futile because the plane was delayed coming in. Sigh.

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Once we made it to Bangkok, it was pouring rain, and it was Thai New Years. Which essentially means that everyone was out with white paint and water guns. I can’t think of anything I didn’t want more in my life. We escaped the insanity the first night, but the party raged on to the next day. As we were taking a tuk-tuk around the city, we got full blast of water. We arrived at our destination completely soaked. My camera was a little more wet than I would have liked and my brand new dumb phone that I just purchased that morning broke. Yet we persevered, bought some snacks, and boarded a night train to Chumphon. The early morning ferry to Ko Tao signaled the end of our travels (for now) and I have currently planted myself on the beach and am demanding to have coconuts delivered to me hourly.

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It’s been a really long week. When we came back to Pokhara yesterday early morning from our 8 day trek, I was still so tired that I tried to wash my hair with body lotion. I didn’t even realize this mistake until later in the day when I went to look for my lotion. FYI: lotion is not a good substitute for conditioner, in case you are wondering.

My last week in Chitwan was really fun. I took a weekend trip to see the birthplace of Bhudda in Lumbini with a couple of the other volunteers.

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When we came back, we celebrated Holi with the kids in daycare and the next day with the kids in the village. The kids are brutal when it comes to the color. Try as I might to keep my eyes and mouth closed, their grubby little hands found a way to pry them open and fill them with color.

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My contacts were tinted pink at the end of the day and my mouth felt like I had been laying in the ground licking dirt all day. I think at one point, one of the boys ran out of color, so he scooped up some mud (or at least, I really hope it was just mud) and spread it all over my face before I knew what was happening. My two weeks of volunteering seemed so short, but I have to admit that I was pretty excited to move on to something different.

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Rob met up with me in Chitwan (he had just finished a job in Chennai, India) and we made our way up to Pokhara to start our trek around the Annapurnas. It was quite the adventure to say the least and a really interesting way to see a lot of country and meet a lot of different people. The Annapurna Circuit Trek is a teahouse style trek, so every night we ended up in a small town where there were guesthouses with beds, (sometimes hot) shower, and food.

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I’m still trying to process the whole adventure. As the days went on, it became really hard to keep the days straight and your mind focused. In fact, I stupidly lost my phone halfway through because I was too busy thinking about apple pie to realize that I left my phone on the table. It’s long gone now and the photos I took of playing Holi with the daycare kids are lost to me forever. My only consolation is the fact that I did bring my camera with me on the trek and so I was able to still capture a lot of moments (when I remembered to). Each day was more amazing than the last until we reached the pinnacle of the journey: crossing the Therong-La Pass.

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It was what everyone on the trail was working towards and what we were all trying desperately to acclimate ourselves to higher and higher elevations for. That day we ascended 1000m in about 5 hours and after shooting a few photos, drinking tea at the teahouse up there (!) and eating a chocolate bar, we quickly got the hell out of there and began our 1600m descent. At this point, we (along with the other trekkers we met along the way) started experiencing pounding headaches and nausea. I don’t think the 5416m elevation agreed with us very much. I’ve never had noodles and apple pie taste so good in my life as I did when we got down to the next village. After making the cross through the pass, it seemed like it was all over, but we still had to make it down to Jomsom to catch a flight back to Pokhara. We were going to rent mountain bikes to make it to Jomsom, but they were all booked up by the other trekkers, so we stole a motorbike and ripped down the road to Jomsom.

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Just kidding, we just rented the bike and I mostly held onto Rob with pure terror in my heart as we drove down the “road” and through the river bed. That was probably the most uncomfortable ride ever that my mother would definitely not approve of. I certainly did not approve of the turbo-prop plane out of Jomsom to Pokhara the following morning either. The pilots were great, but damn, were we close to the mountains. It certainly didn’t help that someone mentioned that sometimes the pilots will find “rocks” in the clouds. It took me a few seconds to sort that one out, but when I did, I did not feel good about it. But all is well that ends well. We’re biding our time in Pokhara (I even ran into my volunteer friends here, amazingly enough) and will make our way to Kathmandu tomorrow and Bangkok, Thailand in a few days!

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I’m going to preface this post with a note to my mom, because I know she’s reading this.  Mom, I’m totally fine and alive and nothing bad has happened to me.

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When I arrived to Kathmandu there was a strike going on.  A new prime minister was just instated recently, but was not elected by the people.  With good reason, the people of Nepal were very upset.  Fortunately for me, I must have arrived at the tail end of it, because I didn’t really see much besides a couple of closed shops and I only really heard people talking about it more than anything.  Also, I was constantly reassured by my volunteer coordinator that tourists are left alone during the strikes.

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Regardless, I made a quick pass through Kathmandu. Long enough to eat some momos and see the temples at Patan’s Durbar Square. Kathmandu is a busy tourist city, and even if you’re not someone seriously suffering from jet-lag, it’s still sensory overload to walk through the streets.

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A couple of other volunteers and myself were given a tour around the temples in Patan. It was hard keeping everything straight. So far, the only god I can really recognize is Ganesh. And that’s because he has an elephant head. Don’t ask me about any of the others; I have no clue. Still it was an impressive display of temples

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The second morning, I woke early to take a bus down to Chitwan, where I’m currently staying in a small village called Sauraha, for two weeks volunteering at a day care center and teaching some of the local women in the village English. I have been staying with a host family and two other volunteers. We have a busy schedule: beginning the day early hanging out with the local children before they go to school, then working at the daycare center with the younger children (who are about 3 or 4 years old), followed by teaching English to some of the women in the village and ending with playtime with the older kids again. Our host mother is really kind and feeds us so much Dal Bhat (curried lentil stew over rice, with jungle spinach), twice a day every day.

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Chitwan is so much different than Kathmandu. It’s so much more peaceful, the air is cleaner and the people are even more friendly, despite poorer living conditions (many people in the village don’t have electricity or running water). The kids are great (although they can get pretty rambunctious at times) and the women are really interested and eager to learn English. The women here are amazingly strong and resilient. I think they truly are the backbone of Nepali society, working non-stop to take care of everyone, from running the household to working in the field; they do it all.

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I really can’t describe to you what it’s like to live here, walking down the road to the library and daycare center. It’s surreal. The kids make it so much fun though. As soon as they see you coming, they run after you screaming, “miss, miss!” and will walk with you to the library. The women are warm and welcoming and greet with you with “namaste”. The men of course just stare, bewildered. And of course because it’s impossible to tell what ethnicity I am, I have been asked by everyone I’ve encountered if I’m Nepali. I’m going to start saying yes.

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