Nov
12

It’s a long way to Kathmandu!!!!

Well what an adventure to get here, but finally we are in Nepal in the wonderful, vibrant and bussling City of Kathmandu. This entry is on what we’ve been up to for the last few days, on our epic voyage to get here.

We left Shanghai on Monday, to head off for the train to Hong Kong in search of cheap passage to Nepal. Managed to get up relatively early, had a fill of eggs, bacon etc, finished our packing and headed off to the train. For once we were on time and the first to arrive in our cabin. Just before the train was pulling off a young girl came into one of the other bunks but the rest were free. So excellent we thought no chicken slurpers or snorers.

However soon after we had pulled off some ancient dude (Old man Rivers as we so kindly named him) stumbles in with his wife and insists on taking the two bottom bunks. The nice girl obliged and swapped cabins with them so that they were now in our cabin. Well almost immediately the bread rolls came out and the hot water was flowing and they proceeded to dunk rolls in bread and chomp away. They both also had that hocking up noise down to a fine art.

So anyway, there was another Westerner in our carriage, Che, from Australia, who came over and we started chating to. Interesting guy he is a cattle farmer from Oz on a months travel round China. Anyway, as is becoming a tradition on our train trips we headed off to the restaurant car with Che and proceeded to eat, play cards and drink much beer into the wee small hours. Met a couple of Germans in the restaurant, Hannah and Urs, who came over and joined in the “shit head” tournament. So late to bed and were awoken several times with Old man Rivers coughing or having what appeared to be night terrrors!!How we love the train!!!

Got off the train at about 1pm, the next day, into the familiar surroundings of Hong Hum railway station, Hong Kong. Sun was splitting the rocks outside and we jumped in a taxi to the Ferry terminal. Arrived and manged to get a ticket almost immediately for the ferry to Macau, which was another powerful catermeran. Had a wee doze on the one hour trip and got off at Macau.

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Macau, up until just recently (1999) was a Portugese collony so quite bizarre when we got off to see all road signs in English, Chinese and Portugese. Waited a round for a bit then piled onto a bus for the “aeropuerto”. Was a scenic tour of the water side of Macou and the place looked similar but cleaner to Hong Kong with Armani and Versace galore.

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Arrived at the airport and had a couple of hours to wait till the flight, so filled our faces and played more cards!!!Flight was all on time and headed off on the three hour flight to Bangkok.

Arrived in Bangkok to the magnificent brand new International airport and after collecting our bags hunted around for a Royal Nepal Airlines desk. Much to our disappointment didn’t find one, but a kind lady at the information desk gave us a number to call the next day. Looked like we might be getting closer to our destination!!!

Managed to get a taxi easily form outside the airport and were instantly struck by, not only the heat, but by the fact that taxi drivers and everyone seemed to speak great English! Hostel was about 20 drive away, and a strange little place down some seedy back alley in deepest Sukhumvit, Bangkok. Hostel was run by a very camp, bug eyed man, Manjii, who was very charming and extremly helpful and we were lead up to our room by another, equally camp, young boy. Room clean and tidy and had bunk beds, but the bottom one was a double bed, so no fights over who had to go on top!!! First port of call was the shower as we had now been travelling for about 34 hours without washing (stinky!!) then down stairs for a beer. Caught up with a few emails then headed off to bed for a well earned sleep.

Next day we woke up and Al had manged to catch my Germans and was full of sniffles and snuffles. I decided to get up and try and phone the airline and see if we could lleave that day. Well mission impossible again. Kind lady had actually given me Royal Brunei’s number not Royal Nepal and no- one seemed to have a number. With much searching eventually got number and got through. Unfortunately there were no flights till the Friday and it was Wednesday, so resided ourselves to staying in Bangkok for three nights. Flights were cheap though so the detour had prooved financially viable!) Had a slap up breakfast from the huge menu (probably about 300 different dishes from Thai to Japanese to Western to Halal, Vegan and Vegetarian choices of food) and then returned to bed as both knackered.

I woke up an hour later and Al was even more sniffly but we had to go into town to get airline tickets so reluctantly he got dressed and accompanied me to the travel agents. Was absolutely roasting (about 35 degrees) and humid as hell, but manged to find Sky rail which took us straight to our destination. Picked up tickets and Al decided he neeed ot return to bed. Being a beautiful day I decided to stay out and wander around to see what this town had to offfer. So walking about I manged ot stumble into the King’s Residency and very quickly got ushered out by a man with a big gun!!! The King’s picture is everywhere throughout the streets and seems to be a very popular character.

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After leaving the palace, I carried on walking and came across my first “Wat” or Temple. These temples are quite different to the hundreds we had seen in China and apear more grand and are covered in Gold. Paid my 20p admission and had a wander about. Unfortunately was not allowed in main temple as I had a vest and sandals on and I was told I had to cover my arms and feet. So just wandered around anyway which was very relaxing and got to see a load of Monks in bright Orange wandering around.

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From there I walked up towards the Parliament buildings and Elephant museum. Some beautiful architecture en route but Museum closed so just decided to head back as it was getting dark. Had my first Tuk Tuk ride and paid far too much for it as I hadn’t quite worked out the currency!! Headed back to hostel and Al woke up for dinner, which was fab, had a couple of beers and an early night.

Awoke bright and breezy the next day and Al thought he felt a wee bit better so decided to do a bit of sightseeing. So we headed off to the Chao Phraya River, as it was another glorious day and boarded a tour boat which allowed you to jump on and off at various sight seeing spots. Down by the river was all flooded and there were sand bags everywhere which you had to stumble over to get to the boat. There was a snake sat up on the pavement, which must have been washed up with the tide, but looked lifeless fortuntely, but made us realise we were now in the tropics!!

So spent the day hoping on and off the boat taking in the wonderful Bangkok. Decided not to go into too many places as this would be a good thing to do when Paul and Pauline arrive on our next visit to Bangkok (Feb 2007). However managed to see the Great Palace, an old fortress and loads more Wats. Can’t wait to come back and see again properly.

Met several interesting people while wandering, who all seemed keen to chat to us and we were instantly cautious and expecting them to want us to buy soemthing. However none of them did and just seemed generally helpful. So have some good ideas of sights to see on next visit. Headed back to the hostel and had some dinner then went up to post office to send a load of books and tickets (shitty stuff that I’m sure we’ll throw on our return) back home. Spent almost 20 quid sending them and soon wished we’d thrown them out. Tried to find somewhere for a foot massage but was unable and just headed back and packed for flight the next day.

Another early start, breakfast and off to the airport to finally go to Kathmandu.. Boarded our Royal Nepal Airlines flight about 1 and a half hours late, but were then given a non stop amount of wine and food to compensate.

On approach to KTM the pilot advised us we were about to land and we were still in the clouds. All of a sudden were through to a beautiful landscape of Mountains and small houses and landed almost immediately. KTM is about 1350m above sea level so already quite high!!! Our guide for the trek, the lovely Pradip was at the airport to meet us and took us to our hostel for a debriefing. Roads here are almost non existent and there doesn’t seem to be any rules or rights of way between motorcycle, person or rickshaw!but all adds to the bustle and character!

Anyway Hostel is based in the oldest house in Thamel, KTM and is run by Mia (Nepalese) and Eve (Belgium), a lovely young couple who got married this year. Rooms are very quaint and lacking in luxury but oozing with character. Lots of wooden stairways and creaking floors. Dumped our bags in the room then met Pradip in the Via via Cafe in our hostel where he filled us in on our itinerary, which was when I think we both started to shit ourselves at the prospect of this massive trek.

Agreed to meet Pradip again the next day to get our supplies (sleeping bags and down jackets) and finalise plans. Then had a beer and ordered a jacket potato with cheese & bacon (my fav). Bar soon filled up with other Westerners and beers were flowing. Then a young Canadian guy, Mark bought out his guitar and started singing. Was trully amazing he was doing acoustic rapping and had never heard Dr Dre sound quite like that!!! Anyway Mark was sat right near us so once he’d finished, we started chatting with him and his two Nepalese friends, Rosa & Abu, who both had perfect English. So the beers continued and then we went off to another local bar The Full Moon, which was a very happening place with a strange odour of Herb in the air. So stayed there a while until we rolled back to the hostel.

Awoke late the next day and went for a wander to get some laundry done and try and find and internet. Met Mark & Rosa in the hostel who said they would join us and had a guided tour of Kathmandu. This place is awesome my favourite so far. The streets are alive with people and there’s a huge energy in the air.There are restaurants and bars everywhere along with trekking shops full of fake North face stuff and so on. The streets in Thamel are tiny and zig zag up ad down a hill. Went into tow centre and had a good look round then headed back towards hostel. Found an Italian with a roof top terrace so endulged in Lasagne & Canneloni before going back to hostel. Had agreed to meet Mark again so went up to bar. Decided to have just a cuople of beers but to take it easy. However just as we were about to head off to bed Mia announced it was Eves birthday and produced cake and insisted that the whole bar close and we go off to a local club. So we did and I believe we rolled up home a t about 7 this morning. Met some great people in the club, including John from Bristiol (who had driven his 15 year old Honda Civic from England to Pakistan) and Al nearly had to fight off some 48 year old Nepalese guy who took a fancy to me and wouldn’t take no for an answer!! Anyway stumbled upon a bakery on the way home, with hot fresh food so munched on a few doughnuts and quiches before retiring to bed.

Awoke late, again had some brekky, then off to shops to buy trekking stuff. Got a load of fleeces, trousers etc for about 40 quid, collected laundry, had some dinner and am now sat in the internet cafe writing this. Early to bed tonight as guide is picking us up at 7 am to commence the trek. We get a small flight to Lukla then the rest is on foot. Getting excited but also nervous and hope we can mange it!!

So we are now uncontactable until the 26th November when we return to KTM. So apologies but there will be no updates for a while. Should be a good entry next time though!!!!

Hope everyone well take care and will log on again on the 26th!!!!

Everest here we come!!!

Am in the slowest internet cafe ever so may not have time to up load all photos today. Will add rest of photos on return.

18 Responses to “It’s a long way to Kathmandu!!!!”

Andy W said:

It’s about time Reidy undertook some good physical exercise and get rid of that belly that seems to just keep coming back to haunt him………the prospect of a threesome on the train would have just about done the job too right enough - better luck next time!!

Posted on November 12th, 2006.

Al, sorry mate but the explanation re the degrees is a part of a mathematical algorithm that will require a lengthy explanation so will hold off on that until we next grace your presence! Looks like your sticking with the necklace even in the asleep on the train picture - is this this your stubborn side kicking in or do you really like that piece of female jewellary?

Got postcard today so cheers for that.

You didn’t need to hold off from doing stuff in Thailand since we’re coming out, I can say now that now that you’re away teehee, but you really should be saying that was the best place or we might think it’s not worth coming out….. If we must I’m sure we can try and pretend we’re enjoying ourselves!

Since you’ve been commenting on the cuisine I think it’s only fair we do the same. Just downed some Portugese wine and now heading heading out for an Indian meal washed down with some English lager.

Enjoy the trek, catch up soon

PnPxxx

Posted on November 14th, 2006.

Dooch said:

“Al nearly had to fight off some 48 year old Nepalese guy who took a fancy to me and wouldn’t take no for an answer”, I didn’t know Stevie Wonder was from Nepal.
What did Al do? Did he threaten to eat his guide dog! Hot sauce and labrador sounds lovely….

Hahahahaha

Posted on November 14th, 2006.

Dooch said:

I just re-read my post and I have to say I may have been a bit harsh.

I never meant to imply that Stevie Wonder was from Nepal, I apologise ….

Posted on November 16th, 2006.

Ray said:

Perhaps jade necklaces are a Napalese sign that you are a big raving poof, and thats why Stevie Wonder thought he could make a crack on Sarah…

Perhaps its time you ditched the necklace and left “big gay Al” in China.

Posted on November 17th, 2006.

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