If I Ever Get Out of Here, I'm Going to...

Trip Start Jun 01, 2013
1
23
28
Trip End May 20, 2014


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What I did
LangTang Valley

Flag of Nepal  ,
Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I looked for some Champagne and some festivities for Ginenne's birthday but our day turned out to be more low key and relaxing. After birthday cake for breakfast we found a nearby hotel with an outdoor pool which we lounged around for the afternoon with some monkeys. We got a Thai massage and the next day checked into a suite in a fancy hotel. Ginenne is now 30! 

On our way from Jaipur to Delhi I started talking to a guy my same age who is an electrical engineer. Super friendly and we ended up staying at his home with his wife, child, brothers, friend, and parents. They had the cutest one year old Indian baby. In the morning they even drove us to the airport where we caught our flight to Nepal.
 
I am out of available pages in my passport and I was planning on applying for a new one in Kathmandu, but turns out there is only a Canadian Consulate not an Embassy, so they can not issue new passports. I will need to wait until the Philippines, hopefully they can squeeze another stamp in somewhere.

Even though there are a few million people in Kathmandu it seems quiet and clean. People are very friendly and they don't seem like they want something from you when they talk to you. The tourist area is a trekkers mecca with so much cheap knock off North Face gear. We are provisioning up with equipment that we will be able to use when we hopefully get into much more trekking on Vancouver island. 
 
Our first trek in the Lang Tang valley consisted of 7 days of hiking and 2 days of transportation. On the way up we took the local bus which was completely packed. We had a seat but there were people occupying every cubic foot inside the cabin and several people even rode on the roof with the luggage. When we arrived in Dunche I noticed that two goats also caught a ride on the roof and that they had peed on my backpack! 
 
The Nepalese kids are quite good looking and always say "namaste" as you pass. Sometimes we would snap a picture but they would always ask for their standard commission of "one chocolate". The setup for trekking here is the best in the world as there are tea houses spaced every couple hours along the route where you can eat or sleep. It made it really easy for us to travel without a guide and we only had to carry our personal clothes and supplies. The accommodations were extremely cheap ranging from $0 to $5 per night. It was however expected that you eat where you sleep, but still the meals were a maximum of $4.50 and very hearty. Every owner had a "sister" in the next village where she would want you to stay at. One time in an attempt to make us commit to the families next guesthouse one proprietor gave us some medicine for her nephew. After 3 or 4 hours of walking I wondered what the vital medicine was so I unwrapped the package to find three uncooked raw potatoes! Sneakers! 
 
We started at an elevation of 1400m and went to a summit at 4770m. The scenery changed from warm Rotodendron forests to a very chilly bare upper mountain landscape. We saw black faced monkeys, snowy peaks, glaciers, and tons of yaks. The walls of the tea houses were all made from locally gathered stones and the roofs were corrugated steel. There would always be a wood stove for cooking and keeping warm. We always filled our bottle with water from the streams and drank it through the filtration Life Straw that Ginenne's Dad gave us. After one of the cooler nights we found our water bottle frozen when we woke up. 
 
At the top of the valley we visited the Yak cheese factory and got the guy to cut us off a couple wedges from the wheel. We are just finishing the last of it today but I do it in small bites because when it's unwrapped it is pretty stinky. 
 
Yesterday was "Holi" in Nepal. It's a once a year occasion where the origin seems secondary to the crazy festivities that take place. The main objective is to throw various colours of chalk powder and water balloons at everybody within your range for the whole day. We were travelling back to Kathmandu from the trekking region. (About a 6 hour ride in a jeep). Throughout the whole trip the 3 locals in the vehicle would throw handfuls of coloured chalk powder out the window at unsuspecting pedestrians while trying to avoid retaliating colour or water bombs. Somehow all of this seemed to be taken in good fun. In one small town I got out for a break and was swarmed by locals who doused me and I ended up looking like a rainbow.
  
Once we got to Kathmandu the colour of everyone's body has been blended to a rust brown look. Their clothes, skin, and hair were covered; only their eyes stood out as white. It looked like the apocalypse because the streets were also stained, all the shops and restaurants were shut tight, and everyone was just stumbling around with no particular place to go. Nobody drinks and the party ends by 5 o'clock. It is a truly bizarre occasion.  
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