From Hell to Heaven in Six Days Flat

Trip Start Jan 31, 1996
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Nepal  ,
Friday, October 27, 2006

Sun burst through the cloud like a silent cannon midway into our descent from the Tibetan plateau. The mountain became green. Birds sang a happier tune. I stopped shivering. When we reached the Tibet/Nepal border control, I suddenly realized there were no yaks. Then I realized there was no need for the wooly fuel producers. Nepal was warm. A full 25C warmer than it had been just 30 minutes earlier. After passing through border control, we found a guy with a beat up old 1975 Datsun. Between the four of us, Max, Jen, Ellen and I, we paid the equivalent of $35 Canadian for a four hour drive to Kathmandu.

The road to the Nepalese capital hugs steep walls of endless green valley that almost envelope you. Waterfalls, 200 maybe 500 metres in height, cascade every kilometre or so. We'd explored the nether regions of Tibet in search of Shangrila when all the time it was just the other side of the Himalayas in Nepal. I felt like Livingstone finding the source of the Nile. Ponce de Leon, the Fountain of Youth, or Drury discovering Vancouver in a B.C. wasteland.

Wonderful teeming urban chaos is Kathmandu. Cars, bicycles, rickshaws and motorcycles scurry about the narrow streets all speeding within centimetres of one another and the pedestrians. There's an odd precision to vehicle and pedestrian movement. It's almost as though everything and everyone are moving on tracks, fast like the old CNE ride the Wild Mouse, scary, but never to collide.

The Hindu temple Pashupatinath sits on the banks of the Bagmati River, a tributary of the Ganges. Ellen and I walked two kilometres through a seedy section of Kathmandu for a rather creepy experience yesterday. Pashupatinath, holiest of all Hindu temples in Nepal, is where the dead are cremated, openly, on platforms jutting out into the river.

On arrival at the temple we took a guide who told us that photos were quite acceptable. I'll let the photos and the words that accompany them explain. You may want to pass on photos 12 through 17.
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dpbaril on

Nice Beard!
Jack: re Photo 8 of previous entry... the beard looks good - makes you look thinner. Or, have you lost weight? Great photos of Everest! Congrats Ellen on hiking to the base camp on your first day at altitude. Looking forward to your ongoing reports.

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