Trip Start Sep 01, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Nepal  ,
Saturday, January 14, 2006

The scenery in Nepal is astounding. The bus rides expose you to amazing mountains! We stop for breaks cause it takes 6 hours to get to Pokhara from Kath. It looks exactly like the scenery from the new King Kong movie. Misty mountains, deep gorges. The river we follow most of the way is emerald green, supposedly from all the lime stone being washed down in it. I feel like singing "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" and I get an urge to call Bonnie! I can't get enough of it. Although my seat on this trip is comfy, that has not been the case before. Kath. is only about 400 meters above sea level, but the surrounding mountains rise up 6000-8000 meters! The road is clinging to the side of the mountains, twisting and turning precariously with the river. The drivers all seem to be in a panicy rush to get to the next location and drive crazy. People are packed in like sardines. Of course you only pay about 2 dollars for a six hour ride so you can't very well complain alot can you? They don't have fire doors on the buses cause there is a row of seats across the back so if there is a fire or crash the back people are totally dead. But anyway, we get to Pokhara in good time and once again I am met at the station by someone from a hotel. Apparently the hotel in Kath. called ahead and told them to get me. I have been in this loop of hotels since Varanasi and it is fine by me. Saves me the trouble of having to run around finding a place to stay. The view from the roof, which by the way has grass on it, has a view of the Annapurna range of mountains which is home to four of the 8 world's highest mountains. Nepal is home to 8 of the highest 10 mountains in the world, the deepest gorge, highest bridge, longest bungee jump, and several other natural feats! Fun stuff! I go to dinner and have Tibetan beer. It is a mug filled with what seems to be barley or something. They gave me a thermos of hot water that I am supposed to pour onto this stuff and that is how the beer is made! I try it and it tastes almost exdactly like sake. It is good, but a little hard to drink cause the water is both hot and cold in places so I only have like two glasses. I have included a picture of the mug for you to check out! So the next two days are spent relaxing enjoying the incredible views and looking for some meditation places. I come across one from my guidebook that is on a ridge looking out over the lake. It is beautiful, and the program is 6 days long, just what I was loking for. So The next day I head on over and have dinner there that night. The days are the same program every day. Wake and meditate at 6:15am, go for walk. Not a leisurely walk, but a brisk walk down the nountain and back up. Tea, yoga breakfast and relax. Then more meditation at noon and then lunch. In the afternoon we do Karma yoga. I sat in the room for ten minutes waiting for someone to show me what that was and the only other woman there, Livia, tells me Karma yoga is where you do household chores around the yoga center for an hour to keep your positive karma flowing. Pretty sneaky sis! But it is fun. We hauled firewood and cleaned and gardened. Then we have a chai break then go to the room to do chanting and yoga. Just me and Livia and Asanga, the yogi. At night we eat basically the same dish and talk and then Livia and some others and I would play cards before bed. On the fifth day I had a little bit of stomach problems after breakfast so Asanga suggests I do a cleansing. I am a bit wary but I agree to do it. It entailed fasting for the rest of the day except for two apples at dinner, then the next day I got up and did the normal start but then I did this regimen that involved drinking two cups of warm salt water quickly and then doing vigorous exercises to, uh, get things moving, shall we say? This is to be repeated until everything "runs clear". Usually a minimum of 20 cups and two hours of this is entailed. NOw, when I say "runs clear", you may not realize that when you drink salt water like that, your body doesn't absorb it, it flushes out your colon, not your bladder. I'm not explaining this to gross you out, but to tell you how incredibly effective this is! It felt like someone had hit cntrl+alt+del on my dard drive and rebooted my system!! The rest of the day you eat very soft foods to ease your stomach back from the process. You should only do this once every six months, and if your interested I took down details of the entire process if you want to try it. Anyway! The final day there a got up really early and trekked up the mountain to a view point for an unfettered view of the entire range. Just astounding. I can't put into words so I won't even try. The feeling you get being in the presence of such magnanimous mountains is almost spiritual! I had a great time at the retreat and it was a perfect introduction to yoga and meditation. Although I was primarily interested in the meditation aspect of it, I understand the significance of doing the yoga as well and hope to continue in the future. You wouldn't believe how much you don't breathe until you focus on doing it for a week! I couldn't stay focused for 5 minutes while meditating. It is so much harder than it sounds to truly sit still and NOT THINK OF ANYTHING for 45 minutes. Even thinking your not thinking is a thought so you can see the problem. But I knew I wouldn't even scrape the surface and that is ok. I now have a base with which to build upon. Back in town the power went out at night so I had to find a restaurant and sit by their fire to read. The next morning I was up early again to head back to Kathmandu. I got to sit in the front seat for the best views all the way back! Nepal so far has been sooo much better than India! The people are very nice, helpful, sincere, and easy going. They don't push and even through the scam and Anu and everything I was having fun! I was not looking forward to going back into India, but I was ready to move on and I was very interested in getting to Darjeeling which is where I am now. I have one more story for you before I head to Darjeeling and that will come soon. The place is about to close so I have to wait to load the pictures in a few days. I know I haven't posted pics in a while...sorry! It takes a long time to upload so I gotta find time! Thanks though for all your notes, keep 'em coming!
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