After a Raft and a Swing we need a Himalay-down!!

Trip Start Sep 09, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, November 5, 2007

So after discovering the flights to Nepal were ridiculously expensive we decided to 'rough it' and book the 2-day bus to Kathmandu from Varanasi. We met for the bus early morning and received our omelette and chai (included in the ticket price - woo hoo!!) and straight away met Kyle and Amanda, 2 cousins from Canada and our (well mine and Kyle's!) mutual love of chai brought us together!

The first day was like a school trip as we reached the border that evening and were put up in dormitories for the night. The early start next day wasn't easy (especially as our plans for an early night went to pot in a sea of Nepal Ice lager!) but the bus ride soon made up for it. The scenery and the ambience in Nepal was stunning as the bus wound its way through the mountains, small villages, valleys, waterfalls and rice fields: everywhere was so clean, so fresh and so natural it was hard to believe India was only a couple of hours away (for starters, the Nepalese know how to use a bin so the roads aren't lined with stinking great piles of rubbish which act as a home for dogs, rats and cows!). The view from our seats wasn't the best so, after a bit of 'buttering-up' of the conductor at a toilet stop, we were allowed to sit up on the roof amongst the luggage and take it all in for ourselves first hand. The numb bums from the bouncy road and blistered hands from holding on so tight were a small price to pay for such an amazing scene.

We arrived in Kathmandu later that night to meet up with Kate and Darren, the couple we'd travelled with in Goa, which was good ay?! (Kate's favourite saying!). Our first priority was to prepare for Halloween the following day, with the Canadian guys needing no second invitation to join us! Our first day in Kathmandu saw all six of us out on the hunt for props and outfits. With a limited budget (aided by a free carrot from the fruit and veg man on the market!) and improvisation skills tested to the full, we came up with these little beauties...

After a day of nursing hangovers (and finding a fleece for Charlie - Nepal was a LOT colder than India!) we all set off for a 2-day rafting trip on the Bhote Kosi river near to the Tibetan border. We thought we were in safe hands when our team of 6 was placed with the group leader as our raft instructor/guide... little did we know the guy was a complete lunatic!! After making us all jump into the icy cold river (yes me included - don't worry Mum, life jackets were provided!) to 'practice our rescue techniques' he then deliberately crashed us into another group's raft before we almost flipped over completely on a rock. Three of the 6 of us fell out (not us though, hee hee!) and the group behind us told us that our raft was at a 90 degree angle as we rode over the rocks. As we slowly paddled down the river recovering our guide couldn't stop laughing before admitting that he'd deliberately taken us into the rock in an attempt to flip us. He claimed all of this was to prepare us for the tougher rapids upstream on day 2 - forewarned is forearmed and all that - but we couldn't help thinking he was a bit of a nutter who got a kick out of watching us suffer, especially as the guys on the other 3 rafts all looked bone dry and weren't even out of breath!

After a hard day's paddling we were loking forward to getting back to the camp site and relaxing for the night... to Charlie's horror however we turned up to find the site was on the other side of a 200m wide tropical canyon with a 160m deep sheer drop to the river below. The only way across? A feeble-looking metal bridge...
Considering she won't even cross the bridge at Farnham train station it was obviously a bit of a shocker for Charlie but after half an hour of tears, several 'will-she-won't-she' false starts and a little bit of 'tough love' from me, she got herself together and crossed the bridge at a snail's pace to the cheers of the rest of the group! The banter and teasing from everybody was soon cut short however on the following morning when we remembered that some of us (Charlie obviously not included!) had chosen to jump off of that bridge!
I had intially chosen to do a bungee jump but changed my mind at the last minute to the canyon swing. With my Shots shirt and socks and sandals to protect me (my feet were freezing, honest!)I jumped off of the bridge tied only to a piece of rope. After a downward freefall of around 5 seconds the rope tightens and you're swung through the gorge at around 150km/hour over the river below. The adrenaline rush and the buzz was phenomenal and it takes a while to properly catch your breath. The most surreal thing is that, as you 'come to' from the excitement and you realise what you've just done, you find yourself gently swinging back and forth in this beautiful canyon, surrounded by waterfalls and greenery - the perfect way to relax after a moment of madness!

Having carried a bit of a cold through the first day of rafting, and still recovering from the loss of breath the canyon swing (and climb back to the top!) had inflicted, I decided to sit out of the second day's torture... sorry rafting!The team were obviously upset at losing their star paddler (!) but on a good note it meant I could take a role as 'official photographer' and get some great pics as we followed the rafts down-river on the bus rooftop. To celebrate our achievements on the second day of the trip, we returned to Kathmandu amd rewarded ourselves with big fat juicy steaks, ice cold Nepalese beer and egg nog for a homesick Amanda!

The crowded backstreets and the swarm of junkie drug dealers which came out at night to pester you - one of whom was beaten by the police one night after he had pushed Adrienne and been chinned by Rocky (AKA Kate and Darren)! - were getting a bit too much so we set off for a peaceful last few days in Pokhara. We immediately fell in love with this place and we have our first entry into the 'Tom and Charlie's We'd Like to Live Here, Yes Please! List'. The town is so quiet and laid back with a beautiful backdrop of the Annapurna range of the Himalayas on one side and Fewa lake on the other. The town was also sold to us both personally by (for Charlie) the Nepalese children who are the cutest little things she's ever seen and (for Tom) the guys selling hand-crafted wooden flutes who play 'Tequila' whenever they see people taking an interest!

Having been bull-butted in the backside (one thing Nepal does share with India - the cattle and not the people own the streets!) I then did the bravest thing of our time in Nepal, and even the trip so far. Forget jumping into an ice cold river when I can't swim, forget jumping off that bridge and forget riding a moped on Indian roads... I allowed another person to trim my sideburns!
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loulou1 on

Awww, well done for crossing the bridge!!! and doing the rafting...your mad.And the jump, think your getting too much fresh air now and its gone to the head!!

Love the fancy dress, i knew you find away of doing it somehow! you all looked fab!

The pics are beutiful, i love to be there.
Keep being safe and having a great time, id dread to talk what you goingto do next!!!!!!

Miss you, Lou xxx :o) xxx

missnutterr. on

Oh My Lord.
Im Not Going 2 Lie 2 u.

I actually Cried while readin this.
I Miss You, Even Though i wouldnt be able 2 c You If You Still In Farnham,
U Both Sound Like Your Having Such A Good Time!

Youve Both Already Done Such Amazing things.
Ohh. I Dont really Know Why this Entry got 2 Me so Much. But trust me. it did.

I Love You Both__x

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