It’s been a long break since my last post. I finally had to give up trying to maintain the blog from an iPad app. Since the demise of my favourite app Blogsy, all the ones I have tried since can’t handle being offline. I lost countless hours of work creating posts offline only to loose them while trying to post. I assume the demise of Blogsy was due to the constant changes and updates to the IOS operating system. The designer must have got sick of it too. I am now back on a Windows Laptop using Open Live Writer. Hopefully it will be a bit more reliable for offline work. Any back to Nepal where I left off.
Monday May 28
Taxi pick up arranged by Nima for 9.00am. We left our large packs at Dragon guest House and have only our day packs for the next 4 days. It’s amazing how minimalist we’ve become when we have to carry the weight. Our coughs we still lingering and Lea’s was getting worse but otherwise we felt OK. Good to get out of the dusty city although it was a long drive out to Gokarna to pick up Nima then on to Sunarijal to begin our trek through Shivapuri National Park.
Up lots of steps to the park entrance; 1130Rup for us and 60Rup for Nima. More stone steps as we began to climb.
We got caught in a thunderstorm with rain and hail. The foliage above was dense so with brollies and pack covers we didnt get too wet. We walked through deep trenches, like an old railway cutting through the mountain.
Ay 2400m. the path began to wind down to Chisopani our destination for the night.
Our guest house was ok, but the neighbouring house was rubble and the one across the street leaning at an angle. All the result of the earthquake. The air up here was quite cool but the haze prevented us seeing the great views .
Tuesday May 29
Todays trek was mainly along a dirt road for 18km. It felt a lot longer with our packs and Lea was starting to struggle as the virus developed. A large dam project was under construction in the hills. Not much sign of habitation or wildlife up here. Lunch at a nice little guesthouse at Jhule. From here we descended then traversed across productive farm land. We stopped to sample some small plums off a roadside tree.
Lea’s chest infection got the better of her a few kms out of Nagargot so Nima flagged down a passing car. It was steep going so we were glad of the ride. Nima was generous with our funds insisting that the driver, who wanted nothing, take 500Rup. We good tell this was way too much and not expected.
Lea was starting to feel like a cash cow and that we were being taken advantage of at every turn. Our hotel lacked atmosphere and expensive, especially with the extra 10% service charge and 13% tax or whatever. The 1500Rup room didn’t have a shower so we took the 2500Rup ensuite room. Lea promptly fell asleep while I went out looking for some drugs for her. There was a small pharmacy next door and they were very helpful.
Wednesday May 30
It rained heavily during the night but the clouds remained so we never got to see the famed views of the Langtang Himalaya Range. Lea was not well and Nima had a sore leg so we elected to catch the bus to Bhaktapur. Luckily we were up early and managed to secure seats on the bus as it was soon packed to brim. The bus moved off at a jogging pace and stopped wherever someone wanted to get on off with the fare worked out on the distance travelled. 90 minutes later we were dropped off outside the city gates. A friend of Nima’s had a hotel there which was very nice although the name was a bit controversial. The Swastica Hotel. Our room had a view over the ancient water cistern. The recent heavy rain had made it a bit murky though.
We set off exploring wishing we had bought our Lonely Planet Guide. We worked our way to Durban Square but rain curtailed us a bit. We joined Nima and his friend at a local eating house. When the rain cleared we went back through the narrow streets and little temples back to the main squares and the temples. The many Bhuddist and Hindu temples and statues were built in the 15th to 17th centuries and many are undergoing repair.
Water wells and public sitting areas were common on most corners. So many temples and shrines. A fascinating place with so much character. The locals are still living within the ancient architecture, often falling down around them. In the tourist shops we got good off season deals on beautiful high quality cashmere and yak scarves. This place definitely deserves more recognition and exposure than it gets.
Thursday May 31
Our hotel owner organised a taxi at a good price to get us back to Kathmandu and the Dragon Inn. We walked to Pema’s in the afternoon and reunited with Jon and Sue. Nima joined us and Pema made the traditional Yak butter tea. We tried it but agreed it was not to our taste. It was our final goodbye to Nima and we gave him his tip.