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Kathmandu and EVEREST, Nepal

Written on: Wednesday May 27th, 2009

A journal entry from: In the spiced Indian air....

After a 5 hour car ride from Darjeeling, we crossed the easternmost India-Nepal border (including a seemless visa process) and hopped a plane from Bodhapur to Kathmandu, thus saving Jennelle and I a potentially ill-fated 17 hour bus ride.  Nepal is not known for it's road fatality statistics for a positive reason.

We arrived in Kathmandu and much to our surpise, it is the most western city we have come across thus far on our trip.  All young men, and many young women are dressed in trendy western clothes. You can get anything your heart desires in Kathmandu - hash, weed... even an unlimited supply of alcohol (unlike some parts of India).  Of course Jennelle and I only partook in the latter (don't worry mom, haha!)

We stayed in the infamous Thamel district which is full to the brim of trendy restaurants, jewelry shops, knit textile shops and many more.  We shopped so much on our first day we each blew through 10 000 Nepalise Rupees (~$180) and each had to buy an extra bag to carry it all in.

We went to see a few sights in Kathmandu including Durbar Square (Royal Square) where there are numerous pagoda-style temples and the residence of the living godess, Royal Kumari.  We didn't see the young godess, there was just something inherently wrong with paying to have a helpless 3 and a half year old girl come to the balcony. If you don't know the story of the Kumaris, it's very interesting and worth a google for sure. We also went to see Swayambhu Stupa which is Nepal's holiest Buddhist temple that watches over Kathmandu high on a hilltop. We really enjoyed the views of the city and surrounding hills from the top.

The absolute highlight of this city was seeing Mount Everest! Due to rainy weather, we decided to forgo the first leg of the trek to Everest Base Camp where there was no promise of seeing Everest in favour of a mountain flight that flies above the rain clouds and along a stretch of the Himalayas with most of the highest mountains in the world. The first day our flight was cancelled due to rain and bad visibility, however we got lucky on our second try (and last day in Kathmandu).

It was still cloudy in the city, but as soon as we were high enough in the air, we were on top of the clouds flying at nearly the same elevation as the Himalayan Mountains! The blue sky contrasted beautifully with the snow covered peaks, most of which are over 7000 meters high.  The amount of detail that we were able to see in the sheer cliffs and pointed peaks was incredible.  We flew right by Mount Everest, it's neighbour Lhotse (4th highest), Makalu (5th highest) and saw the other side of Kanchenjunga (3rd highest).  There are many more famous peaks that top 8000 meters. Just as comparison, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies is Mt Robson, only 3954 meters, where as Everest is 8848 meters. Further, Nepal has over 200 mountains that reach over 6000 meters! It's truly in an incredible sight to see.... so much so that Jennelle and I were both fighting back tears.  Even thinking about it now overwhelms me.

We left Kathmandu after 4 days for Pokhara, a 200 km, 6 hour drive west to another set of mountains over 6000 meters that include the Annapurnas.  The drive was fairly uneventful, but we did see first hand the dangers of the roads here.  Ther were sheer cliffs and curves like on banff highways, but with the addition of crazy bus drivers you would never see on a Canadian highway. Luckily, our driver was good and we arrived safely!



From Dad on May 29th, 2009

Jen, amazing pictures of Everest. What a thrill to see it in person! I get a chill just looking at the pictures, I can imagine the emotion of seeing it live. What an incredible experience you are having!

From Gramma and Aunty Norma on May 29th, 2009

Totally amazing..once in a lifetime..enjoy these blogs so much. Grampa and Gramma remember so well when Sir Hillary climbed Everest. Grampa wrote a whole essay about it when he was upgrading his school and is fascinated. We live vicariously through you Jen. Love and Hugs!!

From Wrinkle Cream on Jun 3rd, 2009

I am going to Nepal and I found few days treking tour and it begins from Kathmandu but I want go there from Tibet side. So please advise me? http://ezinearticles.com/?Best-Anti-Wrinkle-Cream-Review---Revealed-by-Dr-Oz-on-Oprahs-Show&id=2271470