Namaste Kathmandu, reminiscing, krypton factor toilet moves and greeting my fat dog!!

So I’m completely alone in Kathmandu for the first time. No roomy to chat to or meet with! I wander around for my last afternoon, off shopping to get the last few items. I buy a blue and purple yak rug for my campervan, I get a cd of the monks chanting to music that will remind me of Nepal and then stop for lunch on a roof top restaurant just so I can watch the hustle and bustle below. Now as I have said it’s not my favourite place due to the noise etc but it is unique, and it has been great to experience it. Even the wiring of tv and electricity cables is a mele of madness, hanging in hug bundles, no seemingly order to them but all works well enough! I enjoy my last afternoon and head back to the hotel to pack and chill for the evening.
Wake up at 6am nothing new there! Try and dose then bloody realise I haven’t checked in on line!!! Damn it. Go to website and no window seats for long plane ride left, do get extra leg room though so bonus. Wide awake now so go down for brekkie. Try the hotel special. Not that impressive to be honest! Sausages cut like cheese string advert, fried potatoes a bit raw, nice eggs though! Realise this morning after just five weeks that milk tea is actually a cup or pot of hot milk with a tea bag in. I’d thought it was so weak due to milk going in first. What a plonker!! Lucky I don’t mind milky tea. Nothing beats the chai tea from the orphanage though. There’s a stray cat wandering around so I feed it the delightful sausage, happy catty! Feeling a bit lethargic and end up sleeping for two hours. Body must be shutting down after hectic five weeks. So decide no monkey temple which is what I had planned to do today, but one last stroll through the noisy, dusty, narrow streets of kathmandus thamel region. I will find my way there and back today without a rickshaw!
Buy a couple of tops, trying to be more girlie. Well I do need to find a bloody man!! Now I know the ex hubby has a new girlie I’m kind of jealous I haven’t. Not that when I saw the picture of them as a couple it bothered me, in fact surprisingly quite pleased and intrigued!
Whilst wandering the narrow streets I pass some men playing a game on the steps of a shop, chalked markings and some pebbles. The simple life, love it.
So after wandering the streets, in the non prostitute way, a few wrong turns it’s time to head back to hotel. I only bloody manage it! After 4 days of walking getting lost I now know my way around, stupidly proud of myself!! Did get begged for money from a local boy mind, he’s chatting to me saying hello, I ask why aren’t you at school he tells me it’s Mother’s Day here. Well after a bit more chitter chatter he then gets onto his task of saying he needs money, he can’t eat. To be honest didn’t look dirty enough to be that hard up but I gave him my bottle of water and 5 rupees which is nothing but better than nothing! Little scally.
Sit in the courtyard chilling, eating my last meal and it had to be momos just because, and finish another book, the one roomy started on the trek and got bored!! Eat, pray, love. I’ve seen the movie so knew what to expect, is a slow read though. I sit and reminisce the last five and a half weeks, what an awesome time I have had. And although I am ready to go home I would not change the travelling for all the money in the world, an absolutely amazing time that I will never forget. So after the memories it’s time to pack.
I managed to get a late check out, they call it half a day but it’s actually a whole 3 1/2 hours for the brain price of half a day! Still worth it though to relax in the room.
Hotels website very misleading. Says complimentary airport transfers but when I asked for my free taxi ride to the airport they say it means pick up, they never drop off. I do argue and say I’ve stayed here twice and neither time did I get a hotel pick up, but it doesn’t work so lucky I’d saved enough cash for emergencies!
I end up sharing a cab with German man so it is cheaper at least! Half way there though he realises he left his laptop back at hotel. In no rush so we head back. I quite like the traffic madness. There are no traffic lights just police men with their white gloves at major junctions. And I’m sure there’s more bikes than cars on the roads? Just a mele of noise.
German man starts to talk more on second effort at airport. He hates Kathmandu, too aggressive and dirty. He told me that money is smuggled out of the capital to Las Vegas, Europe, anywhere they can. Smuggled on flights cargo holds and then the rich people head out and spend it on casinos or lavish trips, instead of helping their home city and pumping cash back into the country! Interesting to hear. He learnt this from a friend in the mountains he’s stayed with for three weeks.
When we arrive at airport he pays most of the fare seeing as we did it twice! A man with a trolley tries to help German man but he shoos him away after some effort and wheels the trolley himself! He has to stay outside to smoke so I say farewell and head inside. It’s fairly small and simple enough check in, although in front of me is a family who clearly have too much luggage, so they no have to unpack, pack, move items around and it takes forever so I change lines. Then there’s a woman who has no print out of her boarding or booking so they have to search by name and that takes forever so I move again! Finally a quick queue. Small and simple airport. One shop, I get a coke and snack (should of stocked up in Kathmandu really, much cheaper!) was going to sit on internet but no wifi working so just read, chill, and wait. Nearly find myself using a squat toilet for one last time but fortunately if you checked the cubicles there was actually a choice of western too, how novel! Flights half hour late but otherwise all fine. I have the biggest grin on my face, so looking forward to going home. Have had an epic time but am tired and in need of some home comforts!!
Have a window seat on first flight, small plane, get dinner, watch the rest of the movie the Queen, the Mary poppins movie and then it’s time to change planes. Now the check in for plane two was bloody ridiculous! Had to queue three times (if you bothered to queue rather than wait that is) for probably half hour before finally being let on the plane. One staff member checking tickets for 400 people, stupid!! Have a lovely leg room seat, just harder to sleep without window to lean against. Get about three hours sleep, watch another movie, chat to Aussies next to me which was nice, they are touring the UK. So I land at Heathrow, hooray. Baggage claim all good, there is a tube strike today so it will be a slow journey across London. I’ve picked a route I think will work though. I get a cuppa and then wait for limited Heathrow express. Lots of people trying to get across the capital, fortunately one kiwi girl has brought her tube map so we can all check our routes. It’s easy to start with, get to terminal four then get on jubilee line but when I have to get off at hammersmith it becomes hard. I wait 15 mins for a tube and then it’s packed when it arrives. I can’t squeeze on with my huge suitcase! Not waiting another 20 minutes to not get on the train again, getting a bit annoyed now!! So I ask train man for help and he says circle line is working so try that. I head over to the other station and lo and behold I get on within ten minutes, straight around to Liverpool street, doesn’t go to tower hill which I wanted but I can at least get home. I need the toilet and at Liverpool street you have to pay. It’s ok, luxury comes at a cost! Not easy as a single traveller as I have my suitcase and backpack to squeeze into a cubicle. It’s like a krypton factor task! So I head for the train, it’s a more expensive route from Liverpool street but my parents will pick me up at station near them. That was less stressy than I’d thought and quicker!
As I arrive at the platform I see my mum in the car park and as I get off the train I see my dad and dog! Yay, however my dog is sooooo fat, can’t believe it, he’s just got a square body. So pleased to see him and parents though. Neither say I look skinny or tanned, blow rude! I’m sure I am both??
So back in sunny England. After some food, a cuppa and a chat I head home to a clean house thanks to the lodger, my cats pleased to see me and some home comforts. I still can’t believe how fat my dog bloody well is, I’m embarrassed! So straight out for a long walk this afternoon, get him moving again. Everyone I meet on the walk is in shock at the state of him!! Chilled out evening, get washing on, watch crap tv which I haven’t missed to be honest. One day off tomorrow then work hopefully Friday to start earning some money again, home sweet home though!

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More volunteering, off to Asia!!

Having had to pay £100 for my excess baggage last time I volunteered I was sure I wasn’t doing that this time! Lots of items people have donated, books, t-shirts, games, toiletries all for the orphans and village children to fit in my case, I could fill it practically with just that but mustn’t forget my trekking gear!! It took me 6 efforts firstly to get the damn suit case closed and then to get it to the correct weight. Now I’m supposedly quite intelligent but there’s me trying to read the weight of my case on the scales by lying on the flour, torch in hand! My lodger then says just weigh yourself then weigh yourself holding the case. Genius hey!! Can’t believe I haven’t done that before! Had to leave a few bits behind, cuddly toys, sanitary items, some of my clothing but also my sleeping bag! It was only on the optional list so Let’s hope the blankets are warm enough!
Bed time, 12.30, knackered and try to finish off my book so I don’t take a nearly finished book with me. It’s no use my eyes are too tired.
In the morning I can at least chill a bit as it’s a Sunday although have an emergency visit to vets to fit in as cats ill, but they’re not open until 10.30. Head out for dog walk call vets and get told no appointments but can sit and wait for an emergency. Joy!
We get seen after an hour wait so could of been worse, all sorted!
So load car, dog stuff and travel items as dog staying at parents and off to get a lift with dads taxi I go. He drives me to tube station, cheaper and quicker all round than driving around the M25. Tubes not too busy and the one place I had stairs a nice man carried my case for me. Very helpful on the tube!! A fellow traveller had a panic attack on top of escalators, scared to go on with her case, caused a bit if a commotion bless! Takes just an hour and a half and I’m there. Fingers crossed I weighed my baggage correctly!!
Ethiad very helpful, no issue with case although as ideal I get a big sticker saying heavy!!
Two hours until flight so refreshments time, I toy with getting an alcoholic beverage to chill with at the airport but am so tired I opt for the boring cup of tea, served in a cafetiere no less! I can hear my old hockey mates calling me boing already!! Booked a widow seat so I can chill and not be disturbed. Nice man sat next to me, makes a change from the fat or posh ladies I usually get. We both take shoes off straight away, read the free newspaper then entertainment magazine and settle down like a couple although not talking, so yes maybe like a married couple!!
Movie selection awesome, box office such as 12 years a slave and gravity. Haven’t seen 12 years so that’s on straight away. Cry my eyes out!
Food good enough although that poor husband of mine gets his vegetarian food early then no drink until normal food served. Time for sleep!!
Real mix of people on the plane, a few look like backpackers, families, Arabs.
Stop off is in Abu Dhabi, I manage to nick no maybe aquite is a better word, loads of eye masks for kids games and toothbrushes and socks for them also!
So first stop is Abu dhabi. Saw some amazing buildings as we flew over. Small but nice, toilets adjoining the prayer room. Bit of a random set up. Lush toilets though. Will enjoy the last luxuries for 6 weeks!
Have two hours to kill but can’t find enough space to sleep so read and chill. Happily sitting there when a woman asks If the seat next to me is free although my bag is on it, I move it no worries. Not content at that she then asks me to move as well so her and her friend can sit together! The annoying thing was they never actually both sat down, left their coats there so no one else sat down for about 20 mins then one of them came back then they left!
There are some very odd coloured tanned people at Abu Dhabi. Maybe because I’ve come from winter in he UK but some just looked weird!
Head to gate and start to panic, security check, no I’m not carrying illegals but have my drinks with me. Better be allowed liquids bought in an airport I get very thirsty on the plane.
Phew either you’re allowed or they weren’t looking properly, either way I’m happy.
A few Trekkers to be seen now with walking boots on. Sweltering like me In winter clothing!
It’s a mini plane to Kathmandu. Only 6 seats wide and 25 back?
A French dude is sat in my window seat. He says sorry his group told him to sit there!! Mmmhhhh. Same movies to choose from so I watch the delivery man, bit crap but hey it’s entertained me, then sleep. Only managed 4 hours in total I think.
No eye masks to acquire this time but keep my headphones. Such a chav!
I’m feeling sick from the heat in the plane. Yuck. Off into well kind of fresh air I suppose but quite warm and dusty. In to airport and visa time. Tried doing it online but no one allowed me. The bloody queue was a hour long. And I’ve booked for 36 days costing me $50 more than being here for 30 days or less. Doh!
Head to baggage reclaim, it’s taken so long the left luggage is in a pile in the middle of the room!
Outside I go looking for my name being held aloft. Exciting to be greeted. Oh, nope no one there for me. How disappointing. Third time I’ve been waiting and no one showed on my travels. Fortunately they are all friendly here and someone knows my company and calls him, 10 mins late. Is that like Peruvian time I wonder?
Whilst waiting I people watch, some trendy young lads swagger past, a young girl in heeled shows too big for her and make up rather cakes on. Peruvian time it is 25 mins later the host and his wife pick me up. Nice people, chat a bit. It’s exam time here so apparently I can’t go into the school to teach. Bit disappointed. Still all volunteering. We stop for the mrs to go shopping and she’s ages, I’m so tired I fall asleep. I did tell myself it’s a tad dangerous to fall asleep in a strange country in a strangers car by my eyes were so heavy. I awake and am in tact anyway!
Off to their house, where I stay for one night, traffic is awful. Dusty roads, motorbikes dodging in and out, crazy buses again just like Peru. And monkeys walking the streets.
At the house I’m greeted by another volunteer and the families three kids. The volunteer is Australian, young lad on a gap year of sorts. Kids all speak English. Wifi here! Yay. Last chance for a while I assume.
My room is large, bathroom to my self I think so all good. I show the host lady the bits I brought over for the kids. Let’s just say I’ve seen more gratitude for an off cup of milk! Bit disappointing to be honest.
They cook us dinner, and we head up. The grandfather in the house starts first and eats with his hands. Now it’s all traditional I know that but I just couldn’t get my head around it. Looks like starving children desperate to eat their first meal? They allow us to use cutlery so thankfully the two of us do our western thing! The boys have a fight at the table shouting and punching, they drink out of he communal bottle of water. Odd odd odd!
I offer to wash up but she declines.
Head off for a shower and just as I’m about to jump, well step into wet side (not an actual shower) of bathroom the lights go out! I thought it was just the timer so dress again and go outside, no a power cut. Lucky I wasn’t in the shower already!
Sorted after 10 minutes and try again. The shower hose is broken so it’s not a shower it’s a waterfall. Hot though so that’s a bonus! 9.30 bedtime as up at 6am to have a 6 hour drive to orphanage!

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31 hour commute cusco to essex

First challenge, was my suitcase within baggage allowance! Yes, bang on. Although that meant I did indeed leave nearly 40kg of stuff for the orphans! The problem with booking connecting flights through an agency is timings don’t always match up! So after flight one I had 8 hours at an airport to kill. Was planning on checking baggage in them sightseeing in Lima. You walk out of arrivals to a gaggle of Peruvians……
Taxi taxi Madame! I is official, look, see!!! Gggrrrrrr!! Anyway over to check in, noooooo inertia not open for 4 hours! Can’t cart luggage into Lima so airport for the day it is! Off for some lunch but more harassment trying to sit in a cafe, every man and his friend try to convince you what you should be doing! Well I sit down and start people watching to amuse myself!
There’s a lady stuck on carpet mat they have at escalators, heavy box falling off noone helps, just walk around her, then there’s a woman pushing trolley in platforms and leopard print leggings….really! Backpackers with everything but the kitchen sink hanging from rucksack, looking rather unclean from the travelling. Newbies being caught out by taxi harassers en route out of airport. Going to be costly. Business class do have a snobbishness walk about them, no queuing and knowing they’ll have a bed! Lucky them!
Peruvian pair of ladies, one with the biggest muffin top her jeans are buckling under the weight and her mate in bright pink leggings and tight top, see through too. No idea where they’re going, walk last four times!
Sat between a gay British man and an Adolph hitler look a like, now that’s a mix!! A British man asks if we’re waiting for Madrid flight then his Peruvian wife turns up, huge age gap!! Internet wife maybe? The man then asks if there’s many people in the queue, there is no queue it’s not bloody open! Then as soon as a few bodies appear at check in area about 15 go and queue. The flights in 4 hours what is the bloody rush!!!
Random ‘cool dudes’ walking past in sunglasses, it’s not sunny outside let alone inside sados!
Gay man trotted off to business class, didn’t gauge that!! After 4 1/2 hours of waiting check in opened yay! Which also meant I could go for a wee. Daren’t leave my luggage before. After heading through passport control I looked for the phone shop to return hired phone. Nowhere. Start panicking. I have this bloody phone what do I do. No information desk so finally find an English speaking security guy who sorts it. They pick it up from my gate. Phew! Loving the toilets with seats, toilet roll and a flush. Luxury!!
See the odd couple again at passport control, he’s called into immigration office.
I’m looking forward to my movie time on the plane. As I get on I’m right at the back, next to a man. He then asks to move. Wow, I offended quickly! The planes half empty so he heads in a free row. Fair enough. Just settled in and the disappointment hits. No tv on chair in front, no movies to choose from. Gutted! Shitty airbus! Then work out why man moved, he can sleep on the row of 4 chairs and get comfy. Missed a trick there! But I have 2 seats to myself. Have a fat Peruvian child behind me, can tell I’m tired as I’m ready to shout at the annoying child for her constant banging the chair. Weird couple get on plane so clearly immigration freed him!
Load of crappy documentaries on generic tv! So crap. Food good though, metal cutlery! Although the dried milk in the tea looks all lumpy, interesting!
Flight pretty good in the end, got some sleep.
Second connecting flight was a half hour walk. So time passed quickly. Again the plane wasn’t full so space next to me, although a very arrogant looking Spanish woman with her guggi bag plonks it down in the spare seat, cheeky cow. I fall asleep and wake up to find her spread out even more, using the table as well.
Weird couple on this plane too, just keep seeing them. It’s just an odd set up I can’t but look at them!
My fear of flying I had for a few years seems to be cured after about 13 flights this year, however the landing at London was a bit hairy, must be the fog!
Waiting at baggage claim I pop to the loo, not only are they posh looking and clean but Christmas songs playing. Made me smile! ‘Driving home for Christmas yeah’. Very apt!
I now have the joy of travelling across the capital to get picked up. Love the tube. Forgot it was rush hour! Firstly there’s people having an argument down one end, then a drunk rasta man mumbling. I hop off at hammersmith to change tubes, didn’t realise you have to trek across the busy road in the rain! Mistake! Head back on tube. Drunks at tower hill, and that’s the older generation! Christmas jumpers around. Great fun. An hour and a half later I get to my pick up and there’s my mum and pooch greeting me, what an excellent greeting!!
Shame the roads were an issue and it takes nearly 2 hours to do a 30 min drive. Some of that’s due yo my mums snail like driving but most due to the national car park!
31 hours later I’m home!!

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