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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Road trip to Pokhara, white water rafting, paragliding and sunset over the river.

Pokhara
So today is white water rafting day, followed by a night or two in pokhara! I’m awake at 5am due to damn noise from outside, loud car horns (nothing new for Kathmandu I know) and a man shouting which seems to be right outside my window but I can’t see anyone when I look!!
I’ve got over an hour to get myself sorted before I meet my guide.
Realise I may need insect repellent in countryside so unpack to find it then pack again, it’s moments like this I wish I’d just paid for the room for the nights I’m away, but it’s £32 saved, every little helps!
Downstairs for 6.15 so I can have brekkie before the meet time of 6.30, and man is already waiting! I’m then given a note from reception saying the meet time has changed! Well that’s handy after the meet time!! Tough I’ve ordered breakfast and wish to eat it before I head off on a four hour coach ride. I had planned to take hot chocolate with me in my flask but boiling water provided is not hot this morning, at least it’s less weight to carry in my bag!
Off we walk to bus stop, sweet little man, speaks good English and we make some small talk along the way. There are lots of beggars out early doors. Not something you notice during the day as it’s so busy. There’s a homeless man wanting spare change, girls with limbs not properly formed asking for cash, that’s very sad but I say no to them all. The bus is full, seemingly half with rafting people and the other half local people. We are all at the back as a rafting group! No idea if all together, no one really speaks to each other, just read or listen to music. I have a man sat next to me who has earphones in, so unfriendly but cosy!!
Roads are bloody awful, just how I remember but had chosen to forget!
You just get comfy when you hit a huge hole in the road and are flung in the air. We pass what looks like the local sports stadium, there must be about 700 people there playing different sports. Cricket, football, yoga, running. What a great site!
OMG this is such an uncomfortable ride, and it takes about three hours to get there. When we arrive, a large group were dropped off about five mins before us, the rest here but there are loads of people, about 50 just at our start point. Very inappropriately dressed some of them, I mean who wears jeans for white water rafting??
There are no changing rooms so I have to get changed in a shed, and then it’s a squat toilet again damn it!! Ah well it’s not like I’m precious about these things after trekking!
We get our safety gear, helmet, life jacket and paddle. There’s a large group of Orphanage boys with us, they are so cute. There’s a couple of Polish people who seems to be in charge of them. So we walk to river. Orphans, polish, me, a couple of Israeli dudes, French man, Mexican man and some more staff from the orphanage.
I start in the adult boat. Fat polish man and French dude at the front. I’m second, behind fat dude and with a local girl behind me who can’t bloody keep time paddling!
She is one of those uncoordinated paddlers. Not in time with us ahead of her and I keep wacking her paddle! Gggrrrr
After about 10 minutes the other boat that has the kids in and two Israelis have arguments going. The Israelis have already pushed each other in, instructor shouting at them to listen to him and now polish teacher arguing too! Another five minutes and they ask to come in our boat. I’m fine with that until they say we want to tip the boat. Now if it tips that’s all good and well but I’d rather not cut my head open making it tip. Boring git hey. Anyway all of us go on kids boat and leave Israeli nutters to their own devices! I’m at the front now and have lost the annoying woman to the other side. I even give my camera to one kid so he can video etc although I think I have a video about 10 minutes long with not a lot of the actual rafting, bless. The French dude is a tad annoying, he did this about a week ago for the first time and now thinks he’s the expert. Keeps giving us advice. Shush now!!!! Then he starts counting so I keep in time. I need to count to 10 and keep calm!! Some major waves hit so we are all soaking, the kids and French dude have water fights, Israeli nutters trying to push our instructor in from their boat but this upsets Mexican bloke who is clearly scared of water and shouts at them to leave him out of it. Slightly over reacting as they aren’t getting him! Orphans only do half the trip as second half is quite hairy and we need the space to get in boat and stop it turning over. So they head out and get a minibus to the end point and we continue through some great waves!
All in all an awesome experience. Lasted about three hours so completely surprised and hungry as we were told we’d get lunch. We got food at four o’clock instead. And it’s my favourite, dal baht! Yay! The Mexican and French share their annoyances at the Israelis from the other boat and in general, and tell me no one likes Israelis and lots of hotels refuse their custom as they are renowned for partying and damaging property! Well I never knew!
I’m off to pokhara to paraglide tomorrow so wait at the side for local bus. The others are going back to Kathmandu. When we get on it it’s packed but we do manage to get a seat. The Israelis are late but do get on our bus just in time! Some French group get on with me and two of the girls have the most infectious laughs, no idea what they were laughing at but love listening. The locals are just staring at us all like we are aliens! The bus journey is bloody awful again, tenns machine here we come once more. However I’m loving seeing the green paddy fields and the countryside again. I decide Kathmandu makes me depressed, too dirty, dusty and noisy. I miss chitwans isolation, the mountains cleanliness (not the toilets though) and the clean air of both. Think I’ll enjoy these three days. I have a smelly woman come and sit next to me for half the journey, what a delight!
At 8pm we arrive in the pouring rain in pokhara. More built up than I thought. I run to a taxi, shout my hotel and name and off we go. However the taxi driver then tells me he doesn’t know where it is, tosser!! He asks two of his mates, then by chance I see a sign for it. Then he tries to charge me more as it’s further than he thought. Erm who’s fault is that? Anyway I don’t have the right bloody change so have to pay more, ggggrrrr!
Get to hotel, en suite, tv, what a bonus, can’t complain. Have a walk around local streets to orientate myself, realise I have no long sleeved tops for the cooler nights so buy one from the shops, have a shower and read my guide book on what to do tomorrow.
Good night.
I wake up early as there’s people outside talking, about 6am. So read a bit, watch tv then head to breakfast. There is me and a couple of girls and that’s it. Not the most upmarket dining area it has to be said. Very quiet. I only have a light brekkie, don’t wish to throw it up in the air!
I’m picked up by 4×4 with a Chinese man from the hotel and taken to the meet place, fill out forms, look at pictures to see what I’ll be doing then meet our guides. A couple of the glider customers did it yesterday and loved it but said it was very short. Disappointingly only five mins, so let’s hope today’s a longer glide. We drive up the mountain in a 4×4, and stop to see what a hold up is and one of the Paraglide guides gets out and is chatting when we start to drive off. He jumps on the side trying to get into the truck whilst moving and falls off truck, nearly gets run over? Bit bloody scaring but he seems ok, pissed off obviously as feels stupid. Hope he’s not my instructor may be injured! We have a nice Venezuelan dude chatting in back with us. My fellow gliders are a Russian couple, two Chinese and me. Instructors, one Russian, Venezuelan and spaniard that I’ve clocked so far.
On truck two locals jump on and hold on to side, madness but clearly the norm! It’s a bumpy twisty ride up (no idea how they stay holding on) but views look amazing already. We get off and meet our guides, I’ve got the faller!! Ahhhh. Actually he’s lovely, very chatty. Used to be a builder then a firefighter but said is such a poorly paid job in rural Spain. Here for three years now but it’s so cheap for tourists they need to increase price or it’s not worth working due to over heads. Fair point as only cost me £50 for my glide! I’d of paid upto £75 I reckon. Seems very sincere though and glad he’s my instructor. And he liked my tattoo, forget their view is of my head and neck!! He’s getting something similar. Cool!
So he straps me in (less attractive than it sounds!) we sit and wait for thermals!! Others go off early, just run off the mountain! Very funny to watch as some forget to run, others are still running when in the air. We go after about half an hour when albatrosses start to float in the air. That’s the key to a good thermal! So it really is as simples as run when the instructor says, down and off the mountain. Love it, so calm, quiet and beautiful. Much better than sky diving, we rise up and down in the thermal streams with a baby albatross below us. Just awesome. Everyone should try it! After about 20 mins we make our decent and even that was easy just run again when told and stop!! Great!!
We celebrate by going for a drink at the most awesome hotel. It has an outdoor pool with a view of the lake and mountains. Beautiful!!
Back to the hotel and no idea what to do for the rest of the day, it’s only 12pm.
I decide to wonder around town, and head to the riverside to have lunch, then watch sunset over the lake.
Got a lovely table for two by the steps and perfect view of waterfront so I can watch sunset and pop down nearer for pictures. Unfortunately next to me is the most annoying
bloody girl talking so damn loud it’s easier to listen in than ignore.
And it’s all rather personal stuff I’m not sure we should all hear! ‘My mum said I was beautiful on Facebook, what won’t she say it to my face?’ ‘My boyfriend loves me so much but doesn’t want to know what’s in my head’, Erm, but we we do??!!
‘My brother is a heroin addict’
‘I want to use my body to challenge myself’, ‘We are all the same including animals!!’ I mean what on earth!! The poor girl she’s with hardly gets a word in, and I say next to me but actually she was three tables away and I could hear every word!!
Lovely European couple next to me. Sit and read for a few hours, with a beer and tea, then they go to the water front and kick a ball about together. That’s what I want, what a lovely couple!
So I’m chilling watching the sunset, thankfully annoying girl has left!, I’m taking sunset pics and the ladies selling stuff hassle you when you’re standing there, but nicely not rudely. I try ignoring them but one after constantly trying to engage me, then calls me mrs blue, (I’m wearing a blue top) it makes me chuckle! Good try and genuinely intended to go back after dinner and buy something off her.
Dogs gather on waterfront at sunset looking for food. Shooed out of restaurant, but wander the shore line fighting, playing, watching and hoping for some food!
Bless one dog snuck under the table of the couple next to me as they had food and just laid there. Not begging just waiting. He was shooed (nicely) away but that was so sweet!
I ordered fish as it’s caught fresh from the river, it was lovely. And a glass of rather nice red wine too.
Lovely three hours by the river, very chilled. No other single travellers here all chatting in their groups but I’ve enjoyed myself.
And then a random cow walks past! It is just surreal here sometimes.
The ladies selling stuff have packed up so I can’t buy something from my ‘mrs blue’ lady. Never mind. Walk slowly back to hotel enjoying fresh air. And early night for me.
Woken by snorting men outside again. No idea where but sounded like they were right outside!! What a delight. However the birds were singing so went to read on the roof top terrace, it is called snow view lodge after all! It is a lovely view but very hazy this time of year. Bet it’s awesome in the winter when no haze around. I sit up there for about half an hour then pop down for breakfast.
Brekkie in a completely empty restaurant this morning, but one of the staff came to chat with me which was quite nice. He is very interested in uk. He earns 8000 nepalease ruppes a month which is only £40!
He is my taxi to the airport. There are lots of kids on way to school with their ties like Waterloo road which I didn’t expect to see.
I am quite early at the airport check in is literally a room with some stalls. There’s a weird looking Irish lady next to me, I say weird maybe just different as her fringe is like her mum put a bowl over her head and cut the fringe only! Mullet!!
I go through to departures which is a larger room with some seats and a yeti shop. I have to buy something as it’s so cute and end up with a mug that changes colour when hot hoeing a picture of the yeti! Cool. My airline is posh in comparison to the Everest flights, we get inflight drinks and newspapers! Better than Ryan air and easy jet! And I get a front row seat so can see take off and landing.
At the airport I go to get a taxi, quite expensive to get back to airport. But hey ho. Just sorting out a deal when two Russians also want to go to town so join me. They don’t really speak even though I try and engage in conversation. And then become very rude in cab when being dropped off, ‘you will
not drop us in road’, ‘no you reverse to our hostel we have luggage’, ‘no you go down there we have luggage’, ‘you help with our luggage’!! Annoying bloody twats!!
Anyway I finally made the hotel, took less time to fly from pokhara than to get taxi from the airport with traffic and annoying Russians. My new room has a double bed, wow, luxury!
Had a fab time in pokhara, miss the views already!

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Living alone again, rickshaws, and erotic carvings in Thamel Square!

So after a chilled afternoon by the pool, enjoying our last bit of luxury at the Shang Ri La hotel, roomy and I head off to our respective hotels to settle in before coming back to meet the remaining Trekkers for an evening meal. My hotel is a bit out of town? Down a dirt track and middle of nowhere?? But they great me with a free drink, and all seems quite nice. I’m on the third floor and fortunately a porter takes my suitcase up for me. Two single beds, a very 80’s looking tv and wet room/toilet. But my first room to myself in 5 weeks!! There are two sets of taps and the top two both say cold! Damn it. Have to have a crouched shower using the hot tap before I then head out to find roomy. I put some laundry in as I have so few clean clothes. It’s a bargain though. Five t shirts, two pairs of shorts, trousers and some underwear all for just £3. I get it back in 24 hours. Fortunately my new Sherpa tops are doing a good job of clean clothes for now.
I walk in the direction I think is thamel where roomy is but after 20 minutes realise I’m lost and get a rickshaw! Catch up with roomy at her very posh looking hotel, maybe I should of stayed here! Although she’s not that impressed. We do some shopping, I book my excursions to pokhara, although the manager thought both of us were going so he is a tad moody as I think the fab deal I had was based on two!! Never mind, he honours it!! It takes longer than we planned so are late to meet the others! Decide to get a rickshaw again, bless the man riding us. His little legs working so hard and some of it is uphill. It’s quite a ride to the Shang Ri La, about 20 minutes. We feel bad for him so give him a tip. Not sure the Shang Ri La are used to rickshaws arriving there, it’s a bit common, so we get funny looks!! The door staff are not as friendly once you’ve left!! We still get a salute from the guard as that’s his job but the bell hop is rather off as he knows we left to stay elsewhere!! We are half an hour late so go to find the others. Gragma is eating at the hotel on his own, he tells us that ex pat and Hagrid are at the same place as last night and mr miyagi and son are opposite hotel. We leave him to finish his meal, feel a bit bad but don’t fancy another night there! We wander to the restaurant and luckily find ex pat, Hagrid and Mexican with there starters. Better late than never!! We have a nice evening, no food needing to be sent back which is quite an achievement for old Hagrid! They have to head off at 8.30 as flight is later so we walk back, say goodbye as they squeeze into a tiny car with their four bags and themselves. The taxi service at the hotel is very weird, no one wanted to take them to the airport? Missing out on money how weird!! So a local taxi had to be called. Anyway it was quite a sight seeing them head off! Roomy and I then headed back to out hotels and had an early night. We plan to meet up tomorrow as it’s my last day before going to pokhara. I arranged to meet her and gragma at the square to do some sightseeing at 10.30am.
First night in new hotel was rather noisy! You can hear everyone outside from early doors!
There’s a man shouting outside at about 5.30am, pain in the arse! Anyway I can’t get back to sleep so I head down to courtyard and have a lovely breakfast outside. It’s very picturesque out there, nice tables set out, trees all around, you do have buildings surrounding the walls but otherwise is quite relaxing.
Roomy not replying? She was supposed to walk to my hotel and then we head off to the square? So I assume she’s not bothered or asleep? so walk myself there to meet Gragma. It’s really quite an easy walk, about ten minutes and I’m there. What greets me is a mass of tourists, locals, pigeons, tour guides and religious monuments. I frantically walk about looking for gragma, trying to wave off the advances of tour guides wanting my business! But he is nowhere to be seen. One particular tour guide has tried so hard to get my business so eventually I relent and let him guide me. He shows me the rude wooden engravings, I’d never of spotted that on my own. Very sexual bunch these Hindus, who’d have known!
We go in to a courtyard by a religious building to see the ‘living god’ which is actually a girl who is chosen when very young for this task by an absolutely bizarre ritual. They are put in a dark room, scared to death and if they don’t cry when screamed, spooked, scared etc then they are deemed to be the chosen one and then live a life of what I can only describe as spoilt princess. They have maids, staff, luxurious clothing, everything they need or could want and in return pop their head out a window in a building for tourists to see but not to take photos of. She doesn’t smile or interact, in fact looked positively bored, then just disappeared when she’d had enough!! What a premadonna! Anyway on we head to the square with thousands of pigeons being fed by tourists, they are apparently sacred, but equally as annoying as at trafalgar square. The guide takes some photos of me but to be honest is no David Bailey, they are pretty crap! Still better than nothing! He does tell me some fascinating stories and tales about the place so I am pleased I have a guide. I pay him about £4 but had agreed £2 so he’s at least got some money. That sounds mean but that is a good price out there and I didn’t ask for him! Am I trying to convince myself or you?? I finish at the nine floor temple which does have awesome views over the city, then head down to get a drink in a cafe. Harder than it sounds!! Only one big cafe that is very western so I have to stop there, it’s like a Starbucks but a Nepalese version. I chill, use free wifi, have the most expensive shake, then decide to wander back. Now there is a live band playing in the square. Well I say live, they played the same song out five times over the speakers whilst the band was setting up, then when they were singing live it was over the soundtrack again so was really just miming! Everyone loved the song though, dancing in the streets, singing along.
Back at my hotel I have lunch for one, which ended up being popadoms with the spiciest mix on them so I had a burning mouth for about five hours after!! I finally hear from roomy. She’s been ill all day so was asleep when I was trying to get hold of her. I go for a sleep as knackered but we agree to meet later. I manage to look like I’ve bloody wet myself as tap spurts out all over me!
As I’m chilling for some reason I decide to unblock my ex from Facebook and see what he’s up to. He has met someone new, that’ll be why I thankfully, haven’t heard from him in 7 months!! I wasn’t bothered by seeing him with another woman but maybe slightly annoyed he’s settled down again first?? I then need to pack as off to pokhara in the morning, kind of wish I was packing to go home. Had enough now, but I am sure the weekend will be awesome. And realise the top shower taps actually do have hot water even though they say cold on them. So my crouched shower yesterday was completely unnecessary. What an idiot!!
So after packing, watching a movie and a good chill I’m off to meet roomy. Hoping not to get lost again walking through the streets. Er no, manage to bloody get lost again so have to get another rickshaw to meet her! It was a tad weird seeing her again even though it’s only been a day. Maybe because for 18 days we saw each other every minute and then suddenly all alone again!
We went for a dinner on the terraces of Kathmandu shops. Nice to look down on the streets below, saw our first road accident as well. Bike and car collided, fortunately everyone, although in a mad rush, can only go about 5 miles an hour so they literally bumped, the bike slid then after dusting themselves off drove off! I have fajitas for dinner though I’m not sure I’d call them that, it looked like dal baht, rice, veg and beans?? And the tortilla was more like Tibetan bread (nan like) so hard to wrap it up!! Still had a fun night, even with a sick roomy, and I had to say a final farewell to my smelly clothed, young, laughing, friendly, Aussie room mate from the last 20 days!! Sad as may well never see each other again! I rickshawed back to the hotel, passing a quite busy Kathmandu nightlife on a Friday night, and back to my hotel to get ready for a 6am start in the morning. White water rafting and paragliding here we come!!

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Flying to lukla

Awake at 5.15 due to noisy neighbours but nothing new after the 2 weeks of the water pump. Lovely breakfast, loving the choice of everything but dal baht, even had half hour extra due to fog at airport. All excited we get on bus, hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to Everest we go! At airport we realise we are very trusting with our luggage as we head off and leave it on bus and into departures. Very small airport, dirt tracks as paths, queues to get in, first stop security with all bags going through X-ray but not cameras? Then everyone beeps going through body scanner so we get full body rub down from someone we weren’t sure of their gender? There’s been no flights to lukla for two days due to bad weather so backlog! We are delayed again so sit and wait further instructions. Very busy, dirty airport, the start of squat toilets!! but we all seem still excited. Told its 2 hours wait so we head for a drink in restaurant much less busy! We are told to check hand luggage bags for weight, only 5kg allowed so we all take water, books and cameras out, send bags down to pass test then refill them!! A very flawed system this airport has! Also you can take water in but no sharps? Very bizarre having water allowed. When we head through second security poor ex pat forgot that her penknife was in her hand luggage and has it confiscated! Nearly in tears. Free wifi so everyone unsociable!! Do the Facebook check in, few e mails, book hostel for after the trek! Sharing stories of flight crashes in New Zealand and lukla gets me a tad worried on these little airplanes! If the weights wrongly calculated they just tip up! We’ve all got too much hand luggage?? Some annoying American kids sit near us. They play a game called would you rather. Example being: have a glass eye or an eyeball that can be used as a table tennis ball!! I mean what kind of question is that? So loud we all have to move away. Miserable old gits that we are! After 5 hours wait our flight is cancelled and back to the hotel we go! However ex pat does get her penknife back. Every cloud! We were the next flight to go but it’s too windy. Better not to die though! We go for a swim, another last hot shower, nice group meal and early night hoping for better luck tomorrow! A thunderstorm hit in the evening, so glad we didn’t fly as could of hit that? Started our meal outside under the stars then had to run for cover. Was very romantic to start with.
Leave at 5.30 am. Noones hopes are high, Groundhog Day?? Lucky I was in hotel as had a bout of illness in morning, western toilet always better! Packed breakfast is handed to us all and off to airport. Less busy, most of the group leave packed lunch in waiting area as too much or don’t fancy it. Hungry locals scoop it up immediately! straight into departure gates and off to plane on time!! There’s no guarantee you’ll fly until your plane takes off!! It’s a dornier 228, small plane one seat each side of the aisle. Very close to the cockpit.
We took off and it was a bloody bumpy flight. Awesome views but I felt sick! Nearly reached for sick bag. Only our group on flight, attendant gives us sweets, safety feedback form and earplugs. Landing is supposed to be scary but couldn’t see as two of the group were filming! Probably a good thing as I was feeling ill. Shortest runway in the world?
Easy landing and yes we are here!!! Tenzing Hillary Airport!! The adventure really begins!

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Leaving the village for the big smoke!

The mundane routine I expected every day was blown away on my last couple of days. We had goats in the classroom, my flip flops mode from outside the classroom I a house in he village, a thunderstorm that lasted most of the day, a bike ride on the most rickety uncomfortable bikes on the dustiest and stoniest roads into town with two girls as passengers perched on the back. This was the source of much laughter with and at us westerners!! I found it so hard the first time I just said I’d run to the village, good triathlon training! The storm started when we were on our way in to the village, the lightening was amazing, right across the horizon! Panicked ourselves thinking we’d get struck by lightening with the bikes! Although my mum later reminded me the rubber tyres would of saved us!
The schools being on holidays meant there’s no homework to help with so we planned various activities instead. And I’ve really settled in to this quiet, simple life just as I’m about to leave. Always the way. Saying goodbye to the village kids was hard, they genuinely seemed sad I was leaving. Maybe all my different resources were fun for them?
As a goodbye from me to the orphans I made banana fritters for the orphans and many girls helped me. First time I’d ever made them so learning curve indeed!! I bought as donated some clothes for them that mummy handed out. My t shirts that I have worn in three continents have now gone to new homes. And we had fizzy drinks with dal baht for dinner. Fun last day indeed including another bike ride into town with girls sitting on the back. I mastered it this time and we were much quicker.
Aussie boy has become a hermit. Doesn’t really help unless you mother him and tell him what to do, often skulks off into his room! Although has now been very ill over night twice in a week which must be horrid. Doesn’t interact with kids much so may have a long few weeks. Aussie girl and I have bonded over his lack of use of Aussie boy. Had a fun last few ways with my roomy.
Mummy of the home returned as well in my last few days so normality returned for routines though.
My journey home was with three of the orphans who are off to the capital for a bit of a holiday, so a 5.45am get up, taxi awaiting us. I held back the tears, the dog was whining as I said goodbye which nearly set me off crying! I’d said goodbye to most girls the night before, gave two of the youngsters a book from England to read and practice their english. Although Noah’s ark retrospectively maybe not the best choice for a Hindu country! Girls very thankful for them and I wrote a message in them so they remember who gave them to them.
So as we drive away through villages turning into towns, motor vehicles once more dominating the roads, dogs sleeping it watching the world go by, rubbish burning by the roadside (this is their waste disposal system), people washing the road in front of the house to stop the dust, music from wave the flag, we are sailing to Nepalese heavy metal playing, hoping my stomach is being toned up by the make shift ‘tenns’ machine that is the cars/minibuses driving over the bumps, and the sun shining bright my mind wanders over this amazing experience! It’s not what I planned to do, I was annoyed that it wasn’t when I arrived but now I’m so pleased I have had this experience.
The nepalease have some horrid habits, spitting, blowing their nose by blowing it out on the ground, they beat their dogs, many talk at too loudly and you can tell the wealthy from the poor by their waist line. However they work bloody hard, they live with very little such as no guarantee of electricity or running water. They live off the land, they play outside, they are very friendly and welcome you warmly. Nothing is broken, it all just needs some TLC. Mode of transport is usually push bike and having been on one they are tough machines to work especially on the dusty roads and with a passenger seated on the back. Horns are not used in anger but merely to let others know you are there for their safety. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this part of my Nepalese adventure! I’ll miss the serenity of he village, the sunrise and sunset, the birds singing, the noticeably quiet airspace and roads, the kids (baby goats that is) trotting and leaping by the roads, the children and their smiley faces, village kids desperate for your attention, everyone speaking to you as the only whites in the village, but I don’t think I’ll miss the dal baht, as stable a diet it is, I’m looking forward even if only briefly before the trek, to some western food, a toilet with a seat and a warm shower!
We arrive in Kathmandu having taken a local mini bus full of locals, then dropped off on the roadside. Straight away taxi men desperate for my custom and chatting the girls up!
Our taxi came and they went to the host house for two of them it was their first time in the capital, how exciting.
I went off to my posh hotel. I arrive and it is luxury. Comfy bed, a hot shower was delightful, a normal toilet, a pool too!!
My next adventure begins now!!

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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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