Sunday, October 18, 2015

Day 1 - To Kathmandu

 

As I write this, we have already made the trip to Nepal and had a wonderful 10 days of trekking and have now even returned home.  There was little or no internet during our time in Nepal and then Google decided that I was a hacker and wouldn’t let me into my Blogspot account, so I  will start from Day 1 and fill you in on this journey of a lifetime.  Here goes…..

This morning (October 1st) we left Bangalore and headed excitedly to Kathmandu.   We had a nice flight into Mumbai and arrived in one of the prettiest airports that I have ever seen.  I didn’t have time to take photos of the outside, but it looked much like a UFO hovering over the ground.   Inside, there were tall columns that had holes in them so that the light would shine through, producing a gorgeous show of lights and shadows.

After we made it thru security I had time to slow down and look around more and found…..A FIBER WALL!!!!

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This is about 1/5th of the wall.  It was done in a typical India fiber style (called Kantha) where different shapes of fabrics are sewn together and then long stitch “quilting” is added to pull the design together.  

The lighting fixtures were amazing as well, a series of flowers, from buds to open flowers….DSC06002

 

Isn’t this gorgeous…..

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The flight to Kathmandu took about 3 hours and we were treated to a magnificent Indian curry for lunch, complete with wonderful bread and gorgeous views of the clouds and mountains in the distance…..

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I will leave it to you to find the mountain in this photo!!!

We arrived in Kathmandu right on time and then the fun began.   It had been announced that our bags would be at Belt 2 and we were all standing there waiting.  I was slower getting thru immigration and came to the baggage party after Michael and started looking for him.  DSC06027

He was actually fairly easy to find as he was the only white face AND a full head taller than the rest.

Everyone had procured their baggage carts and we were all standing and waiting when the announcement came that our flight was actually at Belt 1 and the other flight was at Belt 2.   Chaos ensued as everyone tried to shift from one side to the other, pushing hundreds of carts thru a very narrow opening.

However, after a short time our two bags arrived and we made our way to the outside.   We were met at the curb by the REI representative and climbed into his SUV to drive to our home for the next two days. 

One of the first things that we noticed were the lines of vehicles parked on the side of the road……

 

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These were all people waiting to fill up their cars, trucks and buses with gas!!   There is currently a blockade at the India/Nepal border and there are shortages of gas and other fuels.  This scene was played out several times over the next day.

We arrived at the Chahari Retreat which is located at the top of a mountain to the north of the city of Kathmandu.  We drove up numerous switchbacks, on NARROW roads to reach the gate of the facility,where I had the first test of my trekking skills as they were using concrete sacks as steps during this time of construction. IMG_2813

I was pleased that I made it up them ok and then realized that the young man behind me was carrying both of our suitcases and loping up them!!

We were greeted by our host, Mingma.

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He gave us some information about the Retreat, saying that it had been hit by the earthquake but only one building was destroyed.  Unfortunately it was the kitchen and dining room  so now they are cooking in the family kitchen and we are dining either outside on a veranda or inside in the bar area. 

This is the re-building project to bring the kitchen and dining room (and  new conference center) back up to standard…..

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….and yes, the work is all being done BY HAND!!!

It is sad to hear that we are the first guests that they have had since the earthquake.  I cant imagine how they have held on this long!!

The views of the city are impressive (there was actually less smog than normal because of the gas shortage)…..

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as is the landscaping…

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As the afternoon wore into evening, we were joined by our fellow trekkers…..

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….Adam from Portland, Mark from Washington DC, and David and Steve from Seattle.

We spent an hour being briefed about the Trek, meeting our trek leader (Badri), and getting a better feel for how we needed to pack and what to expect on the trip.  There will be about 18 people on the crew including a “stoveman” who does nothing but carry the stoves and fuel bottles.  This is so there is no mixing of the food and the fuel!!   Each of the Porters will carry two duffel bags (about 30 pounds each) and a couple of camp chairs!!  Yikes!!   We were also assured that there are Porters that can “carry us downhill at a run”.  Michael and I  requested one of those!!!

They also noted that they have emergency medical supplies and food.  However, one of the emergency food items was ketchup….really!!

Michael and I returned to our room to rethink our packing somewhat and afterwards enjoyed a sumptuous dinner of rice and various curries…..DSC06059

We spent a little time on the terrace drinking hot tea and then it was off to bed!!!

4 comments:

Nupur said...

Welcome back! SO glad you are home safe and sound! Mumbai airport was recently renovated and it is such a pretty place. Indian flights serve the best food.

elle said...

It IS a pretty airport! welcome back. I can't wait to 'trek'! ;^)

Sylvia said...

So, what you're saying is that the Kathmandu airport is more organized when it comes to letting you know which carousel your bags are on than the Atlanta airport...

Nice to see the modern quilting style being popular in India... ;)

Karen S said...

Good to know you are back safe and well, but I am also looking forward to following this part of your journey in your blog posts. Thank you again for sharing.

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