24 Oct

Written by Shem on October 24, 2012

The second part of my holiday with G Adventures took our group of 15 across the border from India into Nepal. This journey was approximately 14 hours by bus as we left our hotel at 5am. We were told the bus would be almost ‘luxury’ with air con and reclining seats, however I’m not going to lie… it was probably the worst ride on a bus… ever! Of course the Indian driver had no need to slow down or adhere to any of the road rules or huge pot holes in the road, so 14 hours later I was a wreck of a woman!

The scenery changed dramatically when entering Nepal and even the roads became instantly less like one may die! The humidity was still intense however for our first night in Lumbini but I did get to ‘chi out’ in Buddha’s birthplace. Entering the sacred temple felt immensely special as I was blessed with a gold bindi and aimlessly walked around observing the monks meditating. I of course tried to contort my tree trunk legs into a suitable meditating position, but alas I looked like a fool so just opted to take photos instead.

 

As we moved further up north the climate changed and the humidity dissipated somewhat so ruining my clothing with my own sweat was becoming more manageable. One of the things that became more prominent as a mandatory occurrence in Nepal, was the electricity being turned off at certain times of the day. Great way to keep the bills down however a NIGHTMARE when you just wanted to use the hairdryer or the fan in your room doesn’t work so you’re locked in a bubble of sticky heat. My temper did flare at certain points but I would be quickly distracted by elephants casually walking past my bedroom window!

Some of the views were magnificent especially when you could see Everest in the backdrop or lush green mountains muddled with rivers which seemed to go on forever and ever. Driving through the hills to the city of Pokhara was pretty spectacular. This is the second largest city in Nepal and the first thing I noticed was how ‘touristy’ it was which was a welcomed change for us all. The place was full of backpackers and young adults clearly on their gap year all dressed in the same ‘ethnic uniform’ (the type of clothes you wouldn’t be seen dead in back home!) with great tans! Oddly enough in my loud t-shirts and fro-hawk hairstyle, I seemed to fit in quite well! There are plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants with local cuisines similar to India but also catering for our western palates. Plus there was a lot of night time entertainment. It was like I hadn’t heard current modern music in years! Pokhara made me fall ever so slightly in love with Nepal…

Before we moved on I managed to visit a Buddhist monastery full of orphaned young boys. We had an education on Buddhism and of course were swamped with small children as we handed out sweets!

The last stop on my whirlwind trip was of course Kathmandu. The weather unfortunately was pretty horrendous when I got there but again it was awash with travellers from all cultures and the hustle and bustle was very exciting. I have no idea how anyone navigates themselves around town as each tiny alleyway looked the same and every corner you turned you were confronted with billions of little shops teaming with colours and unusual items. Unfortunately by the time I arrived in Kathmandu I was quite ill. Yes my body gave up on me and I had caught the horrible cold going around my group and my stomach was in knots from spicy food overload! However I did love the place and could confidently say I would go back to Nepal in a heartbeat.

Travelling with a group was sometimes very intense and hard work. Personalities can and did clash as you really start to know the individual. By the 15th day, gone were the jovial polite conversations at 4am in the morning, as cold blank stares were all most of us could muster up! I personally could not have travelled the way I did in such a fast paced environment on my own so appreciated the company. I made some good friends who I hope to keep in touch with and I have successfully filled my head with fanciful thoughts for new adventures over yonder…

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