Chitwan national park, Pokhara and the Kathmandu vally
22.05.2010 - 26.05.2010 38 °C
I absolutely love Nepal!! This country is beautiful and magical. It is so lush in comparison to what I have seen in India, and it is cooler, making life more bearable, dropping from mid 50's in India to 30's-40's in Nepal (though I hear that there is currently a heat wave at home...I think late 20's sounds pretty chilly though!)
I spent much of last week in Chitwan national park, in the south of Nepal (also known as mosquito heaven). We were staying in a remote rural area, in a lodge with thatched roofs, open fires, and a pretty clean river to take a morning dip in. When walking around the surrounding villages, it really did feel as if I was stepping back in time, with mud hut houses, thatched roofs, and animals everywhere. People are completely self sufficient, and so welcoming. In India it really did feel like all people wanted was your money, or to con you out of your money, or to make you feel guilty, so you would give away your money. But here, people are just so happy to see you in their country; they want to practice their English and introduce their family and show their homes.
Kathmandu, by comparison is completely different again, it is very busy (but nowhere near the tempo of Delhi). It also feels much more westernized, there are distinct fashion trends, music, hair styles and hair dye. I think because of this western influence, white people are not stared at as much. I feel completely safe wondering around, so one follows or stares. Which I think actually translates to improving my confidence as a traveler.
The gap tour ended last Saturday, which was sad, as I had really grown close to one of the girls I was sharing a room with. I would completely recommend a tour for a country such as India, there is so much security in it, which makes you enjoy what you are seeing. Since the weekend I have been traveling with two of the tour members around the more rural areas in Nepal. We attempted a black run hike (we did not realise it was a black run at the time), it was pure hell!!! It was just non-stop steps, up and up and up, you reach a corner and it just continues up!! I felt like such a loser, there was me drenched in sweat in all my hiking gear, and the Sherpa women, walking in dressed and flip-flops, carrying heavy loads were over taking me!!! In the end we turned back- for a number of reasons:
We had walked only 3km in 2 1/2 hours, we were all running out of water, no tea houses or lodges were open as it was off season, a large black cloud was approaching, and we had seen several missing person signs on the way into the area of girls who had taken the same rout. Though after we returned we realised we had taken a wrong turn and scaled 1800m in 2 hours!
It definitely worked out for the best though, as we headed to a mountain village (obviously recommended by lonely planet) which had some excellent panoramic views of the area. The black cloud turned into my second experience of a monsoon rain (which lasted 7 hours) and had terrential rain and massive thunder storms!