And the blog is back up!
After more than a year and a half we’re back online. Lots have happened since our return back to Norway, but the writing stopped as soon as we stepped onto solid ground back home.
We’ve done a few smaller trips, but this is the first long haul in a while.
I’m writing this as we’re waiting for our third and final flight on our way to Kathmandu. Yup, we’re going to Nepal, Baby!
It started a few months back when Katja came back from a yoga training and had heard about this tour. We will do “Yoga in the mountains” organizes by Ethical Travel Portal. We joined in on an evening seminar about Nepal and this tour and soon after agreed this would be the big tour in 2017. And now, here we are waiting for more than eight hours in Mumbai for our last flight.
It started around three in the morning when the alarm went off and after an expensive taxi ride later we’re at Gardermoen, Oslo’s airport. Check in is chaotic, to say the least. We meet Camilla there by chance. She’s the yoga teacher that’ll guide us on the tour. She’s on the same route as us, and we all struggle with check in. Seems that Jet Airways and Air France is having difficulties in their synchronization. We get taken out of the line and sent to the ticket desk, but they’re not able to help us. Luckily for us, one of the check in assistants have the answer and voila! we’re going to Nepal.
Charles de Gaulle airport is traditionally the worst place to transit in Europe. It’s been years since I was there last, as I avoid it as the plague. But we had a good and easy run through the newer parts of the airport. I have to give it another chance, though I fear it will be back to bite me in the ass.
Jet Airways proves to be on time, and we’re the last one onboard. “Last call for passengers…” is not something I’m proud of including myself, but for those who remember our run through the airport in Yangon know it has happened before.
Arriving at Mumbai airport we’re asked to step aside and let the people with short transfer time through the Connecting flight security check. It shouldn’t take more than an hour, they say. But it’s BORING! There’s nothing here. Not even a vending machine to get water. We’re approached by a short man that wants to speak a little English. Turns out he’s working for the health department in Kathmandu and heard us talk about our next destination. He gave us a few pointers on what to see and where to go. Let’s see if we can make it all fit our plans.I was looking forward to some decent Indian food on the airport, but KFC, Burger King and Subway are all present. I end with different chicken dishes form Indian Street Food naturally called a “Non Vegetarian Platter” – kinda sets the standard, doesn’t it? We will be eating vegetarian for the days in the mountains. I’m both curious and excited on how my body will react to that while we’re trekking up to 10 hours a day + a couple of yoga practices.
Right now Katja and Camilla are sleeping on the floor by the gate as we’ve been up for almost 24 hours. My mouth feels, and probably smells, like something died in there. Getting to the hotel to take shower and brush my teeth is gonna be amazing.
I’m uncertain regarding how this is gonna be posted. We didn’t bring a computer on this trip and getting pictures into the posts is dependent on transferring from the camera. We’ll see if it’s all posted at once when we’re back home or if we find another way to get it online.
Now for some relaxing music with noise canceling headset and a little shut eye. It’s still two hours until boarding.
The last leg passes by in a haze. I’m really passed out, just waken to eat the breakfast, and slumber off again. I’m barely awake when we close towards Kathmandu and get a view of the city as we descend.It’s pretty hot when we get off and our choice of having used online visa application pays off. We pay the necessary visa fee and move to the immigration counter. Five minutes later and we’re in Nepal. Camilla had to use the paper solution and ended up spending 1,5 hours in lines before she show up at the baggage belt. We stood forever waiting for our bags and the last of ours was the third to last before they stopped the belt. Phew!
As Camilla came we went outside and found Dawa, our pick up guy, waiting. There’s another lady from our group getting in in about an hour, but luckily we get taken to the hotel and they send another car for her. We get served water in a 1 liter bottle each, and after the thirty minutes drive, mine is already near empty. Linda from Ethical Travel Portal, our Norwegian trip manager is there to greet us upon arrival.
The hotel, Holy Himalaya, is very nice indeed. Except for the internet connection. But I’ll guess all our experiences with internet in this country will be brief and unstable.
It’s insanely refreshing to take a shower, even though there’s no hot water. A fourth five minutes power nap later and we’re ready to roll.
We’ve only eaten the breakfast on the plan and opt for a light snack at the hotel. Chicken Chilli “very strong”, according tot the waiter, and an egg fried rice is ordered. The light snack portions are for giants, but we’re hungry and wolf it down. The chilli is spicy, but well within our limits. It tastes good, and our previous heard stories of bad Nepalese food is instantly out to shame.Camilla and Linda come around and so does Annette. The lady that landed after us today. We’re all chatting and having plans to move out when an henna artist appears. He’s offering to to henna painting and have just done so on an Australian lady next to us. Katja goes first, then Camilla. He’s definitely good and move in a blinding speed with his paintings. The he looks at me. “Maybe elephant god for you”, he asked. When he learned we knew of Ganesha, and even have a stone figure of him outside our house he lights up and paint on. The result is so good I seriously consider it as a base for a tattoo.
After we’ve all dried up and Linda have made an arrangement for the artist for the next morning we move out to do some shopping. Katja needs a down jacket, we both need rain ponchos and I need sandals. Linda takes us to a little store and we get a decent deal on the lot. Things are way cheaper here than back home. Wether the quality match the price or not remains to be seen.
From there we go to dinner and have a great meal at Gaia Restaurant. Chicken tikka butter masala tasted just as good as it sounds. One bottle of beer later and we’re ready to hit the sack. Katja manages to remain awake long enough to brush her teeth but not much longer. I get off a SMS, then accept defeat to mr. Sandman and everything goes dark.
There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.
– Robert Louis Stevenson